Marketplace PM for January 13, 2005
'When are we gonna go back to our houses? We just don't know yet.' That's about all that a sheriff's deputy could tell dozens of his neighbors at a community meeting in La Conchita, California today. The deaths of at least 12 people have been attributed to record rain in Southern California. Though things are drying out here, Marketplace's Scott Jagow reports commerce is soaked.
The head of the World Trade Organization has written a letter to members of the WTO. It reads in part, "although we are not involved in humanitarian assistance or disaster relief, clearly we can make a major contribution to the economies" of those countries affected by the Asian tsunami disaster. What sort of contribution? Thailand would like to see lower tariffs on shrimp, Sri Lanka says it could use lower tariffs on textiles. But tariffs were on the table long before the Indian Ocean tragedy. Marketplace's Scott Tong looks at an expanding definition of aid.
The President says Social Security is "in crisis." But government actuaries say the picture is far more nuanced than that. Who and what to believe? Host David Brown speaks to financial journalist Roger Lowenstein about when a crisis is really a crisis.
In the marketing business, it's not uncommon for manufacturers to strike deals with film-makers to drop in their brands. You've seen it: a well-positioned Coke can, a department store logo in the background. It's called product placement. Now, this: A $200 million marketing deal between Volkswagen and NBC Universal. It covers more than just movies, but also TV and theme parks. Good thing for VW? As Marketplace's Amy Scott reports it may be too much of a good thing.
Americans are proud of their independence. Yet in at least one respect, the U.S. may be falling to foreign domination. The European Commission is churning out a raft of new health and safety rules, and some of them will wind up affecting U.S. businesses whether Americans like it or not. Over the next few weeks, we're going to be reporting on these changes in a series prepared in collaboration with the Center on Investigative Reporting. Our series is called "Brussels Clout". And we begin with a look at a major change in how the chemical industry might be regulated. Marketplace's European bureau chief Stephen Beard takes us into a typical home in London.
Commentator Mark Shapiro says this kind of transnational regulation is about to become a lot more common. He is the Editorial Director for the Center for Investigative Reporting - and author of "New Power for Old Europe", which appeared in the December issue of 'The Nation'.