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To Combat Traffic Jams, Think Outside The Road

If there’s one thing that unites the world’s fastest growing cities, it is the mind-numbing experience of being stuck in traffic. Across the emerging world, the cost of congestion, which cuts into work hours and erodes people’s well-being, amounts to economic losses in the billions. This week, we’re going to take a look at two cities where experimental solutions to traffic have cropped up. Aya Lowe (@AyaloweCNA) reports from the Philippine capital Manila, where startups are building dorms...


Branko Milanović on Global Inequality: What Do We Do?

We're back with more from Branko Milanović, professor at the City University of New York’s Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, and author of the book, "Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization." Last week, producer Meara Sharma talked with Milanović about the factors that have driven inequities among nations and societies for centuries. While the last two decades have seen, for the first time since the industrial revolution, a decline in global inequality, the...


Branko Milanović on Global Inequality: The Long View

We talk a lot on this show about how economic developments in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East are reshaping the global order. But we’re also interested in the flipside of that story: the challenge of income inequality in the emerging world. Branko Milanović (@BrankoMilan) is a rockstar in the field of income inequality. He’s a professor at the City University of New York’s Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality, and his most recent book is Global Inequality: A New...


An Ancient Islamic Toothbrush Goes Millennial

The global Islamic economy - comprised of products and services that embody Islamic ethics - is a multi-trillion dollar industry. But Islamically-branded products are often seen as traditional rather than hip and cutting-edge. This week, Rabiya Jaffery of the podcast Kerning Cultures (@kerningcultures) brings us a story of a new company that is trying to shift that perception, by reimagining an ancient Muslim toothbrushing tradition for today’s youth.


In Brazil and India, Turning Trash into a Resource

As countries move up the development spectrum, they tend to produce more trash, and across the emerging world, governments are struggling to keep up. The result is serious environmental and health hazards that often reinforce pre-existing inequalities. On this episode, we’ll hear about efforts to deal with waste in Brazil and India, two countries where rapid urbanization and industrialization has made trash a pressing problem. Zoe Sullivan (@zoesullnews) reports on a favela in Rio de Janeiro...


Pakistani Cinema's New Wave

Pakistani cinema is going through a renaissance. After years of authoritarian policies that stifled the film industry, the country is producing more movies than it has in decades. We talk with journalist Samira Shackle (@samirashackle) about the history of Pakistani cinema and the new wave of films that are tackling subjects like radicalization and gender politics in groundbreaking ways. Plus, a conversation with acclaimed Pakistani actor, director, and producer Adnan Malik (@adnanmalik)....


Argentine Wine Needs a Revolution

Argentina has a rich tradition of winemaking that dates back nearly 500 years. But today, the country's famous wine industry is in crisis, thanks to a complex array of factors – including bad weather, price volatility, and the rise of craft beer. This week, reporter Frederick Bernas (@frederickbernas) tells us about the challenges plaguing Argentine wine, and what producers are doing to breathe new life into the beverage. You can read more about the Argentine wine industry in Frederick's...


85% Extra: The Filipino Middle Class in the Gulf

The rise of the global middle class is a central component of the emerging market narrative. In Asia, the middle class consumer is one of the most powerful economic drivers of the future. By 2030, according to some estimates, Asia will host nearly two-thirds of the global middle class, and this group will account for 40% of global consumption. But what about the middle class in the Arabian Gulf countries? In places like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, expatriate communities have...


Cape Town's Water Reckoning

Cape Town, South Africa is in the throes of an epic water crisis. Severe drought, population growth, overconsumption, poor infrastructure, and years of mismanagement have depleted the water supply, and the city is fast approaching "Day Zero," the day people's taps will be turned off. Emerge85 editor-in-chief Joseph Dana (@ibnezra), who recently moved to Cape Town, reflects on life in a city on the brink of running out of water, and visits a spring where an informal economy and community...


How Pollution is a Drag on Development

From Lahore and Delhi to Hanoi and Guangzhou, the most polluted cities on earth are in the 85 world. On this episode, we consider how the problem of pollution looms over the world's fastest-growing places, damaging both public health and economic development. First, journalist Pia Heikkila (@piaheikkila) reports from Delhi, where consistently hazardous levels of smog have given rise to a new anti-pollution industry. Then, we talk with Urvashi Narain, a senior environmental economist at the...


NAFTA: The View From Mexico

This week, Canada, Mexico, and the United States begin yet another round of talks about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement – what President Donald Trump has deemed "the worst trade deal in history." On this episode of the podcast, we focus on NAFTA from Mexico's perspective: how it has affected the country, and what's at stake if it collapses. First, reporter Maya Kroth (@theemaya) brings us a story about a craft beer brewer in Tijuana whose success depends upon a free...


Saudi Arabia and the Future of the Regional Order

Saudi Arabia is in a moment of profound transformation. From allowing women to drive to rounding up prominent businessmen at Riyadh's Ritz Carlton, the actions of the royal family - driven by crown prince Mohammad bin Salman - captured the world's attention in 2017, and will only continue to do so in the year ahead. In this special edition of the podcast recorded in Abu Dhabi, we consider the changes unfolding in Saudi Arabia from a regional perspective. In conversation with emerge85 Lab...


The Emerging World in 2017

In this year-end conversation, Emerge85 Lab co-directors Afshin Molavi and Mishaal Al Gergawi sit down with Joseph Dana, the lab's editor-in-chief, to take stock of 2017 in the 85 world and consider what lies ahead. They discuss the return of growth, unexpected shifts in Iran and Saudi Arabia, why Americans still use iMessage, spices, horror movies, and much more. Don't miss it. Also, listeners: we'd love to hear from you! We're doing a series about cinema, and we want to know about a...


India's Biometric Program Puts a Billion Identities at Stake

India's Supreme Court is reckoning with one of the nation's most ambitious and contested initiatives in recent years: the biometric identification database known as Aadhaar. Aadhaar has amassed the data—including iris scans, photos, and fingerprints—of more than a billion Indians, and is supposed to improve the distribution of welfare benefits and reduce corruption. But critics argue it has gone too far, representing an intrusion into the lives of Indians as well as a security risk. Host...


In East Africa, Clothing Gets Political

Used clothes from the West are ubiquitous across the African continent. But now, leaders in several East African countries are trying to phase out imports of foreign hand-me-downs, arguing that they stifle local textile industries. Host Afshin Molavi talks with Simon Allison (@simonallison), Africa editor of the Mail and Guardian, about how the used clothing debate throws issues around trade, aid, and globalization into sharp relief. Plus, a look at fashion and social change in Rwanda with...


The Man Who Brought Ride Sharing to the Middle East

Careem, the fast-growing, car-hailing app, is the Middle East's only 'unicorn' – a private tech company worth more than $1bn. Abdulla Elyas, co-founder of Careem, talks to host Afshin Molavi about the company, its future, and his own entrepreneurial highs and lows. He also offers tips for aspiring entrepreneurs in the region. In the second segment, emerge85 collaborator Kerning Cultures offers a reported segment on the social mobility and rise of the Filipino middle class in Dubai.


Mexico between Two Earthquakes

Mexico City experienced a major earthquake on September 19, 2017 – exactly 32 years to the day that a similar quake struck the North American city. Journalist and scholar Andres Martinez explains why these two earthquakes can serve as bookends for Mexico 'then and now', pointing out the dramatic gains that have been made over the past three decades in society, politics, and the economy. He also discusses the "two Mexicos" that exist side-by-side in a country that is experiencing dramatic...


Asia's Air Travel Revolution

This week Afshin Molavi looks at the air travel revolution reshaping Asia, and also explores why Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan is claiming Dubai as his own city. Molavi speaks with Max Hirsh, a professor at the University of Hong Kong and author of the book, "Airport Urbanism: Infrastructure and Mobility in Asia." Hirsh argues that the unprecedented airport build up across East Asia has helped spur an air travel revolution that is reshaping economies and societies across the region. A...


Easternization: The Rise of Asia and Decline of the West

The fourth episode of the 85% takes us to London, where host Afshin Molavi speaks with Gideon Rachman, chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times and author of the book, Easternization: Asia's Rise and America's Decline From Obama to Trump and Beyond. For some 500 years, the West dominated the world. That is no longer true, Rachman argues, and he says the rise of China, India and other Asian powers are rewriting our global script. The extraordinary rise of Chinese travelers...


The Next Africa: The Great Turnaround Story of the 21st Century?

In the third episode of The 85%, host Afshin Molavi sits down with Africa markets specialist Aubrey Hruby to discuss the promise and challenges of African markets in the 21st century. Hruby argues that Africa could become "the great turnaround story of the 21st century," while also noting that the continent's more immediate jobs challenge should be "keeping us all awake at night." Hruby is co-author of The Next Africa: An Emerging Continent Becomes a Global Powerhouse, and a non-resident...


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