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How confidence works

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 13 November 2009

How does confidence work? The question that's on everyone's minds is whether the world economy is really on the road toward a healthy recovery. Maybe it is, as long as we THINK it is. Human beings always want to see evidence that backs up their hopes. So every new piece of economic or corporate data is pored over in search of clues. Take the extensive reporting there's been of the profits of big companies. Stock markets around the world have taken heart. Michael Blastland, who specialises in looking at what lies behind statistics, explains that investors have to assess what other investors are thinking. He says there's a cycle of secondary impressions about other people's beliefs in the state of the economy.

And the BBC's Ed Butler interviews Guinea's Mines Minister, Mahmoud Thiam, on the government's attempts to revolutionise its potentially lucrative mining sector.

And Robert Weissman, president of the US pressure group, Public Citizen ponders on the Glass Steagall Act, an American law scrapped ten years ago, which he thinks would benefit today's global banking industry.


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