Tag Archives: Analysis

Michael Pollan on Food and Public Health

Recently, the BBC’s Analysis programme sat down with author Michael Pollan to discuss food policy and public health.

Here is a description of the interview from the BBC’s podcast:

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 industry has promoted highly-processed products delivering hefty doses of salt, sugar and fat. He believes that the plethora of accompanying health claims have left us more confused than ever about what food really is, where it has come from and its impact on our health and the environment. His solution? To cook at home. He argues that this simple change will guarantee a healthy diet and stop us relying on big food companies to feed us. It is also, he says, a profoundly political act. But is it a realistic proposition for busy working families or simply a middle-class ideology?

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The Economics & Psychology of Scarcity & Poverty

Why do poor people make poor decisions? Are they poor because they are stupid, or are the stupid because they are poor? Apparently, there is research to suggest that latter. Recently, the BBC’s Analysis program interviewed Princeton psychologist Eldar Shafir about the economics and psychology of scarcity and poverty. 

Here is a description of the episode from the BBC’s website: 

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 Government at Oxford University. Jo will explore the book’s key idea: that not having enough money or time, shapes all of our reactions, and ultimately our lives and society.

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April 4, 2014 · 11:17 am

Russell Brand: Anarchist? Revolutionary?

Last October, comedian Russell Brand sparked a debate in the United Kingdom following his appearance on BBC’s Newsnight in which he calls for a radical reorganizing of the political order in the UK (and presumably the West more generally). Brand contends that the current political system has failed the populace and made traditional political participation (i.e. voting) futile. Brand states that revolution is inevitable and should be welcomed.

The interview has apparently not gained traction in the US as it has in the UK. I learned of it from the BBC’s Analysis podcast. Here is a description of the programme:

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 of a serious but controversial idea: anarchism.

The new “anarcho-populism” is the 21st century activist’s politics of choice. In evidence in recent student protests, the Occupy movement, in political encampments in parks and squares around the world, it combines age-old anarchist thought with a modern knack for inclusive, consumerist politics.

Brand’s interview was just one especially prominent example. The thinkers behind the movement say it points the way forward. Jeremy Cliffe, The Economist’s Britain politics correspondent, asks if they are right?

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February 5, 2014 · 11:49 pm

“Pornography: What Do We Know?”

That was the question being examined on the BBC’s Analysis radio programme. Here is a description of the show: 

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 positions to one side and investigates what the evidence tells us. She explores the limitations of the research that’s been carried out and asks whether we need to update our understanding of pornography. She hears from users of pornography about how and why they use it and researchers reveal what they have learnt about our private pornographic habits. 

With pornography becoming increasingly easy to access online, and as policy-makers, parents and teachers discuss how to deal with this, it’s a debate that will have far-reaching implications on education and how we use the internet. 

Producer: Helena Merriman 


Professor Neil Malamuth – University of California 
Dr Miranda Horvath – Middlesex University 
Dr Ogi Ogas – Author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts 
Professor Roger Scruton – Conservative philosopher and Author of Sexual Desire: A Philosophical Investigation 
Professor Gail Dines – Wheelock College, Boston.

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November 3, 2013 · 1:44 am