Why Chess and Economics don't mix

Most commentators agree that what's needed to steer the eurozone out of crisis is some kind of "fiscal union".

Now true fiscal union implies some way of coordinating decisions about revenue raising and public spending between the member countries: a kind of European Finance Ministry setting taxes and allocating expenditure between nations.

Of course, no such union emerged from last week's summit, instead what the delegates agreed upon was a so-called "fiscal compact". Justin Rowlatt asks Malcolm Sawyer, a professor of Economics at the University of Leeds, what the difference between a union and a compact is.

And, most of us will have been approached by a Nigerian cyber fraudster - normally offering to transfer huge amounts of money into our bank accounts in return for a small fee. But have you ever stopped to consider why Nigeria is a world leader in such scams?

One reason is the high rate of youth unemployment. With jobs scarce, many young Nigerians turn to cybercrime to make money. It's entrepreneurial, but it's also illegal.

Now one social enterprise is trying to encourage them to use their IT and moneymaking skills to start up businesses instead . The BBC's Jonah Fisher reports from Lagos.

Every year Harvard Economics Professor Ken Rogoff says he recieves an unsolicited letter from one of the world's top chess players. It is a different one every year but the question is the same: how can I get out of chess.

Because Ken Rogoff is one of those exceptional people who has managed to excel not just in one field but in two.

Professor Rogoff has been chief economist at the IMF, he's worked the Federal Reserve, but he had a life before economics. As a child Ken developed an all-consuming passion for chess. He left home - and school - at 15 to pursue this passion and he did very well indeed. He became an international grand master -- the highest title in chess and was once ranked 40th in the World.

Justin Rowlatt asks Ken Rogoff why was forced to decide to stop playing the game he loved.

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18 minutes

Last on

Thu 15 Dec 2011 11:32 GMT

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