The world is getting richer, but the age-old questions remain about what good these riches do, and how they are shared across society and across our own familiesStephen Titherington, Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service English
Date: 31.05.2018 Last updated: 05.06.2018 at 11.46
This June will see the launch of Money & Power - a major new season of programmes and features across the BBC’s global TV, radio and online networks exploring how the basic building blocks of our lives are being shaped and reshaped by money.
Reporting from countries across the world - China, Korea, Pakistan, Israel, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Sweden, Spain and the US - the month-long exploration will look at how money, and the power it brings, can define our relationships and our lives. The season will look at how, and why, money causes some relationships to prosper and others to fail.
Stephen Titherington, Commissioning Editor, BBC World Service English, says: “The world is getting richer, but the age-old questions remain about what good these riches do, and how they are shared across society and across our own families. This is an intimate look at money, and relationships - from owning empty mansions in the Punjab to getting back on your feet after bankruptcy in Miami. This is as much about families as it is about global finance, as we test the reality of living together whether it's for richer or for poorer."
This diverse collection of unique stories will explore, from a personal point of view: winning the lottery, building your dream home, the hidden world of the financial dominatrix, facing financial money clinics as a couple, living in gated communities in Honduras, being an only child in Sweden and Portugal, getting married in Uganda, and in the US and Mexico asking what our teeth say about us to others.
The Money & Power season is the result of the BBC World Service’s annual ‘Creative Challenge’ in which BBC staff, regardless of role, can put forward their own ideas. The selected entries are then made into radio and TV programmes and additional digital content which are then broadcast and published across the BBC’s global services in different languages.
In Every Dream Home a Heartache (TV and radio documentaries, plus digital & social media content)
For many Pakistani migrants coming to the West the best sign of success is to return home to a mansion built with their new found wealth - a dream home. But what of their children and grandchildren? For them, where is home? Many living in Oslo return to the Punjab to build their mansions, with hundreds appearing in the Kharian region of the Punjab. Each mansion represents a successful migration to the West.
In Oslo these Punjabi men and their families have mostly lived in small spaces and had low-paying jobs. For decades they have worked hard and saved hard. For them the dream, as well as the economic statement of success, was to own a mansion back in the Punjab - and now many of them do. For three or four weeks a year the mansions are holiday homes to the returning migrants and their Norwegian-born children. This is often a time when differences and rifts in extended families emerge and a time when young people must assess their futures.
What Would you Do with $100? (Radio documentary, plus digital and social media content)
What would you do with $100? What does it reveal about us and the buying power of money? Lesley Curwen travels to Washington DC where the $100 note is printed. In the city, she meets Maurice Abbey Bey, a former drug user now charity worker, who would spend his imaginary $100 on both a necessity and a small luxury, while Margarita Womack, a former scientist turned entrepreneur, would use her imaginary $100 to relax away from her hectic daily life.
We also meet Pelagia Chabata, who has recently left her homeland of Zimbabwe to seek work in Washington DC. For her staying connected online is paramount. The $100 bill is most popular outside of the US and about 90 percent of all bills are shipped out of the country. A small handful of countries actually use the US dollar as legal tender. One of them is the cash-strapped economy of Zimbabwe. Travelling to the Harare we meet Edgar, a married hospital doctor, who would use any extra monies to help family and patients, while Alice, a maid and working mum of four would use $100 to finish her dream.
Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (Radio documentary, TV features plus digital and social media content) What do our teeth say about us? BBC Journalist Natalia Guerrero is in Miami and Mexico and asks, do we judge others by their teeth? And do we demonstrate our own wealth by paying for the perfect smile? This documentary explores what our teeth say about us.
Money Clinic (TV and radio programmes, plus digital and social media content) Couples and families discuss love and money with an expert. Presenter Ruth Alexander invites couples and families into the BBC Money Clinic to discuss their relationship with money and each other with local experts in both Miami and Nairobi. Like it or not, money is at the heart of our most personal relationships. It's also at the root of a large proportion of relationship breakdowns. Being able to talk honestly and openly about money is critical, and yet it can be hard to talk about. Often, we don't understand our own entrenched attitudes to spending and saving, where they come from, and how they're affecting our lives.
This programme aims to change that, giving people the chance to discuss and explore their money issues, worries and goals. In the first episode, the BBC Money Clinic travels to Miami in the United States, where young families struggle to keep up with the high cost of living. In the second, the BBC Money Clinic opens in Nairobi, Kenya, where young couples are trying to work out how to manage the considerable costs of getting married and setting up life together, while supporting their parents.
Back From The Brink (TV and radio documentaries, plus digital and social media content)
Stories of entrepreneurs who have tried and failed - and are trying again. As part of the BBC World Service’s Money & Power season, we meet the entrepreneurs facing the toughest of tests. In three vivid stories from across the globe, we hear from individuals who have created businesses and watched them fail. Now, they are picking themselves up, dusting themselves off, and starting all over again.
We meet Rafael Agostinho Rodrigues, who created a massively successful sunglasses brand in his native Brazil, turning over $15 million and employing 45 sales representatives. He watched as cheap imitations of his high-end products flooded the market and his business went under. Now he’s in Miami, Florida, with 14,000 pairs of sunglasses in a warehouse, trying to find an investor so he can start up all over again.
In South Korea, Hyerin Lee attempted to kickstart the market for green energy through tidal power. But her ambitious project faced numerous challenges and it went bust. Today she has an innovative new product she’s trying to sell - a portable unit which can generate power for campers, who dip it in a stream. And in Israel, there’s Miriam Lottner, who set up a web-based animated TV show aimed at getting more young women interested in science and tech. The business failed and now she’s created a new educational card game for children. Will she succeed? We hear about the hopes, the angst and the burning drive which keeps these serial entrepreneurs going, even when the going gets tough. Presented by Georgia Catt.
The Private Cities Of Honduras (TV and radio documentaries, plus digital and social media content)
Will the plan to create entire privatised cities in Honduras work? Luis Fajardo examines a controversial plan to create privatised cities in the impoverished Central American country of Honduras.
Nearly a decade ago star US economist Paul Romer proposed “charter cities” as a model for developing countries to escape poverty and violence: new cities with Western-style institutions and laws, to be built and managed by foreign entities in semi-autonomous enclaves. The hope is that these new cities would attract foreign investment and offer stability and prosperity to Hondurans weary of violence and instability.
Critics have condemned the initiative as thinly-veiled colonialism. But the current leaders of Honduras, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere and one of the most violent in the world, are receptive to the concept, and have begun laying down the legal groundwork for the plan. President Juan Orlando Hernandez was re-elected last year in an election were the subject of privatised cities was one of main election issues. Activists warn that the privatised enclaves will only worsen social inequality and undermine sovereignty in an already weak and deeply divided country.
Inside The World Of The Financial Dominatrix (Radio documentary, plus digital and social media content)
Exploring the idea that money is power by looking at the fetish of financial domination. Financial domination, or findom, is an increasingly popular it would seem sexual fetish revolving around money and power. In this internet-based world, submissives (subs) are known as cash slaves and pay pigs. The financial dominatrices (dommes) humiliate, manipulate, seduce or even blackmail their willing “fiscal slaves” into sending them money or gifts - most have an Amazon wish list connected to their social media profiles.
No sex is required. With access to both fin dommes and fin subs, this documentary gives voice to the men who love to be ridiculed or to feel used, and the women (for there are female fin subs too). Some of these clients are happy as subs. Some have lost everything. Older, more experienced dominatrix, often specialising in a range of fetish work, reveal what makes a great fin domme, and the younger women just starting out on social media answer accusations they are simply conning vulnerable people out of money.
Who engages in such a fetish? How does a dominatrix build her online persona in order to be successful? Is it about power, obedience, sacrifice or all of those? And what does the rise of findom tell us about the role of money in gender relations? Presented by Ana Fernandez Saiz and Tse Yin Lee.
Only Not Lonely (Radio documentary, plus digital and social media content)
The economic unit of the family is changing through the rise in one-child families. So why do some parents decide to have only one child? And how much does it have to do with circumstance and economics?
In this programme, BBC journalist Harriet Noble, an only child herself, travels across Europe and speaks to three families, each with one child. Despite a tradition of large families, these days Portugal one of the largest percentages of only children in the EU.
In Lisbon, Harriet meets football-loving mother and daughter Sofia and Diana, both only children, whose stories reflects the intricacies of modern life and global economics. It’s a different case 3,000km away in Sweden, which has one of the the lowest percentages of only children in the EU - in part due to generous state support. In Stockholm Harriet meets Therese, whose decision to have just one child was greeted with confusion and anger by friends. Finally, Harriet goes home to the south-west England to speak to her own parents, and for the first time asks why she is an only child.
What’s Mine Is Yours (Radio documentary, plus digital and social media content)
Can relationships within couples be truly equal when there is a significant difference in earnings? Emily Thomas goes behind closed doors, and delves into the finances of couples around the globe to see what part money plays in personal relationships. Does holding the purse strings determine who holds the power? Can pooling resources lead to greater relationship satisfaction, and if so, does this vary depending on the culture you live in? And can a relationship ever be truly equal if those in it earn significantly different amounts of money. This documentary gets up close to one of the main causes of conflict within relationships across the globe – disparity of income.
Uganda: The Price Of Marriage (TV and radio documentaries, plus digital and social media content)
In Uganda, when it comes to weddings there are really only two options: go big, or go home... literally. If you're hoping to make your vows steeped in tradition, couples return home to their family and tribe. But, if you're following the latest craze, you'll certainly be going big: big dresses, big venues and big bills. With many Ugandans falling into financial ruin, all for the sake of bragging rights over the best party, the government may soon pass the 'The Anti-Luxury Wedding Bill' capping expenses on a couple's most special day. We follow two couples on two very different journeys: one in the heart of Kampala and one in the rural Mbale, as we discover the true cost of love.
Winning It Big (TV and radio documentary, plus digital and social media content)
Most people have dreamed of winning the lottery. It’s a dream that has become ever more common around the world as jackpots get bigger and lotteries more numerous. But does money really make us happy, and how much does this depend on where we live and how we spend it?
To find out, the BBC’s Mike Thomson meets lottery winners from around the globe. Mike dines with Arab/Israeli restaurateur, Jawdat Ibrahim, who spends much of his $23 million windfall on trying to bring Palestinians and Israelis closer together, through good food and dialogue. Mike tours rural Idaho with American businessman Brad Duke, who is determined to put his mountain of money to work. Brad won’t be happy, he insists, until he has trebled his $220 million winnings.
Mike goes nightclubbing with the self-declared ‘Mark Zuckerberg’ of Ghana, a man with a very different plan. The young pop video maker likes to flash his cash and seems determined to spend his way to happiness. Mike also meets Canada’s Rebecca Lapierre, who spurned a big lump sum in favour of $1000 a week for life. The former Miss Quebec has dedicated her winnings to helping the poor. True joy, she tells Mike, lies in giving rather than getting. So, what can we learn from these lottery winners, and are they any happier than the rest of us?