Pocket Dilemmas podcast

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Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, presenters of the Pocket Dilemmas EBRD podcast

Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, presenters of the Pocket Dilemmas podcast

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Our podcast Pocket Dilemmas is dedicated to finding the big answers to the really big questions of our time.  

Presenters Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, plus guests, debate the dilemmas facing us all as we confront such challenges as the power of algorithms, the future of work and rise and rise of cryptocurrencies.

The podcast's first season began with a very special live event on Brexit and its impact on the EBRD regions, recorded at our HQ in London on 3rd April 2019.

You can download all the episodes via iTunes, Spotify and Stitcher or find them here.

Do email us with your thoughts about the series and ideas for future episodes at dilemmas@ebrd.com

Tweet at us @EBRD #EBRDdilemmas

And rating and reviewing us on iTunes will help others to find us. 

Episode 21: Fiscal policy and the post Covid-19 social contract

The full cost of the coronavirus pandemic is still unknown. But state spending has skyrocketed as governments try to protect whole sectors and industries which were put into induced comas this spring.

How will we pay our debts incurred during this crisis? What will be the price of recovery?

In this coronavirus special, EBRD Managing Director of Communications, Jonathan Charles and EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik were joined by:

Willem H. Buiter, the former Citibank Chief Economist and Member of the Monetary Policy committee of the Bank of England (and former EBRD Chief Economist as well). He was awarded the CBE in 2000;

Martin Wolf, Chief economics commentator at the Financial Times;

Episode 20: Is technology in the era of Covid-19 a threat to democracy?

The coronavirus pandemic has locked populations inside their houses and put millions under the spotlight of a new state-controlled panopticon, watching us and our movements in the name of public safety.

Our Pocket Dilemma podcast presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by:

  • Peter Pomerantsev-  Senior Fellow, LSE. Author: This is Not Propaganda, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible
  • Samuel Woolley- Professor, University of Texas at Austin, Founding Director, Digital Intelligence Lab and the author of “The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth”

Episode 19: Will capitalism survive the coronavirus pandemic?

In only a few months, the coronavirus pandemic has seriously shifted the balance of power between the state and the private sector. How is this impacting our politics and economies? 

This Pocket Dilemmas podcast special on capitalism in the post-Covid-19 era was organised by the EBRD and the Athens Democracy Forum (in association with The New York Times).

Joseph Stiglitz, Economist and Professor, Columbia University, Beata Javorcik, EBRD Chief Economist, and Roger Cohen, the Athens Democracy Forum Host and Advisory Board member and New York Times Op-Ed columnist, discussed how and whether capitalism will survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Episode 18: The future of capitalism post-coronavirus

Will the coronavirus pandemic change capitalism forever? Could such changes lead to economies and societies which are more cohesive, inclusive and fairer than those of the recent past?

In this coronavirus special, EBRD Managing Director of Communications, Jonathan Charles and EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik were joined by:

Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government and a Professorial Fellow of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His latest book is “The Future of Capitalism: Facing The New Anxieties” (2018). 

Colin Mayer CBE, Peter Moores Professor of Management Studies at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. His latest book on the subject is “Prosperity: Better Business Makes the Greater Good”.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti also made a special appearance at the event ahead of the discussion.


Episode 17: Coronavirus and the future of trust and populism

The recent 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer revealed a dramatic turnaround in levels of popular trust in governments, from their lowest to highest ever recorded levels. Indeed, government is now the institution most people trust, for the first time in the survey’s 20-year history.

How brittle is this new found faith in those who govern us? Will it outlive the peak of the global coronavirus pandemic or will it decline as our societies return to relative normality? Could populism and distrust of ‘elites’ return with a vengeance later on?

Our Pocket Dilemma presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by:

Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science at UC Berkeley, California, US, author of The Populist Temptation: Economic Grievance and Political Reaction in the Modern Era;

Sergei Guriev, our former Chief Economist, who teaches a course on populism at Sciences Po, Paris, France; He is a co-author of the recent survey “Political Economy of Populism” and the leader of the Research and Policy Network on Populism at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and a moderator of VoxEU’s debate page on populism;

Episode 16: The Coronavirus pandemic and the future: a conversation with Ivan Krastev

The coronavirus pandemic has already turned global politics and economics upside down. Are there lessons to be learnt from previous crises? What will happen to the nation state and how will Covid-19 impact the European project? What happens when millions of people are forced to stay at home and have time to imagine a world run differently than in the past?

In this Coronavirus special live event join us for a preview of Ivan Krastev’s new book on the coronavirus pandemic and its implications for Europe. He was also joined by EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik, and Martin Sandbu, the Financial Times columnist and author of the FT’s “Free Lunch”.  

Episode 15: What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for the gender inequality?

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our attitude to far more than just public health. The ways we work, socialise and travel may not be the same again for some time.

But does the impact of Covid-19 affect men and women differently? Coronavirus seems to have a higher fatality rate in men. At the same time, women may suffer more from the economic fallout from the crisis, be vulnerable to domestic abuse and often have to provide the increased amount of childcare which comes with lockdowns.

Our presenters Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law were joined on Zoom by Linda Midgley, PwC specialist in Sustainable Strategy and SDGs, Dawn Duhaney, Partnership Manager at Wellcome Trust UK and Sonya Barlow, co-founder of Like Minded Females, to discuss whether the pandemic exacerbates existing gender inequality.


Episode 14: What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for impact investing?

For all the loss of human life and damage to the economy inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, could the disease herald opportunities as well as threats? Could now be the time for socially responsible and impact investing to transform the global economy for the post-Covid-19 era?

Our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by the EBRD’s Alexia Latortue and Stuart Trow to discuss whether we can make investing for good the new norm.

Episode 13: How will the coronavirus pandemic affect the global economy

In this Coronavirus special live event, jointly produced with the Institute for Global Affairs at the LSE, our Pocket Dilemmas host, Jonathan Charles is joined by EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik, and three other leading economists.

* Lord Stern, Professor of Economics and Government at the LSE
* Erik Berglöf, the Director of the Institute of Global Affairs at LSE and Professor of Economics
*Sergei Guriev, Professor of Economics at Sciences Po

All three are also former EBRD Chief Economists

Episode 12: Can open borders survive the coronavirus pandemic?

More and more countries have responded to the coronavirus pandemic by closing themselves off from the rest of the world and shutting their borders, either partially or altogether. Our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined on Zoom by our Principal Economist, Cevat Aksoy Giray, and the Associate Director of the Centre for Global Development, Helen Dempster, to discuss the future of open borders and freedom of movement across them. 

Episode 11: To reform or not to reform: the populism dilemma

We say goodbye to our former Chief Economist Sergei Guriev and look back at his 3 years at the EBRD. This special episode, recorded in August, focuses on the main themes of his time with us: reforms, democracy and economic growth. Join Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law in conversation with Sergei Guriev, now a Professor of Economics at Sciences Po in Paris, to find out what it’s really like to be the Chief Economist of a major multilateral development bank

Episode 10: What is the future for our cities?

Could algorithms help us adopt the right policies to control and manage the growth of our urban spaces? Join Jonathan Charles in conversation with Jacques Bughin, Director of the McKinsey Global Institute, and our own Tara Shirvani to discuss what key factors make cities fit for living, working and growing. Ivan Pazos, a Spanish architect and the lead author of an award-winning study predicting cities’ expansion, also joined us to explain how disruptive technologies can help make them grow in a sustainable way.

Episode 9: What happened to the hopes and dreams of 1989?

Where are the peoples of Germany, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union three decades on?  we ask in this very special episode of our Pocket Dilemmas podcast. How far have their dreams of freedoms and prosperity been realised? And what is the future for market economics, democracy and political pluralism in these EBRD regions? Our special guests, BBC Moscow correspondent Steve Rosenberg, author of a new documentary on the 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik, help us shed light on these questions and the influence exerted on them by the rise of populism.

Episode 8: How to make Chernobyl safe for the future

What are the lessons to be learnt from Chernobyl? How does one decommission a power plant which has been the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident and manage its legacy? The EBRD has been working on making the Chernobyl nuclear power plant safe for over 25 years, as explained in the latest episode of the Pocket Dilemmas podcast. Taking part are: Simon Evans of the EBRD’s Nuclear Safety team and Irina Velichko, a lead engineer at the site who joins us live from the site  

Episode 7: What is the future of poverty?

Earlier this year Bill Gates tweeted an infographic showing ‘how much life has improved over the last two centuries,’ particularly as measured by an apparent decline in extreme poverty. In this episode of Pocket Dilemmas our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, were joined by our Chief Economist, Sergei Guriev and the Chief Economist of the UK Department for International Development, Rachel Glennerster to discuss the past, present and future of poverty.


Episode 6: Mind the LGBTQI pay gap!

How does sexual orientation affect the pay gap? While we often hear of the gender pay gap, we set about exploring how sexual preferences impact salaries and rights in the workplace and elsewhere. On this episode of Pocket Dilemmas we speak to Kitt Carpenter, Professor of Economics at Vanderbilt University, and Cevat Aksoy, one of our economists, on the LGBTQI pay gap and were surprised by some of the findings from the research.

Episode 5: Megatrends: Is the future already here?

We recorded this episode of Pocket Dilemmas in front of a live audience in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo, host of the EBRD's 2019 Annual Meeting and Business Forum. Our presenters, Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law, led a discussion of the most pressing challenges of our time - climate change, technology, urbanisation, resource scarcity and global power shifts- with Alexia Latortue, EBRD Managing Director, Corporate Strategy, Sergei Guriev, EBRD Chief Economist, Neil Buckley, Financial Times, Chief Leader writer, Tim Judah, Economist Correspondent for the Western Balkans, and Fellow at IWM - Institute for Human Sciences, and Hemant Kanoria, Chairman and Managing Director of India’s SREI Group. 

Episode 4:Taking the cryptic out of cryptocurrencies

What is the future of money? Are cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin a modern-day miracle or a mirage? We invited our very own Stuart Trow and Zeynep Gurguc from Imperial College London to help us resolve this week’s dilemma on our podcast Pocket Dilemmas. We also talked to Jelena Madir, Chief Counsel and our main blockchain expert, and Urmas Peiker, the founder of Funderbeam, the world's first primary and secondary marketplace for earlystage investments, secured by the blockchain.

Episode 3: Age against the machine and the future of work

What is the future of work? How will technology, automation and AI change our jobs and will we and our children actually have jobs the way we do now? Will, in fact, the future be a battle between us and the machines? We invited Jason Furman from Harvard Kennedy School and our Chief Economist Sergei Guriev as our guests to help us resolve this dilemma.

Episode 2: Should algorithms rule the world? 

Should algorithms rule the world? Maybe they do so already and we just never noticed. Will they in fact do a better job than mere humans? What are the ethical implications of the algorithm use for the policy makers? We invited Jonnie Penn, Google Technology Policy fellow, and Dawn Duhaney, Partnerships Manager at UK Wellcome Trust to be our guests and help us resolve this dilemma.

Episode 1:The Brexit dilemma and its impact on the EBRD regions

The first episode, dedicated to the origins of Brexit and its impact on the EBRD regions (over 30 economies inside and outside the EU), was recorded in front of a live audience at our headquarters at the heart of the City of London on 3rd April and you can now listen to it here. Are there winners and losers? What do people outside the EU think about Brexit? We have all the answers here.

Listen to the Pocket Economics Podcast

  Will capitalism survive the coronavirus pandemic?


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