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The price of prohibition

Drug paraphernalia
More Or Less
Friday, 17 April 2009
BBC Radio 4, 1330 BST

Can you calculate the cost of drugs policy? Last week Transform, a drug policy think tank, published a report that tried to do just that.

They added up the costs and benefits of prohibition in England and Wales and estimated that the government could save as much as £14bn by legalising and regulating Class A drugs.

Tim Harford asks how reliable that figure is.

Counting Christians

Church interior
Are statistics suggesting declining congregations to be believed?

Easter is behind us - Britain's churches will be quiet till Christmas.

That, at least, is the cliché.

But are Anglican congregations really in decline, as recent media reports have suggested?

Our reporter Paul Vickers finds out why church statistics are not always faithful.

Perfect numbers

Charles Clarke
Charles Clarke's favourite number is 'perfect number', 28.

A More or Less listener wrote in to question Charles Clarke's claim in a web video that there are only five perfect numbers.

So we invited the esteemed mathematician Marcus Du Sautoy to give the former Home Secretary a refresher course.

He has recorded a video lesson for you, too.

And you can join the search for the next perfect number by signing up for the GIMPS project.

Or send us your own video about why you love numbers.

Credit crunch metaphors

A quizzical looking cat
What do cats have to do with the credit crunch?

The global economic crisis has introduced us to some previously alien phrases: Collateralised Debt Obligations, Credit Default Swaps and Quantitative Easing, to name a few.

This creates a problem for journalists and commentators: how to explain what is going on.

The answer? To reach for ever-more elaborate metaphors.

But here at More or Less we think we can top them all.

BBC Radio 4's More or Less is broadcast on Friday, 17 April at 1330 BST and repeated on Sunday, 19 April at 2000 BST.

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SEE ALSO
Why we love numbers
17 Apr 09 |  More Or Less
An 0b5e5510n 4 numb3r5?
16 Apr 09 |  Have Your Say
Timeline: Credit crunch to downturn
07 Aug 09 |  Business

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