A couple new podcasts popped up this week that I really enjoyed, so I thought I'd share them. The first is by NPR's Planet Money, which I've talked about before and I really think is a prime example of the podcast format at its best. This episode, entitled "Humanitarians, For A Price," talked about the problems of delivering aid in Somalia. Because it's so dangerous, the UN and other aid agencies can't send in their own workers- they have to rely on locals who know the area and are more secure. The problem is, this comes at a price- in some cases, these "gatekeepers," as they're called, take some of the aid to sell or otherwise use for their own purposes. Their argument is that they're deserving of some payment for providing this proxy service for the UN, but in some cases, they take the vast majority of the aid and even "sell off" the refugees they support to militias and other gatekeepers. It's a crazy process that the UN hasn't seemed to have figured out how to manage, and it's fascinating. It's a short listen and I highly recommend it. Check it out here.
Another podcast that I really enjoyed this week was on "On Point with Tom Ashbrook," another one of my podcast regulars. This episode talked with economist-of-the-moment (certainly not a common concept) Thomas Piketty on his amazingly successful book "Capital in The Twenty-First Century," which was recently translated into English and has quickly become a top seller on Amazon. This book couldn't have come at a more perfect time, as inequality and wealth concentration have become hotly debated topics as of late. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, so I enjoyed hearing the crux of his argument discussed on the show, as well as some critique of his policy recommendations. The hour went quickly and it made me want to read the book even more- which now that I've just finished grading my Spring classes, I might actually have time to do! Check out the podcast here.