Economics & Economy

Microfinance is big business in Colombia

May 3, 2016
Lorne Matalon

In developing countries like Colombia, microloans — loans of $25 to $1,500 or more — are big business. The idea is to give loans to people who can’t get credit and who can't get access to traditional financial services offered by banks.

One such person is Elizabet Abella. She's in a steamy cinder block kitchen in Barranquilla, a gritty port city on Colombia's Caribbean coast. She's preparing the food she sells to owners of street-side stalls.

"I’m preparing beans in a pressure cooker," she said in Spanish as sweat coated her hands and steam enveloped her.

Kai Ryssdal

A lawsuit which at first glance will be easy to pooh-pooh, but once you think about it, does kinda make some sense:

A disgruntled Starbucks customer in Chicago has filed a $5 million suit against the company, saying it puts too much ice in its iced drinks. The lawsuit specifically notes that a large iced drink is supposed to have 24 fluid ounces in it, but in reality only contains 14 ounces of actual liquid, the rest being ice.

So there's that. Also, there's a dilution effect once the ice melts.

Explaining America’s productivity downturn

May 2, 2016
Kai Ryssdal

What happens when productivity hits a wall? Well growth slows for one. And we saw that with the gross domestic product numbers that came out just last week

GDP growth slowed to 0.5 percent and at least some of that has to do with a similar slowdown in productivity growth.

Kim Adams

On Sunday, oil services companies Halliburton and Baker Hughes announced they were scrapping their planned merger. The deal faced pushback from regulators all over the world — an antitrust investigation in the European Union and a lawsuit from the Department of Justice here in the U.S.

A failed $35 billion marriage

May 2, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk about a canceled merger between Halliburton and Baker Hughes; look at a nasal spray that helps counteract opioid overdoses; and interview a 17-year-old Marketplace super fan who has some advice on how we can improve our coverage.