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Planet Money

Wanna see a trick? Give us any topic and we can tie it back to the economy. At Planet Money, we explore the forces that shape our lives and bring you along for the ride. Don't just understand the economy – understand the world.

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  • For the last year and a half, the story of FTX has focused largely on the crimes and punishment of Sam Bankman-Fried. But in the background, the actual customers he left behind have been caught in a financial feeding frenzy over the remains of the company. On today's show, we do a deep dive into the anatomy of the FTX bankruptcy. We meet the vulture investors who make markets out of risky debt, and hear how customers fare in the secretive world of bankruptcy claims trading. This episode was hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and Amanda Aronczyk. It was produced by James Sneed and Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Jess Jiang, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. It was engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • What's going on with consumers? This is one of the trickiest puzzles of this weird economic moment we're in. We've covered a version of this before under the term "vibecession," but it's safe to say, the struggle is in fact real. It is not just in our heads. Sure, sure, some data is looking great. But not all of it. What's interesting, is exactly why the bad feels so much worse than the good feels good. Today on the show, we look into a few theories on why feelings are just not matching up with data. We'll break down some numbers and how to think about them. Then we look at grocery prices in particular, and an effort to combat unfair pricing using a mostly forgotten 1930's law. Will it actually help? Today's episode is adapted from episodes for Planet Money's daily show, The Indicator. Subscribe here. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • TikTok, and other apps like it, are filled with financial advice. Some of it is reliable, some... less so. There are videos about running a business, having a side hustle, generating passive income. And also, there are a lot of tips and tricks, many of them questionable, about saving on your taxes. On this show, we run some of the greatest hits of TikTok tax advice by some bonafide tax experts. We'll talk about whether you can use gambling losses to reduce your tax bill, whether your pets qualify you for tax deductions – and we'll fact check the claim that all rich people own expensive Mercedes G-Wagons... for tax purposes. Along the way, we'll drill down on the concepts like taxable income and the standard deduction. And we'll ask why so many videos on TikTok suggest that you (fraudulently) categorize personal expenses as business expenses. Sometimes with a literal wink and a nod. This episode was hosted by Nick Fountain. It was produced by Emma Peaslee with help from Willa Rubin, who also fact-checked this episode. It was edited by Molly Messick and engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's Executive Producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • This episode originally ran in 2015.About one hundred years ago, a scientist and statistician named Francis Galston came upon an opportunity to test how well regular people were at answering a question. He was at a fair where lots of people were guessing the weight of an ox, so he decided to take the average of all their guesses and compare it to the correct answer.What he found shocked him. The average of their guesses was almost exactly accurate. The crowd was off by just one pound.This eerie phenomenon—this idea that the crowd is right—drives everything from the stock market to the price of orange juice.So, we decided to test it for ourselves. We asked Planet Money listeners to guess the weight of a cow.Spoiler: You can see the results here.This episode was hosted by David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein. It was produced by Nadia Wilson and edited by Bryant Urstadt. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • Last month, Japan's central bank raised interest rates for the first time in 17 years. That is a really big deal, because it means that one of the spookiest stories in modern economics might finally have an ending. Back in the 1980s, Japan performed something of an economic miracle. It transformed itself into the number two economy in the world. From Walkmans to Toyotas, the U.S. was awash in Japanese imports. And Japanese companies went on a spending spree. Sony bought up Columbia Pictures. Mitsubishi became the new majority owners of Rockefeller Center. But in the early 1990s, it all came to a sudden halt. Japan went from being one of the fastest growing countries in the world to one of the slowest. And this economic stagnation went on and on and on. For decades. On this episode, the unnerving story of Japan's Lost Decades: How did one of the most advanced economies in the world just fall down one day — and not be able to get up? Japan's predicament changed our understanding of what can go wrong in a modern economy. And gave us some new tools to try and deal with it. This episode was hosted by Jeff Guo. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and engineered by Cena Loffredo. It was edited by Molly Messick. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • In 2019, Mike Ketchmark got a call. Mike is a lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, and his friend, Brandon Boulware, another lawyer, was calling about a case he wanted Mike to get involved with. Mike was an unusual choice - he's a personal injury lawyer, and this was going to be an antitrust case. But Brandon knew Mike was great in front of a jury. And that he'd won huge settlements for his clients in the past. So the lawyer friend drops by Mike's office, and pitches him the case. Rhonda and Scott Burnett had just sold their home for $250,000, and out of that amount, they had paid $15,000 in commission (plus a small fee), which was split between two real estate agents - even though they had hired only one. And the commission was high - 6%. Mike's friend said the whole thing seemed... suspicious. Maybe even illegal. Mike agreed to take the case, a case that would soon become bigger than one about just what had happened to the Burnetts. It would become a fight about the way homes are bought and sold in the U.S. and challenge the way real estate agents have done business for more than 100 years. This episode was hosted by Amanda Aronczyk and Keith Romer. It was produced by Willa Rubin, edited by Keith Romer, engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • There's been a lot of disagreement in Congress and in the country about whether the U.S. should continue to financially support the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. Some taxpayers don't think the U.S. should give Ukraine any money to fight off Russia's invasion. And some taxpayers have concerns about how they might be funding weapons that have been used to kill civilians in Gaza. And there are questions about how much individual taxpayers contribute to war efforts, generally. So in this episode, we attempt to do the math: The average taxpayers' contribution to Israel and Ukraine. It's not so simple. But in attempting to do this math, we get this window into the role of our tax dollars on foreign assistance, and how the U.S. sells weapons to other countries. For links to some of the reports we looked at to report this episode, check out the episode page on NPR.org.This episode was hosted by Sarah Gonzalez and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler and edited by Jess Jiang. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • (Note: This episode originally ran in 2020.)In the restaurant game, you need to make the most of every table every minute you are open. And you need to make sure your guests are happy, comfortable, and want to come back.If you're a restaurateur, your gut tells you "more seats, more money," but, in this episode, restaurant design expert Stephani Robson upends all that and more. She helps Roni Mazumdar, owner of the casual Indian spot Adda in New York's Long Island City, rethink how a customer behaves at a table, and how small changes can lead to a lot more money.It's a data-driven restaurant makeover.This episode was originally produced by Darian Woods and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. James Sneed and Sam Yellowhorse Kesler produced this update. Engineering by Isaac Rodrigues and Maggie Luthar. Alex Goldmark originally edited the show and is now Planet Money's executive producer.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • It is rare that a new e-commerce company has such a meteoric rise as Temu. The company, which launched in the fall of 2022, has been flooding the American advertising market, buying much of the inventory of Facebook, Snapchat, and beyond. According to the market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, Temu is one of the most downloaded iPhone apps in the country, with around 50 million monthly active users.On today's show, we go deep on Temu: How does it work, how did it manage such a quick rise in the U.S., and what hints might it offer us about the future of retail? Plus, we'll talk to the bicycle-loving U.S. Representative who is working to shut down a loophole that has proved very helpful to Temu's swift ascent. This episode was hosted by Nick Fountain and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi with reporting from Emily Feng. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler and Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Keith Romer, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy
  • Steel manufacturing was at one point the most important industry in the United States. It was one of the biggest employers, a driver of economic growth, and it shaped our national security. Cars, weapons, skyscrapers... all needed steel.But in the second half of the 20th century, the industry's power started to decline. Foreign steel companies gained more market power and the established steel industry in the U.S. was hesitant to change and invest in newer technologies. But then, a smaller company took a chance and changed the industry. On today's episode: What can the fall of a once-great industry teach us about innovation and technology? And why you should never underestimate an underdog.This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Mary Childs. It was produced by Willa Rubin and edited by Jess Jiang. It was engineered by Cena Loffredo. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Our executive producer is Alex Goldmark.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoicesNPR Privacy Policy