Planet Money podcast

Planet Money

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  NPR  

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.Wanna go deeper? Subscribe to Planet Money+ and get sponsor-free episodes of Planet Money, The Indicator, and Planet Money Summer School. Plus access to bonus content. It's a new way to support the show you love. Learn more at plus.npr.org/planetmoney

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.Wanna go deeper? Subscribe to Planet Money+ and get sponsor-free episodes of Planet Money, The Indicator, and Planet Money Summer School. Plus access to bonus content. It's a new way to support the show you love. Learn more at plus.npr.org/planetmoney

 

#355

A controversial idea at the heart of Bidenomics

Réka Juhász is a professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, and she studies what's known as industrial policy. That's the general term for whenever the government tries to promote specific sectors of the economy. The idea is that they might be able to supercharge growth by giving money to certain kinds of businesses, or by putting up trade barriers to protect certain industries. Economists have long been against it. Industrial policy has been called a "taboo" subject, and "one of the most toxic phrases" in economics. The mainstream view has been that industrial policy is inefficient, even harmful. For a long time, politicians largely accepted that view. But in the past several years, countries have started to embrace industrial policy—most notably in the United States. Under President Biden, the U.S. is set to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on industrial policy, to fund things like microchip manufacturing and clean energy projects. It's one of the most ambitious tests of industrial policy in U.S. history. And the billion dollar question is ... will it work? On today's show, Réka takes us on a fun, nerdy journey to explain the theory behind industrial policy, why it's so controversial, and where President Biden's big experiment might be headed.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

23 Feb 2024

25 MINS

25:52

23 Feb 2024


#354

Two Indicators: Economics of the defense industry

The Department of Defense's proposed budget for 2024 is $842 billion. That is about 3.5% of the U.S.'s GDP. The military buys everything from pens and paper clips to fighter jets and submarines. But the market for military equipment is very different from the commercial market.On today's episode, we're bringing you two stories from [The Indicator's] (https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510325/the-indicator-from-planet-money) series on defense spending that explore that market. As the U.S. continues to send weapons to Ukraine and Israel, we first look at why defense costs are getting so high. Then, we dive into whether bare-bones manufacturing styles are leaving the U.S. military in a bind.The original Indicator episodes were produced by Cooper Katz McKim with engineering from Maggie Luthar and James Willetts. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and Angel Carreras. They were edited by Kate Concannon and Paddy Hirsch. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

21 Feb 2024

19 MINS

19:22

21 Feb 2024


#353

How the Navy came to protect cargo ships

The Genco Picardy is not an American ship. It doesn't pay U.S. taxes, none of its crew are U.S. nationals, and when it sailed through the Red Sea last month, it wasn't carrying cargo to or from an American port. But when the Houthis, a tribal militant group from Yemen, attacked the ship, the crew called the U.S. Navy. That same day, the Navy fired missiles at Houthi sites.On today's show: How did protecting the safe passage of other countries' ships in the Red Sea become a job for the U.S. military? It goes back to an idea called Freedom of the Seas, an idea that started out as an abstract pipe dream when it was coined in the early 1600s – but has become a pillar of the global economy. This episode was hosted by Alex Mayyasi and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, edited by Molly Messick, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez, with help from Maggie Luthar. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

16 Feb 2024

19 MINS

19:52

16 Feb 2024


#352

It's giving ... Valentines

L, is for the way you Listen to Planet MoneyO, is for the Only podcast I hearV, is Very, very, fiduciaryE, is for... ECONOMICS! Every February, we dedicate a show to the things in our lives that have been giving us butterflies. Whether it's an obscure online marketplace or a piece of stunt journalism that made us green with envy. And then we go out into the world to proclaim our love...in the form of a Valentine. And we have a great roster this Valentine's Day:- [A grocery store in Los Angeles] (https://vallartasupermarkets.com/en/) with the very best produce - [A woodworking supply company] (https://www.youtube.com/@FastCapLLC) with an innovative approach to... innovation!- [A basketball player] (https://www.espn.com/womens-college-basketball/player/_/id/4433403/caitlin-clark) that makes a strong case for taking risky shots- [A book ] (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/703268/material-world-by-ed-conway/) that catalogues the raw materials that shape our world- [A play] (https://auroratheatre.org/manahatta) that connects the 2008 financial crisis to the sale of the island of Manhattan in the 1600s- And, [a podcast] (https://www.corporategossippod.com/) that turns corporate intrigue into watercooler chit-chatSo cozy up with a special someone and hand them the second earbud as we take you through our 2024 Valentines!Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in [Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

15 Feb 2024

26 MINS

26:04

15 Feb 2024


#351

A lawsuit for your broken heart

Keith King was upset when his marriage ended. His wife had cheated, and his family broke apart. And that's when he learned about a very old type of lawsuit, called a heart balm tort. A lawsuit that would let him sue the man his now ex-wife had gotten involved with during their marriage.On this episode, where heart balm torts came from, what relationships looked like back then, and why these lawsuits still exist today (in some states, anyway.) And also, what happened when Keith King used a heart balm tort to try to deal with the most significant economic entanglement of his life: his marriage.This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Sarah Gonzalez. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and edited by Molly Messick. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Gilly Moon. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) . Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

09 Feb 2024

22 MINS

22:28

09 Feb 2024


#350

Morally questionable, economically efficient

There are tons of markets that don't exist because people just don't want to allow a market – for whatever reason, people feel icky about putting a price on something. For example: Surrogacy is a legal industry in parts of the United States, but not in much of the rest of the world. Assisted end-of-life is a legal medical transaction in some states, but is illegal in others.When we have those knee-jerk reactions and our gut repels us from considering something apparently icky, economics asks us to look a little more closely. Today on the show, we have three recommendations of things that may feel kinda wrong but economics suggests may actually be the better way. First: Could the matching process of organ donation be more efficient if people could buy and sell organs? Then: Should women seek revenge more often in the workplace? And finally, what if insider trading is actually useful? This episode was hosted by Mary Childs and Greg Rosalsky. It was produced by Willa Rubin and edited by Jess Jiang. It was engineered by Cena Loffredo. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

07 Feb 2024

24 MINS

24:17

07 Feb 2024


#349

Groundhog Day 2024: Trademark, bankruptcy, and the dollar that failed

It's Groundhog Day, and the eyes of the nation have turned to a small town in western Pennsylvania. And, just like last year, all anyone can talk about is Punxsutawney Phil! It is impossible to find a news story that is not about one furry prognosticator.Well, almost impossible...Once again, our Planet Money hosts find themselves trapped in the endless Groundhog Day news cycle, and their only way out is to discover an economics story from Groundhog Day itself interesting enough to appease the capricious Groundhog Gods! So rise and shine campers (and don't forget your booties) as hosts Kenny Malone and Amanda Aronczyk scour the news of February 2nds past, to try to find the perfect story.This episode was hosted by Kenny Malone and Amanda Aronczyk. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Keith Romer, and engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez. It was fact-checked by James Sneed. Our executive producer is Alex Goldmark.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

02 Feb 2024

26 MINS

26:52

02 Feb 2024


#348

The Chicken Tax (Classic)

Note: This episode originally ran in [2015] (https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/06/12/414029929/episode-632-the-chicken-tax) .German families in the 60s loved tasty, cheap American-raised chicken that was suddenly coming in after the war. And Americans were loving fun, cheap Volkswagen Beetles. This arrangement was too good to last.Today on the show, how a trade dispute over frozen chicken parts changed the American auto industry as we know it.This episode was reported by Robert Smith and Sonari Glinton. It was produced by Frances Harlow. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

31 Jan 2024

15 MINS

15:59

31 Jan 2024


#347

Bonus: Janet Yellen on Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!

Our friends at NPR's news quiz Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! recently had a very Planet Money guest on their show: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. They asked her about smoking pot, her extremely high scores in Candy Crush, and when to expect the Harriet Tubman $20 bill.Today, we're sharing an excerpt of that episode with you, along with some exclusive questions just for Planet Money listeners.You can [listen to the full show] (https://www.npr.org/2024/01/27/1227186323/wait-wait-for-january-27-with-not-my-job-guest-treasury-secretary-janet-yellen) and subscribe to Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! wherever you find your podcasts.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

29 Jan 2024

10 MINS

10:29

29 Jan 2024


#346

Rescues at sea, and how to make a fortune

At around 1 a.m. on the morning of November 15, 1994, Captain Prentice "Skip" Strong III woke to a distress call. Skip was the new captain of an oil tanker called the Cherry Valley. He and his crew had been making their way up the coast of Florida that evening when a tropical storm had descended. It had been a rough night of 15 foot waves and 50 mile per hour winds.The distress call was coming from a tugboat whose engines were failing in the storm. Now adrift, the tugboat was on a dangerous collision course with the shore. The only ship close enough to mount a rescue was the Cherry Valley. Skip faced a difficult decision. A fully loaded, 688-foot oil tanker is hardly anyone's first choice of a rescue vessel. It is as maneuverable as a school bus on ice. And the Cherry Valley was carrying ten million gallons of heavy fuel oil. A rescue attempt would put them in dangerously shallow water. One wrong move, and they would have an ecological disaster on the order of the Exxon Valdez. What happened next that night would be dissected and debated for years to come. The actions of Skip and his crew would lead to a surprising discovery, a record-setting lawsuit, and one of the strangest legal battles in maritime history. At the center of it all, an impossible question: How do you put a price tag on doing the right thing?Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

27 Jan 2024

26 MINS

26:15

27 Jan 2024


#345

Hear us out: We ban left turns and other big ideas

On today's episode, we have three big economic ideas for your consideration – ideas that could potentially improve the economy and make us more efficient. First, what if we ban left turns on roads? Then, what if we gave every new baby ... a trust fund? And lastly, what if we completely got rid of U.S. congressional districts? That's all on today's episode. This show was hosted by Sarah Gonzalez. It was produced by Willa Rubin and Emma Peaslee with help from Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Dave Blanchard and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Always free at these links: [Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) , [Spotify] (https://n.pr/3gTkQlR) , [Google Podcasts] (https://n.pr/3iMBXqz) , [the NPR app] (https://n.pr/3Bkb17W) or anywhere you get podcasts.Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

24 Jan 2024

23 MINS

23:25

24 Jan 2024


#344

Econ Battle Zone: Disinflation Confrontation

After very high inflation, the United States is finally feeling some relief in the form of "disinflation." But, why exactly has inflation slowed down?Three Planet Money hosts try to answer that question while competing to be the winner of our very own reporting challenge: Econ Battle Zone! It's economics journalism meets high-stakes reality TV competition! Will our contestants be able to impress our celebrity judges? How will they manage to incorporate their mystery ingredients? Who will take home the championship belt? Tune in for the inaugural episode of...Econ Battle Zone!This episode was hosted by Keith Romer, Amanda Aronczyk, Erika Beras, and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. James Sneed produced this episode with help from Emma Peaslee. The show was edited by Molly Messick, engineered by Cena Loffredo, 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] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

20 Jan 2024

31 MINS

31:54

20 Jan 2024


#343

Mid-East conflict escalation, two indicators

On today's show, we look at [two indicators] (https://www.npr.org/podcasts/510325/the-indicator-from-planet-money) of the economic disruptions of the war in Gaza and try to trace how far they will reach. We start in the Red Sea, a crucial link in the global supply chain connecting to the Suez Canal, with around 15% of the world's shipping passing through it. This includes oil tankers and massive container ships transporting everything from microchips to furniture. With Houthi rebels attacking container ships in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, shipping lines are re-routing, adding time and cost to delivery. We look at how ocean shipping is a web more than a chain of links, and try to see which parts of the web can take up more strain as the Red Sea and the Suez Canal become too dangerous to pass. Then, we'll consider what escalation could mean for the region's most important export: oil. Five steps of escalation each mean a ratcheting up of costs that knock on to other industries, like food. Some prices are likely to rise faster than others, though. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in [Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

17 Jan 2024

16 MINS

16:20

17 Jan 2024


#342

The Maine Potato War of 1976

When you think of a potato, one state probably comes to mind: Idaho. But for much of American history, Maine was home to the nation's largest potato crop. That status had changed by the 1970s, with the West growing more and more of the nation's potatoes. But Maine still had one distinct advantage: A privileged position in the commodities market. The New York Mercantile Exchange, one of the largest such marketplaces in the country, exclusively dealt in Maine potatoes. And two deep-pocketed Western potato kingpins weren't happy about it. So the Westerners waged what's now called the Maine Potato War of 1976. Their battlefield was the futures market: A special type of marketplace, made up of hordes of screaming traders, where potatoes can be bought and sold before they're even planted. The Westerners did something so bold – and so unexpected – that it brought not only the potato market, but the entire New York commodities exchange, to its knees. Today on the show, how a war waged through futures contracts influenced the kind of potatoes we eat. This episode was hosted by Dylan Sloan and Nick Fountain. This episode was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Molly Messick, engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez, and fact checked by Sierra Juarez. Our executive producer is Alex Goldmark. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

13 Jan 2024

24 MINS

24:17

13 Jan 2024


#341

The Universal Basic Income experiment in Kenya

There's this fundamental question in economics that has proven really hard to answer: What's a good way to help people out of poverty? The old-school way was to fund programs that would support very particular things, like buying cows for a village, giving people business training, or building schools.But over the past few decades, there has been a new idea: Could you help people who don't have money by ... just giving them money? We covered this question in a segment of This American Life that originally ran in [2013] (https://www.thisamericanlife.org/503/i-was-just-trying-to-help/act-one-1) . [Economists who studied the question found] (https://academic.oup.com/qje/article-abstract/131/4/1973/2468874) that giving people cash had positive effects on recipients' economic and psychological well-being. Maybe they bought a cow that could earn them money each week. Maybe they could replace their grass roofs with metal roofs that didn't need fixing every so often. The success of just giving people in poverty cash has spawned a whole set of new questions that economists are now trying to answer. Like, if we do just give money, what's the best way to do that? Do you just give it all at once? Or do you dole it out over time? And it turns out... [a huge new study] (https://www.givedirectly.org/2023-ubi-results/) on giving cash was just released and it's got a lot of answers.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ [in Apple Podcasts] (http://n.pr/PM-digital) or at [plus.npr.org/planetmoney] (https://n.pr/3HlREPz) .Learn more about sponsor message choices: [podcastchoices.com/adchoices] (https://podcastchoices.com/adchoices) [NPR Privacy Policy] (https://www.npr.org/about-npr/179878450/privacy-policy) ... Read more

10 Jan 2024

24 MINS

24:06

10 Jan 2024