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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.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 6:22pm
The latest delay in the Affordable Care Act means people enrolled in plans that don't meet Obamacare's stricter coverage standards can keep them for another two years. It could create a two-tiered system, because states will get to decide whether to allow the delay, says former Senator Ben Nelson, who now heads the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
And because people in the plans that don’t comply with Obamacare tend to be healthier, not having them in the broader insurance pool means insurers have to shell out more money, and that cost will be passed to consumers. How much more?
Nelson says it's too soon to pin down a figure, but he knows insurers can't afford to take a bath, even as they try to court new customers.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 5:39pm
This final note, in which one is reminded of OJ Simpson and the white Bronco car chase.
This morning Newsweek revealed the identity of the guy who, they say, invented bitcoin. His name is Satoshi Nakamoto, which everyone had thought was just a pseudonym.
Turns out he lives in an LA suburb called Temple City. That is, the guy who might have changed money as we know it lives here in Southern California in the same city the Marketplace studios call home.
But that's not the crazy part. The crazy part is that the media's been chasing him all over town, in a prius. And his end destination? The Associated Press's Los Angeles bureau, which just happens to be in the same building as Marketplace's studio.
A sushi lunch was also involved.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 5:06pm
It’s a tough time for undertakers according to Philadelphia Magazine reporter Sandy Hingston. In her recent article “The Death of the Funeral Business,” Hingston says cremation is taking a serious toll on the bottom line of traditional burials and funerals. She points to the decrease in religious faith and the troubled economy as the two causes of the burial decline.
“If you take into account that it costs four times as much to have a full frills funeral, you'd have to have a lot more people die just to break even. They were counting on what they called a 'Golden Age of Death,' when the Boomers all began to drop off the earth, but we're hanging on and we're also wanting that less expensive cremation. There would have to be some really major trend shifts.”
Hingston says Boomers are just the start of the shake-up. Millennials aren’t used to digging in roots for jobs or places to live, so why would they do it for eternity?
“People used to treat cemeteries like parks. You would pack a picnic lunch and go hang out with mom. I don’t see my age or younger ever doing that again. So you have these sort of dead zones where nobody goes anymore except for funerals.”
Thursday, March 6, 2014 5:05pm
For years, bananas have been a staple in Southeast Asia and Latin America. In fact, close to 70 percent of exported bananas are grown in Latin America. However, the fruit we all love so much is in trouble.
In 1990, scientists discovered a pathogen known as Tropical Race 4. It’s a fungus that rots and ravages bananas. In her recent piece in Quartz Magazine, Gwynn Guilford says it’s only a matter of time before commercial bananas are infected by this disease.
“Even if it takes longer to arrive, the broader ravaging of the commercial banana appears inevitable. And we don’t need to imagine what that would mean for banana exports—the exact scenario has already happened. Starting in 1903, Race 1, an earlier variant of today’s pathogen, ravaged the export plantations of Latin America and the Caribbean. Within 50 years, Race 1 drove the world’s only export banana species, the Gros Michel, to virtual extinction. That’s why 99% of the bananas eaten in the developed world today are a cultivar called the Cavendish, the only export-suitable banana that could take on Race 1 and live to tell.”
Guilford said close to 400 million people in developing countries rely on bananas for 20 percent of their daily calories and 85 percent of global crop is vulnerable because of Tropical Race 4.
"It’s an incredibly valuable crop and we’re incredibly reliant on it,” says Guilford.
Bananas are currently the world’s fourth most valuable crop; so the impact of Tropical Race 4 could be disastrous.
Thursday, March 6, 2014 4:34pm
Staples announced it will close 225 stores by 2015. It's not that our love affair with the Post-it note is over, or that paper is finally and completely dead. Instead analysts say the problem is the people aren't using as many office products anymore -- and they are shopping for them online.
As we use more gadgets, we use less paper, ink and toner. (That's the Staples holy trinity of products.) And when we do buy supplies, we often order from competitors like Amazon.
But Staples is fighting back, by strengthening its business-to-business offerings, like medical and dental supplies.
December 26, 2013