BBC Radio 4

Programme examining the ideas and forces which shape public policy in Britain and abroad, presented by distinguished writers, journalists and academics
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Will China and America go to war?

28:56 | Mar 25th

Will the growing competition between China and the United States inevitably lead to military conflict? One leading American academic created huge attention when in 2017 he posed the idea of what he called a "Thucydides Trap". Drawing on the work of t...Show More
Are we heading for a mass extinction?

28:55 | Mar 18th

Will human actions result in the demise of huge numbers of other species - in a mass die-off, comparable to the end of the era of the dinosaurs? Neal Razzell assesses the evidence that species are dying off at a rapid rate, and looks at some of the s...Show More
Will humans survive the century?

28:40 | Mar 11th

What is the chance of the human race surviving the 21st century? There are many dangers – climate change for example, or nuclear war, or a pandemic, or planet Earth being hit by a giant asteroid. Around the world a number of research centres have...Show More
Deliberative Democracy

29:11 | Mar 4th

Is there a better way to heal political divides - through panels of ordinary citizens? Sonia Sodha asks if the idea of citizens' assemblies, which have been used around the world to come up with solutions to polarising issues. Proponents argue that t...Show More
Irish Questions

28:34 | Feb 25th

Voters and politicians in Britain claim to be perplexed that economic and political relations between the UK and the Republic of Ireland seem to be decisive in determining the course of Brexit. They shouldn't be, argues Edward Stourton. A glance at t...Show More
Fair Exchange?

29:08 | Feb 18th

Does a falling currency help or harm the economy? It's an urgent question for the UK, as the pound fell sharply in value against other major currencies after the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in June 2016. Market commentato...Show More
Conspiracy Politics

28:45 | Feb 11th

Are we living in a ‘golden age’ of political conspiracy theories and what does belief in them tell us about voters and politicians? James Tilley, a professor of politics at the University of Oxford, talks to historians, psychologists and political sc...Show More
Do children of married parents do better?

28:25 | Feb 4th

Does being born to non-married parents affect a child's prospects? It is a question that is notoriously hard to answer. BBC Education Editor Branwen Jeffreys investigates research from Princeton's landmark Fragile Families study, which has gathered ...Show More
The War for Normal

28:47 | Jan 28th

We live in a world where everyone is trying to manipulate everyone else, where social media has opened up the floodgates for a mayhem of influence. And the one thing all the new propagandists have in common is the idea that to really get to someone y...Show More
America's Friends

28:17 | Jan 14th

From a US president who is turning the world upside down – with a relish for dismantling global agreements – the message is clear: it’s America first. But where does that leave old European allies? Few expect the transatlantic relationship to go back...Show More
The Trumped Republicans

37:06 | Jan 8th

Republican insider Ron Christie discovers how Donald Trump's presidency is changing his party. Trump arrived in the White House offering a populist revolt in America, promising to drain what he calls "the swamp that is Washington D.C". So what does h...Show More
The Next Crash

28:17 | Nov 19th, 2018

What could cause a future financial crash? Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University, talks to some of the world's leading economists about whether we have learnt lessons from the 2008 financial crash and whether cou...Show More
The Replication Crisis

28:15 | Nov 12th, 2018

Many key findings in psychological research are under question, as the results of some of its most well-known experiments – such as the marshmallow effect, ego depletion, stereotype threat and the Zimbardo Stanford Prison Experiment – have proved dif...Show More
How to kill a democracy

28:18 | Nov 5th, 2018

How many democracies around the world are gradually being dismantled. Democracies today are less and less likely to be overthrown in violent coups. Today’s methods of establishing one party rule are much more subtle and insidious. Political scientist...Show More
Do Assassinations Work?

28:29 | Nov 2nd, 2018

Poison, exploding cigars and shooting down planes: tales of espionage and statesmanship. Government-ordered assassinations may seem the stuff of spy novels and movie scripts, but they seem to have entered the realm of reality of late. Why do states ...Show More
The Pupil Premium

28:38 | Oct 22nd, 2018

How do you increase the attainment of disadvantaged children? Poorer children consistently perform worse at school by not reaching higher grades at age 16, compared to richer children. There is broad agreement, across party lines that they require m...Show More
Northern Ireland - Where Next?

28:20 | Oct 15th, 2018

Could Northern Ireland soon face a huge decision - whether to leave the UK? Andrea Catherwood returns to where she grew up to discover why the biggest question of all is looming beyond Brexit. Demography may soon leave Catholics as the largest popul...Show More
Operation Tory Black Vote

28:38 | Oct 8th, 2018

Can the Conservatives ever win over non-white support? Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are as diverse in their values and beliefs as the rest of the population, yet there is a history of ethnic minority voters overwhelmingly supporting t...Show More
Power Shift

28:43 | Oct 1st, 2018

How power moved from West to East after the 2008 financial crisis. Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University, explores how Asian nations, especially China, demonstrated resilience, and rebounded quickly from the cris...Show More
The Truth About Britain's Beggars

37:21 | Aug 31st, 2018

Former homeless drug-addict Mark Johnson explores our relationship with street beggars
What's Fair?

28:36 | Jul 23rd, 2018

As well as marking the 70th anniversary of the National Health Service, this year marks a similar milestone in adult social care. But whereas our notions of fairness in treating those who fall ill are simple and straightforward - free to those who re...Show More
Trump and Trade

28:42 | Jul 16th, 2018

In 2016, during the American presidential election campaign, Edward Stourton travelled to the rustbelt of the United States to report on the new political power of Protectionism. Now, as Donald Trump seems poised for a trade war on two fronts - with...Show More
British Politics: A Russian View

28:11 | Jul 9th, 2018

Peter Pomerantsev asks why new techniques in political campaigning have succeeded and what the consequences are for society. He has a different view to most from his past career working inside the TV industry in Moscow. The future arrived first in ...Show More
The Middle East Conundrum

28:13 | Jul 2nd, 2018

Edward Stourton asks if there any chance of a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Tensions have been rising following the move of the US Embassy to Jerusalem and the deadly clashes at the border between Israel and Gaza. The peace ...Show More
Can Technology Be Stopped?

36:01 | Jun 25th, 2018

Can the Big Four - Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple - be reined in and forced to play by the rules society sets, rather than imposing their own standards on society? It seems like news breaks every few weeks that reveal how the technology on which ...Show More
Death Is a Bore

28:45 | Jun 18th, 2018

Most of us are resigned to the fact that we won't escape death in the end. But there are people who have dedicated their entire lives to conquering death. This relatively new movement of 'transhumanists' believes that science is close to finding a cu...Show More
Disconnected Britain

28:29 | Jun 11th, 2018

New infrastructure such as major transport projects promises huge benefits. London and the South East are currently looking forward to Crossrail, the start of HS2 and much more besides. But how does all this look from further north? Chris Bowlby head...Show More
Algorithm Overlords

28:53 | Jun 4th, 2018

How can we be sure that the technology we are creating is going to do the right thing? Machines are merging into our lives in ever more intimate ways. They interact with our children and assist with medical decisions. Cars are learning to drive thems...Show More
#metoo, moi non plus

28:26 | May 28th, 2018

Do French women really think differently about sexual harassment - and if so, does feminism have national borders? Catherine Deneuve was one of 100 prominent women who signed an open letter to Le Monde critiquing the #metoo movement. "We beli...Show More
Too Young to Veil?

37:07 | Apr 24th, 2018

This year, St. Stephen's primary school in east London found itself at the centre of an incendiary and increasingly far-reaching debate that is rocking not only Muslim communities and campaigners across the UK but also penetrates the very heart of th...Show More
The End of Arms Control?

28:43 | Mar 26th, 2018

Existing arms control treaties are under threat - at the same time that new types of weapon emerge, with nothing to regulate them. There is a growing crisis in the arms control regimes inherited from the Cold War era, which threatens to undermine exi...Show More
Screens and Teens

28:20 | Mar 19th, 2018

Do we need to "do something" about the effects of smartphones on teenage children? The backlash against the omnipresent devices has begun. Parents on both sides of the Atlantic are increasingly worried that smartphones pose a threat to the current ge...Show More
What Are Universities For?

28:28 | Mar 12th, 2018

Almost half of the UK's school leavers are now going to university. But the university sector is under more scrutiny than ever before. Sonia Sodha argues that it's time to take a profound look at what universities are really for. Should we be spend...Show More
Town v Gown: New Tribes in Brexit Britain

28:23 | Mar 5th, 2018

In the 2016 referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, a stark division emerged: those with university degrees were far more likely to vote remain than those with few educational qualifications. And Britain is not the only country...Show More
The Dictator's Survival Guide

28:19 | Feb 26th, 2018

When Robert Mugabe was deposed last year, he had ruled Zimbabwe for nearly four decades. How do dictators and authoritarians stay in power? James Tilley, a professor of politics at Oxford University, finds out what's in the dictators' survival guide....Show More
Political Electricity

28:23 | Feb 19th, 2018

Electricity is crucial to modern life - and in the digital or electric vehicle age, that dependence is going to grow even more. But will we all get the power we need? Chris Bowlby discovers what life is like when power suddenly fails, and how a revol...Show More
A Very British Battle

28:37 | Feb 12th, 2018

The latest round in the fight over the future of the UK armed forces is raging in the corridors of Whitehall. As politicians and military top brass argue about money, wider questions about what we want the Army, Navy and RAF to do once again top the ...Show More
The Illiberal Democrats

28:26 | Feb 5th, 2018

Poland and Hungary appear to be on paths to what the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called "illiberal democracy". What does this mean for the European Union? Naomi Grimley hears how in Hungary a respected newspaper was shut down overnight afte...Show More
Why Are Even Women Biased Against Women?

28:40 | Jan 29th, 2018

Women are sexist too. Even avowed feminists are found to be unconsciously biased against women when they take 'implicit association' tests. Mary Ann Sieghart asks where these discriminatory attitudes come from and what we can do about them. Evidence ...Show More
The Invisible Hand of Donald Trump

42:20 | Dec 1st, 2017

Donald Trump's surprise elevation to the office of president last November stunned the world and electrified the financial markets. Promises to cut red tape, bring huge infrastructure projects to life, and sort out the byzantine American tax system p...Show More
Offence, Power and Progress

29:02 | Nov 20th, 2017

In 2017 it's easier than ever to express offence. The angry face icon on Facebook, a sarcasm-loaded tweet or a (comparatively) old-fashioned blog post allow us to highlight the insensitivities of others and how they make us feel - in a matter of mome...Show More

28:07 | Nov 13th, 2017

These days when we talk about politicians we are more likely to discuss whether they are authentic than whether they are great orators or statesmen or women. Few of us take the time to listen to a speech or read a manifesto and when we judge politici...Show More
Primate Politics

28:12 | Nov 6th, 2017

Professor James Tilley finds out what we can learn about politics from the power struggles within chimpanzee groups and how our evolutionary past may affect the political decisions that we make today. Interviewing primatologists, evolutionary psychol...Show More
Courting Trouble

28:34 | Nov 1st, 2017

When does flirting go too far? In a changing world, can we agree on what is acceptable behaviour? Sexual harassment is much in the news, new laws and codes are in place. Legal definitions are one thing, but real life situations can be a lot messier a...Show More
Europe Unbound

28:31 | Oct 30th, 2017

Edward Stourton asks how the European Union might change after Britain leaves. "The wind is back in Europe's sails", according to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. In September, in his annual address to the European Parliament, he se...Show More
Parliament - A Building Catastrophe?

28:24 | Oct 23rd, 2017

What does the dangerous state of the Houses of Parliament tell us about our politics? There are increasing fears of a catastrophic fire, asbestos leak or major systems failure in the famed buildings. But after years of warnings, MPs and Lords are sti...Show More
Can We Teach Robots Ethics?

28:20 | Oct 16th, 2017

From driverless cars to "carebots", machines are entering the realm of right and wrong. Should an autonomous vehicle prioritise the lives of its passengers over pedestrians? Should a robot caring for an elderly woman respect her right to life ahead o...Show More
What would war with North Korea look like?

28:28 | Oct 9th, 2017

What could spark a major conflict on the world's most sensitive front line, and just how devastating would it be? Alarm about North Korea has spiked. It claims to have successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit Al...Show More
The Fintech Revolution

28:29 | Oct 2nd, 2017

Will technology radically reshape the highly profitable world of finance? Technology can revolutionise industries, making goods and services cheaper and more accessible. Television is going the same way with online services such as Netflix and Amazon...Show More
Reducing re-offending

43:10 | Aug 30th, 2017

'The Fix' brings together twelve of the country's bright young minds and gives them just one day to solve an intractable problem. This week we have asked our teams to come up with ways to stop criminals re-offending when they leave prison. The day is...Show More
The Fix: Childhood Obesity

43:19 | Aug 23rd, 2017

The teams have just one day to find solutions to the problem of childhood obesity
The Fix: Setting Up Home

43:03 | Aug 17th, 2017

In the first of a new series, twelve of the country's brightest young minds gather to solve difficult social problems. This week - how do we improve access to affordable housing? Using policy planning techniques used by governments around the world, ...Show More
Understanding Prevent

37:31 | Jul 26th, 2017

David Anderson examines the government's controversial counter-terrorism strategy Prevent
Minimum Wage: Too Much of a Good Thing?

28:28 | Jul 24th, 2017

Has the initial success of the minimum wage meant politicians have extended the policy to damaging levels? All the major political parties agree: the measure has been a success, and in the 2017 election all promised substantial rises in the rate by 2...Show More
Yascha Mounk on democracy at risk

28:18 | Jul 17th, 2017

An extended interview with the political theorist who argues that liberal democracy is in grave danger. Ngaire Woods, dean of the Blavatnik School at Oxford, speaks to Harvard scholar Yascha Mounk. He says that across a wide sample of countries in No...Show More
Is work too easy?

28:32 | Jul 10th, 2017

Michael Blastland asks if it's desk-bound work, rather than over-eating, which is making more and more of us obese. He hears about remarkable research which, despite received wisdom, suggests that people in the UK have reduced their calorie intake. H...Show More
Constitutions at Work

29:11 | Jul 3rd, 2017

Constitutions put controls on the people who run countries - but how are they created and how well do they work? In ordinary times constitutional debate often seems an abstract business without very much relevance to the way we live our lives. But p...Show More
Who Speaks for the Workers?

28:12 | Jun 26th, 2017

Union membership is in decline whilst structural changes in the economy - including the rise of the so-called gig economy - are putting downward pressure on wages, and creating fertile conditions for exploitation by unscrupulous employers. So who is ...Show More
Brexit: A Tale of Two Cities

28:14 | Jun 23rd, 2017

A year on from the Brexit referendum, Anand Menon contrasts Wakefield, which voted leave, with Oxford which voted remain, to find out how they feel now.
What went wrong with Brazil?

28:37 | Jun 19th, 2017

During Brazil's boom years the country's rising economy created a new middle class of gigantic proportions - tens of millions escaping from poverty. Brazil felt confident and even rich enough to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. But then the economy tu...Show More
Germany - Anxious Giant

28:19 | Jun 12th, 2017

With angst over European security growing, why is Germany such a reluctant military power? Chris Bowlby discovers how German pacifism has grown since World War Two. The German army, the Bundeswehr, is meant to be a model citizen's army but is poorly ...Show More
Implicit Bias

28:31 | Jun 5th, 2017

Do we unconsciously harbour racist and sexist attitudes? Far fewer people are explicitly racist than a couple of decades ago. They won't express or admit to racist sentiments. But what happens beneath the conscious level? In recent years there has be...Show More
Aid: Something to Boast About?

28:30 | May 30th, 2017

Why is the UK such a generous global aid donor and should it be? The coalition government legislated to ensure Britain spent 0.7% of its national income on international development and it is now one of the very few countries to meet this United Nati...Show More
Adventures in Social Mobility

37:24 | Apr 11th, 2017

What are the unwritten rules you must learn to get a top job? Hashi Mohamed came to the UK aged nine, as an unaccompanied child refugee, with hardly any English. His academic achievements at school were far from stellar. Yet he now works as a barrist...Show More
Detoxifying France's National Front

28:43 | Mar 20th, 2017

Has Front National leader Marine Le Pen really detoxified the party founded by her father 40 years ago? Is it a right-wing protest movement or a party seriously preparing for power? Anand Menon, professor of European politics at Kings College London,...Show More
Holland's Challenge to Tolerance

28:25 | Mar 13th, 2017

Why is liberal, tolerant Netherlands home to one of Europe's most successful anti-immigration, anti-Islamic parties? Geert Wilders' radical right-wing Party For Freedom (PVV) - which wants to close mosques and ban the Qur'an - will be one of the big...Show More
How do the SNP sell a second referendum?

28:40 | Mar 6th, 2017

Could a second referendum on Scottish independence yield a different result? In September 2014 when Scotland voted against becoming an independent country it seemed like the question had been settled for the foreseeable future. All that changed on Ju...Show More
How Voters Decide: Part Two

28:35 | Feb 27th, 2017

What makes us change our mind when it comes to elections? We are all swingers now. More voters than ever before are switching party from one election to the next. Tribal loyalties are weakening. The electorate is now willing to vote for the other sid...Show More
How Voters Decide: Part One

28:56 | Feb 20th, 2017

What does the story of the Downing Street cat reveal about the way voters decide? We are not taught how to vote. We rely on intuition, snap judgments and class prejudice. We vote for policies that clash wildly with our own views. We keep picking the ...Show More
Analysis Extra: The Pull of Putin

37:34 | Feb 16th, 2017

Why do populist politicians across the West want warmer relations with Russia? Are they just Kremlin agents? Or are they tapping into a growing desire to find common cause with Moscow – and end East-West tension? Tim Whewell travels from Russia to Am...Show More
Is Talent a Thing?

28:36 | Feb 13th, 2017

When hiring people, is the concept of talent so ill-defined as to be useless? Entrepreneur and author Margaret Heffernan thinks so and explores what characteristics recruiters might want to look for instead. She argues that we need something new, as ...Show More
How Not to Do It

28:30 | Feb 6th, 2017

Jacqui Smith, the former Labour home secretary, investigates why government policies fail, focusing on one of her party's most cherished reforms. Indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs) were devised by David Blunkett and the Home Office...Show More
Atom Man

28:34 | Jan 30th, 2017

The journey of an American 'cold warrior' from nuclear deterrence to nuclear disarmament. Former US Secretary of Defence William J Perry has spent his entire seven-decade career on the nuclear brink. A brilliant mathematician, he became involved in t...Show More
Hospital Trust?

28:50 | Jan 23rd, 2017

Is public affection for the NHS preventing it from becoming fit for the future? Polling suggests that despite many complaints about the public health service, it is regarded as a much-loved and uniquely British institution. That's why for decades, it...Show More
Brexit: What Europe Wants

28:37 | Nov 14th, 2016

How political forces in other countries will shape any future UK-EU deal. As a younger man, Anand Menon spent a care-free summer Inter-railing around Europe. Some decades later, and now a professor of European politics, he's taking to the rails agai...Show More
How Did We Save the Ozone Layer?

28:25 | Nov 7th, 2016

On 30 June this year, a study was released in one of the world's top scientific journals. It explained how a group of scientists who had been measuring the amount of ozone in the stratosphere had made a startling observation: the hole in the ozone la...Show More
Trusting Inmates

28:40 | Oct 31st, 2016

Should we place more trust in prisoners to help them change their lives? "Trust is the only thing that changes people," says Professor Alison Liebling, the director of the Prisons Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. But, asks Lucy Ash, ho...Show More
The Myth of Mobs

28:14 | Oct 24th, 2016

In popular imagination, being in a crowd makes people scary and irrational. But is this true? In this edition of Analysis, David Edmonds asks social psychologists - including a leading expert on groups, Steve Reicher - about the psychology of crowds....Show More
Brexit and Northern Ireland

28:24 | Oct 17th, 2016

Is the island of Ireland where Brexit will matter most? Edward Stourton visits Londonderry, right on the Irish border, to explore what's at stake as the UK leaves the EU. Some locals fear the border across Ireland - as the EU's new external border - ...Show More

28:17 | Oct 10th, 2016

Can the process of gentrification be controlled? It is often hailed as a sign of social and economic progress. Places which were originally poor and downtrodden are transformed into prosperous and vibrant neighbourhoods. The phenomenon applies to lar...Show More
Breaking Promises

28:18 | Oct 3rd, 2016

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies, asks if the time has come for the government to break pledges made to pensioners. He charts how the average income of senior citizens has risen and is now higher than that of the rest of the ...Show More
Tearing Up the Politics Textbook

28:03 | Sep 26th, 2016

British politics has been going through a period of rapid and remarkable change. That's a headache for the politicians and for the voters. But spare a thought also for politics professors like Rosie Campbell of Birkbeck, University of London. Followi...Show More
How Low Can Rates Go?

42:17 | Jul 25th, 2016

Martin Wolf, Chief Economic Commentator of the Financial Times, examines how policymakers are testing the norms of economic life as they seek solutions to slow growth. The payment of interest goes back to the Babylonians. Today, the business of banki...Show More
A Subversive History of School Reform

28:28 | Jul 18th, 2016

Change, change, change - conventional wisdom is that the classroom is the site of an endless set of reforms, a constant stream of White Papers and directives that promise 'revolution' and sudden changes in direction. Yet is the real story of school r...Show More
Money for Nothing

28:01 | Jul 11th, 2016

Should the state pay everyone a Universal Basic Income? Sonia Sodha finds out why the idea is winning support from an unlikely alliance of leftists and libertarians. Producer: Helen Grady.
Obama's World

28:06 | Jul 4th, 2016

Politico foreign correspondent Nahal Toosi examines the international record of President Obama's eight years in office and tries to discern the governing principles behind his foreign policy. The president sought to avoid costly overseas interventio...Show More
The Charitable Impulse

28:17 | Jun 27th, 2016

Charity is big business. In the UK, over £9 billion is donated to charitable institutions each year. But fundraising can also be controversial as recent news stories about expensive electricity tariffs, elderly donors receiving incessant requests for...Show More
Marxism Today

28:16 | Jun 20th, 2016

Journalist Robin Aitken comes from a conservative political viewpoint to a man who has inspired mass movements on the left: Karl Marx. Robin who was a BBC reporter for 25 years thinks Marx was always in the background discourse of politics, an influe...Show More
The New Young Fogeys

28:25 | Jun 13th, 2016

Young people today drink and smoke much less than previous generations. The rates of teenage pregnancy and youth crime have fallen dramatically. New Statesman editor Jason Cowley talks to experts to find out what is shaping the attitudes and choices ...Show More
Silicon Valley Values

28:10 | Jun 6th, 2016

David Baker explores the identity and values of Silicon Valley - and what they mean for the rest of us. He talks to entrepreneurs, investors, academics and activists about how those values are permeating the world and what to do when they clash with ...Show More
Protectionism in the USA

28:17 | May 30th, 2016

Edward Stourton examines America's long history of resistance to free trade, and asks why it has again become such a potent political force. Donald Trump's most consistent policy has been opposition to free trade agreements which he sees as unfair, p...Show More
Beyond Binary

28:26 | May 23rd, 2016

In communities around the globe, genderqueer, gender-variant and gender-fluid people are rejecting the categories of male and female, and attempting to re-define gender identity. Linda Pressly asks if being non-binary breaks the last identity taboo, ...Show More
Free Speech 1 - Oxygen of Freedom

14:08 | Apr 21st, 2016

Timothy Garton Ash introduces the subject of freedom of speech and why it is more important than ever in today's internet-connected world. Professor Garton Ash sets out the arguments for why we need free speech, including for the sake of diversity, g...Show More
Free Speech 2 - I'm Offended

14:08 | Apr 21st, 2016

Timothy Garton Ash examines how free speech is being eroded in the place it should be most secure: in universities. He examines the activist practise known as 'no platforming'. It means that one group of students is being prevented from hearing someo...Show More
Free Speech 3 - Respect Me, Respect My Religion

14:10 | Apr 21st, 2016

Timothy Garton Ash asks if religion is a special case where freedom of speech should be curtailed. He asks how we can reconcile belief in an absolute revealed truth with the post-Enlightenment freedom to question everything, including religious faith...Show More
Free Speech 4 - Media We Need

14:29 | Apr 21st, 2016

Timothy Garton Ash asks whether we have the media we need to really exercise our right to freedom of expression? He examines the diversity of voices across the media landscape and wonders whether the ownership structure of Britain's media industry ...Show More
Free Speech 5 - Big Brother is Watching

14:12 | Apr 21st, 2016

It is often said that our right to free speech is balanced by our right to privacy. Timothy Garton Ash asks how we should strike the right balance between the two. In a world where we are sharing more of our lives online than ever before, should we a...Show More
The Deobandis: Part 2

42:07 | Apr 14th, 2016

In part two of The Deobandis, the BBC's former Pakistan correspondent Owen Bennett Jones reveals a secret history of Jihadist propagation in Britain. This follows the BBC's discovery of an archive of Pakistani Jihadist publications, which report ...Show More
The Deobandis: Part 1

42:00 | Apr 14th, 2016

The Deobandis are virtually unknown to most British people, yet their influence is huge. As the largest Islamic group in the UK, they control over 40% of mosques and have a near monopoly on Islamic seminaries, which propagate a back-to-basics, orthod...Show More
The Philby Tape

28:05 | Apr 4th, 2016

How did notorious traitor Kim Philby manage to infiltrate MI6 and send its most sensitive secrets to the Soviets? Now, for the first time, we can hear his account in a once secret tape the BBC has unearthed. It is a story of documents smuggled, Cold ...Show More
Corporate Amnesia

28:25 | Mar 21st, 2016

Phil Tinline finds out what happens when institutions lose their memory and how they can best capture and share the lessons of the past.
The End of Free

28:01 | Mar 14th, 2016

Andrew Brown of The Guardian asks if the dramatic rise of ad-blocking software will undermine the commercial model behind most free news on the internet. He finds an industry in deep concern over the "Ad-blockalypse" - with these new programmes meani...Show More
Power to the People?

28:23 | Mar 7th, 2016

Will devolution bring back the power to England's cities and regions that they once had? And, if so, will all local authorities fare equally? Michael Robinson explores the history of local government and asks if old freedoms are now set to return und...Show More
Labour and the Bomb

28:26 | Feb 27th, 2016

Jeremy Corbyn's opposition to the renewal of Britain's nuclear deterrent has opened up divisions within the Labour Party that run very deep. The issue will come to a head when Parliament votes on whether to replace the Trident weapons system, followi...Show More
Multiculturalism: Newham v Leicester

28:14 | Feb 22nd, 2016

How are councils in two of the UK's most multicultural places managing diversity? Back in the 1970s, the Labour party developed a model of working with ethnic minority and faith community groups to help new immigrants to Britain settle in. Presenter ...Show More

27:56 | Feb 15th, 2016

Why does inheritance arouse such powerful emotions? Family, death and money make for gripping stories - just ask Tolstoy, Austen or Dickens - but our attitudes also reflect the way we feel about society, the state, and even ourselves. Discussions t...Show More
Brexit: The Irish Question

27:48 | Feb 8th, 2016

If the UK leaves the EU, what happens on the island of Ireland? Its people would be living on either side of an EU border. In this edition of Analysis, Edward Stourton explores an aspect of the Brexit debate that few elsewhere in the UK may have thou...Show More
Space Wars, Space Peace

28:19 | Feb 1st, 2016

Chris Bowlby explores the shifting balance between two visions of outer space - as a place of harmony and as a zone of growing international tension. We may think war in space is a scenario dreamed up by Hollywood. But the world's top military minds ...Show More
Tomas Sedlacek: The Economics of Good and Evil

27:59 | Jan 25th, 2016

What have the Book of Genesis and the movie Fight Club got to do with GDP? According to the radical Czech economist, Tomas Sedlacek, quite a lot. He believes notions of sin and belief recorded in ancient texts should influence our thinking about the ...Show More
Correspondents' Look Ahead: 2016

47:11 | Jan 1st, 2016

Who and what will be making the global headlines in 2016? Owen Bennett-Jones and leading BBC correspondents discuss and give their predictions about what will shape the world in the year ahead and assess its likely impact on the United Kingdom. O...Show More
Will They Always Hate Us?

28:15 | Nov 9th, 2015

The Middle East conflict and other long-running international disputes have so far proved incapable of resolution by war or traditional diplomacy. So are the parties fated always to hate each other? Or might there be another approach that could be wo...Show More
Currencies and Countries

28:10 | Nov 2nd, 2015

Looking at the UK, reunified Germany and the European Union, the former Conservative Cabinet Minister John Redwood MP asks how successful a currency union can be without political union behind it. After the travails of the eurozone in the wake of Iri...Show More
Killing Cows

28:17 | Oct 26th, 2015

Carnivore and steak-lover Jo Fidgen attempts to work out whether killing cows for food can be morally justified Many meat eaters believe animal suffering should be avoided. They buy higher welfare products or free range eggs and hope the animal they...Show More
Will George Be King?

28:15 | Oct 19th, 2015

Edward Stourton examines the long-term prospects for the British monarchy as an avowed republican becomes leader of the opposition. At least eighty per cent of the population affirm their belief in the institution, opinion polls suggest - a figure th...Show More
Scotland's Radical Land Reform

28:18 | Oct 12th, 2015

In June the Scottish Government introduced radical proposals for land reform. Local communities would gain a new right to ask the government to force a landowner to sell their land if they are deemed a barrier to sustainable development. The plan cau...Show More
The Iran-Iraq War's Legacy

28:11 | Oct 5th, 2015

Lyse Doucet asks how far the Middle East today is defined by the legacy of the Iran-Iraq war? The conflict - the longest convention war of the 20th century- exposed deep fault lines in a region still shattered by violence. Thirty five years after it ...Show More
Can We Learn to Live with Nuclear Power?

27:49 | Sep 28th, 2015

The Fukushima disaster made many people oppose nuclear power. Michael Blastland asks what it would take to change their minds. In 2011, following a devastating tsunami, Japan's Fukushima nuclear power station went into meltdown, leaking radiation. It...Show More
What's Housing Benefit For?

28:21 | Sep 21st, 2015

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, asks why Britain spends such vast sums on Housing Benefit - now £25 billion. He examines the history of these payments and how government funding for house-building has gradually changed int...Show More
Free Movement: Britain's Burning EU debate

27:55 | Jul 20th, 2015

Freedom of movement will be a key battleground in Britain's crucial EU debate. It gives EU citizens the right to live and work anywhere in the union and is praised by supporters as boosting prosperity. But critics say it has created unsustainable wav...Show More

28:14 | Jul 13th, 2015

Who are "the people" - and who's keeping power from them? Eliane Glaser explores how across Europe and beyond, populist movements are claiming they can to put back politicians in touch with voters and reinvigorate democracy from the grassroots. From ...Show More
Why do American police kill so many black men?

27:46 | Jul 6th, 2015

Recent high profile cases of unarmed black men dying at the hands of the US police have sparked outrage, protests and civil unrest in several American cities. The deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Freddie Gray are - some claim - ...Show More
Samuel Scheffler on the Afterlife

28:03 | Jun 29th, 2015

The American philosopher Samuel Scheffler reveals a hidden force which motivates our actions: our belief in the continuation of humanity after our deaths. In an interview with Edward Stourton, plus a Q&A from an audience at the London School of Econo...Show More
Is it Time for the Internet to Grow Up?

28:08 | Jun 26th, 2015

In its short lifetime, the world wide web has raised giants and monsters. It's transformed sections of the economy, from retail to publishing and the music industry. It has had a profound effect on journalism and the transmission of ideas. It has fac...Show More
How Gay Became OK

28:21 | Jun 22nd, 2015

Why have British attitudes towards homosexuality changed so far and so fast? Less than 50 years ago, sex between men was a criminal act. Now they can marry. It's not just the law that has changed: we have. Surveys suggest that public opinion about ho...Show More
Making Invisibles Visible

28:15 | Jun 15th, 2015

The UK is the world's second largest exporter of services - and has been for some time. The surplus generated by these "invisibles" - everything from banking to public relations to whizzy new phone apps - helps balance the country's stubbornly high d...Show More
Is the Pope a Communist?

28:22 | Jun 8th, 2015

Pope Francis' critique of modern economics has made him an icon for the Left and prompted claims that he is a Communist. The leader of 1.2 billion Catholics has called capitalism, at best, a source of inequality and, at worst, a killer. Edward Stour...Show More
Ritual Sexual Abuse: The Anatomy of a Panic (Part 2)

28:07 | Jun 1st, 2015

David Aaronovitch of The Times traces the powerful intellectual influences behind what he sees as one of the most important cultural shifts of the past 40 years: from a society in which accusations of sexual abuse were wrongly ignored to one in which...Show More
Ritual Sexual Abuse: The Anatomy of a Panic (Part 1)

28:06 | May 25th, 2015

David Aaronovitch of The Times traces the powerful intellectual influences behind what he sees as one of the most important cultural shifts of the past 40 years: from a society in which accusations of sexual abuse were wrongly ignored to one in which...Show More
The Edge

37:07 | Apr 14th, 2015

Is the West losing its military edge? Mark Urban investigates whether the US and its allies are losing superiority as they cut defence spending while rivals increase theirs.
Company vs Country

28:11 | Mar 30th, 2015

Michael Robinson asks what lies behind the boom in companies suing governments.
Two-Nation Britain

28:29 | Mar 23rd, 2015

Jeremy Cliffe of The Economist asks if our real political divide is between those who feel comfortable in liberal, diverse, urban Britain and those who do not - the cosmopolitans vs the rest. He argues that the success of UKIP is one sign of this div...Show More
Caring in the New Old Age

28:22 | Mar 16th, 2015

Is it time to rethink how we care for older people, to enable them to have fulfilling lives? In recent years the media has highlighted terrible cases of paid carers abusing and neglecting vulnerable, older people. Is it now time for a more fundamenta...Show More
The End of Development

28:20 | Mar 9th, 2015

Over recent decades, the richer world has poured money towards poorer countries, in the form of aid and loans for development over many decades. But is this top-down solution really effective? Anthropologist Henrietta Moore argues that the age of dev...Show More
When Robots Steal Our Jobs

28:05 | Mar 2nd, 2015

Technology has been replacing manufacturing jobs for years. Is the same about to happen to white-collar work? Will new faster, smarter computers start destroying more jobs than they create? Technologists and economists are now arguing that we are ap...Show More
Artificial Intelligence

28:12 | Feb 23rd, 2015

Should we beware the machines? Professor Stephen Hawking has warned the rise of Artificial Intelligence could mean the end of the human race. He's joined other renowned scientists urging computer programmers to focus not just on making machines smart...Show More
Downward Social Mobility

28:08 | Feb 16th, 2015

Social mobility is a good thing - right? Politicians worry that not enough people from less-privileged backgrounds get the opportunity to move up in life. But are we prepared to accept that others lose out - and move in the opposite direction? Jo Fid...Show More
You Can't Say That

28:13 | Feb 9th, 2015

Does free speech include a right to cause offence? Many thinkers have insisted that it must - but debate has raged for millennia over where the limits to insult can be set. While some maintain Enlightenment values must include permission to shock, of...Show More
Referendum Conundrums

27:57 | Feb 2nd, 2015

Scotland last year showed how dramatic referendums can be. So what would an in-out vote on the EU be like? What would be the crucial strategies for a winning campaign? The stakes would be huge for the UK, and if those who want a vote get their way, t...Show More
Maskirovka: Deception Russian-Style

28:12 | Jan 26th, 2015

'Maskirovka' is the Russian military strategy of deception, involving techniques to surprise and deceive the enemy. Lucy Ash looks back over its long history from repelling invading Mongols in the 14th Century, to its use to confound the Nazis in Wor...Show More
Correspondents Look Ahead

46:56 | Jan 2nd, 2015

Mark Mardell forecasts how the world could change in 2015, aided by top BBC journalists Lyse Doucet, Carrie Gracie, Kamal Ahmed and Bridget Kendall.
Precedents or Principles?

28:15 | Nov 17th, 2014

We firmly believe that our choices - about what we eat and how we vote - reflect the inner core of our being. But do those choices originate in principle - or simply because of what we have done in the past? Psychologist Nick Chater asks if precedent...Show More
Conservative Muslims, Liberal Britain

28:08 | Nov 10th, 2014

The recent so called Trojan Horse dispute in some Birmingham schools shone a light on how separately from the liberal British mainstream a significant conservative bloc of British Muslims wants to live. Although some Muslim parents objected, most see...Show More
Just Culture

28:14 | Nov 3rd, 2014

Margaret Heffernan explores why big organisations so often make big mistakes - and asks if the cure could be the aviation industry's model of a "just culture". In the past ten years, there have been a string of organizational failures - from BP to t...Show More
Inside Welfare Reform

28:21 | Oct 27th, 2014

Economist Jonathan Portes assesses how well the government has implemented its controversial welfare reforms. The government describes the programme as "the most ambitious, fundamental and radical changes to the welfare system since it began". When ...Show More
The Idea of the Caliphate

28:21 | Oct 20th, 2014

What is a caliphate? What ideals does such an Islamic state embody - and how could or should it be implemented? Analysis consults a range of voices to explore how the concept has evolved and has been expressed over the centuries. Edward Stourton talk...Show More
Meet the Family

27:40 | Oct 13th, 2014

Politicians love talking about supporting families. But, asks Jo Fidgen, do they understand modern family life? And how far can or should the state change the way families live? There's endless focus on young children and childcare, while family care...Show More
Peston and the House of Debt

28:14 | Oct 6th, 2014

Robert Peston tests the arguments made by the authors of a new book who claim the financial crisis was caused by exploding household debt - not by the banks. But are they right? Now the BBC's Economics Editor, he witnessed at first hand every twist ...Show More
Michael Pollan on Food

27:56 | Sep 29th, 2014

What should we eat? Jo Fidgen talks to the influential American writer Michael Pollan about what food is - and what it isn't. In an interview before an audience at the London School of Economics and Political Science he criticises the way the food in...Show More
Thrifty Debtors

27:58 | Jul 21st, 2014

The downturn's made everyone worry more about money. But while we may want to be thriftier, Chris Bowlby discovers why we're stuck with high levels of personal and household debt. Credit has become a way of life and new technology makes it ever more ...Show More
The End of the Pay Rise?

28:15 | Jul 14th, 2014

Something strange has been happening in the British economy. For over six years now, wages have fallen for most of us, which is unprecedented in British modern history. And despite the return of economic growth, wages still have not picked up. What ...Show More
Tories: Nasty or Nice?

27:51 | Jun 30th, 2014

Why have the Tories attracted the label 'the nasty party'? Tory supporter Robin Aitken explores why the phrase took hold, and why it matters in key national debates today. Senior and influential figures in the Tory party's recent history offer reveal...Show More
Varieties of Capitalism

27:51 | Jun 23rd, 2014

What is the best form of capitalism? The free-market form found in countries such as the UK and the United States, or the more collaborative model which is common across Northern Europe? Some British politicians, from both the left and right, are so...Show More
What Does Putin Want?

28:14 | Jun 9th, 2014

There's a new government in Kiev and Crimea is firmly in Russian hands. The political map of eastern Europe has changed dramatically in the last few months. But are Moscow's actions in the Ukraine crisis evidence of a long-term strategy to reassert R...Show More
Time to Rethink Asylum?

28:13 | Jun 2nd, 2014

Tim Finch of the Institute of Public Policy Research asks if it is time for a fundamental rethink of the way we deal with refugees. He investigates the history of asylum as a political issue, the way asylum policy is implemented in the UK today, and ...Show More
Deirdre McCloskey

28:08 | May 26th, 2014

Evan Davis interviews economic historian Deirdre McCloskey in front of an audience at the London School of Economics, where she argues that poverty matters more than inequality. She describes how at the beginning of the 19th century most people who h...Show More
Why Minsky Matters

28:11 | Mar 24th, 2014

American economist Hyman Minsky died in 1996, but his theories offer one of the most compelling explanations of the 2008 financial crisis. His key idea is simple enough to be a t-shirt slogan: "Stability is destabilising". But TUC senior economist Du...Show More
Eldar Shafir: Scarcity

27:57 | Mar 17th, 2014

(Image credit: Jerry Nelson) Jo Fidgen interviews Eldar Shafir, professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University, and co-author of Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much in front of an audience at the Blavatnik School of Gov...Show More
The Jihadi Spring

28:20 | Mar 16th, 2014

Owen Bennett-Jones asks if the real beneficiaries of the multiple failures of the Arab revolutions are the Islamist militants both of al-Qaeda and its increasingly violent allies. Does the West's tacit support for the reassertion of military control ...Show More
Scotland and the Union: Can Britain be Rebooted?

28:28 | Mar 3rd, 2014

Is there any such thing as unionism, and what is the case for the union? On September 18th, Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether to become independent. Supporters have been setting out their visions of how Scotland could be transformed. But...Show More
Life by Lottery

27:55 | Feb 24th, 2014

Should we use chance to solve some of our most difficult political dilemmas? From US Green Cards to school place allocation, lotteries have been widely used as a means of fairly resolving apparently intractable problems. Jo Fidgen asks whether the ti...Show More
A Is for Anonymous

28:15 | Feb 17th, 2014

The wish to be anonymous in our dealings with private companies or governments, in commenting on the news or in daily life seems to be increasing. For some, anonymity is an ironic response to the cult of celebrity that usually preoccupies us. For o...Show More
What is Wahhabism?

28:06 | Feb 10th, 2014

Since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington DC, the ultra-conservative Wahhabi branch of Islam has often been cited by critics and commentators as the ideology of Islamic extremists around the world today. But can 21st Century terrorism really ...Show More
The Philosophy of Russell Brand

27:46 | Feb 3rd, 2014

In a recent Newsnight interview, the comedian Russell Brand predicted a revolution. His comments entertained many and became the most-watched political interview of 2013. But between the lines, Brand was also giving voice to the populist resurgence o...Show More
Last Rites for the Church of England?

28:07 | Jan 27th, 2014

Andrew Brown asks if the Church of England has become fatally disconnected from society.
Roberto Unger

28:26 | Nov 18th, 2013

Renowned social theorist Roberto Unger believes that left-of-centre progressives - his own political side - lack the imagination required to tackle the fundamental problems of society. In the run-up to the US presidential elections of 2012, he declar...Show More
France: Sinking Slowly?

28:39 | Nov 11th, 2013

The French are far more attached to the idea of a centralised, big state than their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. The philosophy behind it, Colbertism, holds that the economy of France should serve the state and that the state should direct the economy. ...Show More
Importing the Metropolitan Revolution

28:39 | Nov 4th, 2013

In America, there is talk of a "metropolitan revolution" as big cities reinvent themselves. Matthew Taylor asks if Britain too can transform its economy by setting city halls free. In America, there's a growing realisation that the old economic mode...Show More
Syria: Inside the Opposition

28:18 | Oct 28th, 2013

Syria's opposition movements comprise a diverse range of political and armed groups. But how do they differ in terms of their ideology, their modus operandi and in their vision for a post-conflict Syria? Edward Stourton investigates the numerous alt...Show More
Quantitative Easing: Miracle Cure or Dangerous Addiction?

28:11 | Oct 21st, 2013

Quantitative Easing was the drug prescribed by economists to keep Western economies functioning in a moment of crisis. Sunday Telegraph economic commentator Liam Halligan argues that the policy of money creation has now become a dangerous addiction.I...Show More
What Are Charities For?

28:26 | Oct 14th, 2013

Charities have been drawn into the world of outsourced service provision, with the state as their biggest customer and payment made on a results basis. It is a trend which is set to accelerate with government plans to hand over to charities much of t...Show More
Edward Snowden: Leaker, Saviour, Traitor, Spy?

28:22 | Oct 7th, 2013

Last June, Edward Snowden, a man still in his twenties with, as he put it, "a home in paradise", went on the run. He took with him vast amounts of secret information belonging to the US government's security services.Snowden holds libertarian - or an...Show More
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood: Why Did They Fail?

28:18 | Sep 30th, 2013

Barely a year after Egypt's post-revolution elections were held, millions of protestors took to the streets to demand the resignation of President Mohammed Morsi. After a short stand-off with army leaders, he was removed from power in what many descr...Show More
The Rule of Law v the Rule of Man

27:56 | Jul 22nd, 2013

With huge concern over tax avoidance, tax officials are the latest to be given increased powers of discretion. They will be able to penalise people who have obeyed the letter of the law, but who have contravened the spirit of the tax code - as determ...Show More
Scottish Nationalism: From Protest to Power

28:03 | Jul 15th, 2013

Just what does the Scottish National Party want? And what could it mean for the UK? Douglas Fraser investigates the SNP's long search for an independence vision that works. He talks to insiders about the party's turbulent past, torn, as one leade...Show More
They're Coming for Your Money

28:24 | Jul 8th, 2013

Paul Johnson, the director of the widely-respected independent Institute for Fiscal Studies, has been looking at the latest projections for how much the government will spend in the next five years and how much revenue it will receive. Despite the re...Show More
Syria and the New Lines in the Sand

27:49 | Jul 1st, 2013

Where the Arab Spring overthrew dictators, is the Middle East now dismantling the very 'lines in the sand' imposed by Britain and France a century ago? Edward Stourton investigates.
Pornography: What Do We Know?

28:11 | Jun 24th, 2013

What do we really know about the effects of pornography? Public debate has become increasingly dominated by an emotive, polarised argument between those who say it is harmful and those who say it can be liberating. Jo Fidgen puts the moral positio...Show More

28:06 | Jun 17th, 2013

Predistribution is Labour's new policy buzzword, used by leader Ed Miliband in a keynote speech. The US thinker who coined the phrase tells Edward Stourton what it means.
The Quantified Self: Can Life Be Measured?

27:51 | Jun 10th, 2013

Self knowledge through numbers is the motto of the "quantified self" movement. Calories consumed, energy expended, work done, places visited or how you feel. By recording the data of your daily life online, the life-loggers claim, you get to know who...Show More
Is Regional Policy a Waste of Time?

28:03 | Jun 3rd, 2013

The gap between English north and south is growing. But does government have the answer? In the north-east of England, Alison Wolf discovers why 'regional policy' may be a waste of time. Does better infrastructure or state support for 'key' industrie...Show More
Labour's New New Jerusalem

27:43 | May 27th, 2013

The words of William Blake's Jerusalem were invoked by Labour Prime Minister Clement Attlee when he launched his party's proudest achievement: the creation of a welfare state. "I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,...Show More
Nudge Theory in Practice

28:14 | Mar 25th, 2013

Politicians are wary of forcing us to do the things they think we should such as drinking less, saving more for our pensions or using public transport. But they are also reluctant to do nothing. The theories expounded in the book Nudge, published in ...Show More
Who Decides if I'm a Woman?

28:16 | Mar 18th, 2013

A spat between feminist Suzanne Moore and transgender rights activists played out on social networking sites, and then hit the headlines when journalist Julie Burchill joined in too. Jo Fidgen explores the underlying ideas which cause so much tens...Show More
Three Score Years and Twenty

28:09 | Mar 11th, 2013

As more and more people look forward to ever longer life, Analysis examines what it's like to grow old in Britain and what we can learn from other countries facing the same challenge. We've heard much about the financial issues around pensions or hea...Show More
Islamists International

27:51 | Mar 4th, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood is a global ideological network enjoying popular support across the Sunni Muslim world. It, and closely related Islamic groups, are well established across the Muslim world: from North Africa to the Middle East, Turkey, the Ind...Show More
Roberto Unger & Vulgar Keynesianism

28:07 | Feb 25th, 2013

Roberto Unger is an American-based thinker who is highly critical of the current ideas from left-of-centre politicians and thinkers about how to restore advanced economies to healthy growth. His devastating attack last summer on what he saw as the sh...Show More
Making the Best of a Bad Job

28:21 | Feb 18th, 2013

David Goodhart considers whether the declining status of basic jobs can be halted and even reversed. Successive governments have prioritised widening access to higher education to try to drive social mobility, without giving much thought to the imp...Show More
Creative Destruction

28:08 | Feb 11th, 2013

In the last few weeks a number of high street names have closed for good. In Analysis Phil Tinline asks whether, amid the gloom, there is a reason to celebrate. The economist Joseph Schumpeter first coined the phrase "creative destruction" in the 19...Show More
The Alawis

28:08 | Feb 4th, 2013

The government of President Assad of Syria is under threat. So too is the secretive Shia sect known as the Alawis - or Alawites - to which he and many of the governing party and security officials belong. Hostility towards the minority Alawi populati...Show More
A Scottish Pound?

28:02 | Jan 28th, 2013

The cash question facing an independent Scotland. Chris Bowlby discovers the key role of currency in debate ahead of the Scottish referendum next year. With the SNP proposing to keep using sterling if Scotland becomes independent, what will this mean...Show More
The Rise of Executive Power

28:09 | Jan 21st, 2013

In the battle over rewards at work, workers grew accustomed to winning a healthy share of the spoils during the 1960s and 1970s - and to being accorded high status. Since the 1980s, however, the power of executives has grown and is now reflected in t...Show More
Green Shoots from the Arab Spring

28:03 | Nov 12th, 2012

With the downfall of the former Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, political change has already happened in Egypt. But how has such a revolution affected the mindset of ordinary people in the region? In this edition of Analysis, the writer, Christop...Show More
Left Turn to Catholic Social Teaching?

28:13 | Nov 5th, 2012

Catholic Social Teaching embodies a tradition of thought which goes back to Aristotle; yet its proponents say that it offers the sharpest critique of rampant capitalism in our present time. Charting a course through the dichotomies of capital versus...Show More
Labour, the Left and Europe

28:09 | Oct 29th, 2012

The crisis in the eurozone means that fundamental changes to the European Union are on the agenda. Conservative politicians have called for a re-appraisal of the UK's relationship with a more integrated and potentially less democratic EU. Yet Labour'...Show More
The School of Hard Facts

28:22 | Oct 22nd, 2012

E.D. Hirsch is a little-known American professor whose radical ideas about what should be taught in schools are set to have a profound effect on English schools. A favoured intellectual of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, Hirsch advocates a cur...Show More
Manuel Castells: Alternative Economic Cultures

28:20 | Oct 15th, 2012

Paul Mason interviews renowned sociologist Prof Manuel Castells about the rise of alternative economic cultures since the financial crisis. Recorded in front of an audience at the London School of Economics on Monday 8th October. The financial cri...Show More
Keeping the Free Market Faith

28:11 | Oct 9th, 2012

The financial crisis has made many on the political right question their faith in free market capitalism. Jamie Whyte is unaffected by such doubts. The financial crisis, he argues, was caused by too much state interference and an unhealthy collusion ...Show More
Obama: Peacemaker or Vigilante?

27:53 | Oct 1st, 2012

When Barack Obama stood before a 200,000-strong crowd in Berlin in 2008 his declaration that "now is the time to build new bridges across the globe" was met with jubilation by a crowd which believed the future American president would pursue a gentle...Show More
Social Epidemiology

28:22 | Sep 24th, 2012

In Britain, the health gap is growing - in the wealthiest parts of the country, people are living on average more than a decade longer than in the poorest parts. An academic discipline which tries to work out why this health gap exists has also gro...Show More
Political Prejudice

28:01 | Sep 17th, 2012

If you think that you are rational and unprejudiced, Michael Blastland hopes you will be open minded enough to listen to the evidence which suggests that you are probably not. We might think our views about global warming, nanotechnology or the valu...Show More
The Philosopher's Arms: Law and Morality

28:39 | Sep 10th, 2012

Why obey the law? Is there anything wrong with going through a red light at 3am in the morning if nobody is around? Does the law have any moral force? Questions for this edition of The Philosopher's Arms.
The Philosopher's Arms: Sorites' Heap

28:04 | Sep 10th, 2012

Fuzzy logic and baldness: what's the connection? According to the Sorites' Paradox, it's impossible to go bald. If you lose one hair you don't move from being hirsute to being bald: one hair can't make any difference - and the same must be true if...Show More
The Philosopher’s Arms: The Fake Van Gogh

27:41 | Sep 3rd, 2012

Imagine a perfect art fake. A fake Van Gogh that is completely indistinguishable from the original. Does that mean it’s of equal value to the original? Find out in this edition of The Philosopher’s Arms.
The Philosopher’s Arms: Theseus’ Ship

27:59 | Aug 27th, 2012

Personal Identity is a topic that’s long intrigued philosophers. What makes you you? What makes you the same person today that you were as a child? The puzzle addressed in The Philosopher’s Arms, with some assistance from the pop group, The Drifters
The EU Debate

42:58 | Aug 8th, 2012

Should Britain stay in the European Union? With the crisis continuing in the eurozone, recent polls suggest that the vast majority of the British electorate would be in favour of a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. Evan Davis ...Show More
China's Battle of Ideas

28:14 | Jul 9th, 2012

As China changes leadership, Mukul Devichand probes Beijing's hidden battle of ideas. Unlike the messy democracy of elections in the US or Europe, the Communist Party's "changing of the guard" this autumn is set to be a sombre, orderly and very Chine...Show More
The Gold Standard

28:11 | Jul 2nd, 2012

As banks collapse and governments run out of money, the popular solution is to print more and more and expand bank balance sheets. But is there another way of fixing our economy? Would the financial system be more stable if each pound in our pocket w...Show More
Eurogeddon II

28:00 | Jun 25th, 2012

As the crisis in the Eurozone continues, Chris Bowlby examines what might eventually emerge and what that could mean for us. When Analysis looked at the possibility of a Greek exit from the Euro back in February, the topic was regarded as "thinking...Show More
Cameron's Swede Dreams

28:13 | Jun 18th, 2012

What's so great about Sweden? The British left has long been obsessed with Sweden. Now the Conservatives are too. Little wonder: the country always tops the global charts for happiness and social cohesion; its economy is dynamic and its deficit is lo...Show More
Wasted Youth

28:08 | Jun 11th, 2012

Many young school leavers have struggled to find work for years. Now the economic crisis has made things worse. Paul Johnson of the Institute for Fiscal Studies investigates the roots of the problem. He discusses the challenge faced by those - partic...Show More
Steve Keen: Why Economics is Bunk

27:55 | Jun 4th, 2012

Newsnight Economics Editor Paul Mason interviews the controversial economist Steve Keen before an audience at the London School of Economics. Prof Keen was one of a small number of economists who predicted there would be a major financial crisis ...Show More
Middle East: Too Soon for Democracy?

28:09 | May 28th, 2012

Edward Stourton explores the prospects for post-revolution government, following the Arab Spring. Elections are being held, but can voters be sure autocratic rule is in the past? Contributors, in order of appearance: Aref Ali Nayed, Islamic theolog...Show More
What Is Money?

28:21 | Mar 26th, 2012

We dream about it, argue about it, worry about it, celebrate it, spend it, save it, we transfer it from one emotion to another. But what exactly is money? And why do we trust it? Frances Stonor Saunders takes a journey through some of the fundamental...Show More
War Gaming Iran

28:11 | Mar 19th, 2012

Could a hot war with Iran be about to start? Israel could strike against Iran's nuclear facilities; Syria is in revolt; the world is on edge. Edward Stourton probes the West's options.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb: Downing Street Guru

28:10 | Mar 12th, 2012

Janan Ganesh of The Economist speaks to Downing Street's favourite intellectual, Nassim Nicolas Taleb - author of the best selling book The Black Swan - to investigate his political appeal. Producer: Mukul Devichand
Neue Labour

28:05 | Mar 5th, 2012

Why Labour thinkers believe German society should be the model for Britain's centre left. Matthew Taylor, a former policy adviser to Tony Blair, presents.
America: The Right Way

28:03 | Feb 27th, 2012

Justin Webb explores what the primaries reveal about the state of the right in the US. Is the Republican party really split? We explore how the party has shifted to the right, and the reasons for it. The role of the Tea party within the conservative ...Show More
Profits Before Pay

28:03 | Feb 20th, 2012

It may come as no great surprise that many of us have experienced a wage squeeze, while the cost of living has gone the other way, since the financial crisis of 2008. However, as Duncan Weldon, a senior economist at the Trades Union Congress, points ...Show More
Preparing for Eurogeddon

28:05 | Feb 13th, 2012

Europe thinks the unthinkable - what happens if the Eurozone splits. What would happen to the banking sector, how would a new currency be put in place, can contagion be halted, and more fundamentally could the Euro survive? Policymakers across Europe...Show More
Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi

28:31 | Feb 6th, 2012

Should the world fear the rise of political Islam in the newly democratic Middle East? The Arab Spring has thrust the ideas and ideology of one man into the centre of this crucial question. Before the revolutions began, Sheikh Rachid Gannouchi lived ...Show More
Do Schools Make a Difference?

27:47 | Jan 30th, 2012

The government's brought in new style league tables to help parents choose schools. But do we really know what makes a good school? And how far can schools really transform lives? Researchers have long believed in a so-called 'school effect' that cou...Show More
Capitalists Against the Super Rich

28:16 | Jan 23rd, 2012

Are the champions of the capitalist system now turning against the super-rich? And if they are, what will they now do about it? In this week's Analysis, we meet leading figures of the centre right who suddenly seem to have something in common with th...Show More
Dead Cert

28:15 | Dec 19th, 2011

Certainty: is the lust for it a sin? And if so, should politics fear for its soul? Michael Blastland makes a plea for policy makers to be less sure of themselves in "Dead Cert", originally broadcast on 6 November 2008. We hope you enjoy this program...Show More
A Price Worth Paying?

28:24 | Nov 28th, 2011

Banks are underwritten by the government in Britain. But should the taxpayer bail out so-called casino banks? In a programme previously broadcast on 1 February 2010 - Edward Stourton talks to the growing band of experts who believe that risk-taking i...Show More
Robert H. Frank: The Darwin Economy

28:23 | Nov 14th, 2011

In 100 years time, Charles Darwin will be viewed as a better economist than Adam Smith, according to economics professor Robert H. Frank. In his new book 'The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good', Frank argues that whilst Sm...Show More
Do Leaders Make a Difference?

28:21 | Nov 7th, 2011

Do Leaders make a Difference? We talk much of personal leadership being the key to change in, say, politics or business. But how much can such figures really influence events? Do we overattribute power to individuals such as a prime minister or a me...Show More
A New Black Politics?

28:04 | Oct 31st, 2011

The 2010 general election saw the largest influx of black and minority ethnic MPs to the Commons that Britain has ever seen. There are currently 27 sitting on the Conservative and Labour benches - up from 14 in the last Parliament. But are we starti...Show More
Cultural diplomacy

28:17 | Oct 24th, 2011

Frances Stonor Saunders looks at the role of cultural diplomacy in spreading liberal British values around the world. The British Council and the BBC World Service, both part-funded by the Foreign Office, are the two most important institutions of B...Show More
Euroscepticism Uncovered

28:09 | Oct 17th, 2011

As opinion polls reveal that half the British population would vote in favour of withdrawal from the European Union, it seems the political class is catching up with public opinion when it comes to the EU. While perhaps just dozens of MPs are publi...Show More

28:12 | Oct 10th, 2011

Owen Bennett Jones looks at the Shia movement Hezbollah which has a big following in Lebanon but is regarded by some in the West as a terrorist organisation. It has a militia with more weapons than many European armies and wants Islamic rule but is i...Show More
Aid or Immigration?

27:49 | Oct 3rd, 2011

Despite a general policy of austerity and cut backs, the budget for development aid has been ring fenced by the coalition government. Frances Cairncross asks whether a more relaxed immigration policy might be a better way for the UK to help the devel...Show More
Libya's Islamic Capitalists

27:51 | Sep 26th, 2011

Under Colonel Gaddafi, Libya was subject to the dictator's so-called Third Universal Theory. Hugh Miles asks what sort of ideology is likely to dominate in post-Gaddafi Libya. Western media have been keeping a close eye on Libya's governing National...Show More
Non-Riotous Behaviour

28:06 | Sep 19th, 2011

This summer's riots provoked much speculation about the factors which prompted so many people to break the law. But philosopher-turned-commentator Jamie Whyte is more interested in understanding why this sort of thing doesn't happen more often. Is it...Show More
Unsure about Sure Start

27:56 | Jul 11th, 2011

Sure Start was one of the flagship policies of the Labour years, and the Coalition Government has just underlined its commitment to keeping it going. But in this edition of Analysis Fran Abrams asks a question. To many, it's a seriously heretical o...Show More
The SNP and Scotland

28:05 | Jul 4th, 2011

No university tuition fees, free personal care for the elderly, reduced prescription charges. In all sorts of ways, Scotland seems to have kept a level of public service the rest of the UK is denied. How has this happened, and can Scotland continue t...Show More
Is America Doomed?

28:25 | Jun 28th, 2011

Justin Webb, the BBC's former North America Editor, regards the United States with affection and respect. But he is worried that America is in denial about the extent of its financial problems and therefore incapable of dealing with the gravest crisi...Show More
Hague's Middle East

28:06 | Jun 20th, 2011

"The eruption of democracy movements across the Middle East and North Africa is, even in its early stages, the most important development of the early 21st century." These were the words of Foreign Secretary William Hague May 2011. Events from Cairo ...Show More
Egypt's New Islamists

28:02 | Jun 13th, 2011

Edward Stourton asks if the Egyptian revolution spells the end of old-style Islamism. As groups like the Muslim Brotherhood embrace democracy, how will they - and Egypt - change? The overthrow of Hosni Mubarak has been described as the Middle East'...Show More
Goodbye the Golden Eggs of Banking?

28:17 | Jun 6th, 2011

Time was when the City of London and the financial services industry generally were the apple of most politicians' eyes. The fabulous wealth they generated and taxes they paid seemed to set Britain on the road to lasting prosperity without having to ...Show More
Unhealthy Expectations?

27:59 | May 30th, 2011

Is our NHS debate avoiding the key issue? The talk is of another reorganisation of the NHS and greater efficiencies enabling the NHS in England to face the future. But the overall challenge goes much deeper, and the politicians dare not address it. A...Show More
Blue Labour

28:09 | Mar 21st, 2011

Labour's traditional working class supporters are abandoning the party in their droves. But can Labour win them back without alienating the middle-class voters it needs to win the next election? David Goodhart explores the tensions between two tradit...Show More
Muscular Liberalism

28:12 | Mar 14th, 2011

The prime minister has proposed a new 'muscular liberalism', aimed at better integrating Britain's Muslims. It aims to counter the alienation that has led to a few young British Muslim men being prepared to mount terrorist attacks. David Walker asks ...Show More
Testing the Emotions

27:57 | Mar 7th, 2011

Investigative journalist and author Fran Abrams looks at a popular but controversial programme designed to teach children emotional and social skills in schools. The concept of emotional intelligence has almost become a global ideology. It's taught, ...Show More
Rethinking the Middle East

28:08 | Feb 28th, 2011

The autocratic regimes of North Africa & the Middle East enjoyed many years of military, political and financial support from the United States government. Dr Maha Azzam looks at the recent history of US involvement in the region, including the brief...Show More
The Orange Book: Clegg's Political Lemon?

28:07 | Feb 21st, 2011

The Orange Book, published in 2004, is a collection of political essays by leading Liberal Democrats. Although the writers come from a range of viewpoints, the book has been seen as an attempt by party right wingers to reclaim the party's economic li...Show More
The Big Society

28:15 | Feb 14th, 2011

The "big society" - the idea that volunteers should take over some of the functions of the state - is the most over-used policy phrase of the moment. But how will the theory work in practice? Chris Bowlby looks at the big society on the ground in O...Show More
Radical Economics: Escaping Credit Serfdom

28:07 | Feb 7th, 2011

The role of credit in the build up to the global financial crisis is well known - but what has our reliance on credit been doing to the wider economy and to human behaviour? The expansion of consumer credit has been encouraged by social democrati...Show More
Radical Economics: Yo Hayek!

28:31 | Jan 31st, 2011

Was the economic crisis caused by fundamental problems with the system rather than a mere failure of policy? Over two weeks, Analysis investigates two schools of economics with radical solutions. This week, Jamie Whyte looks at the free market Aust...Show More

28:14 | Jan 24th, 2011

Trust was the subject of moral philosopher Professor Onora O'Neill's acclaimed Reith Lectures in 2002. Enron, political sleaze, the foot and mouth crisis, the Bristol heart babies scandal and the collapse of Equitable Life had contributed to a percep...Show More
The Deserving and the Undeserving Poor

28:10 | Nov 15th, 2010

Presenter Chris Bowlby asks whether a state welfare system can ever distinguish between those who deserve help and those who do not. As the recession bites and public spending cuts loom there have been calls, on both sides of the political debate, ...Show More
Criminal rehabilitation: a sub-prime investment?

28:02 | Nov 8th, 2010

Ken Clarke has promised a "rehabilitation revolution" in which private investors will fund projects aimed at cutting the re-offending rate. If the projects succeed, the government will pay those investors a return. But if the projects fail, the inves...Show More
Defence: no stomach for the fight?

28:10 | Nov 1st, 2010

To take successful military action, you do not only need soldiers, aircraft or warships. The support of the society and political leadership is crucial in sustaining armed action. Yet public involvement in current debates about the future of the mili...Show More
The secret history of Analysis

28:25 | Oct 25th, 2010

Analysis celebrates its 40th birthday by making its own history the subject of its trademark examination of the facts. The Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, recently told the New Statesman that in decades past the organisation's current a...Show More
Turkey: Staying Secular Insha'Allah

27:59 | Oct 18th, 2010

Turkey's increased economic and political importance makes it a place which outsiders need to understand. Since 2002, the nation has been governed by the AKP, a political party with Islamist roots. The AKP's time in power has coincided with impro...Show More
The Spirit Level: the theory of everything?

28:15 | Oct 11th, 2010

The Spirit Level is a book that aims to change the way you see the world. It has impressed politicians on both sides of politics, with David Cameron and Ed Milliband taking note of its message. Packed with scattergrams and statistics, the book arg...Show More
Whatever Happened to the Sisterhood?

28:03 | Oct 4th, 2010

Women will be hit disproportionately by the Budget cuts already announced by the government: A new study suggests that they will shoulder nearly three quarters of the burden, because they rely more on the state for benefits and are more likely to wo...Show More
The Big Society

27:47 | Sep 27th, 2010

Bigging It Up The Coalition claims its Big Society is more than a slogan and its ideas are shaping key policies. Anne McElvoy investigates the little-known genesis of David Cameron's big idea and examines what its roots reveal about how the governme...Show More
What's Wrong with Child Labour?

28:09 | Sep 20th, 2010

What is childhood for? It is commonly seen as a time for play and learning, but should employment play a more important part? Fran Abrams examines the subject of children at work in the UK, and asks why it is a phenomenon so little talked abou...Show More
Foreigner Policy

28:11 | Feb 8th, 2010

In the past decade, Britain has experienced mass immigration on an unprecedented scale. A former government aide recently suggested this was a deliberate policy, motivated in part by a desire to increase racial diversity. David Goodhart investigates ...Show More
Divorcing Europe

28:15 | Nov 16th, 2009

What would happen if Britain chose to leave the European Union? The new Lisbon Treaty contains a clause whch sets out the exit process for the first time. But, as Chris Bowlby reports, the final deal between Britain and its former EU partners would d...Show More
Are Politicians Out of Touch?

28:14 | Jun 22nd, 2009

Michael Blastland asks if 'group-think' is distancing policy from the public and asks if our political elite have forgotten how most voters live. People measure their behaviour and beliefs by those around them, so MPs might have thought that the expe...Show More
Jackanory Politics

28:39 | Feb 21st, 2008

Jackanory Politics: Frances Stonor examines the increasingly popular method of delivering a political message by telling a story.