Podcasts

Trade Talks

A new podcast reminds us that even complicated macroeconomic issues can be fruitfully reduced to the sum of individual action.

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Why are shipping containers suddenly so expensive? Can Joe Biden's deal with Europe relieve high steel prices? What's a semiconductor, and why is America banning exports of them to China? If you've got questions about global trade—who doesn't right now?—then the podcast Trade Talks probably has an answer.

Co-hosts Soumaya Keynes, trade and globalization editor for The Economist, and Chad P. Bown, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, tackle trade news from the weird to the wonky. Dropping a new episode every few weeks, they effectively stay on top of relevant trade news, frequently adding value with guests who work in trade directly (entrepreneurs, logistics managers, and the like). The resulting product demonstrates that even complicated macroeconomic issues can be fruitfully reduced to the sum of individual action.

The podcast has been ahead of the curve, too. "As we've had this surging demand, the capacity of the global trading system to supply it all has struggled to keep up. And that has meant that moving stuff has become a lot more expensive," Bown explained during an episode on exploding shipping costs from March 2021. That observation would become central to one of the biggest economic stories of the year.