Sep 21st • 18:00
We propose small fixes for baseball, weddings, salary negotiations and buying your morning coffee. Warning: They may be too rational.
Sep 19th • 16:23
How one man took the onion market hostage.
Sep 15th • 22:09
We crash a party of central bankers to get an answer to one of the biggest economic questions of our time.
Sep 12th • 29:00
In honor of our 10th anniversary, we revisit our very first episode.
Sep 5th • 20:18
Subaru's sales had been slumping for years. Then they went straight to their biggest fans: Lesbians.
Aug 31st • 23:08
That time we accidentally created a cheese surplus so large it had to be stored in a ginormous cave.
Aug 29th • 20:37
California just did away with cash bail. But credit where credit is due. New Jersey already tried something similar.
Aug 24th • 22:15
When food makes people sick all around the country, an army of germ detectives jumps into action.
Aug 22nd • 20:30
Today on the show: Could New Jersey become the next Napa?
Aug 17th • 25:34
Six states. Three days. One ugly cookie jar. Today on the show: Yard sale!
Aug 15th • 15:56
The line between trash and recycling is moving a lot these days. It's a tough time to be a recycler.
Aug 10th • 19:59
You have a lot of questions... about tariffs, unemployment rates, and RV dealerships, to name a few. We have answers.
Aug 8th • 19:06
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.
Aug 3rd • 19:02
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.
Aug 1st • 22:15
Is there a secretive postal organization fixing international shipping rates, and giving American businesses a bad deal?
Jul 25th • 24:19
What happens when a group of economists applies the number one rule of economics... to number two?
Jul 20th • 15:44
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?
Jul 18th • 24:06
Tax carbon emissions. That's basically the whole plan. What's the hold up?
Jul 13th • 18:54
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.
Jul 11th • 35:20
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.
Jul 6th • 21:57
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.
Jul 3rd • 24:21
It takes strategy and skill to sell snacks at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.
Jun 30th • 21:07
A pesticide wreaks havoc. A listener needs a bitcoin detective. And the search for the rarest economic good continues.
Jun 27th • 19:32
Fake product reviews are wrecking the internet. But help is on the way: From a bodybuilding fake review hunter.
Jun 25th • 3:31
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.
Jun 20th • 22:51
President Trump says China is stealing U.S. technology. So we looked into one case. And things got a little complicated.
Jun 15th • 21:08
California has a ton of solar power. But as soon as night falls, it's gone. Today on the show: How to bottle the sun.
Jun 13th • 21:20
The medical world has been trying to cure color blindness for centuries. Then a glass scientist figured it out. By accident.
Jun 9th • 20:56
When Florida outlawed partisan gerrymandering, politicians tried to sneak it back in...in disguise.
Jun 6th • 19:28
Meet Sue, the dinosaur who sparked a gold rush for fossils buried in the badlands of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
Jun 2nd • 22:07
Meet the man who figured out how to reshape national politics by making tiny investments in the smallest of places.
May 31st • 16:58
In game theory, sometimes the best way to win, is to lose.
May 25th • 29:32
Today on the show: A small town stakes its future on writing, directing, and starring in a musical.
May 23rd • 20:29
Gene Freidman built a taxi empire. We visited him before he was in legal trouble.
May 18th • 19:22
The World Trade Organization: Can't live with it, hard to crush your trade opponents without it.
May 16th • 22:31
Class actions run from big civil rights cases to arguments about pepper. Are they noble, or silly?
May 11th • 21:31
We meet the man who invented duty free shopping and find out if these tax free stores are really saving us any money.
May 9th • 19:31
Today on the show: A chicken index, some Wall Street investors, and an unlikely whistle-blower.
May 4th • 26:46
California is way more than Hollywood. Today on the show, we look at what else is going on in this powerhouse state economy.
May 2nd • 16:41
Today on the show: How a cheese cartel abandoned the rules of economics and convinced the world to eat fondue.
Apr 27th • 17:52
Unordered trinkets have been arriving at homes around the country. We try to find out why.
Apr 21st • 22:29
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.)
Apr 19th • 17:30
Why are used car commercials so annoying? Meet the original sinner.
Apr 13th • 21:32
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.
Apr 11th • 18:32
Today on the show: how an economic fix helped made the deadliest job in America safer, and why people are angry about it.
Apr 7th • 21:46
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?
Apr 4th • 20:35
What exactly would happen if you didn't pay your taxes? Today on the show, we follow one man who did just that.
Mar 30th • 21:06
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.
Mar 28th • 21:41
What happens when you put someone who wants to close an agency, in charge of that agency? Today on the show, we find out.
Mar 23rd • 19:42
A man who got caught insider trading explains everything — what he did, how he did it, and why.
Mar 21st • 19:29
Planet Money joins the gold rush 170 years late. And the rules are still about the same. How did that happen?
Mar 2nd • 23:14
We ponder the price of chicken, safe haven currencies, and the cash value of coupons. Why? Because you asked.
Feb 28th • 19:14
What do human blood, the conservative tax plan, and beer hops tell us about the world? Find out in today's episode.
Feb 23rd • 20:27
Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them?
Feb 21st • 16:52
How do you reinvent something as simple as the wooden shipping pallet?
Feb 14th • 20:32
If you can't beat 'em, send 'em a valentine.
Feb 9th • 17:05
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.
Feb 1st • 18:37
Billionaires, diplomats, thinkfluencers. This is the Davos everyone hears about. Today on the show, we take you to a different Davos.
Jan 26th • 20:02
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?
Jan 19th • 20:15
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.
Jan 10th • 23:22
Why does it take days to send money electronically?
Jan 3rd • 20:38
What does a country with no debt look like? To find out, we went back to the United States in 1835.
Dec 29th, 2017 • 20:01
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.
Dec 27th, 2017 • 13:33
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.
Dec 25th, 2017 • 6:16
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.)
Dec 22nd, 2017 • 22:58
Congress just passed the largest tax overhaul in decades. We dig in.
Dec 20th, 2017 • 17:55
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.
Dec 18th, 2017 • 8:03
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.
Dec 16th, 2017 • 25:00
Five reporters go to the New York Produce Show and Conference, each on a mission.
Dec 13th, 2017 • 26:52
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.
Dec 11th, 2017 • 8:12
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.
Nov 17th, 2017 • 18:55
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!
Nov 15th, 2017 • 19:07
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.
Nov 10th, 2017 • 17:22
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.
Nov 8th, 2017 • 21:17
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.
Nov 3rd, 2017 • 16:25
Once a year, teenagers from across the country team up and compete to run the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Oct 28th, 2017 • 21:10
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.
Oct 25th, 2017 • 19:34
In any other industry, it's illegal for a group of companies to get together and cap wages. What makes the NCAA different?
Oct 11th, 2017 • 17:55
Republicans are proposing big changes to the corporate income tax. Trillions of dollars are at stake. Here's what it all means.
Oct 4th, 2017 • 21:36
It might just be the secret weapon of the U.S. economy.
Sep 29th, 2017 • 20:13
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?
Sep 27th, 2017 • 16:56
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.
Sep 22nd, 2017 • 26:58
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.
Sep 20th, 2017 • 22:57
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.
Sep 9th, 2017 • 23:12
We look at three time bombs Congress is sitting on: The federal budget, the debt ceiling, and DREAMers.
Sep 6th, 2017 • 25:07
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.
Aug 30th, 2017 • 15:48
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.
Aug 25th, 2017 • 29:09
Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine's fight against fake news teach the US?
Aug 23rd, 2017 • 19:46
Hidden in the trash heap of commerce there is buried treasure. Abandoned brands--including trusted, beloved brands--are waiting to be claimed and reborn. Today on the show: A cookie comeback.
Aug 18th, 2017 • 18:30
Your phone rings--it looks like your neighbor's calling. But instead, it's the creepiest scam of the year.
Aug 16th, 2017 • 15:31
Costco made shopping harder, and customers loved it. Now a new company is taking the Costco experience to new extremes.
Aug 11th, 2017 • 23:20
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.
Aug 9th, 2017 • 19:43
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.
Jul 28th, 2017 • 22:38
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.
Jul 26th, 2017 • 15:00
Sam Cohen buys stuff at big retail stores, then turns around and sells it on Amazon for a quick profit. It defies economic logic. But somehow, there's a whole multimillion-dollar industry doing this.
Jul 21st, 2017 • 23:12
Most athlete endorsements make a product more expensive. But what happens when an NBA All-Star uses his name to make a sneaker much, much cheaper? On today's show: How that worked out.
Jul 19th, 2017 • 20:34
On today's show: The story of two guys who tried to cut the pay of a CEO at a small pneumatic tool company.
Jul 14th, 2017 • 20:05
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.
Jul 12th, 2017 • 18:48
Bail is broken. In New Jersey, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges banded together to try a dramatic solution: Blow it up.
Jul 7th, 2017 • 15:49
We run through the entire federal budget — in 10 minutes. More than $6 billion per second. Go.
Jul 5th, 2017 • 14:49
We visit a company where people work on figuring out how to make stuff get cheaper.
Jun 30th, 2017 • 17:35
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.
Jun 21st, 2017 • 23:50
What happens when an unstoppable shrimp meets an unmovable senator? A researcher goes to Washington to defend herself, her shrimp, and science itself.
Jun 16th, 2017 • 19:10
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.
Jun 14th, 2017 • 18:42
Today on the show, a businessman goes to prison, and decides he is going to disrupt the biggest captive market in America.
Jun 7th, 2017 • 19:35
The president's budget promises 3% growth. Is that doable? Yes, but he won't like what it would take.
Jun 3rd, 2017 • 24:13
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.
May 26th, 2017 • 20:56
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.
May 24th, 2017 • 22:35
As long as there have been casinos, people have tried to cheat them. The latest attempt was by a group of hackers who tried to take down slot machines using math, iPhones, and a whole lot of swiping.
May 19th, 2017 • 21:17
How fast is the world really changing? The answer has implications for everything from how the next generation will live to whether robots really will take all our jobs.
May 17th, 2017 • 20:05
The creation of the electronic spreadsheet transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that.
May 5th, 2017 • 24:05
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.
May 3rd, 2017 • 18:17
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.
Apr 28th, 2017 • 20:54
Today on the show, how a New Hampshire hotel filled with boozing economists saved the global economy.
Apr 27th, 2017 • 30:36
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.
Apr 21st, 2017 • 25:00
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.
Apr 18th, 2017 • 18:56
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.
Apr 14th, 2017 • 14:45
One in three American jobs require a license. Today on the show, why those licensing rules hurt the U.S. economy.
Apr 7th, 2017 • 19:21
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.
Apr 5th, 2017 • 22:17
The tricks and mind games tax collectors use to get people to pay up.
Mar 31st, 2017 • 19:32
On today's show: Snuggies, printer toner, and a banking road trip. Three stories about what happens when you actually read the fine print.
Mar 29th, 2017 • 25:59
Jason Blum makes a lot of movies and makes them cheap. So why are so many turning into blockbusters?
Mar 25th, 2017 • 20:55
A populist president versus the most powerful banker in America.
Mar 23rd, 2017 • 22:54
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...
Mar 15th, 2017 • 17:19
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.
Mar 11th, 2017 • 21:00
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?
Mar 9th, 2017 • 19:11
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.
Mar 4th, 2017 • 25:11
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?
Mar 1st, 2017 • 23:13
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?
Feb 25th, 2017 • 22:54
Early every year, 30 billion bees make their way across the country to California's Central Valley. Here's why.
Feb 22nd, 2017 • 15:45
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?
Feb 18th, 2017 • 19:23
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.
Feb 14th, 2017 • 20:55
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.
Feb 11th, 2017 • 22:17
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.
Feb 8th, 2017 • 19:35
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.)
Feb 4th, 2017 • 17:28
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.
Feb 2nd, 2017 • 17:51
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?
Jan 28th, 2017 • 19:44
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?
Jan 25th, 2017 • 16:56
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.
Jan 20th, 2017 • 19:05
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.
Jan 19th, 2017 • 23:28
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?
Jan 13th, 2017 • 25:37
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.
Jan 12th, 2017 • 21:18
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.
Jan 6th, 2017 • 20:45
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.
Jan 5th, 2017 • 17:40
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.
Dec 30th, 2016 • 18:48
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.
Dec 27th, 2016 • 17:20
The man who ran the last bank bailout has a plan to prevent the next one.
Dec 23rd, 2016 • 20:00
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.
Dec 21st, 2016 • 17:01
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.
Dec 17th, 2016 • 13:01
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.
Dec 14th, 2016 • 19:28
A special holiday episode about the epic, decades-long feud between the two companies that make just about every handbell in the world.
Dec 10th, 2016 • 18:09
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.
Dec 8th, 2016 • 19:26
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.
Dec 3rd, 2016 • 18:45
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.
Nov 30th, 2016 • 20:29
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.
Nov 25th, 2016 • 18:16
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.
Nov 23rd, 2016 • 17:00
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).
Nov 18th, 2016 • 25:17
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.
Nov 16th, 2016 • 18:29
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.
Nov 12th, 2016 • 24:36
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?
Nov 10th, 2016 • 13:15
Donald Trump is our president elect. We look at three economic indicators to see what they can tell us about a Trump presidency.
Nov 5th, 2016 • 21:42
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?
Nov 2nd, 2016 • 22:53
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.
Oct 29th, 2016 • 17:10
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.
Oct 26th, 2016 • 24:27
Behold the Planet Money economic platform, crafted by brilliant economists of all stripes, and pure poison to any politician who embraces it.
Oct 21st, 2016 • 19:00
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?
Oct 20th, 2016 • 20:27
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.
Oct 15th, 2016 • 19:50
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.
Oct 12th, 2016 • 14:07
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.
Oct 8th, 2016 • 18:32
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.
Oct 5th, 2016 • 23:43
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.
Oct 1st, 2016 • 23:44
New show! You asked us questions about the economy and oddities in your world. We answer.
Sep 28th, 2016 • 20:25
We made an audio glossary for the confusing economic jargon that came up during the first presidential debate.
Sep 24th, 2016 • 37:13
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.
Sep 21st, 2016 • 16:09
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?
Sep 16th, 2016 • 15:12
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.
Sep 14th, 2016 • 21:05
The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen--but instead they are taking over the global economy.
Sep 9th, 2016 • 17:22
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?
Sep 7th, 2016 • 20:35
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.
Sep 2nd, 2016 • 18:12
For decades, most websites ended in either .com, .net, or .org. But a few years ago, everything changed.
Aug 31st, 2016 • 20:32
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.
Aug 26th, 2016 • 19:22
Why is it so hard to knock down 17 vacant houses in a shrinking city?
Aug 24th, 2016 • 26:29
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?
Aug 19th, 2016 • 25:10
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.
Aug 17th, 2016 • 27:05
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.
Aug 5th, 2016 • 17:03
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.
Aug 4th, 2016 • 17:07
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.
Jul 29th, 2016 • 16:13
The computer or phone that you use knows a lot about you. It knows your secrets — and it might be giving them away.
Jul 27th, 2016 • 21:11
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.
Jul 20th, 2016 • 25:59
A tale of violence, payback, and how to make things right.
Jul 16th, 2016 • 19:43
Three stories of people getting their money back — or trying to. From a hospital, a scammer, and the ever-exciting global bond market.
Jul 14th, 2016 • 17:38
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.
Jul 9th, 2016 • 19:16
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.
Jul 6th, 2016 • 15:49
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.
Jul 1st, 2016 • 18:17
Where is the line between being inspired by somebody's creative work and stealing it?
Jun 29th, 2016 • 18:35
Bitcoin was supposed to revolutionize the way money works. But the thing people love about it may be destroying it.
Jun 24th, 2016 • 14:43
What just happened in the UK? And what's coming next?
Jun 22nd, 2016 • 21:25
How much of a brand is real? How much is in our heads?
Jun 18th, 2016 • 12:17
If your country's main export is water, what happens when your wells run dry?
Jun 15th, 2016 • 19:41
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.
Jun 10th, 2016 • 19:42
Two bodybuilders go at it over a Stanford University patent. And we dive in to make sense of it.
Jun 8th, 2016 • 13:18
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.
Jun 4th, 2016 • 18:41
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.
Jun 1st, 2016 • 18:05
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
May 28th, 2016 • 18:27
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.
May 25th, 2016 • 22:28
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.
May 20th, 2016 • 16:19
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.
May 18th, 2016 • 12:52
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.
May 14th, 2016 • 17:39
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.
May 11th, 2016 • 17:52
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?
May 6th, 2016 • 21:31
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.
May 5th, 2016 • 20:11
To get to the other side... where there are millions of dollars in tax breaks.
Apr 29th, 2016 • 16:13
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?
Apr 27th, 2016 • 18:25
In this episode, we consider a world where everybody cheats, and where you can't win unless you game the regulators: Professional cycling.
Apr 23rd, 2016 • 19:31
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?
Apr 20th, 2016 • 18:16
We talk to Kid Rock about how he tried to cut scalpers out of the business — and still sell cheap tickets to his shows.
Apr 16th, 2016 • 20:41
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?
Apr 13th, 2016 • 18:08
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?
Apr 8th, 2016 • 19:33
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.
Apr 6th, 2016 • 13:23
A California mall straddles the border between two cities — and the minimum wage is higher on one side.
Apr 1st, 2016 • 19:22
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.
Mar 30th, 2016 • 21:18
And how can we meet our fake shareholder and fake director?
Mar 25th, 2016 • 21:10
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.
Mar 23rd, 2016 • 29:10
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.
Mar 18th, 2016 • 17:37
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.
Mar 16th, 2016 • 28:40
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.
Mar 11th, 2016 • 16:02
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.
Mar 9th, 2016 • 16:38
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.
Mar 5th, 2016 • 21:08
A million-dollar bet pits a bunch of really smart money managers against the simplest investment idea in the world.
Mar 2nd, 2016 • 20:16
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.
Feb 26th, 2016 • 20:31
Today, we bring you the future as dreamt up by presidential candidates. Also: sober economists poking holes in the candidates' dreams.
Feb 24th, 2016 • 18:13
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?
Feb 17th, 2016 • 15:02
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.
Feb 12th, 2016 • 24:07
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.
Feb 10th, 2016 • 14:34
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.
Feb 6th, 2016 • 20:50
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?
Feb 3rd, 2016 • 15:44
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.
Jan 29th, 2016 • 22:23
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?
Jan 28th, 2016 • 18:15
We ponder the origins of money, the economics of Santa, and the business of cemeteries. Why? Because you asked.
Jan 23rd, 2016 • 14:57
We uncover the secrets of the auction world. There is conniving. There are tricks. Also: Hydraulic hammers.
Jan 20th, 2016 • 17:36
According to one theory, we tip because we feel guilty, not because we want better service.
Jan 15th, 2016 • 20:46
How much of published scientific research is false? Scientists are trying to figure it out.
Jan 14th, 2016 • 21:27
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.
Jan 9th, 2016 • 19:03
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.
Jan 6th, 2016 • 15:18
On today's Planet Money, the complex economy of one elementary-school lunchroom.
Jan 1st, 2016 • 20:11
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.
Dec 30th, 2015 • 19:42
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.
Dec 23rd, 2015 • 18:58
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.
Dec 18th, 2015 • 16:38
Today on the show: A lawsuit over a Santa suit. It's a window into countless hidden fights that shape the stuff we buy.
Dec 16th, 2015 • 15:14
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.
Dec 12th, 2015 • 15:47
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.
Dec 10th, 2015 • 17:46
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.
Dec 5th, 2015 • 21:39
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.
Dec 2nd, 2015 • 21:19
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.
Nov 27th, 2015 • 17:16
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.
Nov 25th, 2015 • 17:35
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.
Nov 20th, 2015 • 24:45
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.
Nov 18th, 2015 • 19:07
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.
Nov 13th, 2015 • 17:52
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.
Nov 11th, 2015 • 15:32
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.
Nov 7th, 2015 • 22:09
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.
Nov 5th, 2015 • 18:11
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.
Oct 31st, 2015 • 19:23
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.
Oct 28th, 2015 • 19:48
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.
Oct 23rd, 2015 • 15:25
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.
Oct 21st, 2015 • 18:28
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.
Oct 16th, 2015 • 15:59
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.
Oct 9th, 2015 • 14:01
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.
Oct 7th, 2015 • 16:34
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.
Oct 2nd, 2015 • 19:01
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?
Sep 30th, 2015 • 15:12
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.
Sep 25th, 2015 • 15:09
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.
Sep 23rd, 2015 • 19:09
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.
Sep 18th, 2015 • 18:11
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.
Sep 16th, 2015 • 15:35
Today on the show: How hard could it be to get a nation of sushi lovers to try raw salmon?
Sep 12th, 2015 • 22:33
One Hollywood director leaves the world of big budget blockbusters for something even more lucrative: low budget Hollywood.
Sep 9th, 2015 • 17:09
What's going on in China? Is the second largest economy in the world about to come crashing down?
Sep 5th, 2015 • 20:29
When Roddey Player's business started heading south, he did everything he could to avoid the big failure: bankruptcy. But what's painful for Roddey might just be the secret weapon of the U.S. economy.
Sep 2nd, 2015 • 17:17
We travel to Warm Springs to find out if the rumors are true: Did FDR really buy moonshine during Prohibition? Did he violate the Constitution he had sworn to protect?
Aug 29th, 2015 • 19:06
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?
Aug 26th, 2015 • 20:08
When used clothes are donated to charity, they begin a second life of sorting, refitting, and lots of travel. We trace used T-shirts to a clothing market in Nairobi, Kenya. For more: http://npr.org/shirt.
Aug 21st, 2015 • 19:01
In Las Vegas you can bet on all kinds of stuff. One thing you can't bet on: elections. But why? Not long ago, no election was too sacred to wager on, not even the pope's.
Aug 19th, 2015 • 19:56
Our women's Planet Money T-shirt got to you thanks to an overlooked innovation that's essential to the modern global economy. The innovation: a big, metal box.
Aug 15th, 2015 • 12:46
Some smart people say we should be doing more to protect the Earth from asteroids. The technical issues are relatively easy. The economics — figuring out who's going to pay — are much harder.
Aug 12th, 2015 • 21:29
Like lots of other clothes, the men's Planet Money T-shirt was made in Bangladesh. On today's show, we travel to Bangladesh and visit two sisters who made our shirt.
Aug 7th, 2015 • 18:06
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.
Aug 5th, 2015 • 20:24
We made a T-shirt, and followed it every step of the way. First step: a high-tech cotton farm.
Aug 1st, 2015 • 17:46
Gene Freidman built a taxi empire in New York City. Now his empire is starting to crumble.
Jul 29th, 2015 • 16:05
The big question surrounding automation isn't just about economics or technology. It's also about psychology. How do designers make us comfortable with something that can be really scary?
Jul 24th, 2015 • 13:11
The world economy is more productive than ever before. A lot of people could work fewer hours and still meet their basic needs. But we don't. Why?
Jul 23rd, 2015 • 21:30
On today's show: the screwed-up economics of drought, and why the rational thing to do in California right now is use more water.
Jul 18th, 2015 • 19:06
On a visit to Greece, we talk to a guy who found an ingenious place to hoard his cash, a government-protected milk peddler, and a would-be olive oil tycoon.
Jul 15th, 2015 • 15:51
Today on the show: We're going small. We ask some of the smartest people we know what little thing they would change to improve the world.
Jul 10th, 2015 • 23:50
The story of the secret battle to create the song of the summer — the music industry's holy grail.
Jul 8th, 2015 • 13:38
Greece's monetary system is in crisis right now, and the government is closing the financial pipes. The effects are widespread and weird.
Jul 3rd, 2015 • 23:31
We sit down with a psychologist and a mortgage broker who committed large-scale fraud to try to figure out why respectable people commit fraud.
Jul 2nd, 2015 • 15:37
What do you do when your country's future is put in your hands? On today's show: The referendum in Greece.
Jun 26th, 2015 • 23:01
Big trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership are often negotiated in secret. On today's show, trade negotiators tell us what happened when they were locked in a hotel for days on end, and told to hash out a deal.
Jun 24th, 2015 • 18:29
A farmer wanted to sell all his raisins, but the federal government said no. So he took it to the Supreme Court.
Jun 19th, 2015 • 16:05
We ask three economists: Is there some falling anvil that's about to crush the economy?
Jun 17th, 2015 • 16:31
The price tag is a fairly recent invention. And it's already on its way out.
Jun 13th, 2015 • 15:23
How the American auto industry is built on a trade dispute over frozen chicken parts.
Jun 11th, 2015 • 16:22
Stories about a $50,000 loophole, what neighborhoods mean for kids, and what the Six Million Dollar Man would cost today.
Jun 6th, 2015 • 16:55
The story of a 24-year-old kid and the idea he thought would reduce congestion, cut greenhouse gasses and make urban life easier for everyone. Instead, it brought him nothing but trouble.
Jun 3rd, 2015 • 14:29
Sam Cohen has made a big business out of buying stuff at big retail stores, then turning around and selling it on Amazon. In an era when stores are profit-maximizing machines, how is that possible?
May 30th, 2015 • 22:53
In the early 1960s, Tom Burrell became the first black man in Chicago advertising. Today on the show, the story of how he changed the way people think about ads and how advertising thinks about us.
May 27th, 2015 • 13:57
Today on the show, 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.
May 23rd, 2015 • 12:39
Machines have been taking jobs forever. In the past, when jobs disappeared, new ones were created. But is this time different?
May 20th, 2015 • 16:39
What if robots did all the work? In today's show, we imagine a world without jobs.
May 16th, 2015 • 16:56
We go out for pizza and meet the latest group of workers getting replaced by machines: servers.
May 14th, 2015 • 24:17
In Greenville, SC, the best job option isn't to compete against the robots, but to make friends with them. Note: Today's show originally aired in January 2012.
May 9th, 2015 • 23:40
If you aren't already worried about being replaced by a robot, maybe you should be. Today on the show, three races pit humans against machines.
May 7th, 2015 • 20:01
Today on the show, the true story of the Luddites.
May 2nd, 2015 • 16:11
While most technology is getting smaller and cheaper, batteries still suck. Today on the show, we learn exactly why, and meet some of the people trying to make batteries better.
Apr 29th, 2015 • 17:24
You're not allowed to buy and sell organs. So doctors created a different system. Today on the show: how do you decide who gets lungs?
Apr 24th, 2015 • 17:53
Casinos are worried that young people aren't interested in playing slots or other games of luck. They're turning to games that require skill, like basketball.
Apr 22nd, 2015 • 18:53
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. (Today's show originally ran in August 2012.)
Apr 18th, 2015 • 14:55
In the early 1900s, the president of the largest shoe company in the world tried to create a Utopia for his workers. He called his big experiment in welfare capitalism: The Square Deal.
Apr 15th, 2015 • 18:30
Today on the show: how a bunch of rational economists try to deal with our feelings. And the story of a man who came up with five simple questions that he hoped would predict the future.
Apr 11th, 2015 • 15:59
Just a few years ago, solar power was an expensive luxury for the environmentally conscious. Now it's a good deal for lots of people. How did solar power get so cheap, so fast?
Apr 8th, 2015 • 20:31
How do you make money manufacturing a dry, bland cracker that a tiny percentage of the population eats just one week a year?
Apr 4th, 2015 • 17:05
Maddie Messer is 12, and she loves a good video game. One of her favorites is called Temple Run. In fact, it's one of the most successful games out there. Temple Run is free to play—if you play as the default character, Guy Dangerous. But playing as a girl character can cost extra. Maddie found out this was true for a lot of games, and she didn't think that was very fair. Today on the show: a 12-year-old girl takes on the entire video game industry.
Apr 1st, 2015 • 14:00
We got on stage at a comedy club to read a bunch of weird economics jokes. We bombed. Today on the show, we do what you're never supposed to do: explain the joke.
Mar 28th, 2015 • 13:51
One day it's profitable to recycle a bottle. The next day, some number in the global economy changes and that bottle suddenly becomes trash. The line between trash and recycling is moving a lot these days. For a bunch of reasons, it's a tough time to be a recycler.
Mar 25th, 2015 • 18:13
Turn on the news on any given day, and you're likely to hear about the Dow Jones industrial average. It's one of the most frequently cited measures of U.S. economic health. But the Dow is a seriously flawed stock index, and it's certainly not the best way to measure what's going on in the overall economy. On today's show, we rain on the Dow's parade and explain why a lot of very smart people say we should ignore the Dow. Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran in March 2013.
Mar 20th, 2015 • 18:09
Look at the numbers today, and things seem promising for the economy. The unemployment rate is low, and home prices are up. But when you look under the hood, you see that in a lot of ways the financial crisis is still with us. Today on the show: the return of the Planet Money indicator. We've got three numbers that remind us where we've been and tell us where the economy is going.
Mar 19th, 2015 • 20:13
Free community college. When the President proposed making the first two years free for everyone, it seemed like a magic bullet for expanding opportunity. But only one in three students graduate—and money is not the problem. Today on the show: why is it so hard to get through community college? For more: http://n.pr/1F5Bjsi
Mar 14th, 2015 • 17:03
Frederick Hutson is an entrepreneur whose biggest early venture landed him in prison for nearly five years—distributing marijuana through UPS and FedEx. While in prison, he realized that a lot of the problems of everyday prison life could use a business solution. And then, he got out. Today on the show, a businessman goes to prison, and decides he is going to disrupt the biggest captive market in America.
Mar 12th, 2015 • 16:55
In a classic bubble—housing for example, or tech stocks or Beanie Babies—the fun ends in a crash. Things go belly up, and people can lose a lot of money. The creators of the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering faced such a bubble. The cooler they made their cards, the more the resale value increased—and threatened to send Magic cards the way of the Beanie Baby. Today on the show: how the folks who made Magic cards came up with a plan. A plan to once and for all conquer the science of bubbles, and make a collectible toy that could live forever. For more: http://n.pr/1B6bSiR
Mar 7th, 2015 • 16:36
Planet Money shorted the entire stock market a few weeks ago. We bet that instead of going up, the stock market would go down. So far, America is winning. And we are losing. It's been lonely being a short seller, but we know we are not alone. Today on the show, we look at the ten most shorted stocks out there right now, to see what this list tells us about human nature and the economy. Plus, we end our shorting experiment. For more: n.pr/1EnrK7T
Mar 4th, 2015 • 14:33
Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran in February 2014. It's cheap to fly on Spirit Airlines, but you have to pay extra for perks. And by perks, we mean a bottle of water or space in the overhead bin. It's totally rational: pay for what you use, don't pay for what you don't use. And it's increasingly popular: Spirit is the fastest growing airline in America. And yet lots of people really don't like Spirit Airlines. In a Consumer Reports survey published in 2013, Spirit finished last among U.S. airlines. How is the fastest growing airline also the least popular? On today's show, we fly Spirit Airlines to Florida and ask the CEO.
Feb 28th, 2015 • 20:31
Someone is kidnapped every day in Nigeria. It's big business, with potentially big rewards in ransom money. And like any business, kidnapping has a particular set of principles and best practices. Today on the show: how a consultant analyzed the kidnapping industry in order to find its weak points and better protect the people he loved.
Feb 26th, 2015 • 20:36
Spreadsheets used to be actual sheets of paper. Sometimes, a bunch of sheets of paper taped together. Then, in the late '70s, a bored student invented the electronic spreadsheet. It transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that. As one journalist wrote more than 30 years ago, "The spreadsheet is a tool, and it is also a world view — reality by the numbers." For more: http://n.pr/1DVdMIv
Feb 20th, 2015 • 14:00
Today on the show, the story of Roger Babson, a guy who made a very, very bold prediction, and got it right. He correctly forecast, really, one of the biggest things you could imagine predicting. It’s the story of how he did that, and what happened to him.
Feb 19th, 2015 • 17:46
Today on the show, we bring you three short stories. One about a guy at the center of a high stakes international negotiation. Another about poker players trying not to win money, but give it away. And finally, that thing everyone loves to hate, but maybe we should love: airplane baggage fees. For more: http://n.pr/17srUMx
Feb 14th, 2015 • 17:36
Red roses are a unique product — a commodity worth double the price for a very short, 24-hour period: Valentine's Day.To cash in on this demand, flower growers have to figure out how to make millions of roses bloom exactly the right amount, at exactly the right moment, in the middle of February — get them from farms in Africa and South America to your doorstep.On today's show: the logistical miracles and wild risks behind getting red roses to your Valentine.
Feb 11th, 2015 • 16:53
Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran in January 2014. For most of U.S. history, there was no minimum wage. A few times, politicians passed laws tiptoeing toward a minimum. But the Supreme Court struck those laws down. On today's show: how the U.S. finally got a minimum wage. It's a story of exploding bakeries, a blue eagle, and a guy who may or may not have been drunk. For more: http://n.pr/16U53ZW
Feb 7th, 2015 • 19:59
Pot is now legal in some states. But on the federal level, it's illegal. The legal gray area means banks in the U.S. are wary to give pot businesses access to basic financial instruments – like checking accounts. Today on the show, we visit a country where medical marijuana is fully legal. And we see how bank accounts, loans, and investors can transform an industry.
Feb 5th, 2015 • 18:11
The world is running out of chocolate. Cocoa is in short supply. Demand is way up, thanks to China and India developing a taste for the sweet stuff. And producing more cocoa isn't so easy. Cocoa is a fussy plant. It doesn't grow in very many places and it gets diseases really easily. Today on the show, we learn about one man in Ecuador who came up with an answer to the global cocoa shortage. A warning here: if you're a die-hard chocolate lover, you might not like it. For more: http://n.pr/1Dg2r5C
Jan 31st, 2015 • 22:47
They are hundreds of thousands of people out there doing stuff to your internet that you probably think is automatic. They aren't computer programmers, they're just regular people working from their offices, homes and bedrooms. They are the people of Amazon Mechanical Turk.Amazon Mechanical Turk is an online marketplace for work. Businesses use it to farm out tiny little tasks like counting the number of people in a photo, and people around the world race to perform those tasks, sometimes for pennies.Today on the show, we sneak into the land of Mechanical Turk to meet the people inside.
Jan 28th, 2015 • 18:38
Hernando de Soto wanted to figure out what was trapping people in poverty. "There's gotta be an invisible wall someplace," he thought. "Let's find the wall." Today on the show: How de Soto found the invisible wall that was trapping people in poverty. How it transformed poor countries around the world. And how his discovery almost got him killed. For more: http://n.pr/1K6ddLZ
Jan 24th, 2015 • 19:03
There have been short sellers throughout history. Today, the story of a man who was the very first short seller. The first person to bet that a stock will go down. It doesn't go well for him.
Jan 21st, 2015 • 20:53
If you own a house, stock, bonds, or a retirement account, you're betting that things are going to get better — that the lines on the chart will keep going up. Historically, this is a reasonable bet. But you can place a bet in the opposite direction. You can make a bet that things will go down: a short. For example, if you short Apple stock and the stock price drops, you make money. While all the normal shareholders are consoling themselves, you can celebrate. But for the most part, people don't do it. Experts warn us that we shouldn't either. Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people, and we put our own money down on a bet against something people love. We short America.