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The pandemic created a global economic crisis that economists and experts expected would lead to greater wealth inequality than ever before. Host Rebecca Greenfield along with a team of Bloomberg News reporters heads to seven countries around the world to find out what this world changing event has wrought. What they found was surprising.


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The pandemic created a global economic crisis that economists and experts expected would lead to greater wealth inequality than ever before. Host Rebecca Greenfield along with a team of Bloomberg News reporters heads to seven countries around the world to find out what this world changing event has wrought. What they found was surprising.




Spain: A Time-Tested Model for Economic Security

For the last seven weeks, we’ve gone around the world to see how the pandemic led to more or less economic equality. There were some pleasant surprises and some devastating stories. In the season finale, we ask: what about the next crisis? How do we ensure more stability and security when something earth shattering inevitably comes along? That led reporter Jeannette Neumann to a small town in Spain’s Basque region, which boasts a strong track record of security and stability, thanks to a crisis-tested economic model. See for privacy information.


Singapore: Who Gets to Be Crazy Rich?

Singapore's carefully controlled housing market has been a key factor in its economic success over the last 60 years. But when the pandemic ushered in the city's worst-ever recession, property prices continued to rise, leading a younger generation to worry if it can match the social mobility enjoyed by their parents. In this episode of The Pay Check, we examine the grand housing experiment that helped Singapore to reach one of the highest rates of homeownership in the world, and recent developments that have left ordinary Singaporeans asking whether the system is still working for them. Reporter Faris Mokhtar meets the man who helped create the city's housing boom, as well as the young professionals grappling with the market today. See for privacy information.


Mexico: Choosing the Economy Over Life

Mexico’s handling of the pandemic has been largely driven by its president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, and his desire to keep the economy open. That’s meant few restrictions and a “return to normal” even before vaccines. The approach hasn’t come without costs, particularly to the country’s health care system. During the first year of the pandemic, maternal mortality rates spiked 60%. In this episode of The Pay Check, Equality reporter Kelsey Butler travels to a rural part of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula to get to the bottom of how that happened — and find out how to fix it. See for privacy information.


Hawaii: When a Billionaire Buys Your Hometown

One of the defining trends of the pandemic has been the creation of extreme wealth at the very top. This week on The Pay Check we take a look at the booming fortunes of the world’s growing billionaire class through one man: Larry Ellison. (Net worth, give or take $90 billion.) Ellison co-founded the tech company Oracle but he may be better known for how he spends his money: yachts, mansions, a tennis tournament. In 2012, he bought an entire Hawaiian island, Lanai — home to 3,000 people. For a decade its residents have anxiously watched Ellison slowly kill their small businesses and push up rents from afar. Then, during the pandemic, Ellison moved there. Bloomberg Wealth reporter Sophie Alexander traveled down to the island to see how the billionaire’s presence has accelerated his plans, and how locals whose families have lived there for generations are managing. See for privacy information.


India: Why Did Working Women Disappear?

Even before the pandemic, the proportion of women in India's workforce was falling. Covid made it so much worse. This episode of The Pay Check looks at where India's working women went during the pandemic, why they haven't come back to the workforce, and why that's a blow to the country's broader economic ambitions. Archana Chaudhary and Ronojoy Mazumdar travel to a girls school on the Ganges with one primary mission: Keeping girls in school, often at odds with families that would prefer to get them married. See for privacy information.


Kenya: The Lost Girls

An increase in teen pregnancies in Kenya is part of a shadow pandemic that ripped through developing nations during Covid, setting women’s progress back generations. In this episode of The Pay Check, journalist Jill Filipovic visits a dance school in Nairobi, Kenya that’s fighting to help girls manage their lives and re-enroll in school. See for privacy information.


U.S.: Where Cash Made All the Difference

When the Covid-19 pandemic started, many people expected inequality to get worse in the U.S. But at least for the bottom 50% of Americans, something surprising happened: Many of the least advantaged boosted their wealth. To start to understand why, we look to cash payments. No-strings-attached money went to people in need in the form of federal stimulus, the child tax credit — and local guaranteed income programs. As pandemic rescue aid wanes, is there a path to making monthly cash payments permanent? Reporter Susan Berfield looks to Jackson, Mississippi, to find out. See for privacy information.


Brazil: The Cautionary Tale

This season on the Pay Check, we're going to seven different countries to see how a global pandemic shifted the balance between the richest and the poorest people -- and affected everyone in between. In this first episode, Host Rebecca Greenfield and reporter Ben Steverman discuss how the effects of the pandemic on our health, wealth, safety and livelihood varied widely based on where in the world we were. Then Brazil-based reporter Shannon Sims takes us to the country's capital, Brasilia -- One of the places with the sharpest inequality in the world. Through a day in the life of a single mother who added rideshare driver to her list of side jobs during the pandemic, she explores the ways the pandemic snapped the already fragile safety nets women in this vulnerable group had strung together to stay afloat. See for privacy information.


Coming Soon: The Pay Check Season Four

The pandemic created a global economic crisis that economists and experts expected would lead to greater wealth inequality than ever before. Host Rebecca Greenfield along with a team of Bloomberg News reporters heads to seven countries around the world to find out what this world changing event has wrought. What they found was surprising. See for privacy information.


Introducing: White Picket Fence

This special episode of The Pay Check features "What Could Have Been", the latest episode of White Picket Fence from Wonder Media Network. How did the U.S. become a society that treats caregiving as a private family responsibility rather than a public good? In this episode, Julie explores the longstanding and continued role racism has played in preventing investments in public goods that would benefit everyone, including caregiving. We’ll also do a deep dive into the 1970s when the U.S. nearly invested in universal childcare — and how fear was deployed to block it. Check out all the episodes from the new season of White Picket Fence wherever you get your podcasts. See for privacy information.


Introducing: Breakthrough

On Breakthrough, a new series from the Prognosis podcast, we explore how the pandemic is changing our understanding of healthcare and medicine. We start with an examination of long Covid, a mysterious new illness that has stumped doctors attempting to treat symptoms that last for months and potentially years. It has changed the way hospitals work and forced healthcare officials to prepare for the next pandemic. Covid has also opened the door to revolutionary technology: messenger RNA vaccines. It’s a technology that never could have been proven so quickly outside the crucible of that first pandemic year, 2020, and it holds big implications for the future of medicine. Breakthrough launches on Oct. 19. Subscribe today on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. See for privacy information.


Bonus: The Making of The Pay Check

With the season behind us, Rebecca Greenfield and Jackie Simmons sat down during the Bloomberg Businessweek conference to go inside the making of The Pay Check. They talked about how the series came together, high points, challenges and reactions -- and even teased what might be coming from the Pay Check team in the future. See for privacy information.


Moving Forward by Looking Back

For our final episode of season 3, we take a look at how reckoning with our history, collectively, and personally, can help us move forward. Closing the racial wealth gap might not be possible anytime soon. But if the U.S. wants to seriously tackle these injustices, it might need to start with the truth. A few years ago, Bloomberg colleague, Claire Suddath explored her own family’s connection to slavery and a plantation in Mississippi. Jackie sits down with Claire to explore what it was like to reckon with that past. See for privacy information.


Reparations Gone Wrong

Reparations for slavery in the U.S. aren't happening any time soon. But there are other countries that have compensated populations for persecution. This week, the Pay Check heads to the U.K., which is in the midst of what it calls a "compensation scheme" to pay back Black residents known as The Windrush Generation. Olivia Konotey-Ahulu and Brentin Mock dig into why it's less of a model and more of a cautionary tale. See for privacy information.


A Reparations Experiment

This week on the Pay Check, we look at the long fight for reparations for slavery in the U.S. Economists have calculated that each Black American is owed around $300,000, which would just about close the racial wealth gap. While momentum for reparations has grown, it's not likely to happen any time soon -- at least at the federal level. Meanwhile, cities and the state of California are looking into local reparations. Susan Berfield looks at how one town is repaying its Black residents for discrimination. See for privacy information.


The Problem With Affirmative Action

For the last few weeks, we've talked about the origins of the racial wealth gap. This week, we're turning our attention to one of the first major efforts to create more economic opportunity for Black Americans: Affirmative action in education. Kelsey Butler takes us to California, a place that for decades had strong, successful affirmative action measures, until one day, it didn't. She explains what getting rid of the policy meant for Black and white graduates, and why reinstating it isn't enough to close the wealth gap. See for privacy information.


The Black Homeownership Tax

Homeownership has been a main source of intergenerational wealth in the U.S. But it’s one that is out of reach for many Black Americans. Decades after fair housing reforms, the dramatic disparity between Black and White homeownership isn’t getting any better. In this episode, we look at why this gap persists, with many Black homes overtaxed, undervalued and unjustly foreclosed on. The focus of our story is one problem that's a “textbook case of institutional racism”: In thousands of U.S. counties, the method for calculating property taxes means Black Americans are experiencing unfairly high taxes. It's the reason why Di Leshea Scott is renting a home she used to own. See for privacy information.


A Quick Note From The Pay Check

The Pay Check team has a request for our listeners. Experts estimate closing the racial wealth gap would cost around $13 trillion. That amounts to around $300,000 for every Black American. We want to know: What would you do with that money? Call and leave us a voicemail at 646-324-3490 or record a voice memo on your phone and email it to We may use your voice on the show. Thanks! See for privacy information.


'The Last Plantation'

The top five White landowners in the U.S. own more land than all the Black landowners combined. And over the last century, Black farmers have lost nearly all of the land they once owned. But in the 1990s, tens of thousands of Black farmers sued the Department of Agriculture for discrimination, and won. In this episode, Elizabeth Rembert looks at the role of farmland in the racial wealth gap, and how one farmer's fight with his local USDA loan officer snowballed into the largest class action lawsuit in U.S. history. See for privacy information.


The Unrelenting Cost of Slavery

This week, we look at the 400 years of U.S. history that help explain today's racial wealth gap. Bloomberg economics reporter Catarina Saraiva takes co-hosts Jackie Simmons and Rebecca Greenfield from slavery to the modern era to show big economic losses to Black people in addition to moments that led to big wealth gains for White people. See for privacy information.