Economics & Economy

Marketplace for Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dec 8, 2016

Trump says he wants to "prime the pump" and with infrastructure spending, but what happens when you stimulate an economy that's already stimulated? For that matter, how will an attorney general who's spent his career fighting the EPA run it? We look into both questions, plus vaping and the Oscars for money.

Sears' sales are down for the 20th quarter in a row

Dec 8, 2016

On today's show, we'll talk to Starbucks' incoming CEO Kevin Johnson about the company's tech deals and his transition into the role. We'll also look at the European Central Bank's decision to scale back some of its economic stimulus; why many U.S. manufacturers are holding back on tech investment; and what Sears plans to do amid another sales drop.

U.S. manufacturers aren’t investing in new technology

Dec 8, 2016
Marielle Segarra

A lot of U.S. manufacturers are holding back on investing in the latest technology. That’s according to a new report from the Boston Consulting Group. Companies are coming up short on investments in what’s called Industry 4.0 — an umbrella term for advanced robotics, augmented reality, big data and analytics, and other tech. This lack of investment has long-term implications for the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers. Click the above audio player to hear the full story.

Do you consider pizza a commodity?

Dec 8, 2016
Marketplace staff

You can't compare coffee to pizza, according to Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. In a recent Marketplace interview, he discussed his company's forthcoming line of higher-end cafes, comparing them to options offered by a luxury car brand. When we suggested that coffee is more like pizza — which ranges from pricey artisanal pies to cheap and greasy slices — Schultz disagreed: I mean, I wouldn’t use pizza because I think it’s too much of a commodity, but I understand the analogy. I think, it’s not...

David Brancaccio

What happens when a guy with a tech background gets put on the coffee beat? Starbucks President and COO Kevin Johnson — who worked at Microsoft for 16 years — will now become its CEO, with founder Howard Schultz stepping out of the role. Johnson joined us to talk about Starbucks' recent tech deals, uncertainty in the economy, and how he and Schultz will handle the leadership changes. On Starbucks' new deal with Tencent and the message service WeChat, which will enable users to give Starbucks...