The economy explained. 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.
Jul 31 • 18 min
With a month to go before the fall semester starts, universities are closing due to coronavirus, and also making hard cuts and tradeoffs around remote learning.
SUMMER SCHOOL 4: Scarcity & Pistachios
Jul 29 • 28 min
Learn about scarce resources and the tragedy of the commons from drought-stricken California.
Rest of the Story, Pandemic Edition
Jul 24 • 25 min
Rest of the Story, Pandemic Edition We check in on the people we’ve met and stories we’ve covered since this whole thing started. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
SUMMER SCHOOL 3: Profit & Cocaine
Jul 22 • 27 min
In our third class, we take all that we’ve learned about decisions and markets and bring it to a former drug kingpin. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
BONUS: The Kerner Commission
Jul 20 • 26 min
In 1967, President Johnson created a commission to investigate racial unrest in America. But, the answer they came up with was not the answer he was hoping for. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Getting Out Of Prison Sooner
Jul 17 • 27 min
Shortening prison sentences might be about morals, but it’s definitely about money. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
SUMMER SCHOOL 2: Markets & Pickles
Jul 15 • 31 min
In our second class, we meet our old friends supply and demand and do graphs using only the power of the human voice. Then, we show you how markets can be created anywhere by telling the story of a food bank that had too many pickles and not enough…
Hollywood’s Black List
Jul 10 • 24 min
In 2005, an anonymous list of the best unmade scripts in Hollywood shook up the movie biz. This episode: how a math-loving, movie nerd solved Hollywood’s script problem. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
SUMMER SCHOOL 1: Choices & Dating
Jul 8 • 32 min
First lesson: Economics is not about money. It’s a lens of great power and beauty. In this episode, we meet our teachers and learn the first four fundamental concepts of economic thinking, and watch them applied to things like dating and hailing a cab. |…
Planet Money Summer School
Jul 6 • 2 min
Planet Money Summer School is a crash course in economics for your ears.
Reparations For Police Brutality (UPDATE)
Jul 3 • 31 min
For years, some Chicago police officers tortured suspects. Survivors fought for reparations — and got them. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Jul 1 • 24 min
After decades of relative stability, prices in the US may be about to go through the roof — or the floor. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Jun 26 • 25 min
Espionage. Deceit. Theft. In this episode we follow the case of a global effort to steal top secret high technology: seeds. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Owner Of A Broken Hertz
Jun 24 • 24 min
Rental car giant Hertz declared bankruptcy last month, which should have made their stock worthless. So how come people keep buying it? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Money And Justice
Jun 19 • 26 min
We talk to podcast host Sam Sanders, Professor William A Darity Jr., social activist Oluchi Omeoga, nonprofit runner Kevin Cheng and economist Dean Karlan.
The Problem Of The Root (2018)
Jun 17 • 22 min
Wild ginseng sells for thousands. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Jun 12 • 25 min
Dr. Lisa Cook found a hole in a central economic growth theory — how violence and the lack of rule of law impacts innovation. But getting her colleagues to see it took 10 years.
The Very First Vaccine
Jun 10 • 21 min
We’ve only made vaccines for so many diseases. Let’s look at the history. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Police Unions And Police Violence
Jun 5 • 13 min
We look at the data connecting police unions and police violence. Today’s episode comes from our daily podcast, The Indicator. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Where’d The Money Go, And Other Questions
Jun 3 • 22 min
When the economy tanks, does money just vanish? Why are home prices still so high? You asked these and other questions. We try to answer. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Small America Vs. Big Internet
May 29 • 22 min
Small-town internet is often terrible… though not for lack of trying. Today on the show, one small city starts their own service provider only to get trolled by Big Internet.
Three Big Ideas
May 27 • 20 min
Spend billions on vaccine factories we’ll never use. Set up autopay to send checks to almost everybody. Build a giant bubble for an entire sports league.
May 22 • 20 min
This month, J.Crew went bankrupt. But not before inventing a whole new way of thinking about promises to lenders.
How To Get Trillions To Millions
May 20 • 17 min
In March, Congress passed the CARES act. But the stroke of a pen only does so much. This episode — two stories from the Indicator about how $2.2 trillion gets from Congress to you.
May 15 • 25 min
We did it! Planet Money is officially 1,000. And to thank all of our listeners for joining us on this heck of a ride — we’re gonna let you in on our secrets…
The Restaurant From The Future
May 13 • 22 min
The restaurant industry has gotten walloped in this pandemic — 5.5 million unemployed or furloughed. Yet, one guy wants to expand.
Journey To The Center Of The Fed
May 8 • 23 min
The Federal Reserve’s response to coronavirus has made it maybe the most important institution in the world right now. This episode, we go down to the Fed to talk about why.
Georgia’s Open Question
May 6 • 26 min
Georgia is one of the first states to reopen non-essential businesses. This episode, business owners answer the question: Can you safely reopen a business right now? Should you?
About That Hazard Pay
May 1 • 21 min
Many essential workers right now are low paid. And they’re being asked to risk more. Titles got fancier but their job got worse. So… why aren’t these workers getting paid more?
Buybacks And Bailouts
Apr 29 • 23 min
In a viral video about billionaires, buybacks, and bailouts, a deep question that’s been simmering since the last financial crisis has reemerged: Who deserves to fail?
Making It Work
Apr 24 • 20 min
Lockdown has changed how people spend money. Some companies are doing unexpectedly well. This episode: Farm animals, a crafty comeback, Clint Eastwood, and a story with a twist.
Apr 22 • 16 min
On Monday the price of a barrel of oil in the United States fell below zero. Specifically, it fell to a negative $37 a barrel. Today on the show — what just happened?
The Mask Mover
Apr 17 • 23 min
During this pandemic, getting PPE has turned into a free-for-all — states competing against states. To even have a chance… well, you kind of have to know a guy.
Lives Vs. The Economy
Apr 15 • 25 min
The economy will start back up again. When it does, it’ll be because someone decided that it was worth the lives risked, and lost. Today on the show: How that decision is made.
The Big Small Business Rescue
Apr 10 • 22 min
This past week, millions of small business owners have been trying to take advantage of a $349 billion rescue program.
What If No One Pays Rent?
Apr 8 • 21 min
We follow the distress from a laid-off worker, to her landlord, to the multi-trillion-dollar global mortgage market.
The Economics Of Hospital Beds
Apr 3 • 21 min
Bellevue is the oldest public hospital in the nation. It’s seen everything, and survived everything. But even they might not have enough beds for the COVID peak. Here’s why.
The Race To Make Ventilators
Mar 31 • 24 min
At maximum output, Seattle-area-based Ventec can produce about 1,000 ventilators a month. That’s not going to be nearly enough. So, they called in help.
Mar 28 • 22 min
There are 3,283,000 new claims for unemployment – but the unemployment system wasn’t designed for that kind of record number. Now 3 million people are asking, “What’s next?”
Where Do We Get $2,000,000,000,000?
Mar 26 • 20 min
The government’s economic rescue package will cost so much it’s worth writing out the full number: $2,000,000,000,000. Where will that money come from? And what will happen next?
Food And Farmworkers
Mar 25 • 17 min
In this episode, to understand how the coronavirus might impact our food, we talk to an economist, a farmer, and, of course, the people who really make farms go — the farmworkers.
You Asked About The Virus Economy
Mar 23 • 28 min
We’re here with you! And wow do you have questions. From stock market shutdowns to Coronavirus checks, to “What’s the deal with toilet paper?” This episode, we try to answer a few.
How To Save The Economy Now
Mar 20 • 13 min
The Federal Reserve usually has one main job: Setting interest rates. But in emergencies, another Fed job becomes more important: Trying to prevent a financial crisis.
How To Test A Country
Mar 18 • 21 min
To try to understand the coronavirus tests we’ve all been hearing so much about — we take you inside the pandemic testing system.
The Fed Fights The Virus
Mar 16 • 18 min
The Federal Reserve usually has one main job: setting interest rates. But in emergencies, another Fed job becomes more important: trying to prevent a financial crisis.
Medicine For The Economy
Mar 13 • 25 min
COVID-19 is hammering our economy. We called up three super smart economists and asked what we should do about it.
Coronavirus, Oil, and Kansas
Mar 11 • 18 min
How the coronavirus outbreak in China led to a fight over oil in Vienna, and changed lives in America.
Where’s The Vaccine?
Mar 6 • 20 min
A vaccine would be great right now. Of course, people would buy it. But the market for emergency vaccines isn’t like regular markets — that’s why the government steps in.
Terms Of Service
Mar 4 • 17 min
Every day, we accept another set of terms and conditions without reading the fine print. But what if there’s something hiding in there, waiting to blow up our lives?
Reparations In New Zealand
Feb 28 • 27 min
We follow Mavis Mullins, Māori sheep-shearing magnate, through New Zealand’s reparations system — from the fact-finding Waitangi Tribunal to a public apology.
Feb 26 • 20 min
By definition, vodka is colorless, odorless and tasteless. So, could there really be any difference between vodkas? Or is the difference all in the marketing?
Feb 21 • 21 min
Michael Milken created the market for “junk bonds” and built an empire in the process. Then he went to prison. And then, he got pardoned.
Feb 19 • 20 min
Two stories from The Indicator podcast: The symbiotic relationship between refugees and one Pennsylvania town, and Amazon’s weird flex in the gig economy.
Feb 14 • 33 min
Jamie Bartlett and BBC producer Georgia Catt bring us the story of OneCoin, which promised to revolutionize money, but instead led to one of the world’s biggest scams.
Our Valentines 2020
Feb 12 • 23 min
It’s our Valentine’s Day episode, full of love, bananas, and financial analysis.
Raw Milk Deal
Feb 7 • 19 min
A farmer in California built an empire dealing raw milk. And then the Feds showed up.
Feb 5 • 21 min
How fast is the world really changing? The answer has implications for everything from how the next generation will live to whether robots really will take all our jobs.
The Island No One Owns
Jan 31 • 29 min
In Barbuda, land isn’t a thing you buy and sell. It’s something you just… have. For free. No paperwork. For real. But the Prime Minister thinks there’s been a misunderstanding.
The Trouble With Table 101
Jan 29 • 23 min
When you go out to eat, you’re paying for food, but you’re also paying rent for the table. In this episode, one restaurateur tries to turn his worst real estate into his best.
Jan 24 • 21 min
We visit a little-known “lost and found” to find out how your money gets in there, and how you can get it back.
The Rise Of Putin
Jan 22 • 28 min
President Vladimir Putin recently proposed changes to the Russian Constitution in an attempt to consolidate power. Throughline asks, “How did he come to power in the first place?”
Das Green Old Deal
Jan 17 • 20 min
On today’s show, we head to Germany to meet the person who kickstarted the green energy market and learn about the wonky policy tool that helped him do it.
Jan 15 • 24 min
You can see billboards, and, increasingly, they can see you. We explore the power of billboards, and we put up our own in Times Square.
13,000 Economists. 1 Question.
Jan 10 • 21 min
We asked a bunch of economists at the American Economic Association’s annual conference one question: What is the most useful idea in economics?
The Cost Of Free Doughnuts
Jan 8 • 20 min
Free is a powerful concept. Everybody likes free things, but free can backfire. On today’s show: What happens when you take something that is free, and give it a price?
Advanced Fairness At The Marathon
Jan 3 • 23 min
With limited slots and high demand, the NYC Marathon has had to create a clever system to allocate a scarce resource as fairly as possible. Four lessons in fair allocation.
How Four Drinking Buddies Saved Brazil
Jan 1 • 22 min
In the 1990s, inflation in Brazil was so high that, for a very long time, prices had been increasing every day. Until four drinking buddies from grad school found a way to fix it.
The Rest Of The Story, 2019
Dec 27, 2019 • 23 min
We check in on the Universal Postal Union, what happened to the plane that got stuck in Iran, how much Mattress Mack lost betting on baseball, and more.
The Writers Revolt
Dec 25, 2019 • 22 min
In an era of peak television, screenwriters and their talent agents are fighting over the money. In April, 7,000 screenwriters fired all their agents on the same day.
Things We Learned in 2019
Dec 20, 2019 • 21 min
Tom Whitwell made an amazing list of 52 things he learned this year. We dig into our favorite items.
When Reagan Broke the Unions
Dec 18, 2019 • 22 min
When air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, Reagan gave them 48 hours to get back to work. In that short time, American labor would change forever.
You’re Giving Your Boss A Loan
Dec 13, 2019 • 22 min
Some of the biggest companies in the U.S. are reinventing how employees get paid. Saying you don’t have to wait two weeks to get paid anymore. You can get paid every day.
The Bell Wars
Dec 11, 2019 • 21 min
A special holiday episode about the epic, decades-long feud between the two companies that make just about every handbell in the world.
The Carriage Tax
Dec 6, 2019 • 18 min
The argument over the constitutionality of wealth taxes has been going on since 1794, when George Washington decided to raise money by taxing the rich, through their carriages.
Slot Flaw Scofflaws
Dec 4, 2019 • 22 min
Where there are casinos, there are wannabe cheaters. One group of Russian hackers cracked slot machines with math, iPhones, and a whole lot of swiping.
Nov 29, 2019 • 19 min
On today’s show, Blackbeard the pirate and a fight between two of the most powerful forces in American law: states’ rights and property rights.
We Cooked A Peacock
Nov 27, 2019 • 20 min
In the 1600s, a good spice rub was the ultimate display of wealth. People would risk their lives for a sack of cloves. On today’s show, we cook a recipe from the spice trade days.
What Is Foreign Interference, Anyway?
Nov 22, 2019 • 22 min
Millions of foreigners with temporary visas live and work in the US. Some of them want to participate in the elections. What’s the line between participating and meddling?
Three Sides Of A Car Loan
Nov 20, 2019 • 26 min
There is an alarming trend in the U.S. right now: 7 million people are at least 3 months behind on car payments. It’s a record high, but is it a crisis?
Nov 15, 2019 • 24 min
Sperm banks are whisking DNA around the world. And a sperm banker in Denmark created one of the biggest sperm operations, with help from his mom’s freezer… and mad cow disease.
Nov 13, 2019 • 24 min
There are millions of snakebite victims per year, but antivenom hasn’t really changed since its development over 100 years ago. A doctor goes to extremes to find a solution.
Overrated Or Underrated?
Nov 8, 2019 • 14 min
Tyler Cowen rates the NBA, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, the humanities, your neighbors, and more.
Free Love, Free Market
Nov 6, 2019 • 22 min
A free-love commune of perfectionists in upstate New York embraced the free market, and became a blockbuster brand.
The Pigou Club
Nov 1, 2019 • 21 min
Canada has put a price on pollution. The economist behind the idea thought about it more than a century ago.
A Series Of Unfortunate Recessions
Oct 30, 2019 • 16 min
There is one real-life economic monster that can take away your money, your job, and your future: A recession.
Oct 25, 2019 • 21 min
Baseball is a winner-take-all career path. But income pools could change the way baseball players, and other people in high risk/high reward professions, think about uncertainty.
Fries Of The Future
Oct 23, 2019 • 21 min
The modern french fry isn’t just crispy and delicious, it’s a technological marvel.
The Liberty City
Oct 18, 2019 • 23 min
Von Ormy, Texas is a small city with a big dream: To thrive with almost no regulations, property taxes, or debt.
Oct 16, 2019 • 22 min
Charlie Shrem’s odyssey in and out of prison is a parable for everything that has happened with bitcoin during its first years: from idealists to outlaws to respectable citizens.
We Should Have Mentioned That
Oct 11, 2019 • 22 min
We answer some of the most popular questions our listeners had after listening to our recent shows: on baseball cards, the repo market, and the least common American.
Oct 9, 2019 • 21 min
The Volfefe Index measures how much the President’s tweets affect volatility in the bond market. In 2017, we launched our own investing project based on the President’s tweets.
Oct 4, 2019 • 21 min
Masayoshi Son raised the biggest venture capital fund in the history of the world, made WeWork possible, and radically changed the way startups work.
Capitalism In The Courtroom
Oct 2, 2019 • 21 min
Investors can fund lawsuits for profit, which gives more people access to the courts. But some worry it will warp the justice system.
Sep 27, 2019 • 22 min
Planet Money takes a gamble on three stories about bets gone… every which way.
When India’s Cash Disappeared
Sep 25, 2019 • 25 min
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.
Interest Rates… Why So Negative?
Sep 20, 2019 • 19 min
Interest rates are low and getting lower. Some are even negative. Which means we live in a weird world, where people are lending out money and getting back less.
Sep 18, 2019 • 17 min
An automakers’ strike against General Motors in the 1930s changed the world of unions forever. Before, striking was dangerous and illegal. Today, it’s a fairly civilized business.
The Working Tapes Of Studs Terkel
Sep 13, 2019 • 28 min
In the 1970s, Studs Terkel interviewed scores of people about their jobs for his book Working. Today, we hear a few of those conversations — and follow up with the subjects.
How To Make It In The Music Business
Sep 11, 2019 • 22 min
Behind popular music, there is this hidden economy of music producers buying and selling sonic snippets, texting each other half-finished beats, and angling for back-end royalties.
The Marshall Plan
Sep 6, 2019 • 21 min
Sometimes to help yourself, you help your enemy. After WWII, the U.S. launched what might be the most successful intervention in history, rebuilding Germany and more.
Where Dollar Bills Come From
Sep 4, 2019 • 16 min
Imagine being the company that makes all the world’s dollar bills. We found that company and took a look inside.
Moving To Opportunity?
Aug 30, 2019 • 20 min
In the 1990s, the government ran an experiment to test the economic impact of moving people to lower-poverty neighborhoods. The results surprised them.
The Modal American
Aug 28, 2019 • 28 min
Who is the average American? Bad question. You end up with a clumpy amalgamation of qualities. If you want to know how real people are living, you want the Modal American.
You Asked For A Food Show
Aug 23, 2019 • 25 min
How to get the best value from the salad bar? Why do Americans refrigerate their eggs? What’s the deal with Choco Pies? It’s the food edition of listener questions.
Two Yield Curve Indicators
Aug 21, 2019 • 18 min
A 13-year-old listener wrote in asking if the inverted yield curve means that a recession is on the way. Today on the show, we try to answer him.
Find The Helium
Aug 16, 2019 • 25 min
You need helium to launch rockets into space. It’s also essential for MRI machines and cellphones. But the world is running short on helium. So we’re going looking for more.
How Solar Got Cheap
Aug 14, 2019 • 17 min
Solar energy used to be a fantasy. Then it arrived, but was too expensive for most people to afford. Now it’s cheap. Here’s how it happened.
Deep Learning With The Elephants
Aug 9, 2019 • 25 min
Counting elephants is key to saving them. But in the rainforest, they’re hard to spot. One scientist is listening for them instead, with the help of artificial intelligence.
The IT Guy Vs. The Con Artist
Aug 7, 2019 • 21 min
Felipe was an IT professional looking for a new gig. Then a notorious con artist offered him a job. Felipe took the job — and tried to con the con man.
Aug 2, 2019 • 22 min
Scientists have been studying twins for a long time, trying to figure out how much of human behavior is influenced by the environment, and how much of it is in our genes.
That Time We Shorted America, Part Two
Jul 31, 2019 • 19 min
We shorted America, taking a bet against its entire stock market. Today, we find out the results, and revisit the very first person to short a stock back in the 17th century.
That Time We Shorted America, Part One
Jul 26, 2019 • 21 min
Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people and bet against something people love.
Could A Wealth Tax Work?
Jul 24, 2019 • 22 min
Elizabeth Warren wants to tackle inequality by taxing the wealth of the mega-rich ($50-million-or-more rich). Wealth taxes failed in Europe. Can they work in the U.S.?
Jul 19, 2019 • 22 min
The Hong Kong protests tap into a complex history between China and the West. It’s a story of isolationism, opium wars, and the rise of capitalism.
The Indicator In The House
Jul 17, 2019 • 20 min
One state, two very different stories: Why Huntington Beach won’t build new homes during a housing shortage, and what private firefighters say about their industry and inequality.
So, Should We Recycle?
Jul 12, 2019 • 23 min
Recycling in America is on life support. Some towns aren’t even picking it up anymore. And it might be a good thing for the planet.
A Mob Boss, A Garbage Boat and Why We Recycle
Jul 10, 2019 • 25 min
In 1987, an Alabama man made a deal with the mob. He ended up with 3,186 tons of trash no landfill would take. It was the accidental birth of recycling in the U.S.
Stuck In China’s Panopticon
Jul 5, 2019 • 26 min
The Chinese government is using face recognition, DNA samples and more to track the Uighur population. Americans — some unknowingly — have helped build this surveillance state.
Eagles vs. Chickens
Jul 3, 2019 • 20 min
Picture an organic farm, with thousands of free-range chickens roaming on open land. Now picture it from the vantage of a soaring bald eagle. It’s an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Good Teachers, Bad Deal
Jun 28, 2019 • 26 min
Thousands of teachers got grants from the Department of Education to help pay for college. Then, some of those same teachers found out they owed thousands of dollars in debt.
The Cost of Getting Your Money Back
Jun 26, 2019 • 19 min
It’s easy to reverse transactions on credit cards. But Venmo is a different story. A woman who accidentally sent $1,500 to a complete stranger found this out the hard way.
Tales From The Parking Lot
Jun 21, 2019 • 23 min
What can you do when your car is booted in a private parking lot? Is that even legal? Can Uber drivers cause surge pricing? When do parking tickets become a civil rights issue?
What Should We Be Worried About?
Jun 19, 2019 • 18 min
Things are looking up in the economy, but there’s still plenty to worry about: Corporate debt, the trade war, and worry itself.
Are Cities Overrated?
Jun 14, 2019 • 17 min
Moving to the big city used to provide an escalator to a more prosperous life, even if you didn’t have a college degree. But now economists are wondering: Are cities overrated?
The Planet Money Workout
Jun 12, 2019 • 17 min
Barely workout? Gyms like it that way. They’re one of a few businesses that benefit from low attendance. Economics explains why gyms encourage members to commit, but not too much.
The Day Of Two Noons
Jun 7, 2019 • 20 min
In the 1800s, every town had its own “local time,” which was not only confusing, but sometimes dangerous. So railroads implemented the standardized time we have today.
The Salmon Taboo
Jun 5, 2019 • 16 min
People in Japan never ate raw salmon. Then Norway had a salmon surplus—and persuaded Japanese sushi eaters to try something new.
May 31, 2019 • 22 min
The unemployment rate in the U.S. is just 3.6%. Many people think we are at, or near, full employment. For the first time in a long while, power is shifting toward workers.
The Whistleblower Whisperer
May 29, 2019 • 23 min
Jordan Thomas represents Wall Street whistleblowers in some of the biggest SEC cases against banks. In addition to protecting their secrets, he’s also kept some of his own.
How To Meddle In An Election
May 24, 2019 • 23 min
David Goldstein decides to copy Cambridge Analytica and run an experiment on actual voters during the 2017 Alabama special election.
Trump and Deutsche, A Long Affair
May 22, 2019 • 26 min
After Donald Trump’s companies declared four bankruptcies, several major banks stopped loaning him money. But Deutsche Bank didn’t.
Counting The Homeless
May 17, 2019 • 22 min
From renting hotels to a jobs report-like census in the night, we look at ways communities are helping the homeless.
A Mathematician, The Last Supper, And The Birth Of Accounting
May 15, 2019 • 17 min
The story of Luca Pacioli, who brought double-entry bookkeeping to the masses, transforming accounting and businesses around the world.
How Uncle Jamie Broke Jeopardy
May 10, 2019 • 27 min
How James Holzhauer built on the strategies of Ken Jennings, Roger Craig, and Monica Thieu, to crack the game show Jeopardy.
You Asked The Listener Question Hotline
May 8, 2019 • 20 min
What’s the cost of being tall? Are people less productive when the weather is bad? Why is vanilla so expensive? Answers to those questions and more.
Economics, Sexism, Data
May 3, 2019 • 24 min
Alice Wu’s undergraduate senior thesis on gender bias on the Econ Job Rumors forum sparked a movement to address sexism in the field of economics.
Why The Price of Coke Didn’t Change For 70 years
May 1, 2019 • 20 min
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.
Dollar Stores Vs Lettuce
Apr 26, 2019 • 20 min
Every six hours a new dollar store opens in the U.S. Are they killing grocery stores?
I Am Not A Robot
Apr 24, 2019 • 24 min
The remarkable story of the online “CAPTCHA” tests we’ve all taken to prove that we’re not robots.
Two Spring Indicators
Apr 19, 2019 • 21 min
The Indicator from Planet Money explores trade wars, peanuts, hurricanes, and happiness.
How Much Does This Cow Weigh?
Apr 17, 2019 • 19 min
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.
The Chicago Boys, Part II
Apr 12, 2019 • 27 min
How a ruthless dictator, and a bunch of economists known as the Chicago Boys, took Chile from socialism to capitalism.
The Chicago Boys, Part I
Apr 10, 2019 • 24 min
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.
Apr 6, 2019 • 26 min
Copyrighting comedy is expensive. So comedians have devised an informal system of sanctions to protect their jokes from theft. Sometimes it works.
Apr 3, 2019 • 23 min
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.
A New Way To Pay For College
Mar 29, 2019 • 19 min
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.
The Phoebus Cartel
Mar 27, 2019 • 31 min
The story behind two sneaky forces that drive us to buy more products, more often: Planned obsolescence and psychological obsolescence.
Bad Cops Are Expensive
Mar 22, 2019 • 20 min
There’s an industry of people working to eliminate bad police behavior. They’re not activists or protestors. They’re insurers.
Why A Dead Shark Costs $12 Million
Mar 20, 2019 • 19 min
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?
The Stolen Company
Mar 15, 2019 • 22 min
When an American company named ABRO learns their goods are being counterfeited in China, they start their own trade war.
Mar 13, 2019 • 23 min
The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen—but instead they are taking over the global economy.
Mexico Fights The Fuel Pirates
Mar 8, 2019 • 17 min
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.
Mar 6, 2019 • 25 min
The story of an NBA All-Star and an experiment: To make a desirable basketball shoe cheap enough for anyone.
Happy Fed Independence Day
Mar 1, 2019 • 19 min
The story of the day the Federal Reserve got its independence and the fight—an actual physical fight—to keep it.
New Orleans Vs. Airbnb
Feb 28, 2019 • 22 min
Airbnb has changed New Orleans. And now landlords and preservationists are fighting over the future of the city.
Antitrust 3: Big Tech
Feb 22, 2019 • 23 min
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
Feb 20, 2019 • 19 min
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
Feb 15, 2019 • 23 min
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.
A Fake Bank For Money Laundering Run By The Government
Feb 13, 2019 • 19 min
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.
Our Valentines 2019
Feb 8, 2019 • 17 min
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.
The Lost Plane
Feb 6, 2019 • 16 min
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.
Who Won The Bet Over Bitcoin?
Feb 1, 2019 • 19 min
Five years ago, two sides met on our show to make a bet about the future of bitcoin. Today, we announce the winner.
Who Started The Wildfire?
Jan 30, 2019 • 21 min
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?
The Division Problem
Jan 25, 2019 • 21 min
Today on the show, we take on one of life’s most vexing problems: Sharing.
Brilliant Vs. Boring
Jan 23, 2019 • 22 min
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.
The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment
Jan 18, 2019 • 19 min
In 2010, Panera launched several pay-what-you-want cafes. On today’s show: How this charitable experiment worked out.
The First Shutdown
Jan 16, 2019 • 15 min
In 1879, Congress and the President were locked in a battle over the rights of African-Americans. It led to the first government shutdown.
You Asked For It, Yet Again
Jan 11, 2019 • 25 min
On today’s show we answer questions about silver dollars, Venmo, and Brexit. Why? Because you asked!
Jan 9, 2019 • 20 min
We go inside a professional poker tournament, where some of the smartest betting takes place behind the scenes.
The Price of a Hack
Jan 4, 2019 • 16 min
Hackers are an expensive headache for companies. But there might be a simple economic fix.
Do It For Your Country
Jan 2, 2019 • 18 min
People are the engine that fuels an economy. But what happens when you start running out of people?
The Rest Of The Story, Winter 2018
Dec 28, 2018 • 23 min
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.
The Curse Of The Black Lotus
Dec 26, 2018 • 20 min
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
Dec 24, 2018 • 8 min
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…
A Very Planet Money Christmas Carol
Dec 21, 2018 • 26 min
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.
Synthetic Reefer Madness
Dec 19, 2018 • 28 min
How a professor invented a formula for synthesizing cannabinoids and unintentionally helped launch a drug revolution.
BONUS INDICATOR: The Measure Of A Tragedy
Dec 17, 2018 • 10 min
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…
The Prisoners of the Trade War
Dec 14, 2018 • 17 min
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…
What’s A Penny Worth?
Dec 12, 2018 • 22 min
We try to figure out what makes cents.
Is Amazon Good For New York?
Dec 7, 2018 • 21 min
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?
Why Car Safety Is A Trade Barrier
Dec 5, 2018 • 21 min
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.
The Secret Target
Nov 30, 2018 • 23 min
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.
Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers
Nov 28, 2018 • 22 min
We talk to Kid Rock about how he tried to cut scalpers out of the business — and still sell cheap tickets to his shows.
VIDEO: The Price Of Coke Stayed The Same For 70 Years — Why?
Nov 26, 2018 • 4 min
For 70 years, a Coca-Cola cost a nickel. The price didn’t change. How is that even possible? You can also watch the video here: https://youtu.be/Bcz0BJGEVUY
Mugshots For Sale
Nov 23, 2018 • 20 min
We go deep inside the market for online mugshots. Is it extortion? Or is it a First Amendment right?
The Laws of The Office
Nov 21, 2018 • 24 min
You get what you measure. Work expands to fill the time allotted. Who comes up with this stuff? And is it true?
VIDEO: Put A Chip On It
Nov 19, 2018 • 4 min
A quick history of slow credit cards. This video also available here: https://youtu.be/2IksSNiEo2g
Kansas City Vs. Kansas City
Nov 16, 2018 • 22 min
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.
Nov 14, 2018 • 28 min
How World Patent Marketing stole nearly $26 million. And how the acting attorney general was involved.
VIDEO: A Grave Promise
Nov 12, 2018 • 3 min
If you die in America, chances are the cemetery is going to promise to maintain your grave forever. Americans take this for granted, but it’s a wacky, wild promise that we maybe should not be making. You can also watch this video here:…
Why Did The Cow Cross The Border?
Nov 9, 2018 • 21 min
To take advantage of the surprising benefits provided by an interlocked economic system on the other side.
Hot Dog Hail Mary
Nov 7, 2018 • 19 min
The Falcons are trying something radical: Making their food cheaper. It could break stadium economics.
VIDEO: Inventing Price Tags
Nov 5, 2018 • 5 min
For most of human history, you had to haggle over prices before you could buy something. Then came the idea of the price tag.
The Seattle Experiment
Nov 2, 2018 • 22 min
Seattle’s radical solution to big money in politics: Flood elections with even more money.
The Halloween Tapes
Oct 31, 2018 • 24 min
Something spooky has been happening here at Planet Money.
Video: The Miracle Apple
Oct 30, 2018 • 6 min
We’re kicking off a quick season of our bonus video series, Planet Money Shorts. Watch how apples became brands, and started being more than delicious.
Blacklisted In China
Oct 26, 2018 • 20 min
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?
The First Lottery & How To Beat The Odds
Oct 23, 2018 • 23 min
The first lottery was a royal affair with poems, golden flatware and invited criminals. Also, how someone won the lottery over and over.
Trump vs. Red Tape
Oct 19, 2018 • 20 min
President Trump promised to slash regulations. How has he done?
What Causes What?
Oct 17, 2018 • 19 min
We try to tell the difference between correlation and causation.
The Student Loan Whistleblower
Oct 12, 2018 • 20 min
Seth Frotman worked overseeing student loans for the government. He saw things that made him quit, and tell all.
The History of Light (Nobel Edition)
Oct 8, 2018 • 21 min
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.
Oct 5, 2018 • 21 min
We follow writer Oliver Bullough as he explores how stolen money moves around the world, and what that might mean for democracies.
Anatomy Of A Scam
Oct 3, 2018 • 23 min
Ever seen one of those signs asking if you want to work from home? We find out what happens when you call.
Special Report: Asylum Crackdown
Sep 28, 2018 • 34 min
We tell the story of a massive crackdown on asylum fraud, and the fallout.
Modern Monetary Theory
Sep 26, 2018 • 22 min
We rethink everything we know about government spending, taxes, the nature of money… All of it.
Sep 21, 2018 • 18 min
We propose small fixes for baseball, weddings, salary negotiations and buying your morning coffee. Warning: They may be too rational.
The Tale Of The Onion King
Sep 19, 2018 • 16 min
How one man took the onion market hostage.
The Central (Bankers’) Question
Sep 14, 2018 • 22 min
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
Sep 12, 2018 • 29 min
In honor of our 10th anniversary, we revisit our very first episode.
The 13th Hole
Sep 7, 2018 • 20 min
What a hole-in-one gone awry says about the state of charity.
When Subaru Came Out
Sep 5, 2018 • 20 min
Subaru’s sales had been slumping for years. Then they went straight to their biggest fans: Lesbians.
Big Government Cheese
Aug 31, 2018 • 23 min
That time we accidentally created a cheese surplus so large it had to be stored in a ginormous cave.
New Jersey Bails Out
Aug 29, 2018 • 20 min
California just did away with cash bail. But credit where credit is due. New Jersey already tried something similar.
Food Scare Squad
Aug 24, 2018 • 22 min
When food makes people sick all around the country, an army of germ detectives jumps into action.
New Jersey Wine
Aug 22, 2018 • 20 min
Today on the show: Could New Jersey become the next Napa?
The World’s Longest Yard Sale
Aug 17, 2018 • 25 min
Six states. Three days. One ugly cookie jar. Today on the show: Yard sale!
Aug 15, 2018 • 15 min
The line between trash and recycling is moving a lot these days. It’s a tough time to be a recycler.
You Asked For Even More
Aug 10, 2018 • 19 min
You have a lot of questions… about tariffs, unemployment rates, and RV dealerships, to name a few. We have answers.
Aug 8, 2018 • 19 min
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.
Venezuela’s Fugitive Money Traders
Aug 3, 2018 • 19 min
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.
The Postal Illuminati
Aug 1, 2018 • 22 min
Is there a secretive postal organization fixing international shipping rates, and giving American businesses a bad deal?
Yes In My Backyard
Jul 27, 2018 • 19 min
There’s a simple way to solve the housing crisis in U.S. cities. Only problem is, almost everybody hates it.
The Poop Cartel
Jul 25, 2018 • 24 min
What happens when a group of economists applies the number one rule of economics… to number two?
The New Socialists
Jul 20, 2018 • 15 min
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?
The One-Page Plan To Fix Global Warming Revisited
Jul 18, 2018 • 24 min
Tax carbon emissions. That’s basically the whole plan. What’s the hold up?
Jul 13, 2018 • 18 min
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.
LeBron James Is Still Underpaid
Jul 11, 2018 • 21 min
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.
Two Summer Indicators
Jul 6, 2018 • 21 min
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.
Peanuts And Cracker Jack
Jul 3, 2018 • 24 min
It takes strategy and skill to sell snacks at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.
The Rest Of The Story Summer 2018
Jun 29, 2018 • 21 min
A pesticide wreaks havoc. A listener needs a bitcoin detective. And the search for the rarest economic good continues.
The Fake Review Hunter
Jun 27, 2018 • 19 min
Fake product reviews are wrecking the internet. But help is on the way: From a bodybuilding fake review hunter.
VIDEO: The Chicken Tax
Jun 25, 2018 • 3 min
Which came first, the frozen chicken or the tax on foreign trucks? Just kidding, it was the frozen chicken — then came the American tax that helped shape the domestic market for trucks.
When CEO Pay Exploded
Jun 22, 2018 • 21 min
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.
It Takes Two To Make A Trade War Fight
Jun 20, 2018 • 22 min
President Trump says China is stealing U.S. technology. So we looked into one case. And things got a little complicated.
The World’s Biggest Battery
Jun 15, 2018 • 21 min
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.
Jun 13, 2018 • 21 min
The medical world has been trying to cure color blindness for centuries. Then a glass scientist figured it out. By accident.
Jun 8, 2018 • 20 min
When Florida outlawed partisan gerrymandering, politicians tried to sneak it back in…in disguise.
The T-Rex In My Backyard
Jun 6, 2018 • 19 min
Meet Sue, the dinosaur who sparked a gold rush for fossils buried in the badlands of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
Jun 1, 2018 • 21 min
Meet the man who figured out how to reshape national politics by making tiny investments in the smallest of places.
May 30, 2018 • 16 min
In game theory, sometimes the best way to win, is to lose.
May 25, 2018 • 29 min
Today on the show: A small town stakes its future on writing, directing, and starring in a musical.
The Taxi King
May 23, 2018 • 20 min
Gene Freidman built a taxi empire. We visited him before he was in legal trouble.
Showdown at the WTO
May 18, 2018 • 19 min
The World Trade Organization: Can’t live with it, hard to crush your trade opponents without it.
May 16, 2018 • 22 min
Class actions run from big civil rights cases to arguments about pepper. Are they noble, or silly?
The Land Of Duty Free
May 11, 2018 • 21 min
We meet the man who invented duty free shopping and find out if these tax free stores are really saving us any money.
May 9, 2018 • 19 min
Today on the show: A chicken index, some Wall Street investors, and an unlikely whistle-blower.
The Indicator Goes To California
May 4, 2018 • 26 min
California is way more than Hollywood. Today on the show, we look at what else is going on in this powerhouse state economy.
The Fondue Conspiracy
May 2, 2018 • 16 min
Today on the show: How a cheese cartel abandoned the rules of economics and convinced the world to eat fondue.
A Series of Mysterious Packages
Apr 27, 2018 • 17 min
Unordered trinkets have been arriving at homes around the country. We try to find out why.
The Bottom Of The Well
Apr 25, 2018 • 22 min
Today on the show: the economics of drought, and why the rational thing to do in California right now is use more water.
The Belt, The Road And The Money
Apr 20, 2018 • 22 min
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.)
The Rational Madness Of The Used Car Salesman
Apr 18, 2018 • 17 min
Why are used car commercials so annoying? Meet the original sinner.
Apr 13, 2018 • 21 min
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.
The Less Deadly Catch
Apr 11, 2018 • 18 min
Today on the show: how an economic fix helped made the deadliest job in America safer, and why people are angry about it.
Apr 6, 2018 • 21 min
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?
Larry vs. The IRS
Apr 4, 2018 • 20 min
What exactly would happen if you didn’t pay your taxes? Today on the show, we follow one man who did just that.
Worst. Tariffs. Ever.
Mar 30, 2018 • 21 min
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.
Mulvaney Vs The CFPB
Mar 28, 2018 • 21 min
What happens when you put someone who wants to close an agency, in charge of that agency? Today on the show, we find out.
An Insider Trader Tells All
Mar 23, 2018 • 19 min
A man who got caught insider trading explains everything — what he did, how he did it, and why.
The Golden Rules
Mar 21, 2018 • 19 min
Planet Money joins the gold rush 170 years late. And the rules are still about the same. How did that happen?
The Lollipop War
Mar 16, 2018 • 21 min
What do sugar farmers have against candy? A lot, according to candy manufacturers.
Mar 14, 2018 • 20 min
How did the social security number become the most important identifier in the United States? And is that even a good idea?
Rigging The Economy
Mar 9, 2018 • 19 min
Two guys from different ends of the political spectrum agree that the economy is rigged. And they think they know who’s responsible.
The Experiment Experiment
Mar 7, 2018 • 22 min
There’s something wrong with the way we’re doing science. Today on the show, we find out how to fix it.
You Asked For More
Mar 2, 2018 • 23 min
We ponder the price of chicken, safe haven currencies, and the cash value of coupons. Why? Because you asked.
Feb 28, 2018 • 19 min
What do human blood, the conservative tax plan, and beer hops tell us about the world? Find out in today’s episode.
The Vodka Proof
Feb 23, 2018 • 20 min
Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them?
The Blue Pallet
Feb 21, 2018 • 16 min
How do you reinvent something as simple as the wooden shipping pallet?
Who Started The Wildfire
Feb 16, 2018 • 19 min
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?
Feb 14, 2018 • 20 min
If you can’t beat ‘em, send ‘em a valentine.
Feb 9, 2018 • 17 min
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.
The Secret Document that Transformed China
Feb 7, 2018 • 17 min
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.
The Shortest Super Bowl
Feb 2, 2018 • 23 min
How does the market for Super Bowl tickets work? And why did it collapse in 2015?
The Other Davos
Jan 31, 2018 • 18 min
Billionaires, diplomats, thinkfluencers. This is the Davos everyone hears about. Today on the show, we take you to a different Davos.
P Is For Phosphorus
Jan 26, 2018 • 20 min
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?
Tax Me If You Can
Jan 24, 2018 • 23 min
Douglas Bruce had a bold vision for Colorado.
A Bet On The Future Of Humanity
Jan 19, 2018 • 20 min
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.
The Problem Of The Root
Jan 17, 2018 • 22 min
The wild ginseng market has gone crazy. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why.
The Gun Man
Jan 12, 2018 • 27 min
Will 3-D printing make gun control impossible?
The Invisible Plumbing Of Our Economy
Jan 10, 2018 • 23 min
Why does it take days to send money electronically?
Jan 5, 2018 • 22 min
The Bitcoin market has gone crazy. And it’s revealing something strange. A lot of people can’t find their Bitcoins. We go looking for lost billions.
When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt
Jan 3, 2018 • 20 min
What does a country with no debt look like? To find out, we went back to the United States in 1835.
The Rest of the Story 2017
Dec 29, 2017 • 20 min
Every year at Planet Money, we take a cue from radio legend Paul Harvey and bring you “The Rest of the Story.” It’s a show where we check in on some of the episodes that we’ve done in the past year, and tell you what’s changed.
The M&M Anomaly
Dec 27, 2017 • 13 min
David Kestenbaum noticed that a pack of Milk Chocolate M&M’s weighs 1.69 ounces, but a pack of Peanut Butter M&M’s weighs 1.63 ounces. He had to know why. But the confectionary world has its secrets.
BONUS INDICATOR: How Airfare Is Changing
Dec 25, 2017 • 6 min
Why flying to small airports keeps costing more and more, just as flying to big airports is getting cheaper. (This episode is from our new podcast, The Indicator. Subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts.)
The Tax Plan Is Huge
Dec 22, 2017 • 22 min
Congress just passed the largest tax overhaul in decades. We dig in.
The Santa Suit
Dec 20, 2017 • 17 min
Today on the show: A lawsuit over a Santa suit is a window into countless hidden fights that shape the stuff we buy. It’s one man’s battle against the U.S. government — and, in a way, against himself.
BONUS INDICATOR: Forget Neutrality
Dec 18, 2017 • 8 min
From our new podcast, The Indicator: Opponents of net neutrality argue that the government should get out of the way and let the market work, that’s what leads to better service and more choice. We examine that logic.
SPACE 4: 3 2 1
Dec 15, 2017 • 25 min
Five reporters go to the New York Produce Show and Conference, each on a mission.
High Rise, Low Returns
Dec 13, 2017 • 26 min
As a businessman, President Trump is known for his towering buildings. Today we tell the story of one of those skyscrapers and what it says about how and with whom Trump does business.
BONUS: The Indicator, From Planet Money
Dec 11, 2017 • 8 min
We’ve made a new show. You can subscribe to it now. It’s called ‘The Indicator’. It’s for those times you want Planet Money to explain the news, quickly. It’s short (about five minutes) and three days a week.
SPACE 4: 3 2 1
Dec 8, 2017 • 25 min
We’ve got a satellite. We got a rocket. We’re heading to the launch pad.
SPACE 3: Rocket Shopping
Dec 6, 2017 • 23 min
We found a satellite. We tried to figure out what it would do. Now we need to choose our rocket.
SPACE 2: Wait, Why Are We Going To Space?
Dec 1, 2017 • 23 min
We hitched a ride on a satellite. Now we have to figure out what we’re going to do up there.
SPACE 1: We’re Going To Space
Nov 29, 2017 • 26 min
We really are going to space.
Anatomy of a Hustle
Nov 24, 2017 • 21 min
What did Paul Manafort do, exactly? Robert Mueller’s indictment is 31 pages of hard-to-understand financial crime. We try to figure it out.
The Free Food Market
Nov 22, 2017 • 18 min
A while back, the charity Feeding America was a mess. It was sending pickles to food banks that wanted produce, and potatoes to Idaho. So they called some economists, and a free food market was born.
Nov 17, 2017 • 18 min
Walmart and Amazon are in a battle to be the store where you buy everything. But when both companies sell everything, what sets them apart? Food inventions like a bright, red pickle!
War And Peace And Cows
Nov 15, 2017 • 19 min
In South Sudan, there is a kind of money that works even through bank failures and unstable governments. But when war struck, it upended a whole economy: the economy of cows.
Bagging the Birkin
Nov 10, 2017 • 17 min
Once you’ve got a Birkin bag, you’ve made it. But to get one, you need more than just money. Birkins always seem to be mysteriously out of stock. This is no accident.
Your Cell Phone’s A Snitch
Nov 8, 2017 • 21 min
Timothy Carpenter stole cell phones. Then his phone sold him out to the Feds. Now the Supreme Court has to decide how private our cell phone data should be.
If Teens Ran the Fed
Nov 3, 2017 • 16 min
Once a year, teenagers from across the country team up and compete to run the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Nudge, Nudge, Nobel
Nov 1, 2017 • 18 min
Why do smart people make dumb decisions? Figuring that out won Richard Thaler a Nobel Prize.
The Hotel at the Center of the World
Oct 27, 2017 • 21 min
A Chinese company pays millions of dollars for a failing hotel in a small, rural town. We follow the trail of money, and it explains the world economy.
Is the NCAA An Illegal Cartel?
Oct 25, 2017 • 19 min
In any other industry, it’s illegal for a group of companies to get together and cap wages. What makes the NCAA different?
The Death Show
Oct 20, 2017 • 16 min
Today on the show: death. We have four stories about how people prepare for death and what they leave behind for the living.
Oct 18, 2017 • 15 min
Bob Peterson claims to have found the thing people have sought for thousands of years — an investment guaranteed to double in value. He keeps it in a storage locker in Utah. It’s protected by a single padlock.
North Korea’s Capitalists
Oct 13, 2017 • 24 min
Capitalism isn’t supposed to exist in North Korea. But all over the country, small businesses are popping up, growing the nation’s economy. And much of that money is going straight to the country’s nuclear program.
Corporate! Income! Tax!
Oct 11, 2017 • 17 min
Republicans are proposing big changes to the corporate income tax. Trillions of dollars are at stake. Here’s what it all means.
Bad Credit Bureau
Oct 6, 2017 • 19 min
For most of our lives, Equifax has been slurping up our financial data. Now the company’s been hacked and our data is loose. Today, we trace this mess back to two brothers and one fateful decision.
The Benefits of Bankruptcy
Oct 4, 2017 • 21 min
It might just be the secret weapon of the U.S. economy.
Sep 29, 2017 • 20 min
Bill Pennington’s house floods a lot: Three times in the last three years. And every time his house floods, the government pays to help him repair the damage. Is something wrong here?
Mr Jones’ Act
Sep 27, 2017 • 16 min
The government suspended the Jones Act last week, to allow non-US ships to move fuel to victims of hurricanes in Houston and Florida. Which once again made us wonder why the act even exists.
The Basic Income Experiment
Sep 22, 2017 • 26 min
The basic income. A flat payment to citizens, without strings. Is it a progressive fever dream, or sensible policy? We may soon find out. The Finnish Government is testing it on 2,000 citizens.
Is Record Breaking Broken?
Sep 20, 2017 • 22 min
The Guinness Book of World Records had a problem. It was a book. And books aren’t selling as well as they used to. So Guinness changed what they were selling, and who they were selling to.
How To Make It In The Music Business
Sep 15, 2017 • 21 min
Behind almost all popular music, there is this hidden economy of music producers buying and selling sonic snippets, texting each other half-finished beats, and angling for back-end royalties.
Hard Work Is Irrelevant
Sep 13, 2017 • 21 min
Patty McCord helped create a workplace at Netflix that runs more like a professional sports team than a family. If you’re not up to scratch, you’re off the team. Is this the future of work?
This Week in Time Bombs
Sep 8, 2017 • 23 min
We look at three time bombs Congress is sitting on: The federal budget, the debt ceiling, and DREAMers.
This Ad’s For You
Sep 6, 2017 • 25 min
Tom Burrell was the first black man in Chicago advertising. He went on to change the way we think about ads, and the way advertisers think about us.
The Ransom Problem
Sep 1, 2017 • 20 min
When someone has been kidnapped, what do you do? If you pay ransom, you create a market for hostages. If you don’t, people die. Different countries have different policies with different results.
Tips From Spies
Aug 30, 2017 • 15 min
There’s an entire universe of things spies are not allowed to tell us. Today on the show, a few of the teeny things they can say. They might come in handy.
Rough Translation in Ukraine
Aug 25, 2017 • 29 min
Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine’s fight against fake news teach the US?
The Hydrox Resurrection
Aug 23, 2017 • 19 min
Hidden in the trash heap of commerce there is buried treasure. Abandoned brands—including trusted, beloved brands—are waiting to be claimed and reborn. Today on the show: A cookie comeback.
Aug 18, 2017 • 18 min
Your phone rings—it looks like your neighbor’s calling. But instead, it’s the creepiest scam of the year.
Aug 16, 2017 • 15 min
Costco made shopping harder, and customers loved it. Now a new company is taking the Costco experience to new extremes.
Robert And Kenny Go To The Fair
Aug 11, 2017 • 23 min
When we go to the state fair, we don’t go for the rides, deep-fried tacos or the butter cow. We head straight for the vendor marketplace to meet the masters of the lost art of salesmanship.
Can You Patent a Steak?
Aug 9, 2017 • 19 min
We visit the workshop of the meat inventor who came up with Steak-Umm and KFC’s popcorn chicken. And we try to figure out what meat inventors tell us about patents and innovation.
Google Is Big. Is That Bad?
Aug 4, 2017 • 11 min
Google just got hit with a multibillion-dollar antitrust fine. Here’s what it tells us about competition, market power, and the biggest corporations on the planet.
The Eddie Murphy Rule
Aug 2, 2017 • 26 min
We answer one of the most important questions in finance: What actually happens at the end of Trading Places?
Rest of the Story 2017, Vol. 1
Jul 28, 2017 • 22 min
News moves fast. Some of our best stories from this year have new chapters. Here, we catch up on three: Dirty trademarks, trading bots, and the war against the bald eagle.
Buy Low, Sell Prime
Jul 26, 2017 • 15 min
Sam Cohen buys stuff at big retail stores, then turns around and sells it on Amazon for a quick profit. It defies economic logic. But somehow, there’s a whole multimillion-dollar industry doing this.
Jul 21, 2017 • 23 min
Most athlete endorsements make a product more expensive. But what happens when an NBA All-Star uses his name to make a sneaker much, much cheaper? On today’s show: How that worked out.
Jul 19, 2017 • 20 min
On today’s show: The story of two guys who tried to cut the pay of a CEO at a small pneumatic tool company.
Meeting The Russians
Jul 14, 2017 • 20 min
That meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer was two decades in the making. It began in 1996, when an adventurous American went to Russia, trying to make a buck.
New Jersey Bails Out
Jul 12, 2017 • 18 min
Bail is broken. In New Jersey, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges banded together to try a dramatic solution: Blow it up.
Jul 7, 2017 • 15 min
We run through the entire federal budget — in 10 minutes. More than $6 billion per second. Go.
How Stuff Gets Cheaper
Jul 5, 2017 • 14 min
We visit a company where people work on figuring out how to make stuff get cheaper.
The Money Fixers
Jun 30, 2017 • 17 min
In Washington, D.C., there is a place where millions of dollars of ripped, burned, and water-soaked dollar bills are made new. On today’s show, we get inside that room.
Libertarian Summer Camp
Jun 28, 2017 • 26 min
We visited a libertarian summer paradise. What we found: People paying in gold. Exotic bacon dishes. A nine-year-old selling alcohol.
On Second Thought
Jun 23, 2017 • 23 min
Flip-floppers, this one’s for you. Changing your mind is hard, but it’s one of the smartest things you can do.
Shrimp Fight Club
Jun 21, 2017 • 23 min
What happens when an unstoppable shrimp meets an unmovable senator? A researcher goes to Washington to defend herself, her shrimp, and science itself.
What the Falcon’s Up With Qatar?
Jun 16, 2017 • 19 min
Qatar was on top of the world. Seemingly overnight, it became a pariah. On this episode, we drill into a rift years in the making: It’s a tale of falcons, kidnapping, and a glowing Saudi Arabian orb.
The Prisoner’s Solution
Jun 14, 2017 • 18 min
Today on the show, a businessman goes to prison, and decides he is going to disrupt the biggest captive market in America.
Free Love, Free Market
Jun 9, 2017 • 22 min
How a free-love commune embraced the free market and became a blockbuster brand.
Here We Grow Again
Jun 7, 2017 • 19 min
The president’s budget promises 3% growth. Is that doable? Yes, but he won’t like what it would take.
The Pigweed Killer
Jun 2, 2017 • 24 min
A battle with a weed divides neighbors and leads one farmer to shoot another dead. Today’s show: The hunt for a better pesticide gets way out of hand.
The Invisible Wall
May 31, 2017 • 18 min
A man goes looking for the invisible wall that traps poor people in poverty. Finding it almost gets him killed.
May 26, 2017 • 20 min
You can name your business whatever you want. But the government won’t register it as a trademark if it thinks it’s offensive. It gets weird when you try to decide what is too offensive to trademark.
Slot Flaws Scofflaws
May 24, 2017 • 22 min
As long as there have been casinos, people have tried to cheat them. The latest attempt was by a group of hackers who tried to take down slot machines using math, iPhones, and a whole lot of swiping.
May 19, 2017 • 20 min
How fast is the world really changing? The answer has implications for everything from how the next generation will live to whether robots really will take all our jobs.
May 17, 2017 • 20 min
The creation of the electronic spreadsheet transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that.
When India’s Cash Disappeared, Part Two
May 12, 2017 • 20 min
What happened when India’s Prime Minister declared most of the paper money in India worthless? We travel to India to see what happened after the country’s demonetization.
When India’s Cash Disappeared, Part One
May 10, 2017 • 23 min
Something incredible happened in India about six months ago. The government declared most of the paper money invalid. Demonetization they called it. Today, we meet the man who came up with the plan.
Speed Dating For Economists
May 5, 2017 • 24 min
We visit a job market created by economists, for economists. It’s a hyper-efficient, optimized system, tested by game theorists, tweaked by a Nobel Prize winner, but it requires comfortable shoes.
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