You are about to learn one of the biggest secrets in the history of the world... it's a secret that has huge effects for everyone who lives on this planet. Most people can feel deep down that something isn't quite right with the world economy, but few know what it is.
In the first of this three-part series investigating consumer spending, Jacques reveals how the concept of 'product lifespan' holds the key to our ever-churning consumerism. Exploring the historical origin of planned obsolescence, when some of the world biggest electrical manufacturers formed a light bulb cartel in the 1920s, Jacques reveals how products that are essential to our modern lifestyles are still made to break. During his investigation, Jacques uncovers the process by which a crucial transformation happened and attitudes towards spending were transformed. Instead of needing new goods because our old ones were broken, we learned to want them for reasons of fashion and aspiration - awaking a consumer appetite that could never be satisfied. In the US, he visits a recycling centre where brand-new high-tech goods are destroyed before they have even come out of the box. Jacques also meets some of the companies that encourage consumers to be dissatisfied with what they have and encourage purchases as part of an ever-faster cycle of 'upgrades'. He asks a senior IKEA executive why, despite the company's commitment to sustainability, it still encourages repeated discarding and purchasing. Jacques also talks to a former senior Apple employee who reveals how the company's new focus on fashion, with its colourful iPhones, keeps us buying even when technological innovation slows.
In September 2008, the collapse of Lehman Brothers tipped the world into recession. A cast of contributors including national leaders, finance ministers and CEOs describe the tense negotiations in New York and London as the investment institution headed towards bankruptcy. Gordon Brown, Tim Geithner and Alistair Darling reveal the dilemmas they faced and the decisions they took.
Paul Saffo looks at the development of the US economy through the 20th and into the 21st century. What are the trends that have shaped the economy? How are innovations in technology and communications making the 21st century an entirely different landscape for producers and consumers?
Ade Adepitan, Anita Rani, Ant Anstead and Dan Snow take a closer look at one of the most complex and powerful cities in the world, focusing on transport links in the first edition. Anita, Ade and Ant head to Grand Central Terminal, joining the daily commute on the iconic Staten Island ferry as well as the subway, suburban railroad and citibikes. Dan visits Times Square to see how the 230 LED advertising hoardings are maintained, while Ade takes a ride in a yellow cab, discovering that the business model is under threat from newly created taxi apps.
'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse.
2010 • Economics