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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.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 6:50pm
The economy might not be firing on all cylinders, but it is adding jobs. So what’s the best strategy for people who are employed and looking for something better in their own company? Internal candidates often have an advantage, but being an insider can sometimes prove a double-edged sword: You know the terrain, but everyone else knows your baggage.
Here are a few pieces of advice from Beth Kelly, managing partner of HR Collaborative in Michigan, and Thomas Kochan of MIT’s Sloan School of Management.
Think about projects or assignments you’ve had in the past that would be good predictors for the new job you want. Beth Kelly says internal candidates are sometimes typecast as the accounting clerk or the receptionist. It can be hard to break out of those roles and convince the hiring manager you can also be a marketing specialist. Having concrete examples of your potential can help.
If your only route into a company is as temporary employee, treat that temp job like it’s the most important job you’ve had. In some fields, like manufacturing, temporary work has increasingly become the path to employment. Beth Kelly calls it a 90-day interview. Contingent hiring may be unsettling, but Kelly advises you to seize the opportunity and show what a team player you are.
If you trust your current boss, tell them you’re thinking about a job switch right away. If there’s not a trusting relationship, it’s different. Ask the manager to whom you’re applying for a job to tell you before speaking to your current supervisor. Having an open conversation with a trusted boss can open up opportunities. Thomas Kochan also encourages internal candidates who don’t get the new job to seek honest feedback on how to prepare for the next opening.
Apply for the job. Yes, it might be uncomfortable. But Thomas Kochan says many potential internal candidates who talk themselves out of applying for jobs later regret it.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:33pm
Imagine close to the entire population of the U.S. picking up and moving somewhere else.
That’s the scale of China’s urbanization campaign: 250 million farmers moving to the city over the next 15 years. For those Chinese nervous about how this will transform – well, everything - in their country, Premier Li Keqiang told his countrymen this week not to worry: "We will strive to enable everyone has equal opportunity, regardless of whether you come from the city or the countryside," Li said, during his work report at the opening of the annual National People's Congress.
These soothing words – echoing the government’s "Chinese Dream," the theme of leader Xi Jinping’s new China – haven’t made believers of everyone.
In Southwest China, the city of Chongqing is being used as a test case for transitioning rural Chinese to change their residency status to urban residents. The government is persuading millions of farmers there to move to the city. When I ask a group of them, "How’s it going?" I get an earful - dozens of people speaking in the sweeping tones of the Sichuanese dialect yell over each other, complaining in unison.
The voice of Tan Congshu rises above the rest. "In the countryside, we grow our own vegetables and slaughter a pig when we want to eat," she says. "Here, everything costs money. Electricity, water, rent, food…everything!”
Tan just moved from her farm in the village of Wanzhou to this low-rent urban housing project near Chongqing's airport. She says if this is part of a national test, it’s already an epic fail. Dozens of curious onlookers nod in agreement. We’re standing in the shadow of a more than a dozen gray towers, each thirty stories high. The city built them to house more than 50,000 transplants from the farm.
Above the courtyard hangs a red propaganda banner. In white Chinese characters, it reads: “Deepen reform and unleash the power to realize the Chinese Dream!”
It’s sandwiched between banners warning residents about gas leaks and stray dogs.
Many here say they’ve forfeited their farms to the government in exchange for urban residency status, which provides health, retirement and education benefits for their children. But others, like Mrs. Tan, refused to give up their land – Tan's apartment here belongs to her son.
"The government offered me $200 to change my status from a rural to urban resident," Tan says. "They said it would be good for me and that they wouldn't take my land, but I didn’t believe them.”
Chongqing’s government is willing to give rural Chinese access to urban schools and health care, for a price – in many cases, the government wants their land. Many, like Tan, are refusing to part with their land, putting a kink in China’s urbanization plan.
"The issue now is whether or not this can be implemented, and I have a lot of doubts," says Kam Wing Chan, a professor at the University of Washington who specializes his research on China's urbanization campaign.
He says China’s government will have to give better incentives to rural Chinese to persuade them to move to the city – he says the future health of China’s economy depends on this.
"China’s been talking about creating domestic consumption," says Chan, "And now it’s harder because the urban population replacement rate is actually now negative.”
Chan says China’s plan for an urban consumer-based economy is at risk. And even if farmers are persuaded to move to the city, they may not become model consumers.
In the Chongqing district of Xinqiao, I ask another group of urbanized farmers how they like life in the city. Again, a chorus of screaming. It seems everywhere I go in this city, this question causes a social disturbance. Within minutes, two dozen people crowd around my microphone to complain.
Their apartments are older - resident Wang Xueying says they’re in terrible shape. She says most of the farmers haven’t found jobs in the city and do nothing but sit around. “After the local government took our land and demolished our homes, they put us here – but we still had to pay money," complains Wang. "They told us the value of our old homes wasn’t enough to cover the cost of these tiny apartments.”
The Xinqiao government refused interview requests from Marketplace. But the displaced people here say local officials who sold their farmland made a killing. They say the money was embezzled so that party officials could buy luxury cars and fancy apartments. "If this is what urbanization is like," screams one elderly resident, "I’d prefer to leave China altogether."
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:19pm
3.2 million passports have been lost or stolen from U.S. citizens since 2004.
That’s a lot of passports!
When a passport is stolen, it can make a circuitous loop around the world via underground criminal markets. Here's how it happens:
The Passport is taken.JEFF HAYNES/AFP/Getty Images
The Passport makes its way from the petty thief to a wholesale warehouse. There, it will sit in a stack of other stolen passports.Flickr: UKhomeoffice
A passport forger calls the warehouse to say, "I have someone who needs an American passport, got any?"
The warehouse man rummages through the stack, pulls out a passport, and sends it to the forger.PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
The forger will, if necessary, adulterate the image on the passport. He'll run it through a chain of people possibly 10 links long, until it makes its way to the client.Flickr: Hc_07
Someone will buy the fake passport for $200-$7,000. It could be used to get a job, to open a bank account, to launder money, or to get on a plane. As is clear from the Malaysian Air mystery, border patrol does not always check against Interpol lists of stolen or flagged passports.Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images
STEP 6 (optional):
The stolen passport can be used to glean identification information that can then be used to apply for brand new passports – with a criminal’s photo and biometric information attached.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:10pm
Rosario Dawson was one of many celebrities in attendance at SXSW in Austin, Texas, this week. The actress, who has appeared in movies like Quentin Tarantino's "Death Proof" and the comic-inspired film "Sin City," appeared on a panel entitled "What Would Cesar Chavez Tweet?", a perfect tie in for her to share how best to mobilize and engage Latinos in the digital space, while also promoting her new movie.
Dawson is playing labor leader Dolores Huerta in an upcoming biopic that chronicles the life of the late civil rights activist, Cesar Chavez. Dawson says the movie brought back memories of her own family's involvement in unions as she was growing up.
"My great-grandmother worked in the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union, I came from people who were inspired by Cesar," Dawson says. "To look at it, to look at what they were doing, they were poor people helping poor people, passing on messages, just literally person-to-person. 'Psst, pass it on, march on Friday.' Pre-twitter."
Dawson was here in Austin not just to promote her new film, but also to talk about a project she's working on with her longtime friend and business partner, Abrima Erwiah. The project is called Studio 189, and it's an e-commerce platform that the duo has launched that curates the traditional artisan work of African artists and sells those products online to consumers.
Even though Africa is often overlooked as a place where entrepreneurship and innovation can really thrive, Dawson sees great growth potential, "When you have the median age in Africa being 18.6 and sub-Saharan Africa is expected to have two-thirds of the youth of the world by 2100, you are really looking at a very active, very present, very engaged community and it's really exciting to be working and partnering with folks who are really into it."
Rosario Dawson isn't new to advocating for underserved communities. She is a co-founder of Voto Latino, a 10-year old organization whose mission is to empower Latino Millennials and increase their engagement on a number of social and economic issues. Since its inception, Voto Latino has registered nearly a quarter of a million voters, and according to Dawson, they achieved an important first in the digital space.
"We were the first ones to use texting, to get people to register to vote," Dawson says. "Latino millennials are a very high number, and they really need a pathway, to being in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math education], to being able to have jobs and careers that other people aren't [targeting] them for. They are being talked to as only consumers -- and really they are innovators."
This level of advocacy is important to the actress, who points out that social media is an important way to reach and mobilize a very important demographic.
"Social media is in many ways the frontier for activism for people of color especially since they over-index on social media, especially Latinos," Dawson says. "They are the first ones to take on new technology from everything from 3-D televisions to new types of cell phones... They might not have computers but they have cell phones and they use [them] for everything."
Voto Latino is launching a movement they are calling #TrendURVoice as a way to further engage Latino Millennials around issues ranging from immigration to marriage equality to student loan debt. It's not lost on Dawson that the power of social media to help mobilize extends beyond American youth, "Through social media we are able to reach every corner of the earth just about.
"When you look at the uprising in Egypt you see proof positive about how that works. We are seeing it all around the world and it's the thing that gets kids walking out of class or mobilizing around the world."
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:02pm
The White House wants to make more Americans eligible for overtime pay. Currently, because of what is referred to as the Fair Labor Standards Act’s "white collar exemption," many salaried professionals are not entitled to extra pay if they work more than 40 hours per week. Later this week, the president intends to use his executive authority to change those rules. For 2014, which he is calling a "year of action," he has promised to pursue policy changes that do not involve congress. So whom would this change affect? "People who are defined as 'supervisors,'" says Gary Burtless, an economist at The Brookings Institution. "They have responsibility over other people besides themselves, a certain amount of independence."
Plus, it's hard enough measuring the mainstream economy. A new report from the Urban Institute has attempted to quantify the underground commercial sex economy. Researchers say in 2007 it was worth about $975 million, in just in seven U.S. cities. Curious about the business expenses of pimps? Check out their online feature for further insight. The Institute reports that pimps most often recruit sex workers from their own social circles. But the Internet is changing business. Bill Woolf is a detective with the Fairfax County Police Department in Virginia. He says most scouting and recruitment of victims by traffickers is now done online.
June 20, 2013