From: Counting the Cost

2015: The events that shaped a turbulent economic year

In this special edition of Counting the Cost, we look back at the most important business stories of the year.

In 2015, we witnessed a number of game-changing developments in the world of business, with the continuing advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) causing both humanitarian and financial crises; Greece’s debt crisis threatening to tear apart the European Union; and the unprecedented number of refugees arriving at Europe’s shores causing economic panic across the continent.

In this week’s episode of Counting the Cost we are taking a look back at some of the biggest and best stories we covered this year.

We started 2015 with something different. We partnered with The Gulf Intelligence Doha Energy Forum to discuss why so many women, particularly in the Arab Gulf, were studying to enter the energy sector but struggling to find jobs.

In front of a live audience in Doha, we asked how the region planned to address social and cultural issues preventing women from advancing their careers. If you’re interested in watching the full show, click here.

2015 was also a major year of debt. Be it Greece, China or the US, debt levels continued to pile up across the world.

Debt has increased from $57tn to $199tn since 2007 (287 percent of global GDP), stifling global economic growth and heightening the risk of more defaults and market turmoil.

We spoke to Susan Lund, who worked on the McKinsey Global Institute‘s research into debt levels, and asked what could be done to prevent a potential global financial meltdown. If you’re interested in watching the full show, click here.

China was a recurring theme on the show this year, but in October things really came to a head when the world’s second largest economy suffered massive financial losses, causing trillions of dollars to be wiped from global stock markets. 

It was dubbed Black Monday, and the effects were felt globally, with indices nosediving one after the other.

On Counting the Cost we took a different approach to the story, suggesting that the crisis wasn’t as acute as it perhaps seemed – and was a long time coming. If you’re interested in watching the full show, click here.

And then there was Europe, or more specifically Greece, which had once again threatened to divide the continent. Despite having received two bailouts worth $266bn since 2010, the country had been struggling with austerity and was in debt worth nearly 180 percent of its gross domestic product.

It was one of those fast-moving stories which required you to take a step back to see how it had reached such a low point. Kamahl Santamaria explained the Greek debt crisis in 60 seconds. You can watch his one-minute explanation here.

Wearing a red T-shirt and blue shorts, three-year-old Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body on a Turkish beach was an image that quickly became a symbol of the plight of Syrian refugees.

In an attempt to escape the country’s brutal civil, refugees such as Alan’s father had spent thousands of dollars to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Their misery, which has made them easy prey for people smugglers, is part of a global phenomenon that produces almost $26bn a year. Charging an average of around $3,000 a person to reach Europe, criminal gangs and the industry as a whole are flourishing.

On Counting the Cost we looked at the world’s indifference to refugees and the economic cost of refugee trafficking. If you’re interested in watching the full show, click here.

Fifteen years ago, leaders from across the world gathered at the United Nations in the biggest anti-poverty campaign in history.

The UN tabled eight ambitious goals to be completed by September 2015, and while more than one billion people have since been lifted out of what is defined as “extreme poverty”, there are 800 million still living below that level today.

With huge work still to be done, we spoke to Nikhil Seth, the director for Sustainable Development at the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, about the next 15 years. If you’re interested in watching the full show, click here.

We were on the road twice this year, and both times it was about aviation.

In June, our destination was France and the Paris Airshow, where we switched focus from commercial plane orders to cover the defence news.

France’s Rafale fighter jet has seen its profile rise lately – with combat operations in Libya, Afghanistan and Mali; and orders have been flooding in, particularly from the Middle East. On Counting the Cost we spoke to the makers of the Rafale, who said they had created the “perfect” war machine. If you’re interested in watching the full show, click here.

And then there was the Dubai Airshow.

Two years ago, the biannual event made headlines after Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways made orders over $150bn, pushing them to the forefront of global aviation.

Since then, falling oil prices have left the airlines in a stronger position, but unrest in some parts of the region has taken its toll.

We went in search of something a bit different in Dubai and found that inside the main exhibition hall, at the 3D Print Show. If you’re interested in watching the full show, click here.