Illinois Economy

Business and economic news

European Union helps Iran evade U.S. sanctions

Sep 25, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service ... The EU is setting up a payment system that will allow businesses to continue trading with Iran, after U.S. sanctions are reintroduced. A 48-hour general strike has started in Argentina, as people protest huge cuts in public spending – which the government agreed to in exchange for a $50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to help out with the country's economic woes. Finally, India has rolled out a multi-billion dollar health insurance system that will provide cover for almost half of its population.

Ray Dalio discusses the anatomy of the debt cycle

Sep 25, 2018

Ray Dalio is the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund. He predicted the 2008 financial crisis a year earlier and Bridgewater can be counted as one of the survivors of that crisis. He recently released a new book, titled "A Template for Understanding Big Debt Crises," in which he touches upon the symptomatic and historic nature of debt cycles and explains how a better understanding of how these cycles function can work in our favor.

Searching the web is one of the most revealing things you can do. It shows what you're looking to buy, where you want to go and if you're worried about a weird rash. When you search Google, those searches help power its huge digital advertising networks, which is why you might see skin cream ads for that rash days later on a totally different website. But do people know how much information they're giving up? And do they care? Recently, a privacy-oriented search engine called DuckDuckGo raised $10 million from a Canadian pension fund. It's trying to establish itself as the anti-Google. 

Searching the web is one of the most revealing things you can do. It shows what you're looking to buy, where you want to go and if you're worried about a weird rash. When you search Google, those searches help power its huge digital advertising networks, which is why you might see skin cream ads for that rash days later, on a totally different website. But do people know how much information they're giving up? And do they care? Molly Wood looks at search engine DuckDuckGo - the “anti-Google” - and growing investment in it. (09/24/18)

Iowa farmers' trade war reality

Sep 24, 2018

Farmers in Iowa are caught in the crossfire of the trade war. China and Canada were once two of the best customers of the state, a large exporter of soybeans, corn, eggs and pork. But, with retaliatory tariffs from the Chinese on pork and soybeans, farmers are having a hard time financing next year’s harvest. And with no Canadian trade deal in sight, competition with Mexico could be tough. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig about the toughest challenges facing Iowan farmers. The following an edited transcript of their conversation.

What happens when politics takes a starring role

Sep 24, 2018

Michael Moore’s latest documentary, "Fahrenheit 11/9" opened over the weekend at about 1,700 theaters nationwide. The film, chronicling the rise of President Donald Trump, brought in $3.1 million at the box office, far below expectations.

Mergers Monday

Sep 24, 2018

We're starting the week with two big mergers in the headlines: SiriusXM is buying the streaming music pioneer Pandora, and American fashion company Michael Kors is expected to buy Versace, the Italian fashion house. Those deals have more in common than you might think. Then, speaking of bilateral deals, Iowa's agriculture secretary wants the United States to "re-engage" in trade talks with China, Canada and Mexico, which are some of farmers' biggest customers. We talked with him about how his state is feeling the trade war. Plus: Why you should buy art from women.

The need for SNAP is moving to the countryside

Sep 24, 2018

(Markets Edition) The Trump Administration announced that it wants to make it tougher for legal immigrants to get permanent residency, which includes wanting non-cash programs to weigh against granting green cards. Also in public assistance, Congress is working on the massive farm bill, which includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We look at how the need for SNAP is actually moving to more rural areas. Then, OPEC members met over the weekend and decided not to boost oil pumping. What does that mean going forward?

Food aid need shifts from cities to countryside

Sep 24, 2018

Congress is working on the farm bill, a huge piece of legislation renewed every five years. The largest part of it — 80 percent — is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, what we used to call food stamps. Since the late 1970s, lawmakers have placed the nutrition program into the farm package hoping to get both urban and rural support. But that thinking might be outdated: Government data show a higher percentage of people in rural areas and small towns used SNAP than the rate in cities.

A new IPO signals the rise of the hot pot industry

Sep 24, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Congress and the White House are nearing the Oct. 1 deadline for an agreement on a budget for the new fiscal year. But Congress is putting off some of the more contentious decisions, which include money for a border wall. Could a government shutdown be coming? Also, Airbnb has asked the SEC to let it pay people who rent out their places using Airbnb stock. Then, we move to food, where hot pot eateries are rising in popularity to the point where a Chinese chain is going public on the Hong Kong exchange.

Getting a credit freeze is now free for everybody, including children under 16, under a new federal law that went into effect Friday. Previously, a credit freeze could cost up to $12

Anti-U.S. sentiment in China rises with tariffs

Sep 24, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … Taxes on Chinese imports into the U.S. are implemented Monday. We hear from China, where young peoples' anti-U.S. sentiment is fueled by fears of what the tariffs mean for China's U.S.-reliant industries. Randgold and Barrick – two of the biggest names in gold mining – have merged to create a multibillion dollar company. The World Health Organization (WHO) has advertised its first paid internship after a long campaign by one of its alumni, now 29 years old.

Hot pot IPO heats up the competition

Sep 24, 2018

Now that fall is here, anyone who fancies hot pot for dinner better be prepared to wait in line. The steaming pot of broth invites diners to dip raw meats and vegetables into it and restaurants serving the communal dish have exploded in popularity throughout China and the U.S. 

It used to be that stories of tech companies breaking all the rules and fighting city hall were considered sexy. But right now we’re having conversations with more suspicion about things like unproven driverless technology, online advertising, unstoppable data collection and automation. Yet, here with a defense of tech’s disruptive mentality is Bradley Tusk. He's a political operative turned tech consultant who has a new book called “The Fixer.” It’s full of pirate stories of him helping heroic startups like Uber work around innovation-killing politicians and their rules.

It used to be that stories of tech companies breaking all the rules and fighting city hall were considered sexy. But right now we’re having conversations with more suspicion about things like unproven driverless technology, online advertising, unstoppable data collection and automation. Here with a defense of tech’s disruptive mentality is Bradley Tusk, a political operative turned tech consultant who has a new book called “The Fixer.” It’s full of pirate stories of him helping heroic startups, like Uber, work around innovation-killing politicians and their rules.

Pharmaceutical companies spend a lot of money to develop new blockbuster drugs — for research, and then getting the meds through clinical trials. And of course, they try to maximize profits once those drugs are on the market with programs to encourage doctors to prescribe them, and patients to stay on them. There are pretty strict laws barring the companies from outright paying off doctors by giving them lavish trips or valuable swag to get them to write more prescriptions.

One leather goods maker on tariffs: "It's not a war, it's just business"

Sep 21, 2018

Tariffs on nearly 5,000 Chinese imports will go into effect on Monday. Called Section 301 tariffs, they target $200 billion worth of finished products, including clothing, accessories, yarn, electronics and more. Hundreds of people from businesses and trade groups have testified before the United States Trade Representative's office. While most voiced their concerns about imposing these tariffs on Chinese imports, Michael Korchmar testified in favor of the Trump administration's decision. He runs the Leather Specialty Co. in Naples, Florida, which makes leather briefcases and bags.

The electric scooter company Bird turned one this week and the company got a nice present from the state of California. Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law saying adults don’t have to wear helmets when they ride. It’s a big win for all e-scooter companies, but not so great for others.

“For some people, they’re blight,” said Scott Cummings, a law professor at UCLA. “They’re strewn around, they’re everywhere. They’re in walkways.”

Cummings said it’s easy to see why some cities have banned them while others have been more welcoming.

How ticket prices affect scalping

Sep 21, 2018

Ticketmaster has allegedly been working with scalpers to increase its profits, according to an investigation by CBC News and the Toronto Star.

The outlets sent undercover journalists to an industry convention in Las Vegas, where they learned about Ticketmaster's TradeDesk system. It allows scalpers to buy tickets from Ticketmaster's site in bulk and then list them again for resale, with profits from both sales going to Ticketmaster.

The 5G cold war

Sep 21, 2018

Which country will be the first to implement the next generation of wireless technology? The race to 5G is on between the United States and China. The questions is, who foots the bill? Also on today's show: Love 'em or hate 'em, electric scooters are gaining ground. California Gov. Jerry Brown says adult electric scooter riders won’t have to wear helmets starting Jan. 1. The new law is a big victory for companies like Lime and Bird, which have had tense relationships with city governments on issues like crowding and pedestrian accidents.

Trump wants OPEC to keep oil prices down

Sep 21, 2018

The countries that make up OPEC as well as Russia and other oil-producing allies will meet this weekend in Algeria. On the agenda: Upping supply. On Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted, "We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!"

(Markets Edition) Under the cloud of a trade war and trouble in emerging markets, many people are cutting down the risk in their portfolios by buying more stocks. Stocks are actually seen as riskier, not safer, yet EPFR Global notes that $15B more went into the U.S. stock market last week alone. Then, we talk more with Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, the two Democratic lawmakers who pushed the epic financial reform law through Congress during the financial crisis. But what if the next financial crisis is triggered by something different?

Dodd-Frank: After the crisis, what's next?

Sep 21, 2018

(U.S. Edition) OPEC countries along with Russia and other oil producers are going to be meeting in Algeria this weekend, and one of the items on the agenda is increasing supply. Then, we discuss more with Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, the two Democratic lawmakers who pushed the epic financial reform law through Congress during the Great Recession. We talked about what worries they have when it comes to the next frontiers in regulation, among other things.

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service …  China has warned the U.S. there will be "consequences" if the U.S. does not withdraw the latest sanctions it has imposed on China's military – over defense and military deals it struck with Russia. In a blow to Indonesia's huge palm oil industry, the Economy Ministry has extended a ban on new factories, continuing to blame the sector for environmental damage. Dockless bike sharing schemes seem to work in China, so we find out why not so much in Europe or the U.S.

What else can Big Data do? Pick stocks.

Sep 21, 2018

This week, we've been covering how technology has changed investing and will continue to do so. And it's perhaps no surprise that the conversation leads us to artificial intelligence. A Wall Street industry poll earlier this year said a majority of hedge funds are now using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help them make trades. These huge quant funds are even fighting Google and Facebook for engineers to crunch tons of data and build algorithms to predict the next great stock buy. This has all made markets faster, more efficient and more accessible to online investors.

What else can Big Data do? Pick stocks.

Sep 21, 2018

This week, we've been covering how technology has changed investing and will continue to change it. That conversation leads us to artificial intelligence. A Wall Street industry poll earlier this year said a majority of hedge funds are now using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help them make trades. Huge quant funds are even fighting Google and Facebook for engineers to crunch tons of data and build algorithms to predict the next great stock buy. This has all made markets faster, more efficient and more accessible to online investors.

At the China International Industry Fair in Shanghai this week, thousands of booths were displaying their shiny industrial robots.

The United States has announced that it will implement a 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods starting Sept. 24. Despite this, the mood among many manufacturers at the fair remained upbeat.

For some, it may be because they have alternate markets.

When did you realize we were in a financial crisis?

Sep 20, 2018

2018 marks ten years since the financial crisis and Marketplace is exploring how the shift in the economy then continues to shape our lives today.

Through our series Divided Decade, people from all over the country have shared their stories from the Great Recession.

(Markets Edition) The Dow and S&P experienced record highs Friday, which might come as a surprise given the nature of the trade relations between the United States and China. We talk to economist Diane Swonk to make more sense of it. Then, we have a lot more with former senator Chris Dodd and former congressman Barney Frank, the duo who pushed through the huge financial reform law that bears their name.

It was a promise made in January of 2017 during a meeting with newly elected President Donald Trump. Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, pledged his company would bring a million jobs to the United States by 2022. Now Ma is dialing that back.

At a two-day event bringing together Alibaba's investors, Ma told the Chinese news website Xinhua that the promise "was made on the premise of friendly U.S-China partnership and rational trade relations. That premise no longer exists today, so our promise cannot be fulfilled."

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