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50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

BBC World Service

392
Followers
1.8K
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50 Things That Made the Modern Economy
50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

50 Things That Made the Modern Economy

BBC World Service

392
Followers
1.8K
Plays
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About Us

Tim Harford tells the fascinating stories of inventions, ideas and innovations which have helped create the economic world.

Latest Episodes

Interface Message Processor

Arpanet was a computer network developed in the 1960s that paved the way for today's internet. At its heart was the Interface Message Processor: a massive, heavily armoured box containing the technology that made it possible. Tim Harford takes a look inside.

10 MIN13 hours ago
Comments
Interface Message Processor

Canned food

Developed for the military, dodging bureaucracy and fuelled by venture capital: canned food blazed a trail many of today's biggest tech innovations have followed. Tim Harford reveals the surprising lessons and cautionary tales lurking under the lid.

9 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Canned food

Interchangeable parts

Tim Harford tells the story of how Honoré Blanc, a gun-maker in 18th-century France, transformed the way the world manufactures things - but couldn't benefit from his own innovations.

10 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Interchangeable parts

Oil

The price of oil is arguably the most important in the world economy. How did we become so dependent - and are we ever likely to wean ourselves off it?

8 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Oil

Chatbot

It's claimed that some computers can now pass the Turing test: convincing people that they are human. Tim Harford asks how important that distinction is, and what it means for the future of human interaction.

10 MINAUG 26
Comments
Chatbot

Solar PV

Solar power has been harnessed by civilisations since the days of the ancient Greeks, but it's now on the verge of being more important than ever. Tim Harford examines how much of a challenge it poses to the energy establishment, and what that could mean for the planet's future.

9 MINAUG 19
Comments
Solar PV

Cassava

Despite being highly toxic, the roots of the cassava plant are a vital source of nutrition in many countries. They also shed light on the hidden social forces that support a modern economy.

9 MINAUG 12
Comments
Cassava

Fire

Humanity's taming of fire may be where the story of economics really begins, some argue. Tim Harford explores how fire has shaped our world and our minds, and why it's still got some important lessons to teach us.

9 MINAUG 5
Comments
Fire

RFID: The tech you’ve never heard of – but use every day

Radio frequency identification - RFID - is the foundation on which many contactless technologies are built. But is it getting left behind amid the "internet of things"? Tim Harford argues its best days may still be to come.

10 MINJUL 29
Comments
RFID: The tech you’ve never heard of – but use every day

Postage stamp

In the mid-19th Century, a man named Rowland Hill got fed up with how Britain's postal service worked, and decided to come up with a new system of his own. It would go on to change the world.

10 MINJUL 22
Comments
Postage stamp

Latest Episodes

Interface Message Processor

Arpanet was a computer network developed in the 1960s that paved the way for today's internet. At its heart was the Interface Message Processor: a massive, heavily armoured box containing the technology that made it possible. Tim Harford takes a look inside.

10 MIN13 hours ago
Comments
Interface Message Processor

Canned food

Developed for the military, dodging bureaucracy and fuelled by venture capital: canned food blazed a trail many of today's biggest tech innovations have followed. Tim Harford reveals the surprising lessons and cautionary tales lurking under the lid.

9 MIN1 weeks ago
Comments
Canned food

Interchangeable parts

Tim Harford tells the story of how Honoré Blanc, a gun-maker in 18th-century France, transformed the way the world manufactures things - but couldn't benefit from his own innovations.

10 MIN2 weeks ago
Comments
Interchangeable parts

Oil

The price of oil is arguably the most important in the world economy. How did we become so dependent - and are we ever likely to wean ourselves off it?

8 MIN3 weeks ago
Comments
Oil

Chatbot

It's claimed that some computers can now pass the Turing test: convincing people that they are human. Tim Harford asks how important that distinction is, and what it means for the future of human interaction.

10 MINAUG 26
Comments
Chatbot

Solar PV

Solar power has been harnessed by civilisations since the days of the ancient Greeks, but it's now on the verge of being more important than ever. Tim Harford examines how much of a challenge it poses to the energy establishment, and what that could mean for the planet's future.

9 MINAUG 19
Comments
Solar PV

Cassava

Despite being highly toxic, the roots of the cassava plant are a vital source of nutrition in many countries. They also shed light on the hidden social forces that support a modern economy.

9 MINAUG 12
Comments
Cassava

Fire

Humanity's taming of fire may be where the story of economics really begins, some argue. Tim Harford explores how fire has shaped our world and our minds, and why it's still got some important lessons to teach us.

9 MINAUG 5
Comments
Fire

RFID: The tech you’ve never heard of – but use every day

Radio frequency identification - RFID - is the foundation on which many contactless technologies are built. But is it getting left behind amid the "internet of things"? Tim Harford argues its best days may still be to come.

10 MINJUL 29
Comments
RFID: The tech you’ve never heard of – but use every day

Postage stamp

In the mid-19th Century, a man named Rowland Hill got fed up with how Britain's postal service worked, and decided to come up with a new system of his own. It would go on to change the world.

10 MINJUL 22
Comments
Postage stamp