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Planet Money

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Wanna see a trick? Give us any topic and we can tie it back to the economy. At Planet Money, we explore the forces that shape our lives and bring you along for the ride. Don't just understand the economy – understand the world.

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1546 - How the Navy came to protect cargo ships
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  • 1546 - How the Navy came to protect cargo ships

    The Genco Picardy is not an American ship. It doesn't pay U.S. taxes, none of its crew are U.S. nationals, and when it sailed through the Red Sea last month, it wasn't carrying cargo to or from an American port.

    But when the Houthis, a tribal militant group from Yemen, attacked the ship, the crew called the U.S. Navy. That same day, the Navy fired missiles at Houthi sites.

    On today's show: How did protecting the safe passage of other countries' ships in the Red Sea become a job for the U.S. military? It goes back to an idea called Freedom of the Seas, an idea that started out as an abstract pipe dream when it was coined in the early 1600s – but has become a pillar of the global economy.

    This episode was hosted by Alex Mayyasi and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, edited by Molly Messick, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez, with help from Maggie Luthar. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

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    Fri, 16 Feb 2024
  • 1545 - It's giving ... Valentines

    L, is for the way you Listen to Planet Money
    O, is for the Only podcast I hear
    V, is Very, very, fiduciary
    E, is for... ECONOMICS!

    Every February, we dedicate a show to the things in our lives that have been giving us butterflies. Whether it's an obscure online marketplace or a piece of stunt journalism that made us green with envy. And then we go out into the world to proclaim our love...in the form of a Valentine. And we have a great roster this Valentine's Day:

    - A grocery store in Los Angeles with the very best produce
    - A woodworking supply company with an innovative approach to... innovation!
    - A basketball player that makes a strong case for taking risky shots
    - A bookthat catalogues the raw materials that shape our world
    - A play that connects the 2008 financial crisis to the sale of the island of Manhattan in the 1600s
    - And, a podcast that turns corporate intrigue into watercooler chit-chat

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    Thu, 15 Feb 2024
  • 1544 - A lawsuit for your broken heart

    Keith King was upset when his marriage ended. His wife had cheated, and his family broke apart. And that's when he learned about a very old type of lawsuit, called a heart balm tort. A lawsuit that would let him sue the man his now ex-wife had gotten involved with during their marriage.

    On this episode, where heart balm torts came from, what relationships looked like back then, and why these lawsuits still exist today (in some states, anyway.) And also, what happened when Keith King used a heart balm tort to try to deal with the most significant economic entanglement of his life: his marriage.

    This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Sarah Gonzalez. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Gilly Moon. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

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    Fri, 09 Feb 2024
  • 1543 - Morally questionable, economically efficient

    There are tons of markets that don't exist because people just don't want to allow a market – for whatever reason, people feel icky about putting a price on something. For example: Surrogacy is a legal industry in parts of the United States, but not in much of the rest of the world. Assisted end-of-life is a legal medical transaction in some states, but is illegal in others.

    When we have those knee-jerk reactions and our gut repels us from considering something apparently icky, economics asks us to look a little more closely.

    Today on the show, we have three recommendations of things that may feel kinda wrong but economics suggests may actually be the better way. First: Could the matching process of organ donation be more efficient if people could buy and sell organs? Then: Should women seek revenge more often in the workplace? And finally, what if insider trading is actually useful?

    This episode was hosted by Mary Childs and Greg Rosalsky. It was produced by Willa Rubin and edited by Jess Jiang. It was engineered by Cena Loffredo. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

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    Wed, 07 Feb 2024
  • 1542 - Groundhog Day 2024: Trademark, bankruptcy, and the dollar that failed

    It's Groundhog Day, and the eyes of the nation have turned to a small town in western Pennsylvania. And, just like last year, all anyone can talk about is Punxsutawney Phil! It is impossible to find a news story that is not about one furry prognosticator.

    Well, almost impossible...

    Once again, our Planet Money hosts find themselves trapped in the endless Groundhog Day news cycle, and their only way out is to discover an economics story from Groundhog Day itselfinteresting enough to appease the capricious Groundhog Gods!

    So rise and shine campers (and don't forget your booties) as hosts Kenny Malone and Amanda Aronczyk scour the news of February 2nds past, to try to find the perfect story.

    This episode was hosted by Kenny Malone and Amanda Aronczyk. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Keith Romer, and engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez. It was fact-checked by James Sneed. Our executive producer is Alex Goldmark.

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    Fri, 02 Feb 2024
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