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Planet Money


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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.
#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.
#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.
#787: Google Is Big. Is That Bad?

11:11 | 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.
#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.
#924: Stuck In China's Panopticon

26:36 | Jul 5th

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.
#910: Economics, Sexism, Data

24:20 | May 3rd

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.
#897: New Orleans Vs. Airbnb

22:25 | Feb 28th

Airbnb has changed New Orleans. And now landlords and preservationists are fighting over the future of the city.
#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.
#913: Counting The Homeless

22:03 | May 18th

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

23:50 | Apr 4th

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.
#863: 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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#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.
#928: Hong Kong

22:01 | Jul 19th

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.
#752: Eagles vs. Chickens

20:35 | Jul 3rd

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.
#922: The Cost of Getting Your Money Back

19:45 | Jun 27th

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.
#919: Are Cities Overrated?

17:52 | Jun 14th

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?
#590: The Planet Money Workout

17:12 | Jun 12th

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.
#904: Joke Theft

26:24 | Apr 6th

Copyrighting comedy is expensive. So comedians have devised an informal system of sanctions to protect their jokes from theft. Sometimes it works.
#902: The Phoebus Cartel

31:04 | Mar 28th

The story behind two sneaky forces that drive us to buy more products, more often: Planned obsolescence and psychological obsolescence.
#893: Our Valentines 2019

17:56 | Feb 8th

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.
#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
#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.
#643: The Taxi King

20:29 | May 23rd, 2018

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

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.
#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?
#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.
#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.
#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.
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.
#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.
#934: Two Yield Curve Indicators

18:54 | Aug 21st

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.
#933: Find The Helium

25:12 | Aug 16th

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.
#616: How Solar Got Cheap

17:31 | Aug 14th

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.
#932: Deep Learning With The Elephants

25:24 | Aug 9th

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.
#931: The IT Guy Vs. The Con Artist

21:53 | Aug 7th

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.
#930: Twins

22:36 | Aug 3rd

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.
#598: That Time We Shorted America, Part Two

19:58 | Jul 31st

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.
#597: That Time We Shorted America, Part One

21:35 | Jul 26th

Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people and bet against something people love.
#929: Could A Wealth Tax Work?

22:36 | Jul 24th

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.?
#927: The Indicator In The House

20:51 | Jul 18th

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.
#926: So, Should We Recycle?

23:06 | Jul 13th

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.
#925: A Mob Boss, A Garbage Boat and Why We Recycle

25:03 | Jul 10th

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.
#923: Good Teachers, Bad Deal

26:18 | Jun 28th

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.
#921: Tales From The Parking Lot

23:44 | Jun 21st

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?
#920: What Should We Be Worried About?

18:47 | Jun 19th

Things are looking up in the economy, but there's still plenty to worry about: Corporate debt, the trade war, and worry itself.
#918: The Day Of Two Noons

20:46 | Jun 7th

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.
#651: The Salmon Taboo

16:41 | Jun 5th

People in Japan never ate raw salmon. Then Norway had a salmon surplus—and persuaded Japanese sushi eaters to try something new.
#917: Quit Threat!

22:01 | May 31st

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.
#916: The Whistleblower Whisperer

23:15 | May 29th

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.
#915: How To Meddle In An Election

23:17 | May 24th

David Goldstein decides to copy Cambridge Analytica and run an experiment on actual voters during the 2017 Alabama special election.
#914: Trump and Deutsche, A Long Affair

26:41 | May 23rd

After Donald Trump's companies declared four bankruptcies, several major banks stopped loaning him money. But Deutsche Bank didn't.
#407: A Mathematician, The Last Supper, And The Birth Of Accounting

17:39 | May 15th

The story of Luca Pacioli, who brought double-entry bookkeeping to the masses, transforming accounting and businesses around the world.
#912: How Uncle Jamie Broke Jeopardy

27:51 | May 10th

How James Holzhauer built on the strategies of Ken Jennings, Roger Craig, and Monica Thieu, to crack the game show Jeopardy.
#911: You Asked The Listener Question Hotline

20:53 | May 8th

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.
#416: Why The Price of Coke Didn't Change For 70 years

21:14 | May 1st

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

20:35 | Apr 27th

Every six hours a new dollar store opens in the U.S. Are they killing grocery stores?
#908: I Am Not A Robot

24:45 | Apr 24th

The remarkable story of the online "CAPTCHA" tests we've all taken to prove that we're not robots.
#907: Two Spring Indicators

21:08 | Apr 19th

The Indicator from Planet Money explores trade wars, peanuts, hurricanes, and happiness.
#644: How Much Does This Cow Weigh?

19:15 | Apr 17th

We wanted to understand an eerie phenomenon that drives everything from the stock market to the price of orange juice. So we asked you to guess the weight of a cow.
#906: The Chicago Boys, Part II

27:27 | Apr 12th

How a ruthless dictator, and a bunch of economists known as the Chicago Boys, took Chile from socialism to capitalism.
#905: The Chicago Boys, Part I

24:27 | Apr 11th

In the late 1950's and early '60's a handful of Chilean students went to study economics at the University of Chicago. What they learned changed their country.
#903: A New Way To Pay For College

19:45 | Mar 29th

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.
#901: Bad Cops Are Expensive

20:23 | Mar 22nd

There's an industry of people working to eliminate bad police behavior. They're not activists or protestors. They're insurers.
#189: Why A Dead Shark Costs $12 Million

19:31 | Mar 20th

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

22:05 | Mar 15th

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

23:00 | Mar 13th

The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen--but instead they are taking over the global economy.
#899: Mexico Fights The Fuel Pirates

17:59 | Mar 8th

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

25:18 | Mar 7th

The story of an NBA All-Star and an experiment: To make a desirable basketball shoe cheap enough for anyone.
#898: Happy Fed Independence Day

19:55 | Mar 2nd

The story of the day the Federal Reserve got its independence and the fight—an actual physical fight—to keep it.
Antitrust 3: Big Tech

23:56 | Feb 22nd

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

19:53 | Feb 20th

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

23:53 | Feb 15th

At the turn of the 20th century, Ida Tarbell investigated John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. What she discovered changed the economy of the United States.
#418: A Fake Bank For Money Laundering Run By The Government

19:37 | Feb 14th

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.
#892: The Lost Plane

16:37 | Feb 7th

In December, a commercial flight had to make an emergency landing in Iran. They discovered that landing there would be easy. Getting out – much, much harder.
#891: Who Won The Bet Over Bitcoin?

19:16 | Feb 1st

Five years ago, two sides met on our show to make a bet about the future of bitcoin. Today, we announce the winner.
#825: Who Started The Wildfire?

21:14 | Jan 30th

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

21:12 | Jan 25th

Today on the show, we take on one of life's most vexing problems: Sharing.
#688: Brilliant Vs. Boring

22:38 | Jan 23rd

John Bogle died last week. His creation — the index fund — changed investing. Today, how his invention set off a million dollar bet between some of the biggest brains on Wall Street, including Warren Buffett.
#889: The Pay-What-You-Want Experiment

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

16:19 | 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

08:08 | 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
#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?

04:14 | 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

04:27 | 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

03:12 | 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. You can also watch this video here: https://youtu....Show More
#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

05:48 | 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

06:45 | 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.
#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

34:56 | 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

22:30 | 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

21:39 | 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

03:31 | 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.
#682: When CEO Pay Exploded

21:07 | Jun 22nd, 2018

Politicians have argued for decades that CEOs are overpaid. But there's this precise moment in the 1990s when CEO pay suddenly shot up. We find out what happened.
#849: It Takes Two To Make A Trade War Fight

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

21:59 | 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.
#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

20:36 | 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

06:16 | 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

08:03 | 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

08:12 | 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.