Podcasts by Category
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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- 1522 - Why are we so bummed about the economy?
Would you say that you and your family are better off or worse off, financially, than you were a year ago? Do you think in 12 months we'll have good times, financially, or bad? Generally speaking, do you think now is a good time or a bad time to buy a house?
These are the kinds of questions baked into the Consumer Sentiment Index. And while the economy has been humming along surprisingly well lately, sentiment has stayed surprisingly low.
Today on the show: We are really bummed about the economy, despite the fact that unemployment and inflation are down. So, what gives? We talk to a former Fed economist trying to get to the heart of this paradox, and travel to Michigan to check in on the place where they check the vibes of the economy.Fri, 01 Dec 2023
- 1521 - So you want to sell marijuana across state lines
In the state of Oregon, there is a glut of grass. A wealth of weed. A crisis of chronic.
And, jokes aside, it's a real problem for people who work in the cannabis industry like Matt Ochoa. Ochoa runs the Jefferson Packing House in Medford, Oregon, which provides marijuana growers with services like drying, trimming and packing their product. He has seen literal tons of usable weed being left in marijuana fields all over the state of Oregon. Because, Ochoa says, there aren't enough buyers.
There are just over four million people in Oregon, and so far this year, farmers have grown 8.8 million pounds of weed. Which means there's nearly a pound of dried, smokable weed for every single person in the state of Oregon. As a result, the sales price for legal marijuana in the last couple of years has plummeted.
Economics has a straightforward solution for Oregon's overabundance problem: trade! But, Oregon's marijuana can only be sold in Oregon. No one in any state can legally sell weed across state lines, because marijuana is still illegal under federal law. On today's episode, how a product that is simultaneously legal and illegal can create some... sticky business problems.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 29 Nov 2023
- 1520 - A very Planet Money Thanksgiving
Here at Planet Money, Thanksgiving is not just a time to feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles and pie(s). It's also a time to feast on economics. Today, we host a very Planet Money Thanksgiving feast, and solve a few economic questions along the way.
First: a turkey mystery. Around the holidays, demand for turkey at grocery stores goes up by as much as 750%. And when turkey demand is so high, you might think that the price of turkey would also go up. But data shows, the price of whole turkeys actually falls around the holidays; it goes down by around 20%. So what's going on? The answer has to do what might be special about supply and demand around the holidays.
We also reveal what is counted (and not counted) in the ways we measure the economy.
And we look to economics to help solve the perennial Thanksgiving dilemma: Where should each dinner guest sit? Who should sit next to whom?
This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Jeff Guo. It was produced by James Sneed with an assist from Emma Peaslee and edited by Jess Jiang. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Josh Newell.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Always free at these links:Apple Podcasts,Spotify,Google Podcasts,the NPR appor anywhere you get podcasts.
Find more Planet Money:Facebook/Instagram/TikTok/ Our weeklyNewsletter.Wed, 22 Nov 2023
- 1519 - Economic fact in literary fiction
Some of the most influential and beloved novels of the last few years have been about money, finance, and the global economy. Some overtly so, others more subtly. It got to the point where we just had to call up the authors to find out more: What brought them into this world? What did they learn? How were they thinking about economics when they wrote these beautiful books?
Today on the show: we get to the bottom of it. We talk to three bestselling contemporary novelists — Min Jin Lee (Pachinkoand Free Food for Millionaires), Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven, The Glass Hoteland Sea of Tranquility), and Hernan Diaz (Trust, In the Distance) – about how the hidden forces of economics and money have shaped their works.
This episode was hosted by Mary Childs and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. It was produced by Willa Rubin, edited by Molly Messick, and engineered by Neisha Heinis. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Always free at these links:Apple Podcasts,Spotify,Google Podcasts,the NPR appor anywhere you get podcasts.
Find more Planet Money:Facebook/Instagram/TikTok/ Our weeklyNewsletter.
Music: Universal Music Production - "This Summer," "Music Keeps Me Dancing," "Rain," and "All The Time."Sat, 18 Nov 2023
- 1518 - China's real estate crisis, explained
China's economic growth for the past few decades has been extraordinary. And much of that growth was fueled by real estate – it was like this miraculous economic engine for the country. But recently, that engine seems to have stopped working. And that has raised all kinds of questions not just for China but also for the global economy.
Today on the show, we look at what's happening inside China's real estate market. And we try to answer the question: how did we get here?
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 15 Nov 2023
- 1517 - The alleged theft at the heart of ChatGPT
When best-selling thriller writer Douglas Preston began playing around with OpenAI's new chatbot, ChatGPT, he was, at first, impressed. But then he realized how much in-depth knowledge GPT had of the books he had written. When prompted, it supplied detailed plot summaries and descriptions of even minor characters. He was convinced it could only pull that off if it had read his books.
Large language models, the kind of artificial intelligence underlying programs like ChatGPT, do not come into the world fully formed. They first have to be trained on incredibly large amounts of text. Douglas Preston, and 16 other authors, including George R.R. Martin, Jodi Piccoult, and Jonathan Franzen, were convinced that their novels had been used to train GPT without their permission. So, in September, they sued OpenAI for copyright infringement.
This sort of thing seems to be happening a lot lately–one giant tech company or another "moves fast and breaks things," exploring the edges of what might or might not be allowed without first asking permission. On today's show, we try to make sense of what OpenAI allegedly did by training its AI on massive amounts of copyrighted material. Was that good? Was it bad? Was it legal?
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 10 Nov 2023
- 1516 - Never have I ever
The world of economics has these two different sides. One one side, there are the economists in their cozy armchairs and dusty libraries, high up in their ivory towers. On the other, there's the messy world we're all living in, where those economics are actually playing out.
Sometimes, researchers will write about something that they themselves have never actually experienced. Sure, they've thought about it, theorized, come up with smart analyses...but that's not the same as getting out of that armchair and into the real world.
So, in this episode, we play our own version of Never Have I Ever. We dare two researchers to go places and do things they have never done before, in hopes of learning something new about the economic world around us.
(Okay, fine, it's maybe more like Truth or Dare...but go with us here.)
Today's episode was hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and produced by Emma Peaslee with help from Willa Rubin. It was edited by Sally Helm, fact checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Maggie Luthar. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 08 Nov 2023
- 1515 - FTC Chair Lina Khan on Antitrust in the age of Amazon
When Lina Khan was in law school back in 2017, she wrote a law review article called 'Amazon's Antitrust Paradox,' that went kinda viral in policy circles. In it, she argued that antitrust enforcement in the U.S. was behind the times. For decades, regulators had focused narrowly on consumer welfare, and they'd bring companies to court only when they thought consumers were being harmed by things like rising prices. But in the age of digital platforms like Amazon and Facebook, Khan argued in the article, the time had come for a more proactive approach to antitrust.
Just four years later, President Biden appointed Lina Khan to be the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, one of the main government agencies responsible for enforcing antitrust in America, putting her in the rare position of putting some of her ideas into practice.
Now, two years into the job, Khan has taken some big swings at big tech companies like Meta and Microsoft. But the FTC has also faced a couple of big losses in the courts. On today's show, a conversation with FTC Chair Lina Khan on what it's like to try to turn audacious theory into bureaucratic practice, the FTC's new lawsuit against Amazon, and what it all means for business as usual.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 03 Nov 2023
- 1514 - Antitrust in America (classic)
Earlier this fall, the Federal Trade Commission filed a high-stakes lawsuit against Amazon.
In that suit, the FTC claims Amazon is a monopoly, and it accuses the company of using anti-competitive tactics to hold onto its market power. It's a big case, with implications for consumers and businesses and digital marketplaces, and for antitrust law itself. That is the highly important but somewhat obscure body of law that deals with competition and big business.
And so, this week on Planet Money, we are doing a deep dive on the history of antitrust. It begins with today's episode, a Planet Money double feature. Two classic episodes that tell the story of how the U.S. government's approach to big business and competition has changed over time.
First, the story of a moment more than 100 years ago, when the government stepped into the free market in a big way to make competition work. It's the story of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, and a muckraking journalist named Ida Tarbell.
Then, we fast forward to a turning point that took antitrust in the other direction. This is the story of a lawyer named Robert Bork, who transformed the way courts would interpret antitrust law.
These episodes were produced by Sally Helm with help from Alexi Horowitz Ghazi. They were edited by Bryant Urdstadt. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 01 Nov 2023
- 1513 - All you can eat economics
You might expect to find economic concepts in the pages of an economics textbook. But you know where you can really see a lot of economic concepts in action? Buffets.
Here at Planet Money we believe there's a lot of economics going on at the all-you-eat buffet, tucked in between the mountains of brisket and troughs of mashed potatoes. From classic concepts like adverse selection, sunk costs, diminishing marginal returns, to more exotic economic mysteries, like the flat rate pricing bias.
Today on the show, we're headed to the place where the modern buffet may have been born: Las Vegas. Our mission? To feast ourselves on all the economics we can handle at the all-you-can-eat buffet. And along the way, an economist and fellow buffet-lover will teach us his hyper-rational strategy for optimizing his buffet experience.
Today's show was produced by James Sneed and Nick Fountain with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Jess Jiang, engineered by James Willetts, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 27 Oct 2023
- 1512 - Cutting school... by 20%
Right now, a lot of school districts across the country are making a pretty giant change to the way public education usually works. Facing teacher shortages and struggling to fill vacant spots, they are finding a new recruitment tool: the four-day school week.
Those districts are saying to teachers, "You can have three-day weekends all the time, and we won't cut your pay." As of this fall, around 900 school districts – that's about 7% of all districts in the U.S. – now have school weeks that are just four days long.
And this isn't the first time a bunch of schools have scaled back to four days, so there is a lot of data to lean on to figure out how well it works. In this episode, teachers love the four-day school week, and it turns out even parents love it, too. But is it good for students?
This episode was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler with help from Willa Rubin. It was edited by Molly Messick and engineered by Maggie Luthar. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Thu, 26 Oct 2023
- 1511 - How unions are stopped before they start
Union membership in the U.S. has been declining for decades. But, in 2022, supportfor unions among Americans was the highest it's been in decades. This dissonance is due, in part, to the difficulties of one important phase in the life cycle of a union: setting up a union in the first place. One place where that has been particularly clear is at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Back in 2008, Volkswagen announced that they would be setting up production in the United States after a 20-year absence. They planned to build a new auto manufacturing plant in Chattanooga.
Volkswagen has plants all over the world, all of which have some kind of worker representation, and the company said that it wanted that for Chattanooga too. So, the United Auto Workers, the union that traditionally represents auto workers, thought they would be able to successfully unionize this plant.
They were wrong.
In this episode, we tell the story of the UAW's 10-year fight to unionize the Chattanooga plant. And, what other unions can learn from how badly that fight went for labor.
This episode was hosted by Amanda Aronczyk and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Willa Rubin. It was engineered by Josephine Nyounai, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and edited by Keith Romer. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 20 Oct 2023
- 1510 - Indicator exploder: jobs and inflation
When someone says "the economy is doing well"—what does that even mean? Like, for workers, for employers, for the country as a whole? According to what calculation? How do you put a number on it?
The world of economics is filled with all sorts of "measuring sticks." GDP. Inflation. Unemployment. Consumer sentiment. Over time, all kinds of government agencies, universities and private companies have come up with different ways to measure facets of the economy. These measures factor into all kinds of huge decisions—things like government policy, business strategies, maybe even your personal career choices or investments.
On today's show, we're going to lift the curtain on two of these yardsticks. We are going to meet the people tasked with sticking a number on two huge measures of our economic well being: the official U.S. government inflation report and the monthly unemployment and jobs numbers. Come along and see how the measures get made.
This episode was hosted by Darian Woods, Stacey Vanek Smith, and Wailin Wong. It was produced by Julia Ritchey and Jess Kung with help from James Sneed. Engineering by Gilly Moon and James Willetts. It was fact-checked by Michael He and Corey Bridges, and edited by Kate Concannon and Viet Le. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 18 Oct 2023
- 1509 - Maria Bamford gets personal (about) financeNote: There is swearing in this episode.
In 2017, The University of Minnesota asked comedian Maria Bamford to give their commencement speech. But the University may not have known what it was in for. In her speech, Bamford told the crowd of graduates how much the university offered to pay her (nothing), her counteroffer ($20,000), and the amount they settled on ($10,000), which (after taxes and fees, etc.) she gave away to students in the audience to pay down their student loans.
Maria Bamford is a big believer in full disclosure of her finances, a philosophy she's adopted after decades in a Debtors Anonymous support group. In meetings, she learned important financial tips and tricks to go from thousands of dollars in debt to her current net worth of $3.5 million (a number which, true to her philosophy, she will share with anyone).
She spoke with us about her financial issues, how she recovered, and why she believes in total financial transparency, even when it makes her look kinda bad.
Disclaimer: Planet Money is not qualified or certified to give financial advice. And Maria is not a spokesperson for Debtors Anonymous in any way.
This show was hosted by Kenny Malone and Mary Childs. It was produced by Emma Peaslee, edited by Jess Jiang, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Neisha Heinis. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 13 Oct 2023
- 1508 - Why the price of Coke didn't change for 70 years (classic)
Prices go up. Occasionally, prices go down. But for 70 years, the price of a bottle of Coca-Cola didn't change. From 1886 until the late 1950s, a bottle of coke cost just a nickel.
On today's show, we find out why. The answer includes a half a million vending machines, a 7.5 cent coin, and a company president who just wanted to get a couple of lawyers out of his office.
This episode originally ran in2012.
This episode was hosted by David Kestenbaum. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 11 Oct 2023
- 1507 - A man, a plan, wind power, Uruguay
In 2007, Uruguay had a massive problem with no obvious fix. The economy of this country of 3.5 million people was growing, but there wasn't enough energy to power all that growth.
Ramón Méndez Galain was, at the time, a particle physicist, but he wanted to apply his scientific mind to this issue. He started researching different energy sources and eventually wrote up a plan for how Uruguay's power grid could transition to renewable energy. It would be better for the climate, and, he thought, in the long run it would be the most economical choice Uruguay could make.
Méndez Galain shared his plan online and in a series of informal lectures. Then, one day he received a phone call from the office of the president of Uruguay, inviting him to put his plan into action.
Countries all over the world have announced lofty goals to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. But Uruguay actually did it. In a typical year, 98% of Uruguay's grid is powered by green energy. How did it get there? It involved a scientist, an innovative approach to infrastructure funding, and a whole lot of wind.
Today's show was hosted by Erika Beras and Amanda Aroncyzk. It was produced by Willa Rubin with help from Emma Peaslee. It was engineered by Maggie Luthar, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Keith Romer. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 06 Oct 2023
- 1506 - The flight attendants of CHAOS
When contract negotiations between Alaska Airlines and their flight attendants' union broke down in 1993, the union had a choice to make.
The union — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA — knew that if they chose to strike, Alaska Airlines could use a plan. While Alaska Airlines technically couldn't fire someone on strike, they could permanently replace the striking flight attendants with new workers. Essentially, if the union went on strike, they could risk thousands of people's jobs. The flight attendants knew they needed a counter-strategy.
They went with a strategy they called CHAOS: "Create Havoc Around Our System."
The strategy had two phases. Phase one: The union kept Alaska guessing about when, where, and how a strike might happen. They kept everyone, even their own members, in the dark. And in turn, Alaska Airlines had to be prepared for a strike at any place and any time. Phase two was to go on strike in a targeted and strategic way.
The havoc that the flight attendants created set off a sort-of labor-dispute arms race and would go on to inspire strikes today. And, it showed how powerful it can be to introduce a little chaos into negotiations.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 04 Oct 2023
- 1505 - A trucker hat mystery, the curse of September and other listener questions
Ba-dee-yah! Say do you remember? Ba-dee-yah! Questions in September!
That's right - it's time for Listener Questions!
Every so often, we like to hear from listeners about what's on their minds, and we try to get to the bottom of their economic mysteries. On today's show, we have questions like:
Why is September historically the worst month for the stock market?
How did the Bass Pro Shops hat get so popular in Ecuador?
Are casinos banks?
What is the Federal Reserve's new plan to make bank transfers faster?
Today's show was hosted by Sarah Gonzalez and produced by James Sneed. The audio engineer for this episode was Josephine Nyounai. It was fact checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Dave Blanchard. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 29 Sep 2023
- 1504 - The natural disaster economist
There seems to be headlines about floods, wildfires, or hurricanes every week. Scientists say this might be the new normal — that climate change is making natural disasters more and more common.
Tatyana Deryugina is a leading expert on the economics of natural disasters — how we respond to them, how they affect the economy, and how they change our lives. And back when Tatyana first started researching natural disasters she realized that there's a lot we don't know about their long-term economic consequences. Especially about how individuals and communities recover.
Trying to understand those questions of how we respond to natural disasters is a big part of Tatyana's research. And her research has some surprising implications for how we shouldbe responding to natural disasters.
This episode was hosted and reported by Jeff Guo. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and edited by Jess Jiang. It was fact checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Josephine Nyounai. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 27 Sep 2023
- 1503 - A black market, a currency crisis, and a tango competition in Argentina
The Nobel-prize winning economist Simon Kuznets once analyzed the world's economies this way — he said there are four kinds of countries: developed, underdeveloped, Japan... and Argentina.
If you want to understand what happens when inflation really goes off the rails, go to Argentina. Annual inflation there, over the past year, was 124 percent. Argentina's currency, the peso, is collapsing, its poverty rate is above 40 percent, and the country may be on the verge of electing a far right Libertarian president who promises to replace the peso with the dollar. Even in a country that is already deeply familiar with economic chaos, this is dramatic.
In this episode, we travel to Argentina to try to understand: what is it like to live in an economy that's on the edge? With the help of our tango dancer guide, we meet all kinds of people who are living through record inflation and political upheaval. Because even as Argentina's economy tanks, its annual Mundial de Tango – the biggest tango competition in the world – that show is still on.
This episode was hosted by Amanda Aronczyk and Erika Beras. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler with help from James Sneed. It was engineered by Maggie Luthar, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and edited by Molly Messick. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 23 Sep 2023
- 1502 - "Based on a true story"
When a group of amateur investors rallied around the stock for GameStop back in 2021, the story blew up the internet. News outlets around the world, including us here at Planet Money, rushed in to explain why the stock for this retail video game company was suddenly skyrocketing, at times by as much as 1700% in value, and what that meant for the rest of us.
When movie producer Aaron Ryder saw the GameStop story — an army of scrappy underdogs, banding together to strike back against a financial system they felt was rigged against them — he knew it had the makings for a great movie. The only problem: so did a bunch of other movie producers and Hollywood studios. So Aaron found himself in the middle of a fast and furious race to make the first Game Stop movie.
On today's show, one producer's quest to claim the hottest ticket in Tinseltown and the whole hidden machinery dedicated to turning a news story into box office gold. You'll never read the word 'based on a true story' the same way again.
Today's episode was reported and hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. It was produced by Willa Rubin, edited by Jess Jiang, engineered by James Willetts, and fact-checked by Cooper Katz McKim and James Sneed. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 20 Sep 2023
- 1501 - How to launder $600 million on the internet
Erin Plante is a private detective who specializes in chasing down stolen cryptocurrency. In March of 2022, she got the biggest assignment of her career: Hackers had broken into an online game called Axie Infinity and made off with over $600 million worth of digital money.
It was the largest crypto heist in history. And now it was Erin's job to find that money and get it back. Erin's investigation would lead her to face off against some of the world's most formidable digital money launderers, whose actions would soon raise alarms at the highest levels of government — even threaten the nuclear security of the entire planet.
This episode was hosted by Jeff Guo and Keith Romer, produced by James Sneed, edited by Jess Jiang, fact-checked by Willa Rubin & Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, and engineered by Maggie Luthar. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 16 Sep 2023
- 1500 - China's weakening economy in two Indicators
In China, data on the economy is sometimes difficult to come by. The Chinese government has put a pause on releasing some of its official economic data. But many of the stories emerging from the country paint a clear picture: the second largest economy in the world is struggling.
Today, our friends at The Indicator share some of their recent reporting on China. First up, it's a special edition of the Beigie Awards focused entirely on China. What can the approach of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book - i.e. looking at anecdotes that tell us something about where the economy is headed - show us about China's economy?
Then, we take a deep dive into one of the most alarming indicators in China: the skyrocketing urban youth unemployment rate.
This episode was hosted by Darian Woods, Wailin Wong, and Robert Smith. The original Indicator episodes were produced by Corey Bridges with engineering by Robert Rodriguez. They were fact-checked by Cooper Katz McKim and Sierra Juarez. They were edited by Paddy Hirsch and Kate Concannon.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 13 Sep 2023
- 1499 - How to fight a squatting goat
Back in 2005, Burt Banks inherited a plot of old family land in Delaware. But when it came time to sell it, he ran into a problem: his neighbor had a goat pen, and about half of it crossed over onto his property.
Burt asked the goats' owner to move the pen, but when neighborly persuasion failed to get the job done, he changed his strategy. He sued her. And that is when things got complicated.
Protecting private property is one of the fundamental jobs of the American legal system. If you hold a deed saying you own a plot of land, it's your land. End of story. Right?
But, as Burt would soon learn, the law can get really complicated when it comes to determining who actually owns something. And when goats are involved ... anything can happen.
This episode was produced by Willa Rubin and Dylan Sloan and edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Katherine Silva engineered this episode. Jess Jiang is Planet Money's acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Always free at these links:Apple Podcasts,Spotify,Google Podcasts,NPR Oneor anywhere you get podcasts.
Find more Planet Money:Facebook/Instagram/TikTok/ Our weeklyNewsletter.
Music: "Fruit Salad," "Keep With It" and "Purple Sun."Sat, 06 May 2023
- 1498 - Is economists' favorite tool to crush inflation broken?
When economists and policymakers talk about getting inflation under control, there's an assumption they often make: bringing inflation down will probably result in some degree of layoffs and job loss. But that is not the way things have played out since inflation spiked last year. Instead, so far, inflation has come down, and unemployment has stayed low.
So where does the idea of this tradeoff – between inflation and unemployment – come from?
That story starts in the 1940s, with a soft-spoken electrical engineer-turned-crocodile hunter-turned-economist named Bill Phillips. Phillips was consumed by the notion that there are underlying forces at work in the economy. He thought that if macroeconomists could only understand how those forces work, they could keep the economy stable.
On today's show, how the Phillips Curve was born, why it went mainstream, and why universal truths remain elusive in macroeconomics.
This episode was hosted by Willa Rubin and Nick Fountain, and produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Molly Messick, and engineered by Maggie Luthar. Sierra Juarez checked the facts.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 08 Sep 2023
- 1497 - The prince of prints and his prints of Prince
In 1981, photographer Lynn Goldsmith took a portrait of the musician Prince. It's a pretty standard headshot — it's in black-and-white, and Prince is staring down the camera lens.
This was early in his career, when he was still building the pop icon reputation he would have today. And in 1984, shortly after Prince had released Purple Rain, he was chosen to grace the cover of Vanity Fair. The magazine commissioned pop culture icon Andy Warhol to make a portrait of Prince for the cover. He used Lynn Goldsmith's photo, created a silkscreen from it, added some artistic touches, and instead of black-and-white, colored the face purple and set it against a red background. Warhol was paid, Goldsmith was paid, and both were given credit.
However, years later, after both Prince and Warhol had passed away, Goldsmith saw her portrait back out in the world again. But this time, the face was orange, and Goldsmith wasn't given money or credit. And what began as a typical question of payment for work, led to a firestorm in the Supreme Court. At the center of it, dozens of questions of what makes art unique. And at what point does a derivative work become transformative? The answer, it seems, has to do less with what art critics think, and more with what the market thinks.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 06 Sep 2023
- 1496 - How to fight a patent pirate
Back in the 1990s, Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar was in his office in New Delhi when he came across a puzzling story in the newspaper. Some university scientists in the U.S. had apparently filed a patent for using turmeric to help heal wounds. Mashelkar was shocked, because he knew that using turmeric that way was a well known remedy in traditional Indian medicine. And he knew that patents are for brand new inventions. So, he decided to do something about it – to go to battle against the turmeric patent.
But as he would soon discover, turmeric wasn't the only piece of traditional or indigenous knowledge that had been claimed in Western patent offices. The practice even had its own menacing nickname - biopiracy. And what started out as a plan to rescue one Indian remedy from the clutches of the U.S. patent office, eventually turned into a much bigger mission – to build a new kind of digital fortress, strong enough to keep even the most rapacious of bio-pirates at bay.
This episode was produced by Willa Rubin with help from James Sneed and Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Our engineers were Josh Newell and James Willetts. Planet Money's executive producer is Alex Goldmark.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 01 Sep 2023
- 1495 - Summer School 8: Graduation and the Guppy Tank
Congratulations to the Planet Money Summer School Class of 2023!
Today, you become masters of business administration... spelled with lower-case letters for legal purposes. Your diploma is waiting for you just across the stage.
But first, there's one final skill to impart: the pitch. We wouldn't be doing our job as a half-baked parody of a business school if we didn't leave you with the confidence and opportunity to stand in front of an investor and ask for money. We understand what you ambitious business school graduates really want is the chance to launch something and get rich.
So we're combining graduation with a little test of ideas, a showdown of startups, a competition of companies. We are going to put our own spin on a pitch competition like you see on Shark Tank. We hear from five listeners with real ideas for startups.
Can they make a successful pitch? What will investors be looking for in their presentation? Can they come prepared with persuasive total addressable market analyses? Who will have the sharpest customer pain points to solve? We shall see.
Our business expert will give us a rare glimpse into the mind of investors and what they're looking for. Only one graduate will be crowned the winner as this year's valedictorian.
If you want to get your diploma right now, take the 2023 Planet Money Summer School Quiz to earn your diploma!
If you share it on social media, tag us so we can celebrate with you.
Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.Wed, 30 Aug 2023
- 1494 - The secret entrance that sidesteps Hollywood picket lines
Across Hollywood right now, writers and actors are picketing in front of studio lots. They're walking back and forth, holding up signs demanding concessions on things like pay, how many writers work on projects, and the use of AI in TV and movies.
But, on some of these lots, there are these strange alternate entrances where there are no picketers. Here drivers can come and go as they please without ever encountering any sign of a strike.
Behold the neutral gate. An entrance intended for people who work at these lots but don't work for production companies that are involved with these particular strikes. (Usually that means things like game shows or TV commercials.)
But, as one group of picketers recently experienced, it's hard to know if these entrances are, in fact, only being used by neutral parties or if the entrances might be being abused.
On today's episode, the question of whether one Hollywood production was taking advantage of the neutral gate, and what the fight over a driveway can teach us about the broader labor battles in Hollywood and across the country.
This episode was hosted by Dave Blanchard and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi, with reporting from Kenny Malone. It was produced by James Sneed and engineered by James Willetts. It was fact checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Keith Romer. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 26 Aug 2023
- 1493 - Summer School 7: Negotiating and the empathetic nibble
How do you get the best deal? How do you know you're getting the best deal? Whether you're talking down the price of a car or talking up your salary, you don't have to be a jerk to get what you want. Negotiations can be win-win – if you know what to ask for and how to grow the pie.
We have three stories in today's episode about how to negotiate tactically. First, a hostage negotiator tries to buy a car. Will he get far? Then, one man's encounter at the airline ticket booth may inform how you respond to your next job offer. Finally, how to avoid a food fight and make a deal that benefits everybody.
We'll learn about something called BATNA, or best alternative to a negotiated agreement, which can tell you when to stand firm and when to walk away. We'll find out how to shift our thinking about what success can look like in a negotiation, and shift your counterpart's thinking too.
Come learn the techniques of expert negotiators in the penultimate episode of Planet Money Summer School, MBA edition. Next week: Graduation! So, you have one week to negotiate the cost of your cap and gown.
Our Summer School series is hosted by Robert Smith and produced by Max Freedman. Our project manager is Julia Carney. This episode was edited by our executive producer, Alex Goldmark, and engineered by James Willetts. The show was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 23 Aug 2023
- 1492 - Vacation, and why the U.S. takes so little of it
Do you work more for more money? Or work less for more time? For some, this is the ultimate economic choice.
Every single worker in the European Union is guaranteed four weeks of paid vacation. No matter how long they've been at a company. No matter how low paying the job is. Vacation is a right.
In fact, all but one of the richest countries in the world guarantees paid vacation, except: the U.S.
According to a 2019 study, people in Japan get 10 paid vacation days and 15 paid holidays; in Australia it's 20 paid vacation days and 8 paid holidays; and in Spain it's 25 paid vacation days and 14 paid holidays.
And it's not just a rich country thing: Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Tanzania - they all guarantee paid vacation from work, at least in the formal job sector.
In the U.S: Zero paid vacation days and zero paid holidays. So, why is the United States the outlier? We go to several labor economists and historians, to find out what makes Americans different from Europeans. It's a winding journey, so maybe put in a request for some paid time off and take a listen!
This episode was hosted by Sarah Gonzalez, produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, edited by Jess Jiang, engineered by Maggie Luthar, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 18 Aug 2023
- 1491 - Summer School 6: Operations and 25,000 roses
"It's difficult to control everything," says our guest professor for this week, Santiago Gallino. "What is not difficult is to plan for everything." Today we venture into the sphere of business that masters the planning, and backup planning: operations management.
It's more than just predicting a bottleneck and imagining a solution, because there's always a bottleneck to clear. It's about modeling, and weighing the costs of messing up vs. missing out. For instance, take a newspaper vendor who has to decide how many newspapers to sell tomorrow morning. Do they buy fewer, knowing that they'll sell out–and then miss out on potential revenue from papers not sold? Or do they order more than they expect to sell, just in case–and eat the cost of a few unsold papers? This type of trade-off applies to all kinds of businesses, and Gallino talks us through how to choose.
The only certainty in this life is uncertainty. But we are certain you will come out of this episode feeling better prepared for your future business. And fortunately, there are no bottlenecks in podcasting.
The series is hosted by Robert Smith and produced by Max Freedman. Our project manager is Julia Carney. This episode was edited by Alex Goldmark and engineered by James Willetts. The show is fact-checked by Sierra Juarez.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 16 Aug 2023
- 1490 - The new Biden plan that could still erase your student loans
This summer, the Supreme Court struck down Biden's plan to forgive student loan debt for millions of borrowers. Except, on the same day Biden first announced that plan, he also unveiled another,the SAVE plan. And though SAVE sounded less significant than Biden's big forgiveness pledge, it's still alive and could erase even more student debt.
SAVE is officially a loan repayment plan. But through a few seemingly minor yet powerful provisions, many more low-income borrowers will end up paying little or nothing until, eventually, their loans will be forgiven. Even many higher-income borrowers will see some of their debts erased.
In this episode, we explain the history of income-driven repayment. And how borrowers could end up paying less than they might expect once payments resume in October. You can read more from NPR's Cory Turner's here.
This episode was hosted by Cory Turner and Kenny Malone. It was produced by Emma Peaslee, and edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Always free at these links:Apple Podcasts,Spotify,Google Podcasts,NPR Oneor anywhere you get podcasts.
Find more Planet Money:Facebook/ Instagram/TikTok/ Our weeklyNewsletter.
Music: Universal Production Music - "Nola Strut," "Funky Ride," and "The Down Low Disco King"Fri, 11 Aug 2023
- 1489 - Summer School 5: Tech and the innovator's dilemma
For anyone running a business, technology is both threat and opportunity. Today, we run through techniques entrepreneurs can use to take advantage of new tech or defend against the dangers. It's not just about the product you're selling. It's about consumer psychology, and ethics, and taking calculated risks to navigate uncertainty.
But, since this is Planet Money Summer School and we want to set your business on the path to riches, we're going to talk about how to use tech to dream big. Maybe more than anything, technology creates opportunities for the little guys where the big established companies can't be so nimble or have too much to lose.
Take the classic concept of the innovator's dilemma: a company that innovated and succeeded, now faces a choice about any disruptive new technology. Do they risk tossing out their existing advantage and switch to the new tech, or play it safe and risk becoming obsolete?
Most new technologies don't end up disrupting an industry. So it is totally rational for the big existing companies to ignore each new flash in the pan. But nobody wants to end up like Kodak: sticking with film while the digital camera takes off. So what to do?
Our friendly professor has a few ideas – for the little guy and the big old company. He'll explain the shape of how new technology gets adopted, sometimes called the S curve. We'll also hear examples of what stops promising new tech from taking off: from dishwashers to driverless cars, and even the humble elevator.Wed, 09 Aug 2023
- 1488 - A tarot card reading for the U.S. economy
Predicting the future of the economy is always a dicey proposition. That is especially true after more than three years of pandemic-related economic weirdness. No one quite knows what will happen next.
Will the Fed be able to pull off a soft landing and bring down inflation without causing either a recession or a big jump in unemployment? Or will we end up with a hard landing, in which inflation comes down, but at the price of the country's economic health? Or, a third possibility, will the Fed not successfully bring inflation down at all?
On today's show, three economic experts explain what they look for when trying to make predictions about what might come next for the U.S. economy. And how those indicators lead them to very different conclusions. We will also consult a tarot card reader...to see if her reading of the future can help us know which outcome is the most likely.
This episode was hosted by Keith Romer, Sarah Gonzalez, and Jeff Guo. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler and edited by Jess Jiang. It was engineered by Kwesi Lee with help from Maggie Luthar and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is our Executive Producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 04 Aug 2023
- 1487 - Summer School 4: Marketing and the Ultimate Hose Nozzle
In this session of Planet Money Summer School, we are getting the word out about your brand. How do you convince consumers to buy your product, even if they are only just hearing about it? It's time for sales and marketing!
If you've watched a show like Mad Men or The Office, you know the importance of a strong pitch. It's precision-crafted to show how what you're selling can solve a problem your customer needs solved. Sometimes it even creates the need. Once you've got your sales pitch, it's time to get the word out: marketing. Where to spread that message? How to make it unforgettable? Instantly recognizable? What is going to be your Just do it? Your Think different? Your Where's the beef?
In our case studies today, we look at a product so cleverly marketed, the company doesn't need to market it at all anymore and customers wait years to get it: the Birkin bag. And we hear lessons from some of the world's most time tested salespeople who can and do sell anything, literally. It's all about the four P's: Product, place, promotion and price. Also, a few other tricks we test out.
Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.
This series is hosted by Robert Smith, and produced by Max Freedman. Our project manager is Julia Carney. This episode was edited by Sally Helm and engineered by Josephine Nyounai. The show is fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Planet Money's executive producer is Alex Goldmark.Wed, 02 Aug 2023
- 1486 - Tackle your medical debt with Life Kit
There's an estimated $195 billion of medical debt in America. But just because a medical bill comes in the mail doesn't mean you have to pay that exact price. In this special episode from our friends at Life Kit, you'll learn how to eliminate, reduce or negotiate a medical bill.
If you liked this episode, you can check out more Life Kit here. They have episodes on how to choose a bank, and how to save money at the grocery store.
This episode of Life Kit was produced by Sylvie Douglis. Their visuals editor is Beck Harlan, and their digital editor is Danielle Nett. Meghan Keane is their supervising editor, and Beth Donovan is their executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Mon, 31 Jul 2023
- 1485 - Did two honesty researchers fabricate their data?
Dan Ariely and Francesca Gino are two of the biggest stars in behavioral science. Both have conducted blockbuster research into how to make people more honest, research we've highlighted on Planet Money. The two worked together on a paper about how to "nudge" people to be more honest on things like forms or tax returns. Their trick: move the location where people attest that they have filled in a form honestly from the bottom of the form to the top.
But recently, questions have arisen about whether the data Ariely and Gino relied on in their famous paper about honesty were fabricated — whether their research into honesty was itself built on lies. The blog Data Colada went looking for clues in the cells of the studies' Excel spreadsheets, the shapes of their data distributions, and even the fonts that were used.
The Hartford, an insurance company that collaborated with Ariely on one implicated study, told NPR this week in a statement that it could confirm that the data it had provided for that study had been altered had been altered after they gave it to Ariely, but prior to the research's publication: "It is clear the data was manipulated inappropriately and supplemented by synthesized or fabricated data."
Ariely denies that he was responsible for the falsified data. "Getting the data file was the extent of my involvement with the data," he told NPR.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 28 Jul 2023
- 1484 - Summer School 3: Accounting and The Last Supper
Usually, the first class that an MBA student takes is accounting. That involves, yes, equations and counting widgets...but it's more than that. Inside the simple act of accounting is a revolutionary way of thinking not just about a business, but about the world. A universe where all the forces are in balance. Accounting gives you a sixth sense–one that can help you determine whether your business will survive or fail.
In this class, you'll learn the basics of accounting, and uncover its origins. We'll introduce you to the man who helped it spread around the world. He was a monk, a magician, and possibly the boyfriend of Leonardo da Vinci.
Is accounting... sexy?
Yes. Yes it is.
Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.
This series is hosted by Robert Smith, and produced by Max Freedman. Our project manager is Julia Carney. This episode was edited by Sally Helm and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. The show is fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Planet Money's executive producer is Alex Goldmark.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 26 Jul 2023
- 1483 - Planet Money Paper Club
We here at Planet Money love economics papers. And that is also the case for so many of the economists we speak with. For them, new research can explain something they have always wondered about, or make them see something they have never noticed before. And it inspires their own work.
So, to bring that same sense of discovery to you, the listener, today we are dedicating our show to a special experiment. A new way to share some of the most fascinating, clever and surprising economics papers in a segment we're calling: The Econ Paper Club.
On today's show, we read the econ papers so you don't have to. We take a joyous romp through some of the most fascinating ideas floating around economics right now. And we find that some of those fascinating ideas are about some of the biggest things in life: the careers we choose, the expectations that come with parenting and what one eminent economist calls 'greedy jobs.'
This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Kenny Malone. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler and James Sneed. It was edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.
Always free at these links:Apple Podcasts,Spotify,Google Podcasts,NPR Oneor anywhere you get podcasts.
Find more Planet Money:Facebook/Instagram/TikTok/ Our weeklyNewsletter.Fri, 21 Jul 2023
- 1482 - Summer School 2: Competition and the cheaper sneaker
For episode 2 of Planet Money Summer School, we are talking strategy. You have your million dollar business idea, and maybe some money in your pocket to get it up and running. But now you enter into a crowded market. You have to deal with competition.
So, what can you do to make sure your product is a success? That was the conundrum facing the Starbury. It was a basketball shoe with a celebrity endorsement, that had to go up against THE basketball shoe with THE celebrity endorsement: the Air Jordan. Our first story is about the ways in which the Starbury succeeded and failed in taking on a juggernaut.
Then, we will hear a story about trying to avoid the dangers of "perfect" competition. Two companies making almost identical handbells learn that the key to their success lies in convincing customers how different they really are.
Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.
The series is hosted by Robert Smith and produced by Max Freedman. Our project manager is Julia Carney. This episode was edited by Keith Romer and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. The show is fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Planet Money's executive producer is Alex Goldmark.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 19 Jul 2023
- 1481 - Surprise, you just signed a contract! How hidden contracts took over the internet
When you make an account online or install an app, you are probably entering into a legally enforceable contract. Even if you never signed anything. These days, we enter into these contracts so often, it can feel like no big deal.
But then there are the horror stories like Greg Selden's. He tried to sue AirBnB for racial discrimination while using their site. But he had basically signed away his ability to sue AirBnB when he made an account. That agreement was tucked away in a little red link, something most people might not even bother to click through.
But, it wasn't always like this. On today's show, we go back in time to understand how the law of contracts got rewritten. And why today, you can accept a contract without even noticing it.
This episode was hosted by Emma Peaslee and Jeff Guo, and was produced by James Sneed. It was edited by Jess Jiang and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. It was engineered by James Willetts. Alex Goldmark is our Executive Producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney. Always free at these links:Apple Podcasts,Spotify,Google Podcasts,NPR Oneor anywhere you get podcasts.Sat, 15 Jul 2023
- 1480 - Summer School 1: Planet Money goes to business schoolFind all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.
Planet Money Summer School is back! It's the free economics class you can take from anywhere... for everyone! For Season 4 of Summer School, we are taking you to business school. It's time to get your MBA, the easy way!
In this first class: Everyone has a million dollar business idea (e.g., "Shazam but for movies"), but not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. We have two stories about founders who learned the hard way what goes into starting a small business, and getting it up and running.
First, a story about Frederick Hutson, who learned about pain points and unique value propositions when he founded a company to help inmates and their families share photos. Then, we take a trip to Columbia, Maryland with chefs RaeShawn and LaShone Middleton. Their steamed crab delivery service taught them the challenges of "bootstrapping" to grow their business. And throughout the episode, Columbia Business School professor Angela Lee explains why entrepreneurship can be really difficult, but also incredibly rewarding, if you have the stomach for it.
(And, we should say, we are open to investors for "Shazam but for movies." Just sayin'.)
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 12 Jul 2023
- 1479 - The quest to save macroeconomics from itself
When it comes to big questions about the economy, we're still kind of in the dark ages. Why do some economies grow so much faster than others? How long is the next recession going to last? How do we stop inflation without wrecking the rest of the economy? These questions are the domain of macroeconomics. But even some macroeconomists themselves admit: While we have many theories about how the economy works, we have very few satisfying answers.
Emi Nakamura wants to change all that. She's a superstar economist who is a pioneer in the field of "empirical macroeconomics." She finds clever ways of using data to untangle some of the oldest mysteries in macroeconomics, about the invisible hand, the consequences of government spending, and the inner workings of inflation.
Recently we called her up to ask her why the economy is so difficult to understand in first place, and how she's trying to find answers anyway. She gets into all of that, and how Jeff Goldblum shaped her career as an economist, in this episode.
This show was hosted by Jeff Guo and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Dave Blanchard with help from Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was engineered by Josephine Nyounai and fact checked by Sierra Juarez. Keith Romer edited the show. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 07 Jul 2023
- 1478 - Two Indicators: After Affirmative Action & why America overpays for subways
Two stories today.
First, as we start to understand post-affirmative action America, we look to a natural experiment 25 years ago, when California ended the practice in public universities. It reshaped the makeup of the universities almost instantly. We find out what happened in the decades that followed.
Then, we ask, why does it cost so much for America to build big things, like subways. Compared to other wealthy nations, the costs of infrastructure projects in the U.S. are astronomical. We take a trip to one of the most expensive subway stations in the world to get to the bottom of why American transit is so expensive to build.
This episode was hosted by Adrian Ma and Darian Woods. It was produced by Corey Bridges, and engineered by Robert Rodriguez and Katherine Silva. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Viet Le is the Indicator's senior producer. And Kate Concannon edits the show. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 05 Jul 2023
- 1477 - Supply, demand, extinction
Back in the 90s, Ivan Lozano Ortega was in charge of Bogota's wildlife rescue center. And he kept getting calls from the airport to come deal with... frogs. Hundreds of brightly colored, poisonous frogs.
Ivan had stumbled upon the poisonous frog black market. Tens of thousands of frogs were being poached out of the Colombian rainforest and sold to collectors all around the world by smugglers. And it put these endangered frogs at risk of going extinct.
Today on the show, how Ivan tried to put an end to the poison frog black market, by breeding and selling frogs legally. And he learns that it's not so easy to get a frog out of hot water.
This episode was hosted by Stan Alcorn and Sarah Gonzalez, and co-reported and written with Charlotte de Beauvoir. It was produced by Willa Rubin with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Jess Jiang. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. It was engineered by Josh Newell. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 30 Jun 2023
- 1476 - Planet Money Live: Two Truths and a Lie
The shocks of the pandemic economy gave us a bunch of enormous natural experiments, which helped to prove or disprove conventional economic thinking.
Take, for example, the bullwhip effect, the idea that the further away from the customer you are in the supply chain, the more volatile your orders are likely to be. This theory played out at an enormous scale, in the pandemic. Consumers and companies overreacted to the risk of shortages by ordering more products and hoarding them, causing massive shifts in the supply chain – just like the theory says.
And the pandemic gave us a lot of natural experiments like this. So, on this special live edition of Planet Money, we looked for other big economic lessons from the past three years, and we took this information and turned it into... a gameshow! It's Two Truths and a Lie: Econ Edition. We get into questions about the workforce and labor market during the pandemic, and how it affected how economists view the world.
This episode was hosted by Mary Childs. It was produced by Dave Blanchard, and edited by Jess Jiang. It was engineered by Josh Newell with help from Robert Rodriguez. Original music by Jesse Perlstein.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 28 Jun 2023
- 1475 - Mike The Mover vs. The Furniture Police
In 1978, a young man named Mike Shanks started a moving business in the north end of Seattle. It was just him and a truck — a pretty small operation. Things were going great. Then one afternoon, he was pulled over and cited for moving without a permit.
The investigators who cited him were part of a special unit tasked with enforcing utilities and transportation regulations. Mike calls them the furniture police. To legally be a mover, Mike needed a license. Otherwise, he'd face fines — and even potentially jail time. But soon he'd learn that getting that license was nearly impossible.
Mike is the kind of guy who just can't back down from a fight. This run-in with the law would set him on a decade-long crusade against Washington's furniture moving industry, the furniture police, and the regulations themselves. It would turn him into a notorious semi-celebrity, bring him to courtrooms across the state, lead him to change his legal name to 'Mike The Mover,' and send him into the furthest depths of Washington's industrial regulations.
The fight was personal. But it drew Mike into a much larger battle, too: An economic battle about regulation, and who it's supposed to protect.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 23 Jun 2023
- 1474 - Twins (classic)
Twins are used to fielding all sorts of questions, like "Can you read each other's minds?" or "Can you feel each other's pain?" Two of our Planet Money reporters are twins, and they have heard them all.
But it's not just strangers on the street who are fascinated by twins. Scientists have been studying twins since the 1800s, trying to get at one of humanity's biggest questions: How much of what we do and how we are is encoded in our genes? The answer to this has all kinds of implications, for everything from healthcare to education, criminal justice and government spending.
Today on the show, we look at the history of twin studies. We ask what decades of studying twins has taught us. We look back at a twin study that asked whether genes influence antisocial behavior and rule-breaking. One of our reporters was a subject in it. And we find out: are twin studies still important for science?
(Note: This episode originally ran in2019.)
Our show today was hosted by Sally Helm and Karen Duffin. It was produced by Darian Woods and Nick Fountain. It was edited by Bryant Urstadt.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 21 Jun 2023
- 1473 - The 60-day job race
People come from all over the world to work in U.S. tech. And during the tech boom years, the industry relied heavily on foreign workers. This is how we built Silicon Valley – with great minds coming from everywhere to work in the U.S.
But when the industry started to shrink, all of these people who moved here for work are finding that linking their jobs to their residency is really complicated. That was the case for Aashka and Nilanjan. Aashka was a product engineer at Amazon, and Nilanjan worked in digital advertising for Google. They both lost their jobs in the layoffs each company announced earlier this year.
When Aashka and Nilanjan got the news, a clock started ticking. Because they are both H-1B recipients, they only have 60 days to find new jobs before they risk being sent home. And they can't get just any job – they need new employers in their field willing to sponsor their visa.
On today's show, we followed two tech workers as they tried to find jobs before their visas expired, and what they went through as H-1B recipients trying to stay in the country.
This episode was hosted by Alyssa Jeong Perry and Amanda Aronczyk, produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, engineered by James Willetts, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and edited by Molly Messick and Jess Jiang.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 16 Jun 2023
- 1472 - Two Indicators: The economics of innovation
Innovation is crucial for game-changing advancements in society, whether it's treatments for serious diseases, developments in AI technology, or rocket science.
Today on the show, we're airing two episodes from our daily economics show The Indicator. First, a new paper suggests that breakthrough innovations are more likely at smaller, younger companies. We talk to an inventor who left a big pharmaceutical company to start afresh, leading to some incredible treatments for serious diseases.
Then, it's off to Mars — or at least, on the way. Elon Musk's company SpaceX did a first test launch of a rocket meant to go all the way to the red planet. The rocket made it up off of the launch pad and lumbered briefly through the sky before self-destructing over the Gulf of Mexico. Suffice it to say, it's not quite ready. NPR science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel walks us through SpaceX's business plan as we try to figure out if this company has the funding and business acumen to reach its moonshot goal.
These two Indicator episodes were originally produced by Corey Bridges & Brittany Cronin, engineered by Katherine Silva & James Willets, and fact-checked by Dylan Sloan & Sierra Juarez. Kate Concannon edits the show.
The Planet Money version of this episode was produced by Willa Rubin, engineered by Robert Rodriguez, and edited by Keith Romer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 14 Jun 2023
- 1471 - The town that changed economics
In the early 90s, when a young economist named Michael Kremer finished his PhD, there had been a few economic studies based on randomized trials. But they were rare. In part because randomized trials – in which you recruit two statistically identical groups, choose one of them to get a treatment, and then compare what happens to each group – are expensive, and they take a lot of time.
But then, by chance, Michael had the opportunity to run a randomized trial in Busia, Kenya. He helped a nonprofit test whether the aid they were giving to local schools helped the students. That study paved the way for more randomized trials, and for other economists to use the method.
On today's show, how Busia, Kenya, became the place where economists pioneered a more scientific way to study huge problems, from contaminated water to low graduation rates, to HIV transmission. And how that research changed government programs and aid efforts around the world.
This episode was produced by James Sneed with help from Willa Rubin. It was engineered by James Willetts. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Molly Messick. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 09 Jun 2023
- 1470 - The Spider-Man Problem (update)(Note: This episode originally ran back in2022.)
This past weekend, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Versehad the second largest domestic opening of 2023, netting (or should we say webbing?) over $120 million in its opening weekend in the U.S. and Canada. But the story leading up to this latest Spider-Man movie has been its own epic saga.
When Marvel licensed the Spider-Man film rights to Sony Pictures in the 1990s, the deal made sense — Marvel didn't make movies yet, and their business was mainly about making comic books and toys. Years later, though, the deal would come back to haunt Marvel, and it would start a long tug of war between Sony and Marvel over who should have creative cinematic control of Marvel's most popular superhero. Today, we break down all of the off-screen drama that has become just as entertaining as the movies themselves.
This episode was originally produced by Nick Fountain with help from Taylor Washington and Dave Blanchard. It was engineered by Isaac Rodrigues. It was edited by Jess Jiang. The update was produced by Emma Peaslee, with engineering by Maggie Luthar. It was edited by Keith Romer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 07 Jun 2023
- 1469 - AI Podcast 3.0: Dial M for Mechanization
It's the thrilling conclusion to our three-part series on AI — the world premiere of the first episode of Planet Money written by AI. In Part 1 of this series, we taught AI how to write an original Planet Money script by feeding it real research and interviews. In Part 2, we used AI to clone the voice of our former colleague Robert Smith.
Now, we've put everything together into a 15-minute Planet Money episode. And we've gathered some of our co-hosts to listen along.
So, how did the AI do? You'll have to listen to learn what went surprisingly well, where it fell short, and hear reactions from the real-life hosts whose jobs could be at risk of being replaced by the machines.
(This is part three of a three-part series. Click here forpart oneand forpart twoof our series.)
This episode was produced by Emma Peaslee and Willa Rubin. It was engineered by James Willetts and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Keith Romer edited this series and Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
In the radio play, Mary Childs voiced Ethel Kinney; Willa Rubin voiced Alice; and Kenny Malone voiced Dr. Jones and Dial Doom 5000.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 02 Jun 2023
- 1468 - AI Podcast 2.0: The host in the machine
In Part 1 of this series, AI proved that it could use real research and real interviews to write an original script for an episode of Planet Money.
Our next task was to teach the computer how to sound like us. How to read that script aloud like a Planet Money host.
On today's show, we explore the world of AI-generated voices, which have become so lifelike in recent years that they can credibly imitate specific people. To test the limits of the technology, we attempt to create our own synthetic voice by training a computer on recordings of former Planet Money host Robert Smith. Then we introduce synthetic Robert to his very human namesake.
There are a lot of ethical, and economic, questions raised by a technology that can duplicate anyone's voice. To help us make sense of it all, we seek the advice of an artist who has embraced AI voice clones: the musician Grimes.
(This is part two of a three-part series. For part one of our series, clickhere)
This episode was produced by Emma Peaslee and Willa Rubin, with help from Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Keith Romer and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Engineering by James Willetts. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
We built a Planet Money AI chat bot. Help us test it out:Planetmoneybot.com.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 31 May 2023
- 1467 - AI Podcast 1.0: Rise of the machines
We used to think some jobs were safe from automation. Though machines have transformed industries like agriculture and manufacturing, the conventional wisdom was that they could never perform what's called "knowledge work." That the robots could never replace lawyers or accountants — or journalists, like us.
Well, ever since the release of artificial intelligence tools like ChatGPT, it feels like no job is safe. AI can now write essays, generate computer code, and even pass the bar exam. Will work ever be the same again?
Here at Planet Money, we are launching a new three-part series to understand what this new AI-powered future looks like. Our goal: to get the machines to make an entire Planet Money show.
In this first episode, we try to teach the AI how to write a script for us from scratch. Can the AI do research for us, interview our sources, and then stitch everything together in a creative, entertaining way? We're going to find out just how much of our own jobs we can automate — and what work might soon look like for us all.
(And, in case you're wondering... this text was not written by an AI.)
This episode was produced by Emma Peaslee and Willa Rubin. It was edited by Keith Romer. Maggie Luthar engineered this episode. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Jess Jiang is Planet Money's acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 26 May 2023
- 1466 - Green energy gridlock
Lyle Jack wants to build a wind farm on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. But to make the project work, he has to connect that wind farm to the electric grid. Which is easier said than done. On today's show - how the green energy revolution may live, or die, by bureaucrats trying to untangle a mess of wires.
This episode was produced by Willa Rubin. It was edited by Sally Helm, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Katherine Silva. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 24 May 2023
- 1465 - Predictions: Jobs!
It's time for another installment of ... Planet Money Predictions! *air horn*
Last year, we invited two economic forecasters to tell us what they saw coming for jobs, the housing market, and inflation. And now they're back. Which means it's time to find out whose predictions were more on the money, and send the victor to the next round, where they face off against a new forecasting phenom.
Since our last game, housing and inflation have cooled, but the job market keeps going strong. And the possibility of a recession still looms large. Our forecasters tell us what they see in the economy now, and what they expect in the months ahead.
This episode was produced by James Sneed. It was engineered by Katherine Silva. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Molly Messick. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 19 May 2023
- 1464 - How AI could help rebuild the middle class
For the last four decades, technology has been mostly a force for greater inequality and a shrinking middle class. But new empirical evidence suggests that the age of AI could be different. We speak to MIT's David Autor, one of the greatest labor economists in the world, who envisions a future where we use AI to make a wider array of workers much better at a whole range of jobs and help rebuild the middle class.
This episode was produced by Dave Blanchard and edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Katherine Silva. Jess Jiang is Planet Money's acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 17 May 2023
- 1463 - Inflation and the Profit-Price Spiral
Economists say that inflation is just too much money chasing too few goods.
But something else can make inflation stick around.
If you think of the 1970s, the last time the U.S. had really high sustained inflation, a big concern was rising wages. Prices for goods and services were high. Workers expected prices to be even higher next year, so they asked for pay raises to keep up. But then companies had to raise their prices more. And then workers asked for raises again. This the so-called wage-price spiral.
So when prices started getting high again in 2021, economists and the U.S. Federal Reserve again worried that wage increases would become a big problem. But, it seems like the wage-price spiral hasn't happened. In fact wages, on average, have not kept up with inflation.
There are now concerns about a totally different kind of spiral: a profit-price spiral. On today's show, why some economists are looking at inflation in a new light.
This episode was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler and engineered by Katherine Silva, with help from Josh Newell. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Jess Jiang.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 12 May 2023
- 1462 - The Day of Two Noons (Classic)(Note: this episode originally ran in2019.)
In the 1800s, catching your train on time was no easy feat. Every town had its own "local time," based on the position of the sun in the sky. There were 23 local times in Indiana. 38 in Michigan. Sometimes the time changed every few minutes.
This created tons of confusion, and a few train crashes. But eventually, a high school principal, a scientist, and a railroad bureaucrat did something about it. They introduced time zones in the United States. It took some doing--they had to convince all the major cities to go along with it, get over some objections that the railroads were stepping on "God's time," and figure out how to tell everyone what time it was. But they made it happen, beginning on one day in 1883, and it stuck. It's a story about how railroads created, in all kinds of ways, the world we live in today.
This episode was originally produced by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and edited by Jacob Goldstein. Jess Jiang is Planet Money's Acting Executive Producer.Wed, 10 May 2023
- 1460 - Two Indicators: the influencer industry
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? An astronaut, a doctor or maybe a famous athlete? Today one of the most popular responses to that question is influencer – content creators who grow their following on Tik Tok, Instagram and YouTube and monetize that content to make it their full-time job.
In a lot of ways influencing can seem like the dream job - the filters, the followers, the free stuff. But on the internet, rarely is anything as it appears. From hate comments and sneaky contracts to prejudice and discrimination, influencers face a number of hurdles in their chosen careers.
This week we're bringing you two stories from our daily show The Indicator on the promise and perils of the multi-billion dollar influencer industry.
This episode was produced by Corey Bridges and Janet Lee. It was engineered by Robert Rodriguez and Katherine Silva. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and Dylan Sloan. Emily Kinslow was the podcast coordinator for this series. Viet Le is The Indicator's senior producer. Kate Concannon edits the show. Our acting executive producer is Jess Jiang.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 03 May 2023
- 1459 - Financial advising while Black
After a successful career in advertising, Erika Williams decided it was time for a change. She went back to school to get an MBA at the University of Chicago, and eventually, in 2012, she got a job at Wells Fargo as a financial advisor. It was the very job she wanted.
Erika is Black–and being a Black financial advisor at a big bank is relatively uncommon. Banking was one of the last white collar industries to really hire Black employees. And when Erika gets to her office, she's barely situated before she starts to get a weird feeling. She feels like her coworkers are acting strangely around her.
"I was just met with a lot of stares. And then the stares just turned to just, I mean, they just pretty much ignored me. And that was my first day, and that was my second day. And it was really every day until I left."
She wasn't sure whether to call her experience racism...until she learned that there were other Black employees at other Wells Fargo offices feeling the exact same way.On today's episode, Erika's journey through these halls of money and power. And why her story is not unique, but is just one piece of the larger puzzle.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 28 Apr 2023
- 1458 - The zoo economy (classic)Note: This episode originally aired inSeptember, 2014.
Zoos follow a fundamental principle: You can't sell or buy the animals. It's unethical and illegal to put a price tag on an elephant's head. But money is really useful — it lets you know who wants something and how much they want it. It lets you get rid of things you don't need and acquire things that you do need. It helps allocate assets where they are most valued. In this case, those assets are alive, and they need a safe home in the right climate.
So zoos and aquariums are left asking: What do you do in a world where you can't use money?
This episode was originally produced by Jess Jiang.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 26 Apr 2023
- 1457 - The quest for the factory-built house
Imagine if we built cars the same way we build houses. First, a typical buyer would meet with the car designer, and tell them what kind of car they want. Then the designer would draw up plans for the car.
The buyer would call different car builders in their town and show them the blueprints. And the builders might say, "Yeah, I can build you that car based on this blueprint. It will cost $1 million and it will be ready in a year and a half."
There are lots of reasons why homes are so expensive in the U.S., zoning and land prices among them. But also, the way we build houses is very slow and very inefficient. So, why don't we build homes the way we build so many other things, by mass producing them in a factory?
In this episode, the century-old dream of the factory-built house, and the possibility of a prefab future.
This episode was produced by Emma Peaslee. Molly Messick edited the show, and it was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Brian Jarboe mastered the episode. Jess Jiang is our acting Executive Producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 21 Apr 2023
- 1456 - Tax Code Switch
This past January, researchers uncovered that Black taxpayers are three to five times as likely to be audited as everyone else. One likely reason for this is that the IRS disproportionately audits lower-income earners who claim a tax benefit called the earned income tax credit. And this, says law professor Dorothy Brown, is just one example of the many ways that race is woven through our tax system, its history, and its enforcement.
Dorothy discovered the hidden relationship between race and the tax system sort of by accident, when she was helping her parents with their tax return. The amount they paid seemed too high. Eventually, her curiosity about that observation spawned a whole area of study.
This episode is a collaboration with NPR's Code Switch podcast. Host Gene Demby spoke to Dorothy Brown about how race and taxes play out in marriage, housing, and student debt.
This episode was produced by James Sneed, with help from Olivia Chilkoti. It was edited by Dalia Mortada and Courtney Stein, and engineered by James Willets & Brian Jarboe.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 19 Apr 2023
- 1455 - The life and possible death of low interest rates
Right now, the economy is running hot. Inflation is high, and central banks are pushing up interest rates to fight it. But before the pandemic, economies around the world were stuck in a different rut: low inflation, low interest rates, low growth.
In 2013, Larry Summers unearthed an old term from the Great Depression to explain why the economy was in this rut: secular stagnation. The theory resonated with Olivier Blanchard, another leading scholar, because he had made similar observations himself. Larry and Olivier would go on to build a case for why secular stagnation was a defining theory of the economy and why government policies needed to respond to it. They helped reshape many people's understanding of the economy, and suggested that this period of slow growth and low interest rates was here to stay for a long time.
But today, Larry and Olivier are no longer the duo they used to be. As inflation has spiked worldwide, interest rates have followed suit. Earlier this year, Larry announced that he was no longer on the secular stagnation train. Olivier, meanwhile, believes we're just going through a minor blip and will return to a period of low interest rates within the near future. He doesn't see the deep forces that led to a long-run decline in interest rates as just vanishing. Who's right? The future of the global economy could depend on the answer.
Help support Planet Money by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 15 Apr 2023
- 1454 - Two innovation market indicators
Right now, the economy is all over the place. And when things get confusing, we look to basic economic indicators to help explain what's going on. Today, we're bringing you two episodes of our daily show The Indicator that focus on the bond market.
The market for U.S. treasury bonds is generally safe, predictable and pretty boring. Recently, though, it's been anything but. We look into the fluctuations in bond prices and the yield curve (one of our favorite indicators) to try to help us understand where the economy stands right now.
These two Indicator episodes were originally produced by Brittany Cronin and Noah Glick. They were fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Gilly Moon and Katherine Silva. Kate Concannon edits The Indicator.
The Planet Money version was produced by Dylan Sloan and edited by Dave Blanchard.
Music: "Funk Lounge," "A Fulltime Job" and "Velvet Groove."
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 12 Apr 2023
- 1453 - The Midnight Connection
Texas's energy grid is largely disconnected from the rest of the U.S. That led to disastrous consequences last year when the state's grid was overloaded during a winter storm. Back in the 1970s, one company attempted to change the system in a secret, middle-of-the-night operation.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyWed, 21 Sep 2022
- 1452 - The Great Inflation (Classic)
For much of the 1970s inflation was bad. Prices rose at over 10 percent a year. Nothing could stop it — until one powerful person did something very unpopular. Today's show: How we beat inflation. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.Sat, 17 Jul 2021
- 1451 - Your banking questions, answered
It's been a month since the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank touched off the worst episode of banking turmoil since 2008. While the financial system appears to have stabilized, we're still reckoning with what happened. Regulators are getting dragged before Congress. The Federal Reserve and the FDIC have promised reports on what went wrong with bank oversight. And judging by our inbox, you, our listeners, have a lot of lingering questions.
Questions like: Was it a bailout? Where were the regulators? Is it over yet? And what about those other banks that were teetering on the edge?
Today on the show, some answers for you.
This episode was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler with help from Willa Rubin. It was engineered by Brian Jarboe. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Molly Messick. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 08 Apr 2023
- 1450 - The battle for Puerto Rico's beaches
Puerto Rico's beaches are an integral part of life on the island, and by law, they're one of the few places that are truly public. In practice, the sandy stretch of land where the water meets the shore is one of the island's most contested spaces.
Today we're featuring an episode of the podcast La Brega from WNYC Studios and Futuro Studios, a show about Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican experience. On the island, a legal definition dating back to the Spanish colonial period dictates what counts as a beach. But climate change, an influx of new residents and a real estate boom are all threatening legal public access to some of Puerto Rico's most cherished spaces. The debate all comes down to one question: what counts as a beach?
You can listen to the rest of La Brega (in English and Spanish) here. They have two full seasons out, which explore the Puerto Rican experience through history and culture. Check it out.
This episode was reported by Alana Casanova-Burgess and produced by Ezequiel Rodriguez Andino and Joaquin Cotler, with help from Tasha Sandoval. It was edited by Mark Pagan, Marlon Bishop, and Jenny Lawton and engineered by Joe Plourde. The zona maritimo terrestre was sung as a bolero by Los Rivera Destino.
The Planet Money version was produced by Dave Blanchard, fact checked by Sierra Juarez, edited by Keith Romer, and engineered by Brian Jarboe.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 05 Apr 2023
- 1449 - The safety net for banks
In the first half of March, three banks - Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and Silvergate - all had relatively classic bank runs and collapsed. Which sparked some major banking stress. As a result, the Federal Reserve got a lot of requests to use one of its oldest and most important tools for soothing such troubles: the discount window.
The discount window is like a safety net for banks. And recently, a lot of banks have needed it. So, what is the discount window, where did it come from, and how does it work? And, amidst all the recent banking turmoil, has it been working the way it should? In this episode, we crack open the discount window.
This episode was produced by Emma Peaslee with help from Willa Rubin. It was engineered by Katherine Silva. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Sally Helm. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 01 Apr 2023
- 1448 - A Great Recession bank takeover
Earlier this month, we saw the largest bank collapse since the 2008 financial crisis. For many of us, seeing Silicon Valley Bank's meltdown brought us right back to that time 15 years ago, at the beginning of what would become the Great Recession.
In early 2009, one or two banks were failing every week. That's when Planet Money reporter Chana Joffe-Walt went inside one of those banks: the Bank of Clark County, in Washington State. Her reporting on the inner workings of a bank collapse and government takeover helps explain exactly what happens when a bank goes under, minute-by-minute.
This story originally aired in March 2009 on This American Life, from WBEZ Chicago. We're airing it for the first time in full on our podcast.
This version of the story was produced by Dylan Sloan and edited by Dave Blanchard. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Katherine Silva. Jess Jiang is Planet Money's acting executive producer.
Music: "Butter" "Bassline Motion" and "Fantasmi."
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Thu, 30 Mar 2023
- 1447 - The battle over Osage headrights
Richard J. Lonsinger is a member of the Ponca tribe of Oklahoma, who was adopted at a young age into a white family of three. He eventually reconnected with his birth family, but when his birth mother passed away in 2010, he wasn't included in the distribution of her estate. Feeling both hurt and excluded, he asked a judge to re-open her estate, to give him a part of one particular asset: an Osage headright.
An Osage headright is a share of profits from resources like oil, gas, and coal that have been extracted from the Osage Nation's land. These payments can be sizeable - thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars a year. Historically, they were even larger – in the 1920s the Osage were some of the wealthiest people in the world. But that wealth also made them a target and subject to paternalistic and predatory laws. Over the previous century, hundreds of millions of dollars in oil money have been taken from the Osage people.
On today's show: the story of how Richard Lonsinger gradually came to learn this history, and how he made his peace with his part of a complicated inheritance.
This episode was produced by Willa Rubin with help from Alyssa Jeong Perry and Emma Peaslee. It was engineered by Brian Jarboe and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. It was edited by Keith Romer, with help from Shannon Shaw Duty from Osage News.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 25 Mar 2023
- 1446 - Inside a bank run
Sometimes you hear these stories about an airplane that suddenly nosedives. Everyone onboard thinks this is it, and then the plane levels out and everything is fine. For about 72 hours, people and companies that had deposited millions of dollars at the Silicon Valley Bank — many of whom were in the tech industry — thought they had lost absolutely everything to a bank collapse.
Two weeks later, the situation at Silicon Valley Bank has leveled off. The FDIC seized the bank and eventually made all of its depositors whole. But to understand what that financial panic felt like, we retrace the Silicon Valley Bank run and eventual collapse. We hear from four people who were part of the bank run — when they realized early rumblings, what it felt like in the full stampede, what hard decisions they faced, and what the aftermath felt like. And along the way, we uncover the lessons you can only learn when you think the entire world is ending.
This episode was reported by Kenny Malone, produced by Alyssa Jeong Perry with help from Dave Blanchard, engineered by Brian Jarboe, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and edited by Jess Jiang.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+in Apple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Thu, 23 Mar 2023
- 1445 - Planet Money Records Vol. 3: Making a hit
Since we started Planet Money Records and released the 47-year-old song "Inflation," the song has taken off. It recently hit 1 million streams on Spotify. And we now have a full line of merch — including a limited edition vinyl record; a colorful, neon hoodie; and 70s-inspired stickers — n.pr/shopplanetmoney.
After starting a label and negotiating our first record deal, we're taking the Inflation song out into the world to figure out the hidden economics of the music business. Things get complicated when we try to turn the song into a viral hit. Just sounding good isn't enough and turning a profit in the music business means being creative, patient and knowing the right people.
This is part three of thePlanet Money Records series. Here'spart oneandpart two.
Listen to "Inflation" onApple Music,Spotify,YouTube Music,Tidal,Amazon Music&Pandora.
Listen to our remix, "Inflation [136bpm]," onSpotify,YouTube Music&Amazon Music.
"Inflation" is on TikTok. (And — if you're inspired — add your own!)
This episode was reported by Erika Beras and Sarah Gonzalez, produced by Emma Peaslee and James Sneed, edited by Jess Jiang and Sally Helm, engineered by Brian Jarboe, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez.
Music: "Inflation," "Superfly Fever," "Nola Strut" and "Inflation [136bpm]."
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 18 Mar 2023
- 1444 - How Silicon Valley Bank failed
Silicon Valley Bank was the 16th largest bank in America, the bank of choice for tech startups and big-name venture capitalists. Then, in the span of just a few days, it collapsed. Whispers that SVB might be in trouble spread like wildfire through group texts and Twitter posts. Depositors raced to empty their accounts, withdrawing $42 billion in a single day. Last Friday, after regulators declared that SVB had failed, the FDIC seized the bank.
As the dust settles on the biggest bank failure — and bank rescue — in recent memory, we're still figuring out what happened.But poor investment choices, weak regulation, and customer panic all played their parts. We'll look into the bank's collapse to understand what it can teach us about the business of banking itself.
This episode was produced by Willa Rubin, with help from Dave Blanchard. It was edited by Keith Romer, and engineered by Brian Jarboe. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Our acting executive producer is Jess Jiang.
Music: "I Don't Do Gossip," "Groovy Little Penguins" and "Vision."
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Thu, 16 Mar 2023
- 1443 - Dude, where's my streaming TV show?
Over the past year, dozens of shows have been disappearing from streaming platforms like HBO Max and Showtime. Shows like Minx, Made for Love, FBoy Island, and even big budget hits like Westworld have been removed entirely.
So why did these platforms, after investing millions of dollars in creating original content, decide not just to cancel those shows, but to make them unavailable altogether?
We dive into the economics of the television industry looking for answers to a streaming mystery that has affected both fans and creatives. And we find out what happens when the stream runs dry.
This episode was produced by Willa Rubin with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Keith Romer. Engineering by Josh Newell. Sierra Juarez checked the facts. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
We want to hear your thoughts on the show! We have a short, anonymous survey we'd love for you to fill out:n.pr/pmsurvey
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing toPlanet Money+in Apple Podcasts or atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 11 Mar 2023
- 1442 - The value of good teeth
As a kid, Ryanne Jones' friend accidentally hit her in the mouth with a hammer, knocking out her two front teeth. Her parents never had enough money for the dental care needed to fix them, so Ryanne lived much of her adult life with a chipped and crooked smile.
Ryanne spent a while as a single mom working low-wage jobs, but she had higher aspirations: she interviewed dozens of times a year for higher-paying roles that she was more than qualified for. But she never landed any of them. And to her, it really seemed like the only thing standing between her and a better job was her rotting, brown front teeth.
Our physical appearances can communicate a lot about our financial status. There are some things, such as clothing, that we have more control over. But there are other things that we don't — and they can have serious long-term economic consequences.
This episode was originally run as part of Marketplace's This is Uncomfortablepodcast.
Reported by: Reema Khrais
Edited by: Micaela Blei.
Produced by: Zoë Saunders, Peter Balonon-Rosen, Megan Detrie, Hayley Hershman and Daniel Martinez. The Planet Money version was produced by Alyssa Jeong Perry.
Mastered by: Charlton Thorp
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Thu, 09 Mar 2023
- 1441 - Seinfeld-onomics
The 90s sit-com Seinfeld is often called "a show about nothing." Lauded for its observational humor, this quick-witted show focussed on four hapless New Yorkers navigating work, relationships...yada yada yada.
Jerry, George, Elaine & Kramer set themselves apart from the characters who populated shows like Friends or Cheers, by being the exact opposite of the characters audiences would normally root for. These four New Yorkers were overly analytical, calculating, and above all, selfish.
In other words, they had all the makings of a fascinating case study in economics.
Economics professors Linda Ghent and Alan Grant went so far as to write an entire book on the subject, Seinfeld & Economics. The book points readers to economic principles that appear throughout the show, ideas like economic utility, game theory, and the best way to allocate resources in the face of scarcity.
On today's show, we make the case that Seinfeld is, at its heart, not a show about nothing, but a show about economics. And that understanding Seinfeld can change the way you understand economics itself.
This episode was produced by Alyssa Jeong Perry with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Keith Romer. It was mastered by Robert Rodriguez and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 03 Mar 2023
- 1440 - CBOhhhh, that's what they do
If you are a congressperson or a senator and you have an idea for a new piece of legislation, at some point someone will have to tell you how much it costs. But, how do you put a price on something that doesn't exist yet?
Since 1974, that has been the job of the Congressional Budget Office, or the CBO. The agency plays a critical role in the legislative process: bills can live and die by the cost estimates the CBO produces.
The economists and budget experts at the CBO, though, are far more than just a bunch of number crunchers. Sometimes, when the job is really at its most fun, they are basically tasked withpredicting the future. The CBO has to estimate the cost of unreleased products and imagine markets that don't yet exist — and someone always hates the number they come up with.
On today's episode, we go inside the CBO to tell the twisting tale behind the pricing of a single piece of massive legislation — when the U.S. decided to finally cover prescription drug insurance for seniors. At the time, some of the drugs the CBO was trying to price didn't even exist yet. But the CBO still had to tell Congress how much the bill would cost — even though the agency knew better than anyone that its math would almost definitely be wrong.
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Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 01 Mar 2023
- 1439 - Meow Money Meow Problems
More than 20 years ago, something unusual happened in the small town of Dixfield, Maine. A lady named Barbara Thorpe had left almost all of her money—$200,000—to benefit the cats of her hometown. When Barbara died in 2002, those cats suddenly got very, very rich. And that is when all the trouble began.
Barbara's gift set off a sprawling legal battle that drew in a crew of crusading cat ladies, and eventually, the town of Dixfield itself. It made national news. But after all these years, no one seemed to know where that money had ended up. Did the Dixfield cat fortune just...vanish?
In this episode, host Jeff Guo travels to Maine to track down the money. To figure out how Barbara's plans went awry. And to understand something about this strange form of economic immortality called a charitable trust.
This episode was produced by Willa Rubin with help from Dave Blanchard. It was engineered by Josh Newell. Sally Helm edited the show and Sierra Juarez checked the facts. Jess Jiang is Planet Money's acting Executive Producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 25 Feb 2023
- 1438 - Hollywood's Black List (Classic)This episode originally ran in2020.
In 2005, Franklin Leonard was a junior executive at Leonardo DiCaprio's production company. A big part of his job was to find great scripts. The only thing — most of the 50,000-some scripts registered with the Writers Guild of America every year aren't that great. Franklin was drowning in bad scripts ... So to help find the handful that will become the movies that change our lives, he needed a better way forward.
Today on the show — how a math-loving movie nerd used a spreadsheet and an anonymous Hotmail address to solve one of Hollywood's most fundamental problems: picking winners from a sea of garbage. And, along the way, he may just have reinvented Hollywood's power structure.
This episode was produced by James Sneed and Darian Woods, and edited by Bryant Urstadt, Karen Duffin and Robert Smith.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 22 Feb 2023
- 1437 - Jay & Shai's debt ceiling adventure
Every year, the U.S. government spends more money than it takes in. In order to fund all that spending, the country takes on debt. Congress has the power to limit how much debt the U.S. takes on. Right now, the debt limit is $31.4 trillion dollars. Once we reach that limit, Congress has a few options so that the government keeps paying its bills: Raise the debt limit, suspend it, or eliminate it entirely.
That debate and negotiations are back this season. One thing that is in short supply, but very important for these negotiations, is good information. Shai Akabas, of the Bipartisan Policy Center, knows this well. Right now, he and his team are working on figuring out when exactly the U.S. government could run out of money to pay its obligations — what they've dubbed: the "X Date."
Shai is determined to help prevent the U.S. government from blowing past the X Date without a solution. But this year's debt-ceiling negotiations are not going very well. Which is daunting, because if lawmakers don't figure something out, the ramifications for the global economy could be huge.
So, how did Shai become the go-to expert at the go-to think tank for debt ceiling information? It started in 2011, back when he and current Chair of the Federal Reserve Jay Powell, armed with a powerpoint and the pressure of a deadline, helped stave off economic disaster.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 18 Feb 2023
- 1436 - Two Indicators: Inside the Fed, then and now
A lot of the time, economic policy can seem pretty impersonal — cold, hard, data-driven. But at the heart of the Federal Reserve are people: fallible, complicated people who are just doing their best to steer the economy in the right direction.
Often, we remember them just for their economic decisions. But today, we're airing two episodes from our daily economics show The Indicatorthat profile the people inside the Fed. First, we're heading back to the 1970s to revisit Arthur Burns' oft-criticized stint as Fed chair. Next, we have a conversation with Mary Daly, the current president of the San Francisco Fed, about her remarkable path from high school dropout to one of the most important economic voices in the nation.
These two Indicator episodes were originally produced by Viet Le and Brittany Cronin. They were fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and Dylan Sloan and edited by Kate Concannon. The Planet Money version was produced by Dylan Sloan, engineered by Josh Newell and edited by Dave Blanchard.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Thu, 16 Feb 2023
- 1435 - Our 2023 valentines
Every Valentine's Day, we at Planet Money consider the things that we love, the things that we can't stop talking about, the things that get our hearts racing...in a good way. And we give them valentines!
This year our valentines go out to:
ImportYeti, a website that lets you see exactly where U.S. companies are importing goods from.
Economic data revisions, those tweaks to the data that make things like the jobs numbers even more accurate.
The office (the place, not the show).
Audio description, narration designed to make TV and movies more accessible to people who are blind or low-vision, but which offers benefits to the sighted as well.
This show was produced by Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Keith Romer, and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. Jess Jiang is our acting Executive Producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 11 Feb 2023
- 1434 - The ice cream conspiracy
Take a look in any supermarket ice cream freezer section and you may see a mystery. There are big containers of the typical ice cream brands: Breyers, Turkey Hill, and Edy's. And there are specialty brands that make gelato, low-fat and vegan ice creams. And then there are the fancy pints: which is mostly Ben & Jerry's and Häagen-Dazs.
Häagen-Dazs has flavors like vanilla, chocolate, pistachio—the sort of flavors that run smooth. And then Ben & Jerry's specializes in chunky flavors: Cherry Garcia, The Tonight Dough, Chunky Monkey, etc. The two hardly ever cross into the other's turf. Why?
It's possible they are experiencing something common to natural competition—they are specializing in what works best for them. But, as Christopher Sullivan of the University of Wisconsin-Madison suspects, the two companies may be engaging in what is known as "tacit collusion," where two parties silently agree to... stick to their own territory.
We try to get to the creamy core of what makes up a conspiracy, and how the consumer eventually loses out in this cold, cold war.
Today's episode was produced by Willa Rubin and Alyssa Jeong Perry. It was engineered by Josh Newell and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. It was edited by Jess Jiang.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcastsor atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Wed, 08 Feb 2023
- 1433 - Baby's first market failure
Anyone who has tried shopping for day care knows that it is tough out there.
For one, it is hard even to get your hands on information about costs, either online or over the phone – day cares will often only share their prices after you have taken a tour of their facilities. Even once you find a place you like, many day cares have waitlists stretching 6 months, 9 months, a year.
Waitlists are a classic economic sign that something isn't right, that prices are too low. But ask any parent and they will tell you that prices for day cares are actually too high. According to a recent report from the U.S. Treasury, more than 60% of families can't afford the full cost of high quality day care. Meanwhile, day care owners can barely afford to stay open. No one is happy.
On today's show, we get into the very weird, very broken market for day care. We will try to understand how this market can simultaneously strain parents' budgets and underpay its workers. And we will look at a few possible solutions.
This show was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. Emma Peaslee helped book the show. It was mastered by Gilly Moon. Keith Romer edited this episode. Jess Jiang is our acting Executive Producer.
Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ inApple Podcasts or atplus.npr.org/planetmoney.Fri, 03 Feb 2023
- 1432 - Groundhog Day 2023
It's Groundhog Day, and once again, the eyes of the nation have turned to a small town in Western Pennsylvania. Every February 2nd, the only story anyone can talk about is whether or not Punxsutawney Phil will see his own shadow. If he does: six more weeks of winter. If he doesn't: spring is on its way.
This year, in a cruel twist of fate reminiscent of the 1993 movie Groundhog Day, two Planet Money hosts have found themselves facing a curse. They'll be trapped in this never-ending groundhog news cycle until they can find a new February 2nd story to tell...something that has nothing to do with one furry prognosticator... something that changed the economy forever.
So rise and shine campers, and don't forget your booties as we journey through a series of Groundhog Days past to try to find a historical scoop.
This show was produced by Dave Blanchard and edited by Sally Helm. It was engineered by Robert Rodriguez and Gilly Moon and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Planet Money's acting executive producer is Jess Jiang.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyWed, 01 Feb 2023
- 1431 - To all the econ papers I've loved before
A great economics paper does two things. It takes on a big question, and it finds a smart way to answer that question.
But some papers go even further. The very best papers have the power to change lives.That was the case for three economists we spoke to: Nancy Qian, Belinda Archibong, and Kyle Greenberg.
They all stumbled on important economics papers at crucial moments in their careers, and those papers gave them a new way to see the world. On today's show - how economics papers on the Pentecostal church in Ghana, the Vietnam war draft, and the price of butter in Sweden shaped the courses of three lives.
This episode was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Keith Romer. Sierra Juarez checked the facts, and it was mastered by Natasha Branch with help from Gilly Moon. Jess Jiang is our acting executive producer.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyFri, 27 Jan 2023
- 1430 - The story of "Monopoly" and American capitalism
Monopoly is one of the best-selling board games in history.
The game's staying power may in part be because of strong American lore — the idea that anyone, with just a little bit of cash, can rise from rags to riches. Mary Pilon, author of The Monopolists: Obsession, Fury, and the Scandal Behind the World's Favorite Board Game.
But there's another origin story – a very different one that promotes a very different image of capitalism. (And with two sets of starkly different rules.) That story shows how a critique of capitalism grew from a seed of an idea in a rebellious young woman's mind into a game legendary for its celebration of wealth at all costs.
This episode was made in collaboration with NPR's Throughline. For more about the origin story of Monopoly, listen to their original episode Do Not Pass Go.
This episode was produced by Emma Peaslee, mastered by Natasha Branch, and edited by Jess Jiang.
The Throughline episode was produced by Rund Abdelfatah, Ramtin Arablouei, Lawrence Wu, Laine Kaplan-Levenson, Julie Caine, Victor Yvellez, Anya Steinberg, Yolanda Sangweni, Casey Miner, Cristina Kim, Devin Katayama, and Amiri Tulloch. It was fact-checked by Kevin Volkl and mixed by Josh Newell.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyThu, 26 Jan 2023
- 1429 - Charles Ponzi's scheme
Some of history's biggest financial scams owe their name to Charles Ponzi. Here's the story of the man behind the eponymous scheme.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneySat, 21 Jan 2023
- 1428 - Big Rigged (Classic)Wed, 18 Jan 2023
- 1427 - Two Indicators: The 2% inflation target
If the Fed had a mantra to go along with its mandate, it might well be "two percent." We look into how that became the target inflation rate, why some economists are calling for a change and how the inflation rate becomes unanchored.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyFri, 13 Jan 2023
- 1426 - Planet Money Movie Club: It's a Wonderful Life
Welcome to the Planet Money Movie Club, a regular series from Planet Money+ in which we watch an economics-related movie and discuss! On today's episode, Kenny Malone, Wailin Wong, and Willa Rubin talk about Frank Capra's 1946 classic 'It's A Wonderful Life.' They discuss CPI adjustments, how a copyright lapse helped make the film more popular, and what exactly a 'Building and Loan' is.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyWed, 11 Jan 2023
- 1425 - The economics lessons in kids' books
All sorts of lessons (even about economics) can be learned from kids' books. On today's show, we visit an elementary school to try to teach third graders econ using some beloved childrens' classics. And, along the way, we learn a few things ourselves.
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyFri, 06 Jan 2023
- 1424 - The Rest of the Story, 2022
It's that time of year again! Our annual year-end tradition of checking in on previous stories to hear what happened after the microphones stopped running.
We'll hear from a CEO who was trying to get her company out of Russia amidst the war in Ukraine, check in with an organizer who was trying to turn his community into a city, follow-up on our experiment in polling, and get the latest from our record label — Planet Money Records. Plus, we learn of a romance sparked by a podcast episode!
Check out the original stories:
Eagles vs. Chickens
Escape from Russia
A tale of two cityhoods
Planet Money tries election polling
The $100 million deli
Planet Money Records Vol. 1: Earnest Jackson
Planet Money Records Vol. 2: The Negotiation
Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Sat, 31 Dec 2022
- 1423 - Which economic indicator defined 2022?
2022 was a year of big economic changes. But what economic story most defined the year? Our hosts from Planet Money and The Indicator battle it out over what should be crowned the indicator of the year. Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneyWed, 28 Dec 2022
- 1422 - In defense of gift giving
Cold economic reasoning says, supposedly, that gifts are inefficient transfers of wealth. But Planet Money host Jeff Guo believes in the economic virtues of gift giving. On today's show, Jeff tries to win over Planet Money's resident Scrooge, Kenny Malone, by going on a quest to find him the perfect gift. Along the way, they're visited by the spirits of three Nobel prize-winning economic theories that can explain why gift-giving is actually good. And by the end, Kenny's heart may just grow three sizes larger. Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoneySat, 24 Dec 2022
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