The Why? Curve
Bitcoin, dogecoin, etherium - cryptocurrencies are part of our world, and they seem to be a store of value, but are they actually WORTH anything? The price fluctuates wildly and there are plenty of stories of theft, fraud and criminality in crypto exchanges. They coins are largely unregulated and have no backing from states or central banks, so is their notional value a kind of mirage? Is it all a scam? Professor Brian Lucey of University College Dublin sets out the basis of blockchain and the cryptos based on it, and the likely future of this monetary innovation.
This episode is supported by Wigmore Associates, who provide portfolio management services on both a discretionary and advisory basis, together with pension, tax planning and inheritance tax advice to Individuals, Trusts, Pension Schemes, Family Offices, and Charities.
View all episodes
69. Who are you really? Online identity wars.42:32Should we be able to be anonymous online? If we all knew who we were, would the conversation be more civil? Would the bots and trolls be exposed for what they are? Or would it open vulnerable people to attack - dissidents pursued by hostile regimes? Would the free speech at the heart of the net disappear? Dr Catherine Flick, reader in Computing and Social Responsibility at De Montfort University tells Phil and Roger what works in trying to clean up the online world, and how hard it is to police especially with trans-national actors.
68. Ukraine War - How Will It End And When?38:37After eighteen months of fighting in Europe’s biggest conflict since 1945, is there any sign of an end? Tens of thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, but the frontlines have barely moved. The weather will shortly bring land warfare to a halt - when it resumes in the spring, will Ukraine’s new western weaponry deal a knockout blow to Russian forces? Or will patience run out among Kyiv’s allies and force a deal with Vladimir Putin? Christoph Bluth , professor of International Relations and Security at Bradford University sets out the prospects for Phil and Roger and the likely timescale
67. Tough Medicine42:34Should the NHS be buying anti-obesity drugs? Should councils be subsidising fruit and vegetables? Or is it better to spend scarce resources on antibiotics and cancer medicines? How do we weigh up the best purchases to get the healthiest outcomes for all of us? With a health service in a deepening crisis of resources, Joan Costa-i-Font, Professor of Health Economics at the London School of Economics, lays out to Phil and Roger what we can afford to do, and what we can’t afford NOT to do, to keep Britain healthy
66. Museums - stuck in the past?40:00Are museums showing their age? Displays of dusty objects, looted or stolen during the imperial past, now, it seems not even safe in their cases. Is it time to reconsider what our museums should hold? And how we represent our past - and the past of other cultures? Dan Hicks, Professor of Contemporary Archaeology at Oxford University and Curator of World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers tells Phil and Roger that we don’t even know much of what our museums hold, and we need to rethink what we are doing with the collections.Brought to you by Wigmore Associates Wealth Management
65. US Election 2024 - The Trump Card?38:57The 45th president of the United States will go on trial next March just as the campaign hots up to install the next chief executive of the world’s most powerful democracy. It will be the most turbulent election year since the civil war, with the prospect that Donald Trump could be competing from inside a prison cell. Joe Biden will be the oldest person ever to serve in the White House if he succeeds. And if he does, few think Trump supporters will accept the result. So what will happen? Thomas, Gift, associate professor in political science at University College London and founding director of the Centre on US Politics, guides Phil and Roger through the likely outcomes Brought to you by Wigmore Associates Wealth Management
64. Ghost Workers32:55Where have they all gone? The UK’s economically active workforce has shrunk. More of us are staying at home - some from ill-health, some retired early, some have given up looking for employment. At the same time, businesses are complaining they can’t fill posts, and unemployment is at a record low. So wages have to rise to attract the few who might actually apply. What’s happening to the workers? Naomi Clayton, deputy director of research and development at the Learning and Work Institute explains to Roger and Phil how we got here, and what needs to be done to get Britain back to work.Brought to you by Wigmore Associates Wealth Management
63. China Crisis40:03China is dealing with deflation and stagnation - the world’s second biggest economy has failed to bounce back out of Covid, and that will affect us all. So why is this happening, just as most other major economies are beginning to emerge from post-Covid inflation? Is it the iron control of the Communist Party on a capitalist system? Is it Chinese consumers failing to consume? And what happens when the state fails to deliver on the social contract with its people - that prosperity is the reward for staying out of politics? Kent Matthews, Professor of Banking and Finance at Cardiff Business School tells Phil and Roger what to expect as Beijing tries to get to grips with the problem.Brought to you by Wigmore Associates Wealth Management
62. Blue Funk37:13Are there any Conservative MPs confident of keeping their seats in next year’s election? The awful poll numbers keep rolling in, along with gloomy economic headlines and a sense of a government in office, but not in power. Can the Tories pull out of their nosedive? Or is Europe’s most successful vote-winning political force doomed to a defeat as spectacular as the one they handed Labour back in 2019? Tim Bale, professor of politics at Queen Mary, University of London, outlines the Tories’ challenges to Phil and Roger, and how all this will shape the next decade of UK politics.Brought to you by Wigmore Associates Wealth Management
61. Not Personal, Just Business35:53Should a business be able to choose its customers? If a bank doesn’t support your politics, should they be able to de-bank you? Nigel Farage’s closed account has seen the resignations of the heads of NatWest and Coutts, but will it also see a change in the rules to prevent discrimination on grounds of political opinion? Dr Aine Clancy of Liverpool University tells Phil and Roger what the law says, and how far any company can or should refuse to do business with those it doesn’t like.Brought to you by Wigmore Associates Wealth Management