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Thoughts on the queen, and more
Sep 8, 2022
Episode 748

Thoughts on the queen, and more

The power and wealth behind the crown.

From the death of Queen Elizabeth to lifesaving vaccines, we’re mostly talking about news from the other side of the pond today. Plus, we’ll discuss the economic power of royal fashion and wonder, what’s Jerome Powell thinking? Kai’s got answers!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

We want to hear how you’re feeling about the death of Queen Elizabeth. Leave a voice message at 508-U-B-SMART or drop us a line at makemesmart@marketplace.org.

Make Me Smart September 8, 2022 transcript


Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.


Kimberly Adams: Juan Carlos loves that. I’m Kimberly Adams, and welcome back to make me smart where we make today make sense.


Kai Ryssdal: I’m Kai Ryssdal, thanks for joining us on this Thursday.


Kimberly Adams: Yes, we are going to talk about the news and then end with some make me smiles. Shall we get started with the news fix? Which I guess I’ll go first with the obvious news, which is not a make me smile. But the passing of Queen Elizabeth today is obviously the big news story. And, man, what that woman has seen and I guess ruled over in her lifelong reigning. I know definitely British monarch, but I think she’s the longest reigning monarch in the world.


Kai Ryssdal: One of. I don’t believe the longest, but certainly top like three or something, globally, ever. Yeah.


Kimberly Adams: Yeah. And I, you know, I was thinking about this today, and just sort of – she oversaw pretty much the decline of the British Empire, and like, the entire opulent wealth of that family, that came from these very extractive relationships with the colonies. And, you know, watching the royal family kind of shrink and shrink and shrink in its influence over her lifetime must have been something to sort of adjust to these new realities. And she was so dedicated to that role, and being the face and the symbol that people needed while trying to sort of balance the weird separation they have over there, between sort of the government and the monarchy. But what’s been very interesting for me to observe today is the very complicated and sometimes very disrespectful response and way of acknowledging this news from different segments of Twitter. Black Twitter, and Irish Twitter, in particular, have been quite vocal. But you know, there’s a lot – billions of people all over the world who do not look kindly upon the British monarchy, for some really violent, horrible, and economically extractive histories. And I think that it’s worth, you know, bearing that in mind when viewing some of these reactions. And you know, I was looking at the BBC post of this video of like, Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with Africa, and it just glossed over so much stuff. And, you know, pointed out the human rights abuses in some of these African countries without acknowledging the human rights abuses of the British Empire. And it’s hard to ever really know how much role directly the British Monarchy had in these policies. But you can’t really separate their wealth and their power from that empire and the way it was set up. And there was a really good Twitter thread by Professor Melissa Murray, which we’ll link to on the show page, and she’s at NYU Law. And she has a really thoughtful, expert explanation of sort of how some of these former colonies of Britain are reacting to it. So that’s, that’s my take on the news today.


Kai Ryssdal: I think about that two things. Number one, the British Monarchy, via the British Empire, was extractive, right? I mean, it just was. Extracted wealth from the colonies, the 13 over here, but all over the place globally for centuries. So that has to be said out loud. The other thing you have to say is, it’s not just historic racism institutionally by the British Empire, it goes straight to the family, and I direct you no farther than Megan Markel, right?


Kimberly Adams: That was awful.


Kai Ryssdal: And her experiences with that family. So it exists to this day. And the idea that William, who’s now number two, or number one in line actually, said very close to these words, we’re not a racist family. After that interview that Harry and Megan did with Oprah. You know, it’s right there now, today present. I think you just have to, you just have to understand that. That’s really important. And… a thing away from – go ahead. Sorry.


Kimberly Adams: No, I think you were gonna say what I was gonna say.


Kai Ryssdal: Right. You have to somehow separate out the dedication, the longevity, the service, the duty, the obligation that the woman herself felt, versus the institution, I think. You know?


Kimberly Adams: Well, and you know, the role that she played in sort of holding up the institution as well, but you can hold – I think we can hold all those things. You can feel very sorry for the family and their loss. You can acknowledge that this is a woman who was a product of her times, while also acknowledging that this is not this beautiful, glossy history that we’re gonna see celebrated and all the pomp and circumstance in the coming days.


Kai Ryssdal: Of which there will be much, the next 10 days or so. Yeah. Yeah, I’m glad you brought that up, that was a good conversation, I’m going to be much more mundane and straight ahead. And I’m gonna go to my go-to, which is Jay Powell. And I just want to make sure that everybody hears this loud and clear. The Federal Reserve meets in like, I don’t know, two weeks, they’re about to enter what’s known as their quiet period, where the Board of Governors and the members of the Federal Open Market Committee don’t make any public remarks, so as not to spook the markets or give them any hint as to which way interest rates are going to go. But thanks to me, right now, here on this podcast, you will know which way the Federal Reserve is gonna go. Powell gave a speech ten days ago in Jackson Hole. Yeah, right? First of all, consult your own financial adviser. Powell gave a speech 10 days ago in Jackson Hole, in which he said, there is going to be more pain and we’re going to raise interest rates as much as we have to. Okay? Lael Brainard, the Vice Chair of the Fed gave a speech yesterday, in which she said, we’re going to raise rates as much as we have to. Powell made his last public appearance and set of remarks before the quiet period today. And if he was going to push back on the idea that it was going to be a three quarters percent interest rate increase, as opposed to a 50 basis point or half percent interest rate increase, today was the day he was going to do it. And he didn’t do that. So that means when the Fed meets in another 10 days or so, it’s going to be three quarters of a percentage point. Mark my words. Let’s play this tape back the next time that happens, I’m telling you. Three quarters percent, because Jay Powell, Jay Powell, specifically by his absence today, let the idea lie that it’s going to be 75 basis points. That’s what I think.


Kimberly Adams: Yeah. And he’s been nothing if not overly clear in his signals to the world in his time, so.


Kai Ryssdal: So clear. You betcha. You betcha.


Kimberly Adams: All right.


Kai Ryssdal: All right. Shall we?


Kimberly Adams: Onto some smiles.


Kai Ryssdal: Okay, so here’s mine. I am no fashionista. Let me just say, right off the bat, that will come as a surprise to exactly zero of you. Thank you very much. I hear you chuckling in the background there. Kimberly.


Kimberly Adams: I think you’re a very smart dresser, Kai.


Kai Ryssdal: I can be when I need to be. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. But I bring that up because my make me smile today is a book by occasional friend of Marketplace, Elizabeth Holmes. Not that Elizabeth Holmes of the blood testing company that went defunct, and she’s awaiting sentencing actually, having just asked for a new trial, by the way. But Elizabeth Holmes, former Wall Street Journal reporter, now an Instagram influencer I’m gonna say, with a brand she has established called So Many Thoughts about royal fashion and style. And she writes really, really informatively and entertainingly on royal fashion style. She wrote a book about, I don’t know, but it was in the before time, so probably like three years ago, because we actually had her in person in the studios, so. Okay, well, early 2020 then, because I had her in the studios when we interviewed her for the book. And I bring that up, not for what Princess Di wore, or what Meghan Markel wore, or what Catherine wore, but for the Queen, and how the Queen used her fashion and sense of style as a tool in exercising the monarchy. And it was just really interesting. And I legit learn something. And when I learned something, I’d like to share it. We’re going to put the link on our show page. It’s called HRH: So Many Thoughts on Royal Style. And it’s a really interesting and informative book. And there you go.


Kimberly Adams: Yeah, I’m guessing it means Her Royal Highness. Well, we’re just going like, all British all the time here, because my make me smile –


Kai Ryssdal: Today is the day for it, come on.


Kimberly Adams: Today is the day, yeah. So mine is also from the UK, because a team of scientists in Oxford have a malaria vaccine that people are saying has, and I’m quoting here from the BBC article, “world-changing potential”. This vaccine in a trial show that three initial doses followed by a booster a year later gave kids up to 80% protection against malaria. And this is just such a huge disease that devastates so many kids and families in the developing world and one of these diseases that hasn’t exactly been well funded in the past, because it’s a disease that affects mostly poor people. And so this particular vaccine, the scientists say they can make and produce pretty cheaply, and they already have a deal to manufacture more than 100 million doses a year. And this really is like one of those scientific break through that could legitimately change the world. And I know there’s a lot of UK news out today, but this is important too. And I should also note that last year, the World Health Organization did give the go-ahead for the very first vaccine to be used, but this team in Oxford says that theirs are a lot more effective and can be manufactured much more cheaply and get distributed. So that’s exciting.


Kai Ryssdal: Vaccines are the bomb, vaccines are the bomb. So where do you go? Very cool. All right. We are done on a Thursday. A little bit early, but that’s alright. Give you back five minutes of your time. Back tomorrow for economics on tap. Join us for an end of the week drink on our YouTube livestream. It’s 6:30 Eastern 3:30 Pacific. We’ll do some news. We’ll do some drinks and a round of half full half empty, I do believe.


Kimberly Adams: Yes. And please keep sending us your thoughts and questions. I’d be very interested to hear people’s thoughts on the Queen Elizabeth stuff. Our email is makemesmart@marketplace.org You can also leave us a message at 508-U-B-SMART.


Kai Ryssdal: Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera. Olivia Zhao is our intern.


Kimberly Adams: Today’s episode was engineered by Juan Carlos Torrado. Bridget Bodnar is the Senior Producer and Donna Tam is the Director of On Demand.

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Producer
Bridget Bodnar Senior producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Marque Greene Associate Producer