Category: Podcasts and Webcasts

The Budget 2008 was quite an under-stated affair, but was the first delivered by Alistair Darling as Chancellor. As ever, many of the changes had been announced well in advance, reducing the element of surprise. But the Budget remains an important event. Note that the Budget websites can also be useful reference sources for economic policy changes.

Budget 2008 Guardian Budget Special
Interactive: Budget 2008 Guardian (11/03/08)
What to tell us on Budget day: where our money is going and how it can be stopped Guardian (10/03/08)
Budget 2008 BBC News Online Budget Special

Videos and podcasts

Old Mother Hubbard Guardian (13/03/08)
Budget speech in full (Video) BBC News Online (12/03/08)

For details of the Budget measures, you may want to look at:
Budget 2008 HM Treasury Budget pages HM Treasury Budget microsite HM Treasury (March 08)

Questions

1. What are the key changes in the Budget? What effects are they likely to have on the economy?
2. Assess the extent to which this Budget can be considered a ‘Green Budget’.
3. How has the Budget changed the overall fiscal position of the government?
4. Discuss the likely impact of the Budget on small and large businesses.

Global food prices have been rising significantly in recent months and this has led to food riots in a number of countries, rationing being reintroduced in Pakistan and price controls being introduced in Russia. What has caused these rapidly rising prices and to what extent will they slow the rate of economic development in the Third World?

UK farmers forced to ride income rollercoaster Guardian (26/2/08)
They’re going to need a lot more money to meet the same needs Guardian podcast (26/2/08)
Feed the world? We are fighting a losing battle, UN admits Guardian (26/2/08)
Record rise in fuel prices fuels inflation Guardian (12/2/08)
India’s farmers struggling to keep food on the table Times Online (29/2/08)

Questions

1. Using supply and demand diagrams as appropriate, illustrate the changes taking place recently in world food markets.
2. Assess the main factors affecting the level of farmers’ incomes in the UK .
3. Analyse the likely impact of rising world food prices on the rate of economic development in Third World countries.

Microfinance is a topic we have addressed before in these news items and we make no apologies for returning to it again. The articles linked to below include an interview in the Guardian with Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel prize-winning founder of the Grameen Bank which is credited with lifting millions out of poverty with small loans – microfinance. There is also a podcast from Mervyn Davies the Chairman of Standard Chartered Bank Plc.

Microfinance and financial inclusion Times Online podcast (18/0/07)
Microfinance and financial inclusion (transcript for podcast) Times Online (18/0/07)
What’s the big idea? Guardian (16/2/08)

Questions

1. Explain what is meant by ‘microfinancing’.
2. Discuss the likely effectiveness of microfinancing as a tool for promoting economic development (as opposed to economic growth).
3. Evaluate two policies other than microfinancing that will help to promote economic development.

In real terms the price of alcohol has been gradually falling, but to what extent might this have been a factor in rising levels of binge drinking in the UK? The link below is to an extract from the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme and will require real player installed on your computer to listen to it.

The price of alcohol and binge drinking BBC Today Programme(January 2008)

Questions

  1. What are principal determinants of demand for alcohol?
  2. Assess the relative importance of price against the other determinants of demand for alcohol.
  3. What are the principal factors that determine the price elasticity of demand for alcohol? Assess the extent to which an increase in the price of alcohol will lead to a fall in spending on alcohol.
  4. How effective would a rise in the tax on alcohol be in raising revenue for the government?