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  • Hosted by Kai Ryssdal

In-depth focus 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.  

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service … After two months of protracted negotiations, two anti-establishment parties in Italy are close to forming a government. With both promising to rip-up reforms and splash the cash, will their policies hurt or hinder the eurozone’s third largest economy? Professor Enrico Colombatto at Turin University analyzes what's next. Then, oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Eni are in court today over corruption charges relating to a $1.1 billion Nigerian oil deal. Barnaby Pace at Global Witness has been following the case.

The pros and cons of the Rooney Rule

May 14, 2018

Update (4:45 p.m. EDT):  Today, Amazon's board adopted a new policy regarding board member nominations.  The new policy requires, according to a spokesperson, that "the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee include a slate of diverse candidates, including women and minorities, for all director openings. This policy formalizes a practice already in place.”  You can read the full text of the policy here.

Later this month, Amazon shareholders will vote on whether the company should implement the Rooney Rule when appointing new members to its board of directors. The Rooney Rule stems from an NFL policy that requires at least one minority candidate be interviewed for certain management positions. However, Amazon’s current board of directors is recommending that shareholders vote against the proposal, saying it wouldn’t be an effective use of resources.

The swamp and the draining thereof

May 11, 2018

We wrap up the week’s news with Catherine Rampell from the Washington Post and Don Lee for the Los Angeles Times. This week, news of Michael Cohen consulting for AT&T broke, so we discuss the ethics involved. And in trade, House Speaker Paul Ryan set May 17 as a deadline to submit a NAFTA deal to Congress, so we talk about what may come. Later, we discuss the labor market and JOLTS — the Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey — and what it means for unemployment in the nation.

Many sticking points and little time in NAFTA negotiations

May 11, 2018

May 17. Next Thursday. That's the deadline House Speaker Paul Ryan has set for negotiators to notify Congress that they've reached an agreement on a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement if they want to get it through Congress by the end of the year. A May deadline for a December vote may seem aggressive, but the timeline goes something like this: The president has to notify Congress 90 days before he signs a trade agreement, and the full text of the agreement has to be made public a month later. There's other time built in for review and analysis.

On a rainy day in February, the Boca Chica area is fogged in. Terry Heaton stands on a raised porch in his backyard. He squints into the light rain.  

“You can’t see it now, but we have a beautiful view of Port Isabel. We see deer up here, a lot of coyotes. I mean, yeah, it’s, like, right there, like, boom,” he said, pointing toward the coast.

Heaton lives in Boca Chica Village, an isolated 45-minute drive from the border city of Brownsville.

President Donald Trump on Friday took the wraps off his long-awaited plan for cutting drug prices. In a speech, the president announced measures to increase competition and pricing transparency as ways to drive down costs, which have been spiraling. He did not put forward any plan to use the huge buying power of the federal government's Medicare program to directly negotiate lower prices for seniors. That's something candidate Trump pledged to do. Americans are seeking relief from ever-rising prescription costs. Will Trump's plan accomplish that?

Navigating technology in the public sector

May 11, 2018

Millions of Americans interact with the government and its programs through technology. Recently, Propel, a startup that lets Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients track their spending on their phones has come into conflict with Conduent, the private government contractor hired to administer web services related to the program. How are emerging digital technologies and capitalistic competition affecting the way Americans utilize these services?

Looking for a home away from home leads many people to Airbnb. Yet new research in San Francisco found that Asian and Hispanic hosts tend to charge less for their rentals than their white counterparts. For more on this, Lizzie O'Leary spoke with study author Venoo Kakar, an assistant professor of economics at San Francisco State University. 

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

5 things you need to know about sports betting

May 11, 2018

This spring, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide if states can legalize sports betting. The court heard arguments late last year on a case called Christie v. NCAA — named for the then-governor of New Jersey — that could invalidate the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, a 1992 law that bans sports betting in most states (Nevada, Oregon, Delaware and Montana are exempt). New Jersey is arguing that the federal government is overstepping its bounds and that states should be allowed to make their own sports betting laws.

U.S. scrap exports to China just came to a screeching halt

May 11, 2018

Last year, the United States exported to China $5.6 billion worth of shredded steel, corrugated cardboard, beverage containers and other scrap. That number has been coming down since the Chinese government instituted policies aimed at protecting the environment, including a ban on certain materials and higher quality standards on imports in 2018.

With competing content providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime offering binge-worthy content on demand with less commercial interruption, television networks are starting to rethink their advertising model as they roll out “upfronts” presentations next week, where they showcase the fall lineup for advertisers. What’s the right commercials-to-content ratio for network TV these days? And if they cut back on commercials, will those ad slots become more valuable?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Everybody falls in love: diversity in the romance industry

May 11, 2018

Leah and Bea Koch, 25 and 28 years old, are lifelong romance readers. In 2015, they launched a Kickstarter campaign to open a romance-only bookstore. In four months, they raised $90,000 and were ready to open The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, Calif.

It's the only bookstore dedicated exclusively to romance in the Northern Hemisphere; the only other one is in Australia. 

"It's so rare to encounter a bookseller who knows romance," says Leah.

"And that we also speak the same language as them," adds Bea.

05/11/2018: Remember when the news was slow?

May 11, 2018

We packed a lot in the first half of this episode: What President Donald Trump said (and didn't say) in his speech on drug prices today, the looming NAFTA deadline, the swamp and the draining thereof, it's all here. Then: The upfronts are next week. That's the big to-do the major TV networks have every year to show off their new lineups, and, as with most recent years, streaming makes it an uphill battle. Plus, why $5.6 billion worth of U.S. scrap exports to China just came to a screeching halt.

Auto execs are at the White House to talk fuel rules

May 11, 2018

President Donald Trump has promised to roll back fuel efficiency rules, but there is still no firm decision.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

Tax cuts: Have they benefited Indiana's economy?

May 11, 2018

In front of a crowd of roaring supporters in Indiana on Thursday night, President Donald Trump touched on a variety of issues, like his recent decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. border security, and the GOP's sweeping tax overhaul.

Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, used the rally as an opportunity to encourage voters to head to the polls for this November’s midterm elections to protect the GOP's majority in Congress. 

(Markets Edition) Top auto industry executives meet with President Trump at the White House today. Trump’s EPA and the Department of Transportation have drafted a proposal outlining eight different options for rolling back fuel efficiency standards in new cars.  Car buyers like fuel efficient cars, though….so automakers want to see regulations relax, but, not too much. And on the two year anniversary of the Brexit announcement, there still doesn't seem to be a consensus building about how borders will function.

05/11/2018: Borrowing against your house is back

May 11, 2018

(U.S. Edition) Home equity lines of credit have hit a 9-year high...but are we forgetting the risks? Plus, we run down the Presidents' promise to lower drug companies' prices for consumers, a currency exchange network the U.S. government believes is funneling cash to Iran's revolutionary guard and a scam a little closer to home you may want to pay attention to: a robo-call known as neighbor-spoofing. The FCC just fined a Florida man $120 million for making nearly 100 million such calls.

05/11/2018: An appeal for unity in Europe

May 11, 2018

(Global Edition) From the BBC World Service… the European Commission’s president appealed for unity in Europe at a time when a number of governments are questioning the appeal of the bloc. Then, UNICEF, the UN children’s agency, is warning that 400 thousand children in central Africa are dying of starvation. What’s contributing to the crisis and how can the agency help those in need? Afterwards, it’s 30 years since former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher laid the stone for a new financial center in London.

Cryptocurrency may have its disruptive eye cast toward venture capital. The initial coin offering is a type of crypto-crowdfunding that startups can use to raise cash quickly without kissing the Silicon Valley ring. But do ICOs really have the potential to replace venture capital for startups? Marketplace Tech host Molly Wood spoke with Yuliya Chernova, who covers venture capital for the Wall Street Journal, about the pros and cons of ICOs. 

ICOs raised billions last year. Should Silicon Valley be worried?

May 11, 2018

Cryptocurrency may have its disruptive eye cast toward venture capital. The initial coin offering is a type of crypto-crowdfunding that startups can use to raise cash quickly without kissing the Silicon Valley ring.  It was even referenced in the HBO show “Silicon Valley,” where the fictional company Pied Piper held an ICO.

Mick Mulvaney, the acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has been on a mission to dismantle and reshape the agency. In his latest move, he’s targeting the student loan division. He’s folding that office, which is meant to protect student loan borrowers from any wrongdoing, into a different unit focused on consumer education. Think of it as a sort of downgrade, if you will. But what does the move actually mean, and how could it impact students?

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

They call North Korea the Hermit Kingdom for a reason: It’s not exactly easy to see what’s happening with its economy. Here are a few things we know. Or think we know.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story. 

3 things to look for in Trump’s speech on drug pricing

May 10, 2018

President Donald Trump, who has accused pharmaceutical companies of “getting away with murder,” is set to deliver a speech tomorrow about his plan to lower drug prices.

Trump’s strategy will reportedly build on points included in his 2019 budget.

Abe's friendly relationship with Trump didn't earn tariff exemptions for Japan

May 10, 2018

There's arguably no foreign leader who's tried harder to get into President Donald Trump's good economic graces than Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. He was the first foreign leader to visit him after his election, and they've bonded over golf games. But all the photo ops and visits to Mar-a-Lago haven't done him any good. Japanese steel and aluminum exporters are among the relative few to have the president's tariffs levied on them. So what gives?

Five years ago, James Fallows, a correspondent for The Atlantic, and his wife, Deborah, wanted a better sense of how people living in America's smaller cities and towns felt about their country and economy. And they decided to find out by flying their small plane across the country and spending some time seeing what life was like in some of the lesser-known and sometimes hard-to-get-to places in the United States.

Fallows found that what was happening locally didn't always reflect the tension playing out in national politics.

05/10/2018: Doing the numbers on the Hermit Kingdom

May 10, 2018

President Donald Trump announced today he's going to meet Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore. There are a whole lot of variables in this equation: What's motivating who to do what? One thing that might have driven North Korea to the negotiating table is its economy. It had been growing amid sanctions, but now? We'll talk about it. Then, another economic story couched in a geopolitical one: Now that the U.S. is re-imposing sanctions on Iran, what will the EU do? Plus: Some 2,300 families fled Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Héctor Martínez has been staying in a hotel room at the downtown Kissimmee Ramada since November. His bathroom sink now doubles as his kitchen sink. His desk serves as a medicine cabinet and his television stand has been transformed into a cupboard.

“I have everything here to cook,” he said, pointing to a stack of canned beans next to packets of seasoning. “I got food over there. I make my food in the microwave.” 

(Markets Edition) A new report from the World Bank finds that not many people are in much of the developing world, where upward mobility has stalled for the past 30 years. The U.S. isn't doing all that well either -- they fall smack in the middle of a list of 140 countries when it comes to the possibility of climbing the socioeconomic ladder. In slightly more positive economic news, low unemployment has us in a tight labor market. But it may also be some of the job searching technology that is prolonging the time it makes companies to make hires.

Nearly a quarter of children in schools on military bases are eligible for free meals, according to 2015 data from the Department of Defense, the latest available. That’s just one indication that many active duty members of the U.S. military don’t have enough food to feed their families.