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Planet Money

NPR

The economy explained. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening.

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#865: Tweak This

Sep 21st18:00

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

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How one man took the onion market hostage.

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We crash a party of central bankers to get an answer to one of the biggest economic questions of our time.

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

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#836: The 13th Hole

Sep 8th20:49

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

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

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#862: Big Government Cheese

Aug 31st23:08

That time we accidentally created a cheese surplus so large it had to be stored in a ginormous cave.

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#783: New Jersey Bails Out

Aug 29th20:37

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

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#861: Food Scare Squad

Aug 24th22:15

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

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#444: New Jersey Wine

Aug 22nd20:30

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

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

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#613: Trash!

Aug 15th15:56

The line between trash and recycling is moving a lot these days. It's a tough time to be a recycler.

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

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#704: Open Office

Aug 8th19:06

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.

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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.

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

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

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#855: The Poop Cartel

Jul 25th24:19

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

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#854: The New Socialists

Jul 20th15:44

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?

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

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#853: Peak Sand

Jul 13th18:54

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.

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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.

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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.

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It takes strategy and skill to sell snacks at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.

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A pesticide wreaks havoc. A listener needs a bitcoin detective. And the search for the rarest economic good continues.

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

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VIDEO: The Chicken Tax

Jun 25th3:31

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.

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

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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.

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#847: Inventing Accidents

Jun 13th21:20

The medical world has been trying to cure color blindness for centuries. Then a glass scientist figured it out. By accident.

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

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

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#845: REDMAP

Jun 2nd22:07

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

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#844: Nice Game

May 31st16:58

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

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#843: Swamp Gravy

May 25th29:32

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

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#643: The Taxi King

May 23rd20:29

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

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#842: Showdown at the WTO

May 18th19:22

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

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#696: Class Action

May 16th22:31

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

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#841: The Land Of Duty Free

May 11th21:31

We meet the man who invented duty free shopping and find out if these tax free stores are really saving us any money.

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#840: Fixing Chicken

May 9th19:31

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

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California is way more than Hollywood. Today on the show, we look at what else is going on in this powerhouse state economy.

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Today on the show: How a cheese cartel abandoned the rules of economics and convinced the world to eat fondue.

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

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

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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.)

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

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#835: Tariffied

Apr 13th21:32

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.

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Today on the show: how an economic fix helped made the deadliest job in America safer, and why people are angry about it.

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#834: NDA Tell-All

Apr 7th21:46

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?

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#685: Larry vs. The IRS

Apr 4th20:35

What exactly would happen if you didn't pay your taxes? Today on the show, we follow one man who did just that.

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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.

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#832: Mulvaney Vs The CFPB

Mar 28th21:41

What happens when you put someone who wants to close an agency, in charge of that agency? Today on the show, we find out.

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

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#831: The Golden Rules

Mar 21st19:29

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

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

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#830: XXX-XX-XXXX

Mar 14th20:43

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

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

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

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#828: You Asked For More

Mar 2nd23:14

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

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#827: Three Indicators

Feb 28th19:14

What do human blood, the conservative tax plan, and beer hops tell us about the world? Find out in today's episode.

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#826: The Vodka Proof

Feb 23rd20:27

Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them?

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#545: The Blue Pallet

Feb 21st16:52

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

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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?

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824: Our Valentines

Feb 14th20:32

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

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#823: Planet Monet

Feb 9th17:05

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.

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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.

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

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#821: The Other Davos

Feb 1st18:37

Billionaires, diplomats, thinkfluencers. This is the Davos everyone hears about. Today on the show, we take you to a different Davos.

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#820: P Is For Phosphorus

Jan 26th20:02

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?

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Douglas Bruce had a bold vision for Colorado.

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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.

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

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#817: The Gun Man

Jan 13th27:27

Will 3-D printing make gun control impossible?

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Why does it take days to send money electronically?

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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.

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

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#815: The Rest of the Story 2017

Dec 29th, 201720:01

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.

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#544: The M&M Anomaly

Dec 27th, 201713:33

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.

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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.)

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#814: The Tax Plan Is Huge

Dec 22nd, 201722:58

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

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#670: The Santa Suit

Dec 20th, 201717:55

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.

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BONUS INDICATOR: Forget Neutrality

Dec 18th, 20178:03

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.

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#813: The Produce Show

Dec 16th, 201725:00

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

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#812: High Rise, Low Returns

Dec 13th, 201726:52

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.

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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.

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SPACE 4: 3 2 1

Dec 9th, 201725:15

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

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SPACE 3: Rocket Shopping

Dec 7th, 201723:00

We found a satellite. We tried to figure out what it would do. Now we need to choose our rocket.

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

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We really are going to space.

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#807: Anatomy of a Hustle

Nov 24th, 201721:04

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.

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#665: The Free Food Market

Nov 22nd, 201718:00

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.

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#806: Walmart's Pickle

Nov 17th, 201718:55

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!

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#805: War And Peace And Cows

Nov 15th, 201719:07

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.

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#672: Bagging the Birkin

Nov 10th, 201717:22

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.

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#804: Your Cell Phone's A Snitch

Nov 8th, 201721:17

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.

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#369: If Teens Ran the Fed

Nov 3rd, 201716:25

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

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#803: Nudge, Nudge, Nobel

Nov 1st, 201718:47

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

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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.

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

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#801: The Death Show

Oct 20th, 201716:31

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

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#581: Free Money

Oct 18th, 201715:53

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.

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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.

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#799: Corporate! Income! Tax!

Oct 11th, 201717:55

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

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#798: Bad Credit Bureau

Oct 7th, 201719:04

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.

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#648: The Benefits of Bankruptcy

Oct 4th, 201721:36

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

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#797: Flood Money

Sep 29th, 201720:13

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?

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#524: Mr Jones' Act

Sep 27th, 201716:56

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.

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#796: The Basic Income Experiment

Sep 22nd, 201726:58

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.

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#795: Is Record Breaking Broken?

Sep 20th, 201722:57

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.

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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.

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#647: Hard Work Is Irrelevant

Sep 13th, 201721:21

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?

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#793: This Week in Time Bombs

Sep 9th, 201723:12

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

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#628: This Ad's For You

Sep 6th, 201725:07

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.

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#792: The Ransom Problem

Sep 2nd, 201720:12

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.

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#791: Tips From Spies

Aug 30th, 201715:48

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.

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#790: Rough Translation in Ukraine

Aug 25th, 201729:09

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

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#652: The Hydrox Resurrection

Aug 23rd, 201719:46

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.

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#789: Robocall Invasion

Aug 18th, 201718:30

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

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#653: The Anti-Store

Aug 16th, 201715:31

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

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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.

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#399: Can You Patent a Steak?

Aug 9th, 201719:43

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.

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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.

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#471: The Eddie Murphy Rule

Aug 2nd, 201726:59

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

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

Jul 28th, 201722:38

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.

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#629: Buy Low, Sell Prime

Jul 26th, 201715:00

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.

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#785: The Starbury

Jul 21st, 201723:12

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.

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#594: Board Games

Jul 19th, 201720:34

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

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#784: Meeting The Russians

Jul 14th, 201720:05

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.

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#783: New Jersey Bails Out

Jul 12th, 201718:48

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

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#782: Budget Time

Jul 7th, 201715:49

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

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#586: How Stuff Gets Cheaper

Jul 5th, 201714:49

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

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#781: The Money Fixers

Jun 30th, 201717:35

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.

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#286: Libertarian Summer Camp

Jun 28th, 201726:38

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

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#780: On Second Thought

Jun 23rd, 201723:21

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

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#779: Shrimp Fight Club

Jun 21st, 201723:50

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

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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.

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#610: The Prisoner's Solution

Jun 14th, 201718:42

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

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#777: Free Love, Free Market

Jun 10th, 201722:13

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

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#776: Here We Grow Again

Jun 7th, 201719:35

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

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#775: The Pigweed Killer

Jun 3rd, 201724:13

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.

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#599: The Invisible Wall

May 31st, 201718:55

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

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#774: Unspeakable Trademark

May 26th, 201720:56

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.

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#773: Slot Flaws Scofflaws

May 24th, 201722:35

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.

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#772: Small Change

May 19th, 201721:17

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.

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#606: Spreadsheets!

May 17th, 201720:05

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

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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.

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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.

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#769: Speed Dating For Economists

May 5th, 201724:05

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.

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#768: A Chat With Ben Bernanke

May 3rd, 201718:17

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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#765: The Holiday Industrial Complex

Apr 18th, 201718:56

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.

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#381: When Business Loves Regulation

Apr 14th, 201714:45

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

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#764: Pub In A Box

Apr 12th, 201717:19

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

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#763: BOTUS

Apr 7th, 201719:21

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.

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

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#762: The Fine Print

Mar 31st, 201719:32

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

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

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Episode 761: The Bank War

Mar 25th, 201720:55

A populist president versus the most powerful banker in America.

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#760: Tax Hero

Mar 23rd, 201722:54

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...

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#759: What's It Worth To You?

Mar 17th, 201718:51

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.

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#522: The Invention Of 'The Economy'

Mar 15th, 201717:19

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.

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#758: Can Trump Take The Money?

Mar 11th, 201721:00

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?

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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.

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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?

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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?

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#756: The Bees Go To California

Feb 25th, 201722:54

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

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#654: When The Boats Arrive

Feb 22nd, 201715:45

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?

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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.

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#754: I'm So Happy For You!

Feb 14th, 201720:55

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.

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#753: Blockchain Gang

Feb 11th, 201722:17

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.

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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.)

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#752: Eagles vs. Chickens

Feb 4th, 201717:28

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.

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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?

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#750: Retraining Day

Jan 28th, 201719:44

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?

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#632: The Chicken Tax

Jan 25th, 201716:56

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.

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#749: Professor Blackjack

Jan 20th, 201719:05

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.

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#748: Undoing Obama

Jan 19th, 201723:28

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?

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#747: The Man Who Sued Iran

Jan 13th, 201725:37

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.

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#577: The Kansas Experiment

Jan 12th, 201721:18

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.

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#746: Wall Street Goes To Vegas

Jan 6th, 201720:45

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.

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#443: Don't Believe The Hype

Jan 5th, 201717:40

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.

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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.

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#744: The Last Bank Bailout

Dec 27th, 201617:20

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

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587: Jubilee! (?)

Dec 23rd, 201620:00

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.

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#743: 50 Ways to Leave Your Union

Dec 21st, 201617:01

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.

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#742: Making Bank

Dec 17th, 201613:01

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.

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#592: Bell Wars

Dec 14th, 201619:28

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

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#741: Amy and Steve vs. Facebook

Dec 10th, 201618:09

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.

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#740: Burnout

Dec 8th, 201619:26

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.

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#739: Finding The Fake-News King

Dec 3rd, 201618:45

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.

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#534: The History Of Light

Nov 30th, 201620:29

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.

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#738: Russian Cowboys

Nov 25th, 201618:16

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.

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#737: 17 Deals In 17 Minutes

Nov 23rd, 201617:00

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).

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#736: Messy Nobel

Nov 18th, 201625:17

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.

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#574: The Buffalo Talk-Off

Nov 16th, 201618:29

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.

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#735: President Trump

Nov 12th, 201624:36

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?

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#734: The Trump Indicators

Nov 10th, 201613:15

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

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#733: A Trunk Full of Truffles

Nov 5th, 201621:42

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?

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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.

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#732: Bad Form, Wells Fargo

Oct 29th, 201617:10

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.

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

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#731: How Venezuela Imploded

Oct 21st, 201619:00

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?

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#730: Self Checkout

Oct 20th, 201620:27

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.

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#729: When Subaru Came Out

Oct 15th, 201619:50

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.

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#627: The Miracle Apple

Oct 12th, 201614:07

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.

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#728: The Wells Fargo Hustle

Oct 8th, 201618:32

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.

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#521: The Town That Loves Death

Oct 5th, 201623:43

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.

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#727: You Asked For It, Again

Oct 1st, 201623:44

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

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#726: Terms of the Debate

Sep 28th, 201620:25

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

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#725: Trade Show

Sep 24th, 201637:13

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.

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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?

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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.

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#724: Cat Scam

Sep 14th, 201621:05

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

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#566: The Zoo Economy

Sep 9th, 201617:22

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?

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#723: The Risk Farmers

Sep 7th, 201620:35

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.

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

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#722: The New Telenovela

Aug 31st, 201620:32

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.

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#721: Unbuilding A City

Aug 26th, 201619:22

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

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Oil #5: Imagine A World Without Oil

Aug 24th, 201626:29

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?

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Oil #4: How Oil Got Into Everything

Aug 19th, 201625:10

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.

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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.

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Oil #2: The Price Of Oil

Aug 12th, 201622:25

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

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Oil #1: We Buy Oil

Aug 10th, 201618:20

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.

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#524: Mr Jones' Act

Aug 5th, 201617:03

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.

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#715: The Sewing Robot

Aug 4th, 201617:07

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.

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#548: Project Eavesdrop

Jul 29th, 201616:13

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

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#714: Can a Game Show Lose?

Jul 27th, 201621:11

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.

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

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#713: Paying for the Crime

Jul 20th, 201625:59

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

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#712: I Want My Money Back

Jul 16th, 201619:43

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

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#711: Hooked on Heroin

Jul 14th, 201617:38

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.

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#710: The Brexit Break-Up

Jul 9th, 201619:16

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.

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#575: The Fondue Conspiracy

Jul 6th, 201615:49

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.

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

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#708: Bitcoin Divided

Jun 29th, 201618:35

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

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#707: Brexit

Jun 24th, 201614:43

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

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

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#706: Water's Worth

Jun 18th, 201612:17

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

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#583: Cow Noir

Jun 15th, 201619:41

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.

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#705: The Muscle Patents

Jun 10th, 201619:42

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

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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.

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#704: Open Office

Jun 4th, 201618:41

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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#702: Nigeria, You Win!

May 20th, 201616:19

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.

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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.

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#701: A Bank Without Interest

May 14th, 201617:39

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.

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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?

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#700: Peanuts and Cracker Jack

May 6th, 201621:31

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.

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

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#698: The Long Way Home

Apr 29th, 201616:13

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?

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

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#697: Help Wanted

Apr 23rd, 201619:31

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?

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#468: Kid Rock Vs. The Scalpers

Apr 20th, 201618:16

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

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#696: Class Action

Apr 16th, 201620:41

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?

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#695: Put A Chip On It

Apr 13th, 201618:08

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?

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#694: The Gun That Wouldn't Shoot

Apr 8th, 201619:33

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.

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#562: A Mall Divided

Apr 6th, 201613:23

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

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#693: Unpayable

Apr 1st, 201619:22

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.

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

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#692: The Secret Life Of Line 24

Mar 25th, 201621:10

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.

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#691: The Great Unbundling

Mar 23rd, 201629:10

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.

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#690: All In

Mar 18th, 201617:37

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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#688: Brilliant vs. Boring

Mar 5th, 201621:08

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

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#687: Buy This Passport

Mar 2nd, 201620:16

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.

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#686: If Elected President

Feb 26th, 201620:31

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

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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?

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#685: Larry vs. The IRS

Feb 19th, 201620:18

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.

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#684: The Return Of The Colonel

Feb 17th, 201615:02

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.

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#683: Our Valentines

Feb 12th, 201624:07

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.

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#466: DIY Finance

Feb 10th, 201614:34

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.

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#682: When CEO Pay Exploded

Feb 6th, 201620:50

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?

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#681: The Oil Kingdom

Feb 3rd, 201615:44

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.

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#680: Anatomy Of A Scam

Jan 29th, 201622:23

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?

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#679: You Asked For It

Jan 28th, 201618:15

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

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#678: Auction Fever

Jan 23rd, 201614:57

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

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#283: Why Do We Tip?

Jan 20th, 201617:36

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

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#677: The Experiment Experiment

Jan 15th, 201620:46

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

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10 11 51 52 62 18

Jan 14th, 201621:27

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.

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#675: The Cost Of Crossing

Jan 9th, 201619:03

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.

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#15: Delicious Cake Futures

Jan 6th, 201615:18

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

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#674: We Cooked A Peacock

Jan 1st, 201620:11

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.

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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.

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#672: Bagging The Birkin

Dec 25th, 201517:10

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.

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#671: An Insider Trader Tells All

Dec 23rd, 201518:58

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.

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#670: The Santa Suit

Dec 18th, 201516:38

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

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#590: The Planet Money Workout

Dec 16th, 201515:14

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.

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#669: A or B

Dec 12th, 201515:47

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.

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#668: Frank Sinatra's Mug

Dec 10th, 201517:46

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.

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#667: Auditing ISIS

Dec 5th, 201521:39

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.

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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.

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#666: The Hoverboard Life

Nov 27th, 201517:16

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.

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#665: The Pickle Problem

Nov 25th, 201517:35

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.

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#664: The Great Inflation

Nov 20th, 201524:45

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.

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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.

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#663: Money Trees

Nov 13th, 201517:52

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.

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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.

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#662: OMG TPP

Nov 7th, 201522:09

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.

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#661: The Less Deadly Catch

Nov 5th, 201518:11

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.

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#660: The T-Rex In My Backyard

Oct 31st, 201519:23

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.

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#518: Your Organs, Please

Oct 28th, 201519:48

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.

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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.

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#550: When Salaries Aren't Secret

Oct 21st, 201518:28

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.

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#658: Strike One

Oct 16th, 201515:59

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.

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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.

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#656: Bubblelicious

Oct 9th, 201514:01

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.

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#564: The Signature

Oct 7th, 201516:34

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.

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#655: Pay Patients, Save Money

Oct 2nd, 201519:01

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?

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#654: When The Boats Arrive

Sep 30th, 201515:12

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.

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#653: The Anti-Store

Sep 25th, 201515:09

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.

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#386: The Power of Free

Sep 23rd, 201519:09

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.

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#652: The Hydrox Resurrection

Sep 18th, 201518:11

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.

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#651: The Salmon Taboo

Sep 16th, 201515:35

Today on the show: How hard could it be to get a nation of sushi lovers to try raw salmon?

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One Hollywood director leaves the world of big budget blockbusters for something even more lucrative: low budget Hollywood.

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#649: China, China, China

Sep 9th, 201517:09

What's going on in China? Is the second largest economy in the world about to come crashing down?

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#648: The Benefits of Bankruptcy

Sep 5th, 201520:29

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.

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#200: The Moonshine Stimulus

Sep 2nd, 201517:17

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?

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#647: Hard Work Is Irrelevant

Aug 29th, 201519:06

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?

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#502: The Afterlife Of A T-Shirt

Aug 26th, 201520:08

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.

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#646: Why Can't We Bet On Elections?

Aug 21st, 201519:01

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.

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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.

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#645: How To Stop An Asteroid

Aug 15th, 201512:46

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.

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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.

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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.

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We made a T-shirt, and followed it every step of the way. First step: a high-tech cotton farm.

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#643: The Taxi King

Aug 1st, 201517:46

Gene Freidman built a taxi empire in New York City. Now his empire is starting to crumble.

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#642: The Big Red Button

Jul 29th, 201516:05

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?

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#641: Why We Work So Much

Jul 24th, 201513:11

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?

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#640: The Bottom Of The Well

Jul 23rd, 201521:30

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.

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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.

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#638: Tweak The World

Jul 15th, 201515:51

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.

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The story of the secret battle to create the song of the summer — the music industry's holy grail.

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#637: The Last Euro In Greece

Jul 8th, 201513:38

Greece's monetary system is in crisis right now, and the government is closing the financial pipes. The effects are widespread and weird.

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#363: Why People Do Bad Things

Jul 3rd, 201523:31

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.

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#636: Yes Or No

Jul 2nd, 201515:37

What do you do when your country's future is put in your hands? On today's show: The referendum in Greece.

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#635: Trade Deal Confidential

Jun 26th, 201523:01

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.

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#478: The Raisin Outlaw

Jun 24th, 201518:29

A farmer wanted to sell all his raisins, but the federal government said no. So he took it to the Supreme Court.

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#634: Worst Case Scenario

Jun 19th, 201516:05

We ask three economists: Is there some falling anvil that's about to crush the economy?

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The price tag is a fairly recent invention. And it's already on its way out.

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#632: The Chicken Tax

Jun 13th, 201515:23

How the American auto industry is built on a trade dispute over frozen chicken parts.

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#631: The Long Run

Jun 11th, 201516:22

Stories about a $50,000 loophole, what neighborhoods mean for kids, and what the Six Million Dollar Man would cost today.

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#630: Free Parking

Jun 6th, 201516:55

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.

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#629: Buy Low, Sell Prime

Jun 3rd, 201514:29

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?

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#628: This Ad's For You

May 30th, 201522:53

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.

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#627: The Miracle Apple

May 27th, 201513:57

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.

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#626: This Is The End

May 23rd, 201512:39

Machines have been taking jobs forever. In the past, when jobs disappeared, new ones were created. But is this time different?

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#625: The Last Job

May 20th, 201516:39

What if robots did all the work? In today's show, we imagine a world without jobs.

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#624: I, Waiter

May 16th, 201516:56

We go out for pizza and meet the latest group of workers getting replaced by machines: servers.

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#623: The Machine Comes To Town

May 14th, 201524:17

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.

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#622: Humans vs. Robots

May 9th, 201523:40

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.

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#621: When Luddites Attack

May 7th, 201520:01

Today on the show, the true story of the Luddites.

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#620: Why Batteries Suck

May 2nd, 201516:11

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.

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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?

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#619: The Free Throw Experiment

Apr 24th, 201517:53

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.

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#399: Can You Patent A Steak?

Apr 22nd, 201518:53

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.)

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#618: The Square Deal

Apr 18th, 201514:55

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.

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#617: How Do You Feel?

Apr 15th, 201518:30

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.

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#616: How Solar Got Cheap

Apr 11th, 201515:59

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?

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#361: The Matzo Economy

Apr 8th, 201520:31

How do you make money manufacturing a dry, bland cracker that a tiny percentage of the population eats just one week a year?

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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.

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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.

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#613: Trash!

Mar 28th, 201513:51

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.

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#443: Don't Believe The Hype

Mar 25th, 201518:13

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.

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#612: The Indicator Strikes Back

Mar 20th, 201518:09

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.

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#611: Community

Mar 19th, 201520:13

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

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#610: The Prisoner's Solution

Mar 14th, 201517:03

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.

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#609: The Curse Of The Black Lotus

Mar 12th, 201516:55

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

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#608: Shorters Gonna Short

Mar 7th, 201516:36

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

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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.

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#607: Captive Market

Feb 28th, 201520:31

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.

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#606: Spreadsheets!

Feb 26th, 201520:36

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

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#605: 'What Goes Up'

Feb 20th, 201514:00

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.

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#604: Hey Big Spender

Feb 19th, 201517:46

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

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#603: A Rose On Any Other Day

Feb 14th, 201517:36

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.

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#510: The Birth Of The Minimum Wage

Feb 11th, 201516:53

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

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#602: Big Weed

Feb 7th, 201519:59

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.

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#601: The Chocolate Curse

Feb 5th, 201518:11

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

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#600: The People Inside Your Machine

Jan 31st, 201522:47

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.

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#599: The Invisible Wall

Jan 28th, 201518:38

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

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#598: The Very First Short

Jan 24th, 201519:03

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.

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#597: We're Short America

Jan 21st, 201520:53

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.

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