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Economics

Planet Money

NPR

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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.

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#816: Bitcoin Losers

22:05 | Jan 5th, 2018

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.

#787: Google Is Big. Is That Bad?

16:42 | Aug 4th, 2017

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.

#829: Rigging The Economy

19:50 | Mar 9th, 2018

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

#856: Yes In My Backyard

19:41 | Jul 27th, 2018

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

#798: Bad Credit Bureau

19:04 | Oct 7th, 2017

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.

#836: The 13th Hole

20:49 | Sep 8th, 2018

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

#337: The Secret Document that Transformed China

17:51 | Feb 7th, 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.

#803: Nudge, Nudge, Nobel

18:47 | Nov 1st, 2017

Why do smart people make dumb decisions? Figuring that out won Richard Thaler a Nobel Prize.

#771: When India's Cash Disappeared, Part Two

20:37 | May 12th, 2017

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.

#770: When India's Cash Disappeared, Part One

23:43 | May 11th, 2017

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.

#685: Larry vs. The IRS

20:18 | Feb 19th, 2016

A lot of people dream of not paying their taxes. Larry Williams scoured the fine print of IRS code, talked to lawyers, settled on a plan, then just stopped paying taxes.

#866: Modern Monetary Theory

22:32 | Sep 27th, 2018

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

#865: Tweak This

18:00 | Sep 21st, 2018

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

#640: The Bottom Of The Well

22:33 | Apr 25th, 2018

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

#454: The Lollipop War

21:14 | Mar 16th, 2018

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

#830: XXX-XX-XXXX

20:43 | Mar 14th, 2018

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

#677: The Experiment Experiment

22:39 | Mar 7th, 2018

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

#825: Who Started The Wildfire

19:49 | Feb 16th, 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?

#822: The Shortest Super Bowl

23:45 | Feb 2nd, 2018

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

#819: Tax Me If You Can

23:25 | Jan 25th, 2018

Douglas Bruce had a bold vision for Colorado.

#818: The Problem Of The Root

22:01 | Jan 18th, 2018

The wild ginseng market has gone crazy. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why.

#817: The Gun Man

27:27 | Jan 13th, 2018

Will 3-D printing make gun control impossible?

SPACE 4: 3 2 1

25:15 | Dec 9th, 2017

We've got a satellite. We got a rocket. We're heading to the launch pad.

SPACE 3: Rocket Shopping

23:00 | Dec 7th, 2017

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?

23:19 | Dec 1st, 2017

We hitched a ride on a satellite. Now we have to figure out what we're going to do up there.

#807: Anatomy of a Hustle

21:04 | Nov 24th, 2017

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.

#665: The Free Food Market

18:00 | Nov 22nd, 2017

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.

#801: The Death Show

16:31 | Oct 20th, 2017

Today on the show: death. We have four stories about how people prepare for death and what they leave behind for the living.

#581: Free Money

15:53 | Oct 18th, 2017

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.

#800: North Korea's Capitalists

24:25 | Oct 14th, 2017

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.

#794: How To Make It In The Music Business

21:11 | Sep 15th, 2017

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.

#647: Hard Work Is Irrelevant

21:21 | Sep 13th, 2017

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?

#792: The Ransom Problem

20:12 | Sep 2nd, 2017

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.

#471: The Eddie Murphy Rule

26:59 | Aug 2nd, 2017

We answer one of the most important questions in finance: What actually happens at the end of Trading Places?

#286: Libertarian Summer Camp

26:38 | Jun 28th, 2017

We visited a libertarian summer paradise. What we found: People paying in gold. Exotic bacon dishes. A nine-year-old selling alcohol.

#780: On Second Thought

23:21 | Jun 23rd, 2017

Flip-floppers, this one's for you. Changing your mind is hard, but it's one of the smartest things you can do.

#777: Free Love, Free Market

22:13 | Jun 10th, 2017

How a free-love commune embraced the free market and became a blockbuster brand.

#599: The Invisible Wall

18:55 | May 31st, 2017

A man goes looking for the invisible wall that traps poor people in poverty. Finding it almost gets him killed.

#764: Pub In A Box

17:19 | Apr 12th, 2017

One man figured out how to reproduce the magic of an Irish pub, and ship it in a container to anywhere in the world.

#759: What's It Worth To You?

18:51 | Mar 17th, 2017

Three short stories about putting a price on something hard to value precisely. We go from $4.66 under a pillow all the way up to $1 trillion across every inch of highway in America.

Oil #2: The Price Of Oil

22:25 | Aug 12th, 2016

Second of five episodes. Oil is priced down to the penny, and the price changes every day. Who sets that price?

Oil #1: We Buy Oil

18:20 | Aug 10th, 2016

First of five episodes. We're getting into the oil business. We go to Kansas, and negotiate with a preacher to buy 100 barrels of crude.

#576: When Women Stopped Coding

17:13 | Jul 22nd, 2016

A lot of computing pioneers were women. For decades, the number of women in computer science was growing. But in 1984, something changed.

#390: We Set Up An Offshore Company In A Tax Haven

28:40 | Mar 16th, 2016

In this show, we dive deep into the world of hiding money. We look for the easiest place to shelter a bank account and set up our own shell company in an offshore tax haven. Good times.

#672: Bagging The Birkin

17:10 | Dec 25th, 2015

There are people with Birkin bags and there are the rest of us. Today on the show: the elaborate, upside-down strategy that has kept a $60,000 purse the "it" bag for 30 years.

#657: The Tale Of The Onion King

15:51 | Oct 15th, 2015

Vince Kosuga farmed onions. Then he tried trading them on the market, too. He made millions. Today on the show: How trading got so out of hand that the Chicago River flowed with America's onions.

#889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment

19:19 | Jan 18th

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

#888: The First Shutdown

15:26 | Jan 17th

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

25:01 | Jan 12th

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

#690: All In

20:54 | Jan 9th

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

#886: The Price of a Hack

16:58 | Jan 4th

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

#885: Do It For Your Country

18:42 | Jan 2nd

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

23:40 | Dec 28th, 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

20:10 | Dec 26th, 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

8:08 | Dec 24th, 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. F...Show More

#883: A Very Planet Money Christmas Carol

26:55 | Dec 21st, 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

28:36 | Dec 20th, 2018

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

BONUS INDICATOR: The Measure Of A Tragedy

10:36 | Dec 17th, 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 wherev...Show More

#881: The Prisoners of the Trade War

17:46 | Dec 15th, 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 ...Show More

#539: What's A Penny Worth?

22:45 | Dec 13th, 2018

We try to figure out what makes cents.

#880: Is Amazon Good For New York?

21:37 | Dec 7th, 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

21:00 | Dec 6th, 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

23:12 | Dec 1st, 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

22:20 | Nov 28th, 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.

VIDEO: The Price Of Coke Stayed The Same For 70 Years — Why?

4:14 | Nov 26th, 2018

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

#878: Mugshots For Sale

20:47 | Nov 23rd, 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

24:12 | Nov 21st, 2018

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

4:27 | Nov 19th, 2018

A quick history of slow credit cards. This video also available here: https://youtu.be/2IksSNiEo2g

#699: Kansas City Vs. Kansas City

22:08 | Nov 17th, 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

28:34 | Nov 15th, 2018

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

VIDEO: A Grave Promise

3:12 | Nov 12th, 2018

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.

#875: Why Did The Cow Cross The Border?

21:12 | Nov 10th, 2018

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

#874: Hot Dog Hail Mary

19:31 | Nov 7th, 2018

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

VIDEO: Inventing Price Tags

5:48 | Nov 5th, 2018

For most of human history, you had to haggle over prices before you could buy something. Then came the idea of the price tag.

#873: The Seattle Experiment

22:58 | Nov 2nd, 2018

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

#872: The Halloween Tapes

24:32 | Oct 31st, 2018

Something spooky has been happening here at Planet Money.

Video: The Miracle Apple

6:45 | Oct 30th, 2018

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.

#871: Blacklisted In China

20:34 | Oct 26th, 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

23:43 | Oct 23rd, 2018

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

Episode 870: Trump vs. Red Tape

20:57 | Oct 19th, 2018

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

#453: What Causes What?

19:24 | Oct 17th, 2018

We try to tell the difference between correlation and causation.

#869: The Student Loan Whistleblower

20:32 | Oct 12th, 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)

21:51 | Oct 8th, 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

21:35 | Oct 5th, 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

23:28 | Oct 3rd, 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

35:02 | Sep 29th, 2018

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

#657: The Tale Of The Onion King

16:23 | Sep 19th, 2018

How one man took the onion market hostage.

#864: The Central (Bankers') Question

22:09 | Sep 15th, 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

29:00 | Sep 12th, 2018

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

#729: When Subaru Came Out

20:18 | Sep 5th, 2018

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

#862: Big Government Cheese

23:08 | Aug 31st, 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

20:37 | Aug 29th, 2018

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

#861: Food Scare Squad

22:15 | Aug 24th, 2018

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

#444: New Jersey Wine

20:30 | Aug 22nd, 2018

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

#860: The World's Longest Yard Sale

25:34 | Aug 17th, 2018

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

#613: Trash!

15:56 | Aug 15th, 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

19:59 | Aug 10th, 2018

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

#704: Open Office

19:06 | Aug 8th, 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: Venezuela's Fugitive Money Traders

19:02 | Aug 3rd, 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

22:15 | Aug 1st, 2018

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

#855: The Poop Cartel

24:19 | Jul 25th, 2018

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

#854: The New Socialists

15:44 | Jul 20th, 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

24:06 | Jul 18th, 2018

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

#853: Peak Sand

18:54 | Jul 13th, 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

35:20 | Jul 11th, 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

21:57 | Jul 6th, 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

24:21 | Jul 3rd, 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

21:07 | Jun 30th, 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

19:32 | Jun 27th, 2018

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

VIDEO: The Chicken Tax

3:31 | Jun 25th, 2018

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.

#849: It Takes Two To Make A Trade War Fight

22:51 | Jun 20th, 2018

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

#848: The World's Biggest Battery

21:08 | Jun 15th, 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

21:20 | Jun 13th, 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

20:56 | Jun 9th, 2018

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

#660: The T-Rex In My Backyard

19:28 | Jun 6th, 2018

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

#845: REDMAP

22:07 | Jun 2nd, 2018

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

#844: Nice Game

16:58 | May 31st, 2018

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

#843: Swamp Gravy

29:32 | May 25th, 2018

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

#643: The Taxi King

20:29 | May 23rd, 2018

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

#842: Showdown at the WTO

19:22 | May 18th, 2018

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

#696: Class Action

22:31 | May 16th, 2018

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

#841: The Land Of Duty Free

21:31 | May 11th, 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

19:31 | May 9th, 2018

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

#839: The Indicator Goes To California

26:46 | May 4th, 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

16:41 | May 2nd, 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

17:52 | Apr 27th, 2018

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

#837: The Belt, The Road And The Money

22:29 | Apr 21st, 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

17:30 | Apr 19th, 2018

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

#835: Tariffied

21:32 | Apr 13th, 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

18:32 | Apr 11th, 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

21:46 | Apr 7th, 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

20:35 | Apr 4th, 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.

21:06 | Mar 30th, 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

21:41 | Mar 28th, 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

19:42 | Mar 23rd, 2018

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

#831: The Golden Rules

19:29 | Mar 21st, 2018

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

#828: You Asked For More

23:14 | Mar 2nd, 2018

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

#827: Three Indicators

19:14 | Feb 28th, 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

20:27 | Feb 23rd, 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

16:52 | Feb 21st, 2018

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

824: Our Valentines

20:32 | Feb 14th, 2018

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

#823: Planet Monet

17:05 | Feb 9th, 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.

#821: The Other Davos

18:37 | Feb 1st, 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

20:02 | Jan 26th, 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?

#508: A Bet On The Future Of Humanity

20:15 | Jan 19th, 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.

#489: The Invisible Plumbing Of Our Economy

23:22 | Jan 10th, 2018

Why does it take days to send money electronically?

#273: When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt

20:38 | Jan 3rd, 2018

What does a country with no debt look like? To find out, we went back to the United States in 1835.

#815: The Rest of the Story 2017

20:01 | Dec 29th, 2017

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.

#544: The M&M Anomaly

13:33 | Dec 27th, 2017

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

6:16 | Dec 25th, 2017

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.)

#814: The Tax Plan Is Huge

22:58 | Dec 22nd, 2017

Congress just passed the largest tax overhaul in decades. We dig in.

#670: The Santa Suit

17:55 | Dec 20th, 2017

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

8:03 | Dec 18th, 2017

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.

#813: The Produce Show

25:00 | Dec 16th, 2017

Five reporters go to the New York Produce Show and Conference, each on a mission.

#812: High Rise, Low Returns

26:52 | Dec 13th, 2017

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

8:12 | Dec 11th, 2017

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.

#806: Walmart's Pickle

18:55 | Nov 17th, 2017

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!

#805: War And Peace And Cows

19:07 | Nov 15th, 2017

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.

#672: Bagging the Birkin

17:22 | Nov 10th, 2017

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.

#804: Your Cell Phone's A Snitch

21:17 | Nov 8th, 2017

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.

#369: If Teens Ran the Fed

16:25 | Nov 3rd, 2017

Once a year, teenagers from across the country team up and compete to run the U.S. Federal Reserve.

#802: The Hotel at the Center of the World

21:10 | Oct 28th, 2017

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.

#579: Is the NCAA An Illegal Cartel?

19:34 | Oct 25th, 2017

In any other industry, it's illegal for a group of companies to get together and cap wages. What makes the NCAA different?

#799: Corporate! Income! Tax!

17:55 | Oct 11th, 2017

Republicans are proposing big changes to the corporate income tax. Trillions of dollars are at stake. Here's what it all means.

#648: The Benefits of Bankruptcy

21:36 | Oct 4th, 2017

It might just be the secret weapon of the U.S. economy.

#797: Flood Money

20:13 | Sep 29th, 2017

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?

#524: Mr Jones' Act

16:56 | Sep 27th, 2017

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.

#796: The Basic Income Experiment

26:58 | Sep 22nd, 2017

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.

#795: Is Record Breaking Broken?

22:57 | Sep 20th, 2017

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.

#793: This Week in Time Bombs

23:12 | Sep 9th, 2017

We look at three time bombs Congress is sitting on: The federal budget, the debt ceiling, and DREAMers.

#628: This Ad's For You

25:07 | Sep 6th, 2017

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.

#791: Tips From Spies

15:48 | Aug 30th, 2017

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.

#790: Rough Translation in Ukraine

29:09 | Aug 25th, 2017

Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine's fight against fake news teach the US?

#652: The Hydrox Resurrection

19:46 | Aug 23rd, 2017

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.

#789: Robocall Invasion

18:30 | Aug 18th, 2017

Your phone rings--it looks like your neighbor's calling. But instead, it's the creepiest scam of the year.

#653: The Anti-Store

15:31 | Aug 16th, 2017

Costco made shopping harder, and customers loved it. Now a new company is taking the Costco experience to new extremes.

#788: Robert And Kenny Go To The Fair

23:20 | Aug 11th, 2017

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.

#399: Can You Patent a Steak?

19:43 | Aug 9th, 2017

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.

#786: Rest of the Story 2017, Vol. 1

22:38 | Jul 28th, 2017

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.

#629: Buy Low, Sell Prime

15:00 | Jul 26th, 2017

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.

#785: The Starbury

23:12 | Jul 21st, 2017

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.

#594: Board Games

20:34 | Jul 19th, 2017

On today's show: The story of two guys who tried to cut the pay of a CEO at a small pneumatic tool company.

#784: Meeting The Russians

20:05 | Jul 14th, 2017

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.

#783: New Jersey Bails Out

18:48 | Jul 12th, 2017

Bail is broken. In New Jersey, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges banded together to try a dramatic solution: Blow it up.

#782: Budget Time

15:49 | Jul 7th, 2017

We run through the entire federal budget — in 10 minutes. More than $6 billion per second. Go.

#586: How Stuff Gets Cheaper

14:49 | Jul 5th, 2017

We visit a company where people work on figuring out how to make stuff get cheaper.

#781: The Money Fixers

17:35 | Jun 30th, 2017

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.

#779: Shrimp Fight Club

23:50 | Jun 21st, 2017

What happens when an unstoppable shrimp meets an unmovable senator? A researcher goes to Washington to defend herself, her shrimp, and science itself.

#778: What the Falcon's Up With Qatar?

19:10 | Jun 16th, 2017

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.

#610: The Prisoner's Solution

18:42 | Jun 14th, 2017

Today on the show, a businessman goes to prison, and decides he is going to disrupt the biggest captive market in America.

#776: Here We Grow Again

19:35 | Jun 7th, 2017

The president's budget promises 3% growth. Is that doable? Yes, but he won't like what it would take.

#775: The Pigweed Killer

24:13 | Jun 3rd, 2017

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.

#774: Unspeakable Trademark

20:56 | May 26th, 2017

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.

#773: Slot Flaws Scofflaws

22:35 | May 24th, 2017

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.

#772: Small Change

21:17 | May 19th, 2017

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.

#606: Spreadsheets!

20:05 | May 17th, 2017

The creation of the electronic spreadsheet transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that.

#769: Speed Dating For Economists

24:05 | May 5th, 2017

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.

#768: A Chat With Ben Bernanke

18:17 | May 3rd, 2017

Ten years ago, two little-known funds at Bear Stearns blew up, and the financial crisis was on its way. Today, we ask the person at the center of it all, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, why it happened.

#553: The Dollar At The Center Of The World

20:54 | Apr 28th, 2017

Today on the show, how a New Hampshire hotel filled with boozing economists saved the global economy.

#767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two

30:36 | Apr 27th, 2017

In 1838, the Maryland Jesuits sold 272 people, slaves, to pay the debts of Georgetown University. We talk with the descendants about what - if anything - they're owed.

#766: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part One

25:00 | Apr 21st, 2017

For the residents of a small Louisiana town, there's always been a question about their past: How'd they get there? Solving the mystery only raised more questions.

#765: The Holiday Industrial Complex

18:56 | Apr 18th, 2017

Where do holidays like National Potato Chip Day and Argyle Day come from? We trace the roots of one made-up holiday until we find out who is running the global holiday machine.

#381: When Business Loves Regulation

14:45 | Apr 14th, 2017

One in three American jobs require a license. Today on the show, why those licensing rules hurt the U.S. economy.

#763: BOTUS

19:21 | Apr 7th, 2017

On today's show, we get in on the future of investing. We build an automated stock-trading bot. It analyzes the twitter feed of President Donald Trump, then trades stocks with real money. Our money. You can follow our bot on twitter, @BOTUS.

#531: The Tough, The Sweet, The Nosy

22:17 | Apr 5th, 2017

The tricks and mind games tax collectors use to get people to pay up.

#762: The Fine Print

19:32 | Mar 31st, 2017

On today's show: Snuggies, printer toner, and a banking road trip. Three stories about what happens when you actually read the fine print.

#650: The Business Genius Behind Get Out

25:59 | Mar 29th, 2017

Jason Blum makes a lot of movies and makes them cheap. So why are so many turning into blockbusters?

Episode 761: The Bank War

20:55 | Mar 25th, 2017

A populist president versus the most powerful banker in America.

#760: Tax Hero

22:54 | Mar 23rd, 2017

One professor had a way to make filing taxes easy and painless. It worked. People loved it. But then a big tax lobby heard about it...

#522: The Invention Of 'The Economy'

17:19 | Mar 15th, 2017

A hundred years ago, nobody talked about "the economy." That's because easy ways to measure and talk about it hadn't been invented. On today's show: how we started boiling nations down to a number.

#758: Can Trump Take The Money?

21:00 | Mar 11th, 2017

The Constitution contains a paragraph known as the Emoluments Clause. It's 49 words meant to prevent foreign influence on US officials. How does it apply to a president with a global business empire?

#596: Hacking The iPhone For Fun, Profit, And Maybe Espionage

19:11 | Mar 9th, 2017

Wikileaks released documents listing the hacks the CIA uses to spy on people. So we revisit our story on hackers for hire: people hunting for flaws in your phone to sell to people, or even the CIA.

#757: Strong Feelings About Dodd-Frank

25:11 | Mar 4th, 2017

President Trump does not like Dodd-Frank, the 2010 law that transformed banking regulation. On today's show, we ask: What are the key parts of the law? And how are they likely to change?

#513: Dear Economist, I Need A Date

23:13 | Mar 1st, 2017

Here at Planet Money, we often wonder: how useful is economics in our everyday lives? Could the principles of economics be applied to the most intimate of human experiences, like, say, love?

#756: The Bees Go To California

22:54 | Feb 25th, 2017

Early every year, 30 billion bees make their way across the country to California's Central Valley. Here's why.

#654: When The Boats Arrive

15:45 | Feb 22nd, 2017

In the span of a few months in 1980, more than 100,000 Cuban immigrants arrived in Miami. So what happened to Florida's economy with all these new people coming in? And what can we learn from it?

#755: The Phone At The End Of The World

19:23 | Feb 18th, 2017

A charismatic populist president wanted to boost manufacturing and create jobs. She told companies, 'if you want to sell your stuff here, you have to build it here.' This is what happened.

#754: I'm So Happy For You!

20:55 | Feb 14th, 2017

Here at Planet Money, our favorite stories are the ones we wish we'd done ourselves. On the show, we call out rivals and colleagues who did what we try to do better than we could have done it.

#753: Blockchain Gang

22:17 | Feb 11th, 2017

Charlie Shrem went to prison. While he was there, he thought up a better way to move money behind bars. Now he's out and trying to sell his idea to international investors.

#436: If Economists Controlled The Borders

19:35 | Feb 8th, 2017

What would the perfect immigration system look like? We ask three economists and get three very different answers. (None of which include building a wall.)

#752: Eagles vs. Chickens

17:28 | Feb 4th, 2017

Picture an organic farm, with thousands of free-range chickens roaming wide-open land. Now picture it from above, from the vantage of a soaring bald eagle. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet.

#751: The Thing About That Border Tax

17:51 | Feb 2nd, 2017

Over the next few months, we're going to explain President Trump's economic plans. Today: a totally new idea for corporate taxes. What's the plan, what's the theory behind it, and does it work?

#750: Retraining Day

19:44 | Jan 28th, 2017

When an American loses his/her job to trade, there is program to help. It's been around for decades. It makes a lot of sense. It is a generous program. And almost nobody's heard of it. But why?

#632: The Chicken Tax

16:56 | Jan 25th, 2017

President Trump talks about putting tariffs on foreign cars. But there are already tariffs on auto imports and one got there because of chickens in Germany. This is how trade barriers tend to spread.

#749: Professor Blackjack

19:05 | Jan 20th, 2017

Ed Thorp started his career teaching math at MIT. Then he slid sideways into blackjack, changed the game forever, and set his sights on Wall Street investing. He changed that forever too.

#748: Undoing Obama

23:28 | Jan 19th, 2017

Congress writes laws, but the president makes the rules that put the laws in action. President Obama's staff has been scrambling to lock in rules before Trump takes the helm. But will they stick?

#747: The Man Who Sued Iran

25:37 | Jan 13th, 2017

When Steve Flatow's daughter was killed in a terror attack, he wanted someone to pay. His target was the Iranian government. His quest would pit him against both Iran and the White House.

#577: The Kansas Experiment

21:18 | Jan 12th, 2017

A Republican governor lives the dream. He cuts taxes dramatically in his state and he promises good times ahead. But the good times do not come.

#746: Wall Street Goes To Vegas

20:45 | Jan 6th, 2017

Wall Street traders and Las Vegas gamblers have a lot in common. But when a Wall Street firm set up shop taking Vegas bets, both sides got a surprise.

#443: Don't Believe The Hype

17:40 | Jan 5th, 2017

People are talking about how the Dow Jones Industrial Average is about to hit a new record: Twenty thousand. We have a pretty strong opinion about the Dow. We think you should ignore it.

#745: The Rest Of The Story, 2016 Edition

18:48 | Dec 30th, 2016

It's time for an annual Planet Money tradition--we revisit some of our favorite stories from the past year, and see what's changed since we turned off our mics.

#744: The Last Bank Bailout

17:20 | Dec 27th, 2016

The man who ran the last bank bailout has a plan to prevent the next one.

587: Jubilee! (?)

20:00 | Dec 23rd, 2016

There's an idea that dates back at least to biblical times. That there should be a moment when debts are forgiven. Its called a jubilee. One country tried it.

#743: 50 Ways to Leave Your Union

17:01 | Dec 21st, 2016

Today on the show, two unions separated by 200 years, an ocean and an exit clause. The United States has no exit clause. It led to civil war. Europe, on the other hand, has Article 50.

#742: Making Bank

13:01 | Dec 17th, 2016

On today's show, how a band of medieval warrior monks sworn to poverty got into the banking business and changed the way we think about money forever.

#592: Bell Wars

19:28 | Dec 14th, 2016

A special holiday episode about the epic, decades-long feud between the two companies that make just about every handbell in the world.

#741: Amy and Steve vs. Facebook

18:09 | Dec 10th, 2016

The story of a court case. On one side, the best lawyers money can buy. On the other, a night school lawyer who had never argued a case before. The outcome could affect everyone on the internet.

#740: Burnout

19:26 | Dec 8th, 2016

All types of companies are struggling with burnout. Many try to fix it. Most of them fail. One exception: A 26-year-old call center manager, with stress balls and costumes in her arsenal.

#739: Finding The Fake-News King

18:45 | Dec 3rd, 2016

We track down a fake-news creator in the suburbs, uncover his empire of fake-news sites, and get him to tell us his secrets.

#534: The History Of Light

20:29 | Nov 30th, 2016

In this episode: How we got from candles made out of cow fat to as much light as we want. The history of light is the history of economic growth — of things getting faster, cheaper, and more efficient.

#738: Russian Cowboys

18:16 | Nov 25th, 2016

Russia's latest ambition: To build a steak empire. On today's show, a fourth-generation American cowboy teaches Russian ranchers how to make American-style steaks. Some things get lost in translation.

#737: 17 Deals In 17 Minutes

17:00 | Nov 23rd, 2016

We go on a madcap dash through discounts, bargains and tough tradeoffs. Like the headline says: We bring you stories of 17 deals in just 17 minutes (not counting the intro, the ad, or the credits).

#736: Messy Nobel

25:17 | Nov 18th, 2016

What happens when a creativity guru meets the winner of this year's Nobel Memorial Prize in economics? You get life lessons in making art, and negotiating contracts.

#574: The Buffalo Talk-Off

18:29 | Nov 16th, 2016

The story of a guy who tried to make something of himself by getting into a rough business. And the story of a time when the world went wild for debt.

#735: President Trump

24:36 | Nov 12th, 2016

Candidates promise all kinds of things. But once they get into office, it's not always possible to carry through on them. We ask, can Trump do the things he's pledged to do?

#734: The Trump Indicators

13:15 | Nov 10th, 2016

Donald Trump is our president elect. We look at three economic indicators to see what they can tell us about a Trump presidency.

#733: A Trunk Full of Truffles

21:42 | Nov 5th, 2016

Truffles are a lumpy, smelly fungus. They're also one of the most coveted foods in the world. Why are they so expensive? And why are people willing to pay so much for them?

#413: Our Fake Candidate Meets The People

22:53 | Nov 2nd, 2016

On today's show, Planet Money's economist-approved fake candidate makes his first ads. Then we nervously watch to see what a focus group thinks of them.

#732: Bad Form, Wells Fargo

17:10 | Oct 29th, 2016

Banks like Wells Fargo have a weapon that can destroy an employee's career: A form. A long, boring form most people don't even know exists.

#387: The No-Brainer Economic Platform

24:27 | Oct 26th, 2016

Behold the Planet Money economic platform, crafted by brilliant economists of all stripes, and pure poison to any politician who embraces it.

#731: How Venezuela Imploded

19:00 | Oct 21st, 2016

Venezuela has just about every economic advantage a country could ask for: fertile land, good climate, educated population, and oil, lots and lots of oil. So how did it go so wrong?

#730: Self Checkout

20:27 | Oct 20th, 2016

A doctor treating psychiatric patients in an emergency room created the first self-checkout machine in his spare time. Now he can't stand self checkout. So we take him shopping.

#729: When Subaru Came Out

19:50 | Oct 15th, 2016

Subaru's sales had been slumping for years. So the car company took a big risk and targeted a group of consumers that just about everyone else was ignoring.

#627: The Miracle Apple

14:07 | Oct 12th, 2016

How we got from mealy, nasty apples to apples that taste delicious. The story starts with a breeder who discovered a miracle apple. But discovering that apple wasn't enough.

#728: The Wells Fargo Hustle

18:32 | Oct 8th, 2016

We take you inside the headquarters of Wells Fargo bank. It's a place where a bunch of young, stressed-out workers were rewarded for doing some very bad things.

#521: The Town That Loves Death

23:43 | Oct 5th, 2016

On today's episode, we'll take you to a place where dying has become acceptable dinner conversation. A place that also happens to have the lowest healthcare spending of any region in the country.

#727: You Asked For It, Again

23:44 | Oct 1st, 2016

New show! You asked us questions about the economy and oddities in your world. We answer.

#726: Terms of the Debate

20:25 | Sep 28th, 2016

We made an audio glossary for the confusing economic jargon that came up during the first presidential debate.

#725: Trade Show

37:13 | Sep 24th, 2016

On today's show: The fight over free trade. Come for the man who dreamed of world peace through trade. Stay for Robert Smith in the mean streets of Seattle.

#555: Why Is The Milk In The Back Of The Store?

16:09 | Sep 21st, 2016

We test two competing theories, from a food writer and an economist. Are customers being forced to walk through the store or is it just practical to keep the milk at the back?

#573: Why Textbook Prices Keep Climbing

15:12 | Sep 16th, 2016

Prices of new textbooks have been going up like crazy — faster than food, cars, even healthcare. On today's show: Why textbooks have gotten so expensive.

#724: Cat Scam

21:05 | Sep 14th, 2016

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

#566: The Zoo Economy

17:22 | Sep 9th, 2016

If you're a zoo or aquarium and you want a new animal, you don't use money to get it. You have to find another way. In this episode, we investigate: How many mackerel is a flock of puffins worth?

#723: The Risk Farmers

20:35 | Sep 7th, 2016

There is a mystery in many poor countries. Why don't farmers specialize and grow more food? Two economists with very different theories go head to head to find out.

#532: The Wild West of the Internet

18:12 | Sep 2nd, 2016

For decades, most websites ended in either .com, .net, or .org. But a few years ago, everything changed.

#722: The New Telenovela

20:32 | Aug 31st, 2016

One telenovela actress-turned-executive decided to write a new kind of drama. Her show changed the landscape of Spanish language TV--and of all TV.

#721: Unbuilding A City

19:22 | Aug 26th, 2016

Why is it so hard to knock down 17 vacant houses in a shrinking city?

Oil #5: Imagine A World Without Oil

26:29 | Aug 24th, 2016

Last of five episodes. We follow the Planet Money oil to a gas station. And we ask: What would our world look like if there were no fossil fuels?

Oil #4: How Oil Got Into Everything

25:10 | Aug 19th, 2016

Fourth of five episodes. Oil is in our sneakers, our clothes, and the computer or phone you're using right now. On today's show: The story of the man who made it happen.

Oil #3: How Fracking Changed the World

27:05 | Aug 17th, 2016

Third of five episodes. The Planet Money oil faces a test, we sell it, and we meet the man who set off the fracking boom in America.

#524: Mr Jones' Act

17:03 | Aug 5th, 2016

There's an obscure law that governs just about anything that travels by ship in the U.S. — bananas, hairdryers, gasoline, even people. Economists do not like it. But it just won't go away.

#715: The Sewing Robot

17:07 | Aug 4th, 2016

Building a robot that can sew even simple clothes is surprisingly hard. A retired professor in Atlanta thinks he's solved the problem. It could bring textile manufacturing back to America.

#548: Project Eavesdrop

16:13 | Jul 29th, 2016

The computer or phone that you use knows a lot about you. It knows your secrets — and it might be giving them away.

#714: Can a Game Show Lose?

21:11 | Jul 27th, 2016

Crafting a TV game show is a balancing act. Producers have to carefully calibrate the rules, the drama and the prizes just right. Sometimes they get it way wrong.

#713: Paying for the Crime

25:59 | Jul 20th, 2016

A tale of violence, payback, and how to make things right.

#712: I Want My Money Back

19:43 | Jul 16th, 2016

Three stories of people getting their money back — or trying to. From a hospital, a scammer, and the ever-exciting global bond market.

#711: Hooked on Heroin

17:38 | Jul 14th, 2016

Scoring a fix is cheap and today's heroin is strong. But that's just part of the reason why America got hooked. Today on the show, we trace the roots of America's heroin epidemic with a dealer, a user, and a DEA agent.

#710: The Brexit Break-Up

19:16 | Jul 9th, 2016

Brexit is like a breakup. So today, a divorce story in two acts. We hear from both sides: The people who voted to leave, and the Europeans being left.

#575: The Fondue Conspiracy

15:49 | Jul 6th, 2016

When you think of cartels, maybe you think of drugs, maybe you think of oil. But what probably doesn't come to mind? Swiss cheese.

#709: The Quiet Old Lady Who Whispers "Fair Use"

18:17 | Jul 1st, 2016

Where is the line between being inspired by somebody's creative work and stealing it?

#708: Bitcoin Divided

18:35 | Jun 29th, 2016

Bitcoin was supposed to revolutionize the way money works. But the thing people love about it may be destroying it.

#707: Brexit

14:43 | Jun 24th, 2016

What just happened in the UK? And what's coming next?

#538: Is A Stradivarius Just A Violin?

21:25 | Jun 22nd, 2016

How much of a brand is real? How much is in our heads?

#706: Water's Worth

12:17 | Jun 18th, 2016

If your country's main export is water, what happens when your wells run dry?

#583: Cow Noir

19:41 | Jun 15th, 2016

There is a crime wave in the West right now. Cattle rustling — stealing cattle — is on the rise. The crime is as old as America, and it's making a big comeback.

#705: The Muscle Patents

19:42 | Jun 10th, 2016

Two bodybuilders go at it over a Stanford University patent. And we dive in to make sense of it.

#563: The Future Of Work Looks Like A UPS Truck

13:18 | Jun 8th, 2016

Technology means that no matter what job you have — whether you're alone in a truck on an empty road or sitting in a cubicle in front of a computer — your company can now track everything you do.

#704: Open Office

18:41 | Jun 4th, 2016

This episode is for everyone who's ever had to ask their coworkers to quiet down or walk laps of the office to make a private phone call. Today on the show: We meet the man who stole your office door.

#463: How To Get A Country To Trust Its Banks

18:05 | Jun 1st, 2016

It's something you can see on every day and on every block in most major cities. But in Myanmar, a country that was cut off from the rest of the world for decades, an ATM is a small miracle

#703: How To Hide A Million Dollars In Plain Sight

18:27 | May 28th, 2016

How do you secretly stash away a million dollars? One way is to hide the money in plain sight, right in the heart of New York City. Today's show: the case of who owns Apartment 5B.

#217: The Art Of Living At The Poverty Line

22:28 | May 25th, 2016

Meet a single mother who makes $16,000 a year and managed to fund a vacation at a Caribbean resort with an interest-free loan from one of the world's largest banks.

#702: Nigeria, You Win!

16:19 | May 20th, 2016

One night, Lariat Alhassan heard an ad on the radio. It said the Nigerian government was offering millions of dollars to people with business ideas, practically no strings attached. She gave it a go.

#366: How To Make It In The Food Truck Business

12:52 | May 18th, 2016

In New York City, more than 5,000 food trucks and carts compete for the business of hungry office workers. And finding the right spot to set up shop can mean the difference between fortune and ruin.

#701: A Bank Without Interest

17:39 | May 14th, 2016

To serve Muslim customers, a bank in Michigan tried to comply with both U.S. regulations and Islamic law. One problem: Islamic law prohibits charging interest.

#430: Black Market Pharmacies And The Spam Empire Behind Them

17:52 | May 11th, 2016

On today's show, we open up some of those annoying pharmaceutical spam emails and find out who's clicking to buy herbal viagra? Also, what happens when they do?

#700: Peanuts and Cracker Jack

21:31 | May 6th, 2016

Beer. Water. Pretzels. It takes effort, strategy, and some serious lungs to sell expensive junk food at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.

#699: Why Did The Job Cross The Road?

20:11 | May 5th, 2016

To get to the other side... where there are millions of dollars in tax breaks.

#698: The Long Way Home

16:13 | Apr 29th, 2016

Housing subsidies are often given out through a lottery. But why do we let random chance decide who gets help with the rent? We don't do that for food stamps or health care, so why housing?

#417: Lance Armstrong and The Business of Doping

18:25 | Apr 27th, 2016

In this episode, we consider a world where everybody cheats, and where you can't win unless you game the regulators: Professional cycling.

#697: Help Wanted

19:31 | Apr 23rd, 2016

When you're an employer looking at a giant stack of resumes, you have to find some way to quickly narrow the field. How do you do that fairly? And what happens when your good intentions backfire?

#468: Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers

18:16 | Apr 20th, 2016

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

#696: Class Action

20:41 | Apr 16th, 2016

The modern class action was created on a typewriter in the back of a car. (Sort of.) Now, thousands of these lawsuits are filed every year. How did we get here? Is this really a good way to do things?

#695: Put A Chip On It

18:08 | Apr 13th, 2016

Credit cards with chips in them have been around for four decades. So why is America only getting them now? And now that they are here, why are so few places using them?

#694: The Gun That Wouldn't Shoot

19:33 | Apr 8th, 2016

Imagine a safer kind of gun. Imagine a company with a plan to build it. Imagine customers ready to buy it. Imagine what could go wrong. A whole lot.

#562: A Mall Divided

13:23 | Apr 6th, 2016

A California mall straddles the border between two cities — and the minimum wage is higher on one side.

#693: Unpayable

19:22 | Apr 1st, 2016

Puerto Rico is part of the United States, but not one of the United States. And this limbo status has brought a world of economic trouble.

#403: What Can We Do With Our Shell Companies?

21:18 | Mar 30th, 2016

And how can we meet our fake shareholder and fake director?

#692: The Secret Life Of Line 24

21:10 | Mar 25th, 2016

On today's show, we tell the stories of a few mysterious lines on IRS form 1040 — the basic tax form. In its own, maddening way, the 1040 is a great American document.

#691: The Great Unbundling

29:10 | Mar 23rd, 2016

There's a revolution underway in the world of cable TV--more and more people are getting rid of it. And there are some unforeseen consequences when we cut the cord and go our separate ways.

#690: All In

17:37 | Mar 18th, 2016

We talk to a professional poker player who lost on the first day of poker's most famous tournament--but went on to get a huge payout. Turns out there's a game behind the game.

#689: A Hedge Fund, A Country, And A Big Sailboat

16:02 | Mar 11th, 2016

Argentina decided that it could take on the world. They had a bunch of debt and said, 'we're not paying.' Then a group of hedge funds took the entire country to court.

#418: The Government's Fake Bank For Drug Money

16:38 | Mar 9th, 2016

One day in the early 1990s, a man walked into the U.S. embassy in Ecuador. He said he had information on how to go after some of most powerful drug traffickers in the world.

#688: Brilliant vs. Boring

21:08 | Mar 5th, 2016

A million-dollar bet pits a bunch of really smart money managers against the simplest investment idea in the world.

#687: Buy This Passport

20:16 | Mar 2nd, 2016

Most of us don't think of citizenship as a product. It's something more: It's part of who you are. On today's show, we look at what happens when citizenship goes up for sale.

#686: If Elected President

20:31 | Feb 26th, 2016

Today, we bring you the future as dreamt up by presidential candidates. Also: sober economists poking holes in the candidates' dreams.

#424: How Much Is A Firefighter Worth?

18:13 | Feb 24th, 2016

Firefighters don't go to fires as much as much as they used to. Yet the fire department is still set up the same way. What should change?

#684: The Return Of The Colonel

15:02 | Feb 17th, 2016

There's a secret war going on inside every franchise. At KFC, it all goes back to a guy with a white beard and a black string tie: Colonel Harland Sanders.

#683: Our Valentines

24:07 | Feb 12th, 2016

Regret. Self-loathing. Jealousy. Happy Valentine's Day! We bring you little stories that we love so much, we wish we had thought of them ourselves.

#466: DIY Finance

14:34 | Feb 10th, 2016

He has thousands of dollars stashed around his house. She's part of an informal savings club. And Miguelo Rada has a whole bank in his pocket.

#682: When CEO Pay Exploded

20:50 | Feb 6th, 2016

Politicians have argued for decades that CEOs should earn less money. But there was a moment in the 1990s when CEO pay suddenly shot up. What happened?

#681: The Oil Kingdom

15:44 | Feb 3rd, 2016

For years, Saudi Arabia has been living off one resource and one resource only: Oil. But now, the price of a barrel has plummeted, and the country is scrambling to adapt.

#680: Anatomy Of A Scam

22:23 | Jan 29th, 2016

You've seen these ads: "You can work from home and get rich. It's easy. Call this number!" So, what happens when you respond?

#679: You Asked For It

18:15 | Jan 28th, 2016

We ponder the origins of money, the economics of Santa, and the business of cemeteries. Why? Because you asked.

#678: Auction Fever

14:57 | Jan 23rd, 2016

We uncover the secrets of the auction world. There is conniving. There are tricks. Also: Hydraulic hammers.

#283: Why Do We Tip?

17:36 | Jan 20th, 2016

According to one theory, we tip because we feel guilty, not because we want better service.

#677: The Experiment Experiment

20:46 | Jan 15th, 2016

How much of published scientific research is false? Scientists are trying to figure it out.

10 11 51 52 62 18

21:27 | Jan 14th, 2016

If those are the winning Powerball numbers, this will be our last show. Also: The story of Queen Elizabeth's 1567 lottery, and we meet a man who has won multiple jackpots, no luck needed.

#675: The Cost Of Crossing

19:03 | Jan 9th, 2016

Sneaking people across the U.S.-Mexico border is a well established, booming business. Today on the show, we meet a businessman and a client in the evolving industry of human smuggling.

#15: Delicious Cake Futures

15:18 | Jan 6th, 2016

On today's Planet Money, the complex economy of one elementary-school lunchroom.

#674: We Cooked A Peacock

20:11 | Jan 1st, 2016

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.

#673 The Rest of the Story, 2015 Edition

19:42 | Dec 30th, 2015

Not every story has an ending. Sometimes after we finish a podcast and send it to you, the facts change, a new chapter unfolds. Today on the show, we update some of our favorite episodes from 2015.

#671: An Insider Trader Tells All

18:58 | Dec 23rd, 2015

Today on the show: A man who got caught insider trading explains everything — what he did, how he did it, and why. Though he's still struggling with that last one.

#670: The Santa Suit

16:38 | Dec 18th, 2015

Today on the show: A lawsuit over a Santa suit. It's a window into countless hidden fights that shape the stuff we buy.

#590: The Planet Money Workout

15:14 | Dec 16th, 2015

Today on the show: The mind games that gyms play with you. From design to pricing to free bagels, gyms want to be a product that everyone buys, but no one actually uses.

#669: A or B

15:47 | Dec 12th, 2015

These days A/B testing is everywhere. It's shaped almost every website, some stores and even some school lessons. Today, the most meta episode ever. Planet Money A/B tests a show about A/B testing.

#668: Frank Sinatra's Mug

17:46 | Dec 10th, 2015

When you die you can pass on your money, your house. But your image--what you look and sound like--that's trickier. Today on the show: How Frank Sinatra made his image, and maybe yours, last forever.

#667: Auditing ISIS

21:39 | Dec 5th, 2015

What happens when ISIS takes over your city? Today on the show: We talk to a man who lived and worked in ISIS controlled territory. He tells us about how he paid taxes, where he kept his money and a $50 candy bar.

#216: How Four Drinking Buddies Saved Brazil

21:19 | Dec 2nd, 2015

Two decades ago, shoppers in Brazil would run ahead of the worker who raised prices every day. Inflation was crazy. Today on the show: How four economists --who were also drinking buddies-- fixed it.

#666: The Hoverboard Life

17:16 | Nov 27th, 2015

The hottest toy this holiday season has no identifiable logo, no main distributor, and no widely agreed upon name. Today, we seek out the origin of the hands-free, two wheeled, self-balancing scooter.

#665: The Pickle Problem

17:35 | Nov 25th, 2015

A national network of food banks couldn't figure out how to get the right food to the right place at the right time. So they tried a bold experiment: the free market.

#664: The Great Inflation

24:45 | Nov 20th, 2015

For much of the 70s inflation was bad. Prices rose at over 10 percent a year. Nothing could stop it — until one powerful person did something very unpopular. Today's show: How we beat inflation.

#416: Why The Price Of Coke Didn't Change For 70 Years

19:07 | Nov 18th, 2015

Prices go up and down. But for 70 years, the price of a bottle of Coca-Cola stayed a nickel. On today's show, we find out why. The answer includes a half a million vending machines and a 7.5 cent coin.

#663: Money Trees

17:52 | Nov 13th, 2015

Each time you travel, you burn fossil fuels. That hurts the environment. Some people say you can plant a bunch of trees to offset the damage. Is that for real? We investigate carbon offsets.

#505: A Locked Door, A Secret Meeting And The Birth Of The Fed

15:32 | Nov 11th, 2015

A 70-year-old man with a bad cold and many mistresses, a nation that's ambivalent about a central bank, and a secret meeting on an island. Today on the show: The origin story of the Federal Reserve.

#662: OMG TPP

22:09 | Nov 7th, 2015

The text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership isn't secret anymore. We dove in. From tariffs for waterproof overalls to copyright rules, we tell you what we found. Also, a way countries can get around it.

#661: The Less Deadly Catch

18:11 | Nov 5th, 2015

Today on the show, how an economic fix took the deadliest job in America and made it safer. And why a lot of people are mad about it.

#660: The T-Rex In My Backyard

19:23 | Oct 31st, 2015

There's a boom going on for dinosaur bones, a veritable gold rush for fossils buried in the badlands of North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana. Today on the show: the T-Rex that started it all.

#518: Your Organs, Please

19:48 | Oct 28th, 2015

How do you get someone to sign up as an organ donor? Today on the show: The story of one woman who found a way by partnering with one of the more hated American institutions.

#659: How To Make $3 Trillion Disappear

15:25 | Oct 23rd, 2015

After the financial crisis, the Fed created over $3 trillion. To undo this, they have a new trick. Today on the show, how the Federal Reserve plans to make that money disappear.

#550: When Salaries Aren't Secret

18:28 | Oct 21st, 2015

What would it be like if everyone at your office knew what everyone else earned? On today's show, we hear about a company where salaries aren't secret.

#658: Strike One

15:59 | Oct 16th, 2015

On today's show: The birth of unions as we know them. It's a story that includes, among other things, bravery, cunning, and auto-part projectiles flung out of giant sling shots.

#656: Bubblelicious

14:01 | Oct 9th, 2015

Things are booming in Silicon Valley. Maybe too booming. But economists say you can't call it a bubble until it goes POP. Today on the show: We find three bubbly barometers that could signal a bust.

#564: The Signature

16:34 | Oct 7th, 2015

The signature. We put it on checks, contracts, credit cards. It's supposed to say, "This is me." But where did the idea come from? And why are we still using it? We consult a rabbi, a lawyer and a credit card executive.

#655: Pay Patients, Save Money

19:01 | Oct 2nd, 2015

We shop around when we get a plane ticket or buy a couch. But we spend thousands of dollars on health care without shopping around. What happens if we pay patients when they choose the cheaper option?

#654: When The Boats Arrive

15:12 | Sep 30th, 2015

In 1980, thousands of Cuban refugees suddenly arrived in Miami and started looking for work. On today's show: What happened next. And what it tells us about the migration crisis in Europe today.

#653: The Anti-Store

15:09 | Sep 25th, 2015

Today on the show: How Price Club and its imitators changed the way we shop. And how a new company is taking what Price Club started to new extremes.

#386: The Power of Free

19:09 | Sep 23rd, 2015

Everybody likes free. But free can be dangerous. On today's show, what happens when you take something that was free and give it a price. That's a highly risky move and the damage can be enormous.

#652: The Hydrox Resurrection

18:11 | Sep 18th, 2015

Hidden in the trash heap of commerce there is buried treasure. Abandoned brands, even beloved, trusted brands, are waiting to be claimed and reborn. Today on the show: a cookie comeback.