Planet Money

Planet Money

Synopsis

The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at Planet Money. People seem to like it.

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Episodes

  • #592: Bell Wars
    #592: Bell Wars
    Duration: 21min | 11/12/2019

    The two biggest handbell companies in the world have been locked in a feud for decades. Why? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #956: The Carriage Tax
    #956: The Carriage Tax
    Duration: 18min | 07/12/2019

    People have been arguing over the constitutionality of wealth taxes since 1794, when Washington put a tax on carriages.| Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #773: Slot Flaw Scofflaws
    #773: Slot Flaw Scofflaws
    Duration: 22min | 04/12/2019

    Where there are casinos, there are people trying to cheat. And now, they're using iPhones. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #955: Pirate Videos
    #955: Pirate Videos
    Duration: 19min | 29/11/2019

    Blackbeard, a filmmaker, and a fight between two powerful forces in American law. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #674: We Cooked A Peacock
    #674: We Cooked A Peacock
    Duration: 20min | 27/11/2019

    In the 1600s, a good spice rub was the ultimate display of wealth. People would risk their lives for a sack of cloves. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #954: What Is Foreign Interference, Anyway?
    #954: What Is Foreign Interference, Anyway?
    Duration: 22min | 22/11/2019

    We've heard a lot about illegal foreign meddling in the United States elections. But what about legal foreign participation? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #953: Three Sides Of A Car Loan
    #953: Three Sides Of A Car Loan
    Duration: 26min | 20/11/2019

    7 million Americans are at least 3 months behind on car payments. It's a record but is it a crisis? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #952: Sperm Banks
    #952: Sperm Banks
    Duration: 24min | 16/11/2019

    Denmark is a big exporter of human sperm. And mad cow disease may have helped. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #951: Snakebite
    #951: Snakebite
    Duration: 24min | 13/11/2019

    Snakebites are common but antivenom is expensive to develop. So a doctor goes to extreme lengths to find a solution. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #950: Overrated Or Underrated?
    #950: Overrated Or Underrated?
    Duration: 14min | 08/11/2019

    Today on the show, economist Tyler Cowen rates the NBA, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, the humanities, your neighbors, and more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #777: Free Love, Free Market
    #777: Free Love, Free Market
    Duration: 22min | 06/11/2019

    A free-love commune of perfectionists in upstate New York embraced the free market, and became a blockbuster brand. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #949: The Pigou Club
    #949: The Pigou Club
    Duration: 21min | 02/11/2019

    A hundred years ago, economist Arthur Cecil Pigou explained how to tax things like pollution. Countries are starting to do it. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #948: A Series Of Unfortunate Recessions
    #948: A Series Of Unfortunate Recessions
    Duration: 16min | 31/10/2019

    A Halloween journey into the economists' worst nightmare, an endless time loop of recession after recession after... | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #947: Some-of-the-Money Ball
    #947: Some-of-the-Money Ball
    Duration: 21min | 25/10/2019

    Income pools could change the way baseball players, and maybe the rest of us, think about how we get paid. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #946: Fries Of The Future
    #946: Fries Of The Future
    Duration: 21min | 23/10/2019

    Fast food delivery is threatening the french fry. So a band of potato scientists go to work. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #945: The Liberty City
    #945: The Liberty City
    Duration: 23min | 19/10/2019

    A man in Texas had a dream: To build a whole new kind of city, with no property tax, no debt, and a whole lot of freedom. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #753: Blockchain Gang
    #753: Blockchain Gang
    Duration: 22min | 16/10/2019

    Charlie Shrem went from living in his parents' basement, to bitcoin millionaire, to federal prison in just a few years. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #944: We Should Have Mentioned That
    #944: We Should Have Mentioned That
    Duration: 22min | 11/10/2019

    Sometimes we forget to mention something. And our listeners always let us know. Today on the show, we make good. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #763: BOTUS
    #763: BOTUS
    Duration: 21min | 09/10/2019

    Two years ago, we built a machine that bought and sold stocks automatically based on President Trump's tweets. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #943: Unicorn Cowboy
    #943: Unicorn Cowboy
    Duration: 21min | 04/10/2019

    The risk-addicted investor who made WeWork possible and changed the way startups work. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #942: Capitalism In The Courtroom
    #942: Capitalism In The Courtroom
    Duration: 21min | 02/10/2019

    Investors can fund lawsuits for profit, which gives more people access to the courts. But some worry it will warp the justice system. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #941: Three Bets
    #941: Three Bets
    Duration: 22min | 28/09/2019

    We jog to New Jersey to bet on tennis, we solve a mystery in Las Vegas, and we venture into the world of video game loot. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #770: When Indias Cash Disappeared
    #770: When India's Cash Disappeared
    Duration: 25min | 25/09/2019

    When India suddenly got rid of most of its cash, in an effort to end corruption and modernize its economy, chaos ensued. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #940: Interest Rates... Why So Negative?
    #940: Interest Rates... Why So Negative?
    Duration: 19min | 20/09/2019

    All over the world, interest rates are very, very low. In some places, they're negative: you lend out money, and get less back. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #658: Strike One
    #658: Strike One
    Duration: 17min | 18/09/2019

    Strikes these days are pretty boring. But they weren't always like this. In the past, strikers risked their lives. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #939: The Working Tapes Of Studs Terkel
    #939: The Working Tapes Of Studs Terkel
    Duration: 28min | 13/09/2019

    Hear what ordinary people told Studs Terkel about their jobs in the 70s — and what they have to say now. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #794: How To Make It In The Music Business
    #794: How To Make It In The Music Business
    Duration: 22min | 11/09/2019

    The hidden economy of producers buying and selling sonic snippets, texting each other beats, and angling for royalties. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #938: The Marshall Plan
    #938: The Marshall Plan
    Duration: 21min | 07/09/2019

    Sometimes the way to help yourself is to help your enemy. After WWII, the U.S. launched what might be the most successful intervention in history, rebuilding Germany and also the rest of Western Europe. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #371: Where Dollar Bills Come From
    #371: Where Dollar Bills Come From
    Duration: 16min | 04/09/2019

    Every dollar bill in the world comes from the same paper mill in Massachusetts. Today on the show, we get a front-row seat to the dollar-making process. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #937: Moving To Opportunity?
    #937: Moving To Opportunity?
    Duration: 20min | 30/08/2019

    In the 90s, the government ran an experiment: What happens if we move people out of high-poverty neighborhoods and into low-poverty ones? Housing policy as hope? The results surprised them. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #936: The Modal American
    #936: The Modal American
    Duration: 28min | 29/08/2019

    Kenny takes Jacob on a nerdy quest to find the "typical American." Naturally, it ends up harder⁠—and nerdier⁠—than we planned, and the answer is more subtle than we expected. | Subscribe to our newsletter here.

  • 935: You Asked For A Food Show
    935: You Asked For A Food Show
    Duration: 25min | 23/08/2019

    The top producer of Top Chef helps us spice up this food edition of listener questions. How do you master the salad bar? Why do Americans refrigerate eggs? The story of Choco Pies and more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #934: Two Yield Curve Indicators
    #934: Two Yield Curve Indicators
    Duration: 18min | 21/08/2019

    An inverted yield curve has predicted recessions for the past six decades. The curve is inverted right now. What does that tell us? | Subscribe to our newsletter here.

  • #933: Find The Helium
    #933: Find The Helium
    Duration: 25min | 16/08/2019

    Helium is so special, and so rare, that the U.S. government once tried to buy it all up. And hide it. But the government's helium stockpile is running low. And we need it for MRI machines and NASA rockets.

  • #616: How Solar Got Cheap
    #616: How Solar Got Cheap
    Duration: 17min | 14/08/2019

    For a long time, only rich people could afford to put solar panels on the roof. Not anymore. Here's what changed.

  • #932: Deep Learning With The Elephants
    #932: Deep Learning With The Elephants
    Duration: 25min | 09/08/2019

    Elephants are in danger. Counting them is crucial to saving them. But they're hard to see in the rainforest. So scientists are enlisting the help of AI technology.

  • #931: The IT Guy Vs. The Con Artist
    #931: The IT Guy Vs. The Con Artist
    Duration: 21min | 07/08/2019

    A notorious con artist offered Felipe an IT job. He took the job —and tried to con the con man. | Plus, listen to a full double feature all about cons here.

  • #930: Twins
    #930: Twins
    Duration: 22min | 03/08/2019

    Scientists have studied twins for years, hoping to figure out how big a role genes play in human behavior. Our very own pair of twin reporters are on the case.

  • #598: That Time We Shorted America, Part Two
    #598: That Time We Shorted America, Part Two
    Duration: 19min | 31/07/2019

    Everyone said betting against the entire stock market was a terrible idea. We did it anyway. Today, we find out the results, and revisit the first short ever done in the 17th century.

  • #597: That Time We Shorted America, Part One
    #597: That Time We Shorted America, Part One
    Duration: 21min | 26/07/2019

    Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people and bet against something people love.

  • #929: Could A Wealth Tax Work?
    #929: Could A Wealth Tax Work?
    Duration: 22min | 24/07/2019

    Elizabeth Warren wants to tax the wealth of the mega-rich to help fix inequality. Europe tried this, and failed. Can it work in the U.S.?

  • #928: Hong Kong
    #928: Hong Kong
    Duration: 22min | 19/07/2019

    In 1960, a 12-year-old boy left mainland China, hidden in the bottom of a fishing boat. He later became one of Hong Kong's richest people. His story is the story of Hong Kong.

  • #927: The Indicator In The House
    #927: The Indicator In The House
    Duration: 20min | 18/07/2019

    Two highlights from our daily podcast, The Indicator, about houses. A plan to lower rents pits state against city, and a private firefighter breaks down his business for us. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

  • #926: So, Should We Recycle?
    #926: So, Should We Recycle?
    Duration: 23min | 13/07/2019

    Cities might be picking up your recyclables, but there is a very good chance they aren't being recycled. And that might be a good thing...if you really care about the planet. Part two of a two-part series. ⎸Subscribe to our newsletter here.

  • #925: A Mob Boss, A Garbage Boat and Why We Recycle
    #925: A Mob Boss, A Garbage Boat and Why We Recycle
    Duration: 25min | 10/07/2019

    In 1987, an Alabama man had an idea. So he made a deal with the mob. And ended up with 3,186 tons of trash no landfill would take. This is the accidental birth of recycling in the U.S. ⎸Subscribe to our newsletter here.

  • #924: Stuck In Chinas Panopticon
    #924: Stuck In China's Panopticon
    Duration: 26min | 05/07/2019

    China is building a high-tech surveillance state to capture minorities' every move and word. We go inside it and find that some Americans are involved. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter npr.org/planetmoneynewsletter

  • #752: Eagles vs. Chickens
    #752: Eagles vs. Chickens
    Duration: 20min | 03/07/2019

    A farmer in Georgia became more in tune with nature. Then eagles started killing his chickens. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter: npr.org/planetmoneynewsletter

  • #923: Good Teachers, Bad Deal
    #923: Good Teachers, Bad Deal
    Duration: 26min | 28/06/2019

    Teachers made a deal with the Department of Education. They kept their end of the bargain. Why didn't the government?

  • #922: The Cost of Getting Your Money Back
    #922: The Cost of Getting Your Money Back
    Duration: 19min | 27/06/2019

    Accidentally sending $1,500 to a stranger on Venmo reveals just how hard it is to get your money back in the new economy.

  • #921: Tales From The Parking Lot
    #921: Tales From The Parking Lot
    Duration: 23min | 21/06/2019

    Three stories: A tire-booting vigilante, a surge price conspiracy, and the civil rights fight over parking tickets.

  • #920: What Should We Be Worried About?
    #920: What Should We Be Worried About?
    Duration: 18min | 19/06/2019

    The economic recovery turns 10 this month. Don't get too comfortable. There's plenty to be worried about.

  • #919: Are Cities Overrated?
    #919: Are Cities Overrated?
    Duration: 17min | 14/06/2019

    Big cities used to be the land of opportunity for most people. But with changes in work, some economists are wondering: Are cities overrated?

  • #590: The Planet Money Workout
    #590: The Planet Money Workout
    Duration: 17min | 12/06/2019

    Gyms don't want you to workout. Or at least, not often. It's better for business that way. Economics explains why.

  • #918: The Day Of Two Noons
    #918: The Day Of Two Noons
    Duration: 20min | 07/06/2019

    People didn't always know what time it was. But in the nineteenth century, a high school principal, a scientist, and a railroad bureaucrat synchronized the nation.

  • #651: The Salmon Taboo
    #651: The Salmon Taboo
    Duration: 16min | 05/06/2019

    In Japan, salmon used to be garbage fish. Today, it's a delicacy. How one Norwegian with a lot of extra fish changed the tastes of a nation.

  • #917: Quit Threat!
    #917: Quit Threat!
    Duration: 22min | 31/05/2019

    Sometimes an economy can get so strong the power dynamic between bosses and workers flips: Full employment. Are we there yet?

  • #916: The Whistleblower Whisperer
    #916: The Whistleblower Whisperer
    Duration: 23min | 29/05/2019

    Jordan Thomas is a lawyer who represents some of Wall Street's biggest whistleblowers. The life that led him here is extraordinary.

  • #915: How To Meddle In An Election
    #915: How To Meddle In An Election
    Duration: 23min | 24/05/2019

    In which someone runs a science experiment on an actual election, on actual voters, to test the persuasive power of ethically sketchy methods.

  • #914: Trump and Deutsche, A Long Affair
    #914: Trump and Deutsche, A Long Affair
    Duration: 26min | 23/05/2019

    After Donald Trump's companies declared four bankruptcies, several major banks stopped loaning him money. But Deutsche Bank didn't.

  • #913: Counting The Homeless
    #913: Counting The Homeless
    Duration: 22min | 18/05/2019

    From renting hotels to a jobs report-like census in the night, we look at ways communities are helping the homeless.

  • #407: A Mathematician, The Last Supper, And The Birth Of Accounting
    #407: A Mathematician, The Last Supper, And The Birth Of Accounting
    Duration: 17min | 15/05/2019

    The story of an innovation that changed the way the world works, and of the man who made this innovation possible: Luca Pacioli.

  • #912: How Uncle Jamie Broke Jeopardy
    #912: How Uncle Jamie Broke Jeopardy
    Duration: 25min | 10/05/2019

    James Holzhauer took data, probability and a lot of practice with a fake buzzer, and turned it into a fortune on a game show.

  • #911: You Asked The Listener Question Hotline
    #911: You Asked The Listener Question Hotline
    Duration: 20min | 08/05/2019

    We answer a bunch of the questions you asked — and even one you *didn't* ask.

  • #910: Economics, Sexism, Data
    #910: Economics, Sexism, Data
    Duration: 24min | 03/05/2019

    A young economist holds a mirror up to her field. And starts a national conversation about women in economics.

  • #416: Why The Price of Coke Didnt Change For 70 years
    #416: Why The Price of Coke Didn't Change For 70 years
    Duration: 20min | 01/05/2019

    For 70 years, the price of a bottle of Coca-Cola stayed a nickel. Why? The answer includes a half a million vending machines and a 7.5 cent coin.

  • #909: Dollar Stores Vs Lettuce
    #909: Dollar Stores Vs Lettuce
    Duration: 20min | 27/04/2019

    Every six hours a new dollar store opens in the U.S. Are they killing grocery stores?

  • #908: I Am Not A Robot
    #908: I Am Not A Robot
    Duration: 24min | 24/04/2019

    The remarkable story of the online "CAPTCHA" tests we've all taken to prove that we're not robots.

  • #907: Two Spring Indicators
    #907: Two Spring Indicators
    Duration: 21min | 19/04/2019

    The Indicator from Planet Money explores trade wars, peanuts, hurricanes, and happiness.

  • #644: How Much Does This Cow Weigh?
    #644: How Much Does This Cow Weigh?
    Duration: 19min | 17/04/2019

    We wanted to understand an eerie phenomenon that drives everything from the stock market to the price of orange juice. So we asked you to guess the weight of a cow.

  • #906: The Chicago Boys, Part II
    #906: The Chicago Boys, Part II
    Duration: 27min | 12/04/2019

    How a ruthless dictator, and a bunch of economists known as the Chicago Boys, took Chile from socialism to capitalism.

  • #905: The Chicago Boys, Part I
    #905: The Chicago Boys, Part I
    Duration: 24min | 11/04/2019

    In the late 1950s and early '60s a handful of Chilean students went to study economics at the University of Chicago. What they learned changed their country.

  • #904: Joke Theft
    #904: Joke Theft
    Duration: 26min | 06/04/2019

    Copyrighting comedy is expensive. So comedians have devised an informal system of sanctions to protect their jokes from theft. Sometimes it works.

  • #760: Tax Hero
    #760: Tax Hero
    Duration: 23min | 04/04/2019

    Joe Bankman, professor at Stanford, figured out a way to make filing your taxes easy and painless. Then the tax lobby found out about it.

  • #903: A New Way To Pay For College
    #903: A New Way To Pay For College
    Duration: 19min | 29/03/2019

    Some colleges are offering students a new way to pay. It's not a scholarship. It's not a loan. It's more like the students are selling stock in themselves.

  • #902: The Phoebus Cartel
    #902: The Phoebus Cartel
    Duration: 31min | 28/03/2019

    The story behind two sneaky forces that drive us to buy more products, more often: Planned obsolescence and psychological obsolescence.

  • #901: Bad Cops Are Expensive
    #901: Bad Cops Are Expensive
    Duration: 20min | 22/03/2019

    There's an industry of people working to eliminate bad police behavior. They're not activists or protestors. They're insurers.

  • #189: Why A Dead Shark Costs $12 Million
    #189: Why A Dead Shark Costs $12 Million
    Duration: 19min | 20/03/2019

    Today's show is about the fickle market for art. What makes a dead shark cost $12 million, and a photo of steel wool that looks like a tornado cost only $1,265?

  • #900: The Stolen Company
    #900: The Stolen Company
    Duration: 22min | 15/03/2019

    When an American company named ABRO learns their goods are being counterfeited in China, they start their own trade war.

  • #724: Cat Scam
    #724: Cat Scam
    Duration: 23min | 13/03/2019

    The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen--but instead they are taking over the global economy.

  • #899: Mexico Fights The Fuel Pirates
    #899: Mexico Fights The Fuel Pirates
    Duration: 17min | 08/03/2019

    Thieves are stealing billions of dollars worth of gasoline in Mexico. The President is taking drastic action to cut them off, and it comes at a serious cost. Content warning: Audio of deadly pipeline explosion.

  • #785: The Starbury
    #785: The Starbury
    Duration: 25min | 07/03/2019

    The story of an NBA All-Star and an experiment: To make a desirable basketball shoe cheap enough for anyone.

  • #898: Happy Fed Independence Day
    #898: Happy Fed Independence Day
    Duration: 19min | 02/03/2019

    The story of the day the Federal Reserve got its independence and the fight—an actual physical fight—to keep it.

  • #897: New Orleans Vs. Airbnb
    #897: New Orleans Vs. Airbnb
    Duration: 22min | 28/02/2019

    Airbnb has changed New Orleans. And now landlords and preservationists are fighting over the future of the city.

  • Antitrust 3: Big Tech
    Antitrust 3: Big Tech
    Duration: 23min | 22/02/2019

    What does the rise of dominant tech companies say about competition and the state of antitrust law? Third in a series.

  • Antitrust 2: The Paradox
    Antitrust 2: The Paradox
    Duration: 19min | 20/02/2019

    How Robert Bork won the fight over the very meaning of competition in America, and paved the way for some of the biggest companies we've ever seen.

  • Antitrust 1: Standard Oil
    Antitrust 1: Standard Oil
    Duration: 23min | 15/02/2019

    At the turn of the 20th century, Ida Tarbell investigated John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. What she discovered changed the economy of the United States.

  • #418: A Fake Bank For Money Laundering Run By The Government
    #418: A Fake Bank For Money Laundering Run By The Government
    Duration: 19min | 14/02/2019

    To catch drug traffickers, the U.S. government tried something it had never tried before. It set up and ran a fake offshore bank for money laundering. Fake name. Fake employees. Real drug money.

  • #893: Our Valentines 2019
    #893: Our Valentines 2019
    Duration: 17min | 08/02/2019

    We give a shout out to the stuff we've been obsessing over in the office — those stories that were so good, we wished we had thought of them ourselves.

  • #892: The Lost Plane
    #892: The Lost Plane
    Duration: 16min | 07/02/2019

    In December, a commercial flight had to make an emergency landing in Iran. They discovered that landing there would be easy. Getting out – much, much harder.

  • #891: Who Won The Bet Over Bitcoin?
    #891: Who Won The Bet Over Bitcoin?
    Duration: 19min | 01/02/2019

    Five years ago, two sides met on our show to make a bet about the future of bitcoin. Today, we announce the winner.

  • #825: Who Started The Wildfire?
    #825: Who Started The Wildfire?
    Duration: 21min | 30/01/2019

    After a wildfire, teams of investigators start combing the wreckage for clues. Finding the cause means, maybe, finding someone to pay. But where's the line between a natural disaster and a human one?

  • #890: The Division Problem
    #890: The Division Problem
    Duration: 21min | 25/01/2019

    Today on the show, we take on one of life's most vexing problems: Sharing.

  • #688: Brilliant Vs. Boring
    #688: Brilliant Vs. Boring
    Duration: 22min | 23/01/2019

    John Bogle died last week. His creation — the index fund — changed investing. Today, how his invention set off a million dollar bet between some of the biggest brains on Wall Street, including Warren Buffett.

  • #889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment
    #889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment
    Duration: 19min | 18/01/2019

    In 2010, Panera launched several pay-what-you-want cafes. On today's show: How this charitable experiment worked out.

  • #888: The First Shutdown
    #888: The First Shutdown
    Duration: 15min | 17/01/2019

    In 1879, Congress and the President were locked in a battle over the rights of African-Americans. It led to the first government shutdown.

  • #887: You Asked For It, Yet Again
    #887: You Asked For It, Yet Again
    Duration: 25min | 12/01/2019

    On today's show we answer questions about silver dollars, Venmo, and Brexit. Why? Because you asked!

  • #690: All In
    #690: All In
    Duration: 20min | 09/01/2019

    We go inside a professional poker tournament, where some of the smartest betting takes place behind the scenes.

  • #886: The Price of a Hack
    #886: The Price of a Hack
    Duration: 16min | 04/01/2019

    Hackers are an expensive headache for companies. But there might be a simple economic fix.

  • #885: Do It For Your Country
    #885: Do It For Your Country
    Duration: 18min | 02/01/2019

    People are the engine that fuels an economy. But what happens when you start running out of people?

  • #884: The Rest Of The Story, Winter 2018
    #884: The Rest Of The Story, Winter 2018
    Duration: 23min | 28/12/2018

    We check in on some stories we did this year to see what's changed. Find a full list of the episodes we referenced at our website, NPR.org/money.

  • #609: The Curse Of The Black Lotus
    #609: The Curse Of The Black Lotus
    Duration: 20min | 26/12/2018

    How the card game "Magic: The Gathering" deflated a speculative bubble. You can support our show at donate.npr.org/planetmoney.

  • BONUS INDICATOR: The Calculator That Time Forgot
    BONUS INDICATOR: The Calculator That Time Forgot
    Duration: 08min | 24/12/2018

    Most products in this world are vulnerable to creative destruction: as new products are developed, they make old ones obsolete. But there are some exceptions — products that persist, resisting change while economic evolution continues without them. For instance: the graphing calculator. (This episode is from our other podcast, The Indicator from Planet Money. Subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts.)

  • #883: A Very Planet Money Christmas Carol
    #883: A Very Planet Money Christmas Carol
    Duration: 26min | 21/12/2018

    Charles Dickens wanted to pick a fight with economists. So he invented Ebenezer Scrooge. But did he get it all right? Also: If you want to support our show, head over to donate.npr.org/planetmoney. We appreciate it.

  • #882: Synthetic Reefer Madness
    #882: Synthetic Reefer Madness
    Duration: 28min | 20/12/2018

    How a professor invented a formula for synthesizing cannabinoids and unintentionally helped launch a drug revolution.

  • BONUS INDICATOR: The Measure Of A Tragedy
    BONUS INDICATOR: The Measure Of A Tragedy
    Duration: 10min | 17/12/2018

    Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard-based Venezuelan economist, has constructed his own indicator, one that captures the horrifying scale of the economic catastrophe in Venezuela. (This episode is from our other podcast, The Indicator. Subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts.)

  • #881: The Prisoners of the Trade War
    #881: The Prisoners of the Trade War
    Duration: 17min | 15/12/2018

    A truce in the U.S.-China trade war seemed close. The leaders of China and the United States were meeting to discuss a fix. And then arrests started. It got even more confusing, so today, we call up our man on the ground in Shanghai to make sense of it all. The key to understanding the latest turn in the trade war centers around a giant company most Americans haven't heard of called Huawei. Its rise traces the rise of China's economy and Chinese-style capitalism.

  • #539: Whats A Penny Worth?
    #539: What's A Penny Worth?
    Duration: 22min | 13/12/2018

    We try to figure out what makes cents.

  • #880: Is Amazon Good For New York?
    #880: Is Amazon Good For New York?
    Duration: 21min | 07/12/2018

    It feels like all of New York City is arguing about Amazon's new office in Queens. But what do the people in Long Island City think?

  • #533: Why Car Safety Is A Trade Barrier
    #533: Why Car Safety Is A Trade Barrier
    Duration: 21min | 06/12/2018

    The U.S. and Europe just can't agree on car safety standards. That puts car companies in a weird position, makes cars cost more and just seems kind of random and wasteful.

  • #879: The Secret Target
    #879: The Secret Target
    Duration: 23min | 01/12/2018

    Their plan was dangerous, risky, and extremely unpopular. But America copied them anyway. Today on the show: how a tiny country on the other side of the world changed how America runs its economy.

  • #468: Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers
    #468: Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers
    Duration: 22min | 28/11/2018

    We talk to Kid Rock about how he tried to cut scalpers out of the business — and still sell cheap tickets to his shows.

  • #878: Mugshots For Sale
    #878: Mugshots For Sale
    Duration: 20min | 23/11/2018

    We go deep inside the market for online mugshots. Is it extortion? Or is it a First Amendment right?

  • #877: The Laws of The Office
    #877: The Laws of The Office
    Duration: 24min | 21/11/2018

    You get what you measure. Work expands to fill the time allotted. Who comes up with this stuff? And is it true?

  • #699: Kansas City Vs. Kansas City
    #699: Kansas City Vs. Kansas City
    Duration: 22min | 17/11/2018

    A bunch of you asked why so many cities threw billions in tax breaks at Amazon. It reminded us of an episode we did in 2016.

  • #876: Patent Deception
    #876: Patent Deception
    Duration: 28min | 15/11/2018

    How World Patent Marketing stole nearly $26 million. And how the acting attorney general was involved.

  • #875: Why Did The Cow Cross The Border?
    #875: Why Did The Cow Cross The Border?
    Duration: 21min | 10/11/2018

    To take advantage of the surprising benefits provided by an interlocked economic system on the other side.

  • #874: Hot Dog Hail Mary
    #874: Hot Dog Hail Mary
    Duration: 19min | 07/11/2018

    The Falcons are trying something radical: Making their food cheaper. It could break stadium economics.

  • #873: The Seattle Experiment
    #873: The Seattle Experiment
    Duration: 22min | 02/11/2018

    Seattle's radical solution to big money in politics: Flood elections with even more money.

  • #872: The Halloween Tapes
    #872: The Halloween Tapes
    Duration: 24min | 31/10/2018

    Something spooky has been happening here at Planet Money.

  • #871: Blacklisted In China
    #871: Blacklisted In China
    Duration: 20min | 26/10/2018

    China is trying a bold experiment to help people trust each other more: The social credit score. Will it work? Does it go too far?

  • #676: The First Lottery  How To Beat The Odds
    #676: The First Lottery & How To Beat The Odds
    Duration: 23min | 23/10/2018

    The first lottery was a royal affair with poems, golden flatware and invited criminals. Also, how someone won the lottery over and over.

  • #870: Trump vs. Red Tape
    #870: Trump vs. Red Tape
    Duration: 20min | 19/10/2018

    President Trump promised to slash regulations. How has he done?

  • #453: What Causes What?
    #453: What Causes What?
    Duration: 19min | 17/10/2018

    We try to tell the difference between correlation and causation.

  • #869: The Student Loan Whistleblower
    #869: The Student Loan Whistleblower
    Duration: 20min | 12/10/2018

    Seth Frotman worked overseeing student loans for the government. He saw things that made him quit, and tell all.

  • #534: The History of Light (Nobel Edition)
    #534: The History of Light (Nobel Edition)
    Duration: 21min | 08/10/2018

    Bill Nordhaus just won the economics Nobel. In this show: He shows how history of light is the history of economic growth — of things getting faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

  • #868: Moneyland
    #868: Moneyland
    Duration: 21min | 05/10/2018

    We follow writer Oliver Bullough as he explores how stolen money moves around the world, and what that might mean for democracies.

  • #680: Anatomy Of A Scam
    #680: Anatomy Of A Scam
    Duration: 23min | 03/10/2018

    Ever seen one of those signs asking if you want to work from home? We find out what happens when you call.

  • #867: Special Report: Asylum Crackdown
    #867: Special Report: Asylum Crackdown
    Duration: 34min | 29/09/2018

    We tell the story of a massive crackdown on asylum fraud, and the fallout.

  • #866: Modern Monetary Theory
    #866: Modern Monetary Theory
    Duration: 22min | 27/09/2018

    We rethink everything we know about government spending, taxes, the nature of money... All of it.

  • #865: Tweak This
    #865: Tweak This
    Duration: 18min | 21/09/2018

    We propose small fixes for baseball, weddings, salary negotiations and buying your morning coffee. Warning: They may be too rational.

  • #657: The Tale Of The Onion King
    #657: The Tale Of The Onion King
    Duration: 16min | 19/09/2018

    How one man took the onion market hostage.

  • #864: The Central (Bankers) Question
    #864: The Central (Bankers') Question
    Duration: 22min | 15/09/2018

    We crash a party of central bankers to get an answer to one of the biggest economic questions of our time.

  • For Our 10th Anniversary, Episode #1
    For Our 10th Anniversary, Episode #1
    Duration: 29min | 12/09/2018

    In honor of our 10th anniversary, we revisit our very first episode.

  • #863: The 13th Hole
    #863: The 13th Hole
    Duration: 20min | 08/09/2018

    What a hole-in-one gone awry says about the state of charity.

  • #729: When Subaru Came Out
    #729: When Subaru Came Out
    Duration: 20min | 05/09/2018

    Subaru's sales had been slumping for years. Then they went straight to their biggest fans: Lesbians.

  • #862: Big Government Cheese
    #862: Big Government Cheese
    Duration: 23min | 31/08/2018

    That time we accidentally created a cheese surplus so large it had to be stored in a ginormous cave.

  • #783: New Jersey Bails Out
    #783: New Jersey Bails Out
    Duration: 20min | 29/08/2018

    California just did away with cash bail. But credit where credit is due. New Jersey already tried something similar.

  • #861: Food Scare Squad
    #861: Food Scare Squad
    Duration: 22min | 24/08/2018

    When food makes people sick all around the country, an army of germ detectives jumps into action.

  • #444: New Jersey Wine
    #444: New Jersey Wine
    Duration: 20min | 22/08/2018

    Today on the show: Could New Jersey become the next Napa?

  • #860: The Worlds Longest Yard Sale
    #860: The World's Longest Yard Sale
    Duration: 25min | 17/08/2018

    Six states. Three days. One ugly cookie jar. Today on the show: Yard sale!

  • #613: Trash!
    #613: Trash!
    Duration: 15min | 15/08/2018

    The line between trash and recycling is moving a lot these days. It's a tough time to be a recycler.

  • #859: You Asked For Even More
    #859: You Asked For Even More
    Duration: 19min | 10/08/2018

    You have a lot of questions... about tariffs, unemployment rates, and RV dealerships, to name a few. We have answers.

  • #704: Open Office
    #704: Open Office
    Duration: 19min | 08/08/2018

    This episode is for everyone who ever had to ask their coworkers to quiet down. Today on the show: We meet the man who stole your office door.

  • #858: Venezuelas Fugitive Money Traders
    #858: Venezuela's Fugitive Money Traders
    Duration: 19min | 03/08/2018

    The Venezuelan government doesn't want you to know the real value of its currency. But Ruben and Mila figured it out. Now they're on the lam.

  • #857: The Postal Illuminati
    #857: The Postal Illuminati
    Duration: 22min | 01/08/2018

    Is there a secretive postal organization fixing international shipping rates, and giving American businesses a bad deal?

  • #856: Yes In My Backyard
    #856: Yes In My Backyard
    Duration: 19min | 27/07/2018

    There's a simple way to solve the housing crisis in U.S. cities. Only problem is, almost everybody hates it.

  • #855: The Poop Cartel
    #855: The Poop Cartel
    Duration: 24min | 25/07/2018

    What happens when a group of economists applies the number one rule of economics... to number two?

  • #854: The New Socialists
    #854: The New Socialists
    Duration: 15min | 20/07/2018

    Socialism was political poison in the U.S. for decades. Now it's gaining ground. Who are these new socialists? And what do they want?

  • #472: The One-Page Plan To Fix Global Warming Revisited
    #472: The One-Page Plan To Fix Global Warming Revisited
    Duration: 24min | 18/07/2018

    Tax carbon emissions. That's basically the whole plan. What's the hold up?

  • #853: Peak Sand
    #853: Peak Sand
    Duration: 18min | 13/07/2018

    Sand. It's in buildings, windows, your cell phone. But there isn't enough in the world for everyone. And that's created a dangerous black market.

  • #427: LeBron James Is Still Underpaid
    #427: LeBron James Is Still Underpaid
    Duration: 21min | 11/07/2018

    The best player in basketball is getting hosed. The NBA team owners, the players, the fans and even LeBron James himself want to keep it that way.

  • #852: Two Summer Indicators
    #852: Two Summer Indicators
    Duration: 21min | 06/07/2018

    Two stories from our Indicator team. There's a province in China that makes many of the world's flags. It's a unique window on global trade right now. And we find out why so few teenagers are working summer jobs these days.

  • #700: Peanuts And Cracker Jack
    #700: Peanuts And Cracker Jack
    Duration: 24min | 03/07/2018

    It takes strategy and skill to sell snacks at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.

  • #851: The Rest Of The Story Summer 2018
    #851: The Rest Of The Story Summer 2018
    Duration: 21min | 30/06/2018

    A pesticide wreaks havoc. A listener needs a bitcoin detective. And the search for the rarest economic good continues.

  • #850: The Fake Review Hunter
    #850: The Fake Review Hunter
    Duration: 19min | 27/06/2018

    Fake product reviews are wrecking the internet. But help is on the way: From a bodybuilding fake review hunter.

  • #682: When CEO Pay Exploded
    #682: When CEO Pay Exploded
    Duration: 21min | 22/06/2018

    Politicians have argued for decades that CEOs are overpaid. But there's this precise moment in the 1990s when CEO pay suddenly shot up. We find out what happened.

  • #849: It Takes Two To Make A Trade War Fight
    #849: It Takes Two To Make A Trade War Fight
    Duration: 22min | 20/06/2018

    President Trump says China is stealing U.S. technology. So we looked into one case. And things got a little complicated.

  • #848: The Worlds Biggest Battery
    #848: The World's Biggest Battery
    Duration: 21min | 15/06/2018

    California has a ton of solar power. But as soon as night falls, it's gone. Today on the show: How to bottle the sun.

  • #847: Inventing Accidents
    #847: Inventing Accidents
    Duration: 21min | 13/06/2018

    The medical world has been trying to cure color blindness for centuries. Then a glass scientist figured it out. By accident.

  • #846: Ungerrymandering Florida
    #846: Ungerrymandering Florida
    Duration: 20min | 09/06/2018

    When Florida outlawed partisan gerrymandering, politicians tried to sneak it back in...in disguise.

  • #660: The T-Rex In My Backyard
    #660: The T-Rex In My Backyard
    Duration: 19min | 06/06/2018

    Meet Sue, the dinosaur who sparked a gold rush for fossils buried in the badlands of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

  • #845: REDMAP
    #845: REDMAP
    Duration: 21min | 02/06/2018

    Meet the man who figured out how to reshape national politics by making tiny investments in the smallest of places.

  • #844: Nice Game
    #844: Nice Game
    Duration: 16min | 31/05/2018

    In game theory, sometimes the best way to win, is to lose.

  • #843: Swamp Gravy
    #843: Swamp Gravy
    Duration: 29min | 25/05/2018

    Today on the show: A small town stakes its future on writing, directing, and starring in a musical.

  • #643: The Taxi King
    #643: The Taxi King
    Duration: 20min | 23/05/2018

    Gene Freidman built a taxi empire. We visited him before he was in legal trouble.

  • #842: Showdown at the WTO
    #842: Showdown at the WTO
    Duration: 19min | 18/05/2018

    The World Trade Organization: Can't live with it, hard to crush your trade opponents without it.

  • #696: Class Action
    #696: Class Action
    Duration: 22min | 16/05/2018

    Class actions run from big civil rights cases to arguments about pepper. Are they noble, or silly?

  • #841: The Land Of Duty Free
    #841: The Land Of Duty Free
    Duration: 21min | 11/05/2018

    We meet the man who invented duty free shopping and find out if these tax free stores are really saving us any money.

  • #840: Fixing Chicken
    #840: Fixing Chicken
    Duration: 19min | 09/05/2018

    Today on the show: A chicken index, some Wall Street investors, and an unlikely whistle-blower.

  • #839: The Indicator Goes To California
    #839: The Indicator Goes To California
    Duration: 26min | 04/05/2018

    California is way more than Hollywood. Today on the show, we look at what else is going on in this powerhouse state economy.

  • #575: The Fondue Conspiracy
    #575: The Fondue Conspiracy
    Duration: 16min | 02/05/2018

    Today on the show: How a cheese cartel abandoned the rules of economics and convinced the world to eat fondue.

  • #838: A Series of Mysterious Packages
    #838: A Series of Mysterious Packages
    Duration: 17min | 27/04/2018

    Unordered trinkets have been arriving at homes around the country. We try to find out why.

  • #640: The Bottom Of The Well
    #640: The Bottom Of The Well
    Duration: 22min | 25/04/2018

    Today on the show: the economics of drought, and why the rational thing to do in California right now is use more water.

  • #837: The Belt, The Road And The Money
    #837: The Belt, The Road And The Money
    Duration: 22min | 21/04/2018

    Today on the show, we connect the dots between New York, Uganda, Prague, and China's thirst for resources. (Music Credit: Thanks to musician Giovanni Kiyingi for the use of his song "Kaleeba" from the album Amakondeere.)

  • #836: The Rational Madness Of The Used Car Salesman
    #836: The Rational Madness Of The Used Car Salesman
    Duration: 17min | 19/04/2018

    Why are used car commercials so annoying? Meet the original sinner.

  • #835: Tariffied
    #835: Tariffied
    Duration: 21min | 13/04/2018

    We're in a full-fledged trade war with China. We dig into the list of tariffs on American products. It gets weird...and delicious.

  • #661: The Less Deadly Catch
    #661: The Less Deadly Catch
    Duration: 18min | 11/04/2018

    Today on the show: how an economic fix helped made the deadliest job in America safer, and why people are angry about it.

  • #834: NDA Tell-All
    #834: NDA Tell-All
    Duration: 21min | 07/04/2018

    Today on the show, we talk to one of the most famous NDA breakers of all time, and ask: Is there a legal way out of your NDA?

  • #685: Larry vs. The IRS
    #685: Larry vs. The IRS
    Duration: 20min | 04/04/2018

    What exactly would happen if you didn't pay your taxes? Today on the show, we follow one man who did just that.

  •  #833: Worst. Tariffs. Ever.
    #833: Worst. Tariffs. Ever.
    Duration: 21min | 30/03/2018

    Tariffs are stupid. This is one of the few things economists can agree on. Today, we bring you the story of the worst tariffs ever.

  • #832: Mulvaney Vs The CFPB
    #832: Mulvaney Vs The CFPB
    Duration: 21min | 28/03/2018

    What happens when you put someone who wants to close an agency, in charge of that agency? Today on the show, we find out.

  • #671: An Insider Trader Tells All
    #671: An Insider Trader Tells All
    Duration: 19min | 23/03/2018

    A man who got caught insider trading explains everything — what he did, how he did it, and why.

  • #831: The Golden Rules
    #831: The Golden Rules
    Duration: 19min | 21/03/2018

    Planet Money joins the gold rush 170 years late. And the rules are still about the same. How did that happen?

  • #454: The Lollipop War
    #454: The Lollipop War
    Duration: 21min | 16/03/2018

    What do sugar farmers have against candy? A lot, according to candy manufacturers.

  • #830: XXX-XX-XXXX
    #830: XXX-XX-XXXX
    Duration: 20min | 14/03/2018

    How did the social security number become the most important identifier in the United States? And is that even a good idea?

  • #829: Rigging The Economy
    #829: Rigging The Economy
    Duration: 19min | 09/03/2018

    Two guys from different ends of the political spectrum agree that the economy is rigged. And they think they know who's responsible.

  • #677: The Experiment Experiment
    #677: The Experiment Experiment
    Duration: 22min | 07/03/2018

    There's something wrong with the way we're doing science. Today on the show, we find out how to fix it.

  • #828: You Asked For More
    #828: You Asked For More
    Duration: 23min | 02/03/2018

    We ponder the price of chicken, safe haven currencies, and the cash value of coupons. Why? Because you asked.

  • #827: Three Indicators
    #827: Three Indicators
    Duration: 19min | 28/02/2018

    What do human blood, the conservative tax plan, and beer hops tell us about the world? Find out in today's episode.

  • #826: The Vodka Proof
    #826: The Vodka Proof
    Duration: 20min | 23/02/2018

    Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them?

  • #545: The Blue Pallet
    #545: The Blue Pallet
    Duration: 16min | 21/02/2018

    How do you reinvent something as simple as the wooden shipping pallet?

  • #825: Who Started The Wildfire
    #825: Who Started The Wildfire
    Duration: 19min | 16/02/2018

    After a wildfire, teams of investigators start combing the wreckage for clues. Finding the cause means, maybe, finding someone to pay. But where's the line between a natural disaster and a human one?

  • #824: Our Valentines
    #824: Our Valentines
    Duration: 20min | 14/02/2018

    If you can't beat 'em, send 'em a valentine.

  • #823: Planet Monet
    #823: Planet Monet
    Duration: 17min | 09/02/2018

    Investors are pouring money into art, and a lot of it is disappearing into storage. We try to find out where the art goes, and why it goes there.

  • #337: The Secret Document that Transformed China
    #337: The Secret Document that Transformed China
    Duration: 17min | 07/02/2018

    In 1978, a group of farmers in a Chinese village wrote a contract and hid it in the roof of a hut. They were afraid the document might get them executed. Instead, it transformed the Chinese economy.

  • #822: The Shortest Super Bowl
    #822: The Shortest Super Bowl
    Duration: 23min | 02/02/2018

    How does the market for Super Bowl tickets work? And why did it collapse in 2015?

  • #821: The Other Davos
    #821: The Other Davos
    Duration: 18min | 01/02/2018

    Billionaires, diplomats, thinkfluencers. This is the Davos everyone hears about. Today on the show, we take you to a different Davos.

  • #820: P Is For Phosphorus
    #820: P Is For Phosphorus
    Duration: 20min | 26/01/2018

    Phosphate is a crucial element, for farming, and for life. And there aren't too many places to get it. What if it runs out?

  • #819: Tax Me If You Can
    #819: Tax Me If You Can
    Duration: 23min | 25/01/2018

    Douglas Bruce had a bold vision for Colorado.

  • #508: A Bet On The Future Of Humanity
    #508: A Bet On The Future Of Humanity
    Duration: 20min | 19/01/2018

    A biologist predicts a population bomb that will lead to global catastrophe. An economist sees a limitless future for mankind. The result is one of the most famous bets in economics.

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