Podcasts & RSS Feeds
Marketplace on WVTF, RADIO IQ & RADIO IQ w/BBC News
Marketplace with host Kai Ryssdal produced and distributed by American Public Media focuses on the latest business news both nationally and internationally, the global economy, and wider events linked to the financial markets.
The only national daily business news program originating from the West Coast, Marketplace is noted for its timely, relevant and accessible coverage of business, economics and personal finance.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 3:43pm
America eats an astonishing 50 billion pounds of meat a year. And to get all that beef, pork and chicken takes a colossal amount of resources. 'Big Ag' takes a lot of licks for the way it goes about getting that meat on our tables. But Americans get pretty ornery anytime the price per pound raises even a penny. Maureen Ogle is the author of a new book all about that tenuous balance. It's called "In Meat We Trust: An Unexpected History of Carnivore America." She says the abundant resources of The New World set the table for America's meat entitlement mentality, and demand has led to the efficient, albeit much-maligned, system we have today.
"The system we have now has many flaws. I wouldn't want to live next to a hog confinement operation and I'm sure you wouldn't want to either. But the simple fact is, given the demand, the system we have is the least disruptive we can have. It' the least disruptive to the soil, it's the least disruptive to people, it's the least disruptive to the environment. It's not perfect, but the idea of doing what critics want us to do, which is to dismantle the existing system and then go back to small scale agricultural production, we can't do that and supply demand."
Thursday, December 12, 2013 3:16pm
This final note today, in which we give thanks for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
The Federal Communications Commission voted 3 to 2 today to have a look at whether cellphones ought to be allowed on airplanes.
We've known that's been coming for a while now.
And the head of the FCC said even if they do approve cellphone use, it'll be up to individual airlines as to whether or not they'll allow them.
Here's where the Transportation Department comes in.
Secretary Anthony Fox rode to the rescue today. He said his department will have the final say, thank you very much.
So...there's hope yet.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 2:46pm
The most important lessons we learn about money don’t come from our accountants or our radios. They come from our family.
Each week, we invite someone to tell us about the money tips they inherited.
This week, we hear from indie rock musician Eleanor Friedberger.
She spent much of this year touring with her new album Personal Record, but she currently has nothing scheduled after December 20th until the following fall. "You have to be comfortable with not knowing when you're going to get paid next," says Friedberger.
Although her latest record is only the second under her name, she's been making a living through music for more than a decade as one half of the Fiery Furnaces with her brother Matthew Friedberger. She's managed this precarious financial situation in part by taking after her father. "He's a cheap guy, you know? I think some of my friends might describe me that way," she says.
She splurges on clothes -- "I probably get that from my mother" -- but in vintage stores, not Barneys. But she says she can't worry too much about money, or plan too much for the future, when income is unpredictable.
"I've had great years, and I've had bad years. I've had OK years, and I've had mostly years that I just get by," she says. "Which is good enough, considering I get to do something pretty great."
Thursday, December 12, 2013 1:21pm
Farm animals are big drug users.
“Seventy percent of all antibiotics produced in this country, by weight, go to animals,” says Stuart Levy, a professor at Tufts University and president of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics. He says almost all of those are feed additives. “Do we need all this antibiotic usage?" he asks. "The answer is no.”
The FDA, concerned about bacteria in humans becoming resistant to antibiotics, agrees -- no more using antibiotics to fatten animals. It’s asking drug companies to voluntarily change their labels, technically restricting use by farmers and potentially raising their costs.
Gay Miller is a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. A decade ago she estimated removing antibiotics to encourage growth might cost farmers a little more than a dollar a pig. Today, she says, it’s less clear what it might cost. Farmers, she says, want to “produce a pig that is healthy and high quality as efficiently as possible.”
“Certainly it is not something that’ll make the price of meat go down,” says Scott Hurd, a professor at Iowa State University and former USDA Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety. He says the ag industry is ready for the change. But the rules aren’t going to stop farmers from giving drugs to their animals to keep them healthy.
“We’re raising babies here," he says, "and the important thing about antibiotics is to raise those babies in a healthy way.”
The pharma companies don’t seem all that worried they’re about to lose a big customer.
“We think the implications will be pretty minor, at least in the near term,” says David Krempa, an analyst at Morningstar. He thinks without a tougher ban, farmers are going to keep doing what they do.
Thursday, December 12, 2013 1:21pm
Instagram, the social media photo sharing site, has introduced a new feature -- Instagram Direct. Normally, if you post a video or photo with the service, anyone (and I mean anyone) can see it. Starting today, you can share your snapshots and comments back-and-forth in real time -- only with the users you want.
If you’re wondering if Instagram’s new private feature was motivated by concerns about privacy...the answer is, not so much.
“I really believe that this new feature that Instagram has released is about competition,” says Brian Blau, research director in consumer technologies with Gartner, a technology research firm, "It's about 'me too.'"
Blau points out that Facebook, which owns Instagram, had tried to buy Snapchat, a photo and messaging service, for billions of dollars. So if you can't buy 'em -- build the same features on your site so your users don't leave.
"They’re all starting to look the same. These services are really starting to be homogenous, starting to look like one big pile of goop," Blau says. "That probably isn’t good for them."
Instagram’s game of copycat, says Julie Ask, a principal analyst with Forrester research, is actually part of a larger phenomenon.
"What's happening now is there's lot of applications that want to become platforms," she says. "They want to become that interface between the consumer and the phone-that-does-all-things."
Ask says in order to reach 'platform' status, companies are willing to take some risks -- like offering similar features.
"It's a very powerful thing, it's something that they can monetize if they can achieve it and so the stakes are very high. So while there is a chance that all of these services begin to seem the same, you've got to take a shot," she says.
Ask notes that while Instagram has 80 million users, WeChat, an app popular in Asia, has attracted hundreds of millions and in the process gained coveted 'platform' status.
"I used WeChat in Beijing a month ago," she says, "and we ordered takeout food from a micro app within WeChat."
Ask says the Americans needs to catch up with the global market for mobile technology.
"We don’t write about it because we don’t see it and live it every day," says Ask. "But if you go to Korea, or Indonesia, or the Philippines or China, that’s where you’re engaging everyday. That’s your environment, that’s where your friends are."
June 17, 2013