The Spectator Podcast: When money dies

23 August 2018 11:35 AM

Venezuela is racked with hyperinflation. The crisis is now so bad that the president has instituted a new currency which essentially cuts off several zeros from the old one. But will Maduro’s mad policies actually make things worse in a country that is already suffering terribly? On this week’s Spectator podcast, Professor Steve Hanke, an expert on hyperinflation who served as an adviser to former Venezuelan president Caldera, and Dr Julia Buxton, of Swansea University, discuss Jason Mitchell‘s cover piece on what happens when money dies.

On the podcast, Julia Buxton describes the miserable situation on the ground as a result of a socialist experiment gone badly wrong:

‘The great tragedy of Venezuela is that in the 2000s there were big improvements in terms of reductions in inequality but it was only for a short time and has not proved sustainable. All of those benefits have been simply rolled back. Venezuela is in a socially worse situation than it was in 1998 and the situation then was pretty catastrophic. What I have found the most distressing is people with late stage cancer, HIV who have no access to medicines.’ 

Next, what can be done to fix the crisis in Britain’s prisons? This week, the government was forced to take control of HMP Birmingham from G4S. So is this evidence of privatisation gone wrong? Will Heaven, director of policy at the Policy Exchange think-tank, argues in this week’s magazine that this conclusion misses the point. After all, he says, public and private prisons are equally as bad. Will is joined on the podcast by Cody Lachey, a former prisoner at Manchester Strangeways and now a prison reform campaigner.

And finally on this week’s podcast, since Louise Brown became the world’s first test tube baby 40 years ago, births by IVF have become routine, with almost 2500 children born each year thanks to the donation of eggs, sperm, or both. But with the growing popularity of this method of conception, what are the odds on those babies growing up and inadvertently having children with their half-siblings? That’s the question Ross Clark poses in the magazine this week. He speaks on the podcast to Laura Spoelstra, former chief executive at the National Gamete Donation Trust and an egg donor herself.

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