In Our Time - Economic Rights
Melvyn BraggIs democracy the truest conduit of capitalism, or do the forces that make us rich run counter to the democratic institutions that safeguard our rights?With Professor Amartya Sen, Master of Trinity College, Cambridge and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Science; Will Hutton, former Editor of The Observer, Director of The Industrial Society and author of The State We’re In.
In Our Time - Tea: an empire in a teacup
Melvyn BraggAfter air and water, tea is the most widely consumed substance on the planet and the British national drink. In this country it helped define class and gender, it funded wars and propped up the economy of the Empire. The trade started in the 1660s with an official import of just 2 ounces, by 1801 24 million pounds of tea were coming in every year and people of all classes were drinking an average two cups a day. It was the first mass commodity, and the merchant philanthropist Jonas Hanway decried its hold on the nation, “your servants' servants, down to the very beggars, will not be satisfied unless they consume the produce of the remote country of China”. What drove the extraordinary take up of tea in this country? What role did it play in the global economy of the Empire and at what point did it stop becoming an exotic foreign luxury and start to define the essence of Englishness?
In Our Time - The Opium Wars
Yangwen Zheng, Lars Laamann & Xun ZhouThe Opium Wars between Britain and China in the 19th century forced China to open its doors to trade with the western world. The Chinese had banned opium in its various forms several times, citing concern for public morals, but the prohibition was ignored. The East India Company held a monopoly on the production of opium in British India. Private British traders continued to smuggle large quantities of opium into China. In this way, the opium trade became a way of balancing a trade deficit brought about by Britain's own addiction to tea. The Chinese protested against the flouting of the ban but the British continued to trade, leading to a crackdown by Lin Tse-Hsu, a man appointed to be China's Opium Drugs Czar. He confiscated opium from the British traders and destroyed it. The British military response was severe, leading to the Nanking Treaty which opened up several of China's ports to foreign trade and gave Britain Hong Kong. The peace didn't last long and a Second Opium War followed. The Chinese fared little better in this conflict, which ended with another humiliating treaty. So what were the main causes of the Opium Wars? What were the consequences for the Qing dynasty? And how did the punitive treaties affect future relations with Britain?
Power Failure at the Central Bank
Robert PestonBusiness editor Robert Peston examines the crisis in the international banking system. For the last six decades, central bankers from the most developed countries have managed the global economy, manipulating international finances with the aid of a powerful set of economic levers handed to them after the Second World War. Last year the levers became disconnected from the machinery and the central banking system has suffered a severe loss of power
The Reith Lectures 2005 - 01 Collaboration
Lord BroersWhen I returned to this Engineering Department from the USA in 1984 my wife and I bought an historic and wonderful house some ten miles south of Cambridge. It was built around 1520, a date that could be substantiated to within a decade by the form of the oak beams that comprised its floors and ceilings. These had been shaped by iron blades that only lasted about ten years. Being someone of the present rather than the past I had not previously been much preoccupied with history but living in the splendid oak structure - like a fine sailing vessel that had gone aground - inspired me to wonder what had preoccupied the technologists and scientists of that age...
The Reith Lectures 2005 -02 Innovation and Management
Lord BroersWhen Ralph Waldo Emerson reputedly and memorably said that the world would beat a path to the door of a person who made a better mousetrap, he was perhaps being unduly optimistic, but at least he realised that the mousetrap had to be made and that it would not be sufficient merely to have an idea, or even a patent, for a better mouse trap. Ideas have to be proven to be useful, and the world told about them, before any paths are beaten. Profound changes have taken place in the development of ideas and their translation in to the market place and in my third Reith lecture I argue that this innovation revolution demands a new approach to research and product development...
The Reith Lectures 2007 - 1 - Bursting at the Seams
Prof. Jeffrey SachsThe 21st century will be marked by severe natural resource limits, the rise of new economic powers and the threats of failed states. These are tectonic changes with the potential to unleash global-scale upheavals. Global cooperation of an unprecedented depth and scale will be needed but we are not yet prepared for such cooperation
The Reith Lectures 2007 - 4 - Economic Solidarity for a Crowded Planet
Prof. Jeffrey SachsThis lecture considers the challenges of extreme poverty and the extreme worry of the rest of the world which fears for its own prosperity. It spells out the limits of the free market to solve these problems and proposes a plan of action which presents choices to those listening
The Reith Lectures 2009 - 1 - Markets and Morals
Prof. Michael SandelA New Citizenship: Professor Michael Sandel delivers four lectures about the prospects of a new politics of the common good.In the first lecture he considers the expansion and moral limits of markets.