CBCradio

March 9, 2009

Pt 1: Economic Forecasting - It's been a bad year for anyone who makes a living trying to forecast our economic futures. All those fancy mathematical models pretty much tanked. And even our wisest financial soothsayers just didn't notice the ticking time-bomb in the American subprime mortgage market or how vulnerable so many of the biggest names on Wall Street turned out to be.

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Pt 2: My China Maid - Documentary - For years -- as China's economy surged like no other on earth -- millions of migrant workers left their homes in the countryside and headed for the cities to look for work. But now -- as the global economic crisis deepens -- thousands of factories have closed, millions have lost their jobs and that rural-to-urban migration is starting to reverse itself.

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Pt 3: Boutros Boutros-Ghali - Last week, The Current was in Jerusalem looking at the politics of water throughout the Middle East as part of our ongoing series on water issues called, Watershed. Among other things, we heard about the ways that water has fueled both cooperation and animosity between Israelis and Palestinians. And this morning, we're joined by someone who has spent much of his life working on global water issues and trying to bring peace to the region.

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It's Monday, March 9th.

George Bush's former advisor, Karl Rove, has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee even though he thinks it may turn into a show trial.

Currently, And for the record, Rove would like to make it clear that he fully appreciates the value of a good show trial.

This is The Current.

Economic Forecasting

It's been a bad year for anyone who makes a living trying to forecast our economic futures. All those fancy mathematical models pretty much tanked. And even our wisest financial soothsayers just didn't notice the ticking time-bomb in the American subprime mortgage market or how vulnerable so many of the biggest names on Wall Street turned out to be.

All in all, it's been a humbling experience for people like Joel Lovell. He's a financial columnist with GQ Magazine. And in his latest column, he threw up his hands and confessed that he just doesn't have a clue what advice to offer to his readers ... other than to be skeptical of people who say they do.

Formulas and Equations

Before the global economy went so spectacularly sideways, Governments and large corporations had become pretty comfortable counting on mathematical forecasting models to tell them which way the economic winds were blowing and to help steer them straight.

Bill MacLachlan has spent years studying and using those models. He's the Senior Portfolio Manager with Mawer Investment Management and he was in Calgary.


An Economist's Perspective

And yet the fact remains that these economic forecasting models failed to predict the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression. To some, that means they are fundamentally flawed and overdue for retirement. But others say the principles still work- we just need to rethink how we use them.

For their thoughts on that debate, Anna Maria Tremonti was joined by Tim Harford. He's an economist and a columnist with the British newspaper The Financial Times. His latest book is, The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World. He was in London, England.

And Carlos Leitao is the Chief Economist at Laurentian Bank Securities. Last year a Bloomberg News review of economic forecasting ranked him second among the world's leading economists. He was in Montreal.

 

My China Maid - Documentary

For years -- as China's economy surged like no other on earth -- millions of migrant workers left their homes in the countryside and headed for the cities to look for work. But now -- as the global economic crisis deepens -- thousands of factories have closed, millions have lost their jobs and that rural-to-urban migration is starting to reverse itself.

The sweeping economic and demographic shifts are having a significant impact on Chinese society, especially for women. Although it's not always easy to predict what those changes will be.

This morning, CBC Radio's China Correspondent Anthony Germain has the story of one woman who packed up and left her village to go looking for work in the big city -- Shanghai. In Chinese, the word "ayi" means both "auntie" and "maid" or domestic servant.

 

Boutros Boutros-Ghali


Feature Interview

Last week, The Current was in Jerusalem looking at the politics of water throughout the Middle East as part of our ongoing series on water issues called, Watershed. Among other things, we heard about the ways that water has fueled both cooperation and animosity between Israelis and Palestinians. And this morning, we're joined by someone who has spent much of his life working on global water issues and trying to bring peace to the region.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali was the United Nations Secretary General from 1992 to 1996. Before that, he spent 15 years as a key player in the Egyptian Government -- as Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. Boutros Boutros-Ghali joined us from Paris.


Last Word - Forcasting Satire

We began the program this morning with a look at the mathematical models used in economic forecasting and why despite them all, no one seemed to see the current economic crisis coming. And we'll leave you now with a look at where our friends at The CBC's Content Factory go for their financial advice.

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