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Planet Money

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.Wanna go deeper? Subscribe to Planet Money+ and get sponsor-free episodes of Planet Money, The Indicator, and Planet Money Summer School. Plus access to bonus content. It's a new way to support the show you love. Learn more at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

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Episodes

My Favorite Tax Loophole

There's a big difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. But sometimes even avoiding taxes (legally) can feel like you're getting away with something. Today, we share some of our ? and your! ? favorite loopholes in the U.S. tax code.

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2022-12-03
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Messi economics

Soccer star Lionel Messi is currently hoping to lead Argentina to victory in the World Cup. His path to global fame was shaped by a crisis in Argentina's economy.

This episode was made in collaboration with NPR and Futuro Studios's The Last Cup podcast.

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2022-12-01
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One economist's take on popular advice for saving, borrowing, and spending

This episode was first released as a bonus episode for Planet Money+ listeners last month. We're sharing it today for all listeners. To hear more episodes like this one and support NPR in the process, sign up for Planet Money+ at plus.npr.org.

Planet Money+ supporters: we'll have a fresh bonus episode for you next week!

"Save aggressively for retirement when you're young." "The stock market is a sure-fire long-term bet." "Fixed-rate mortgages are better than adjustable-rate mortgages." Popular financial advice like this appears in all kinds of books by financial thinkfluencers. But how does that advice stack up against more traditional economic thinking?

That's the question Yale economist James Choi set out to answer in a paper called Popular Personal Financial Advice Versus The Professors. In this interview, he tells Greg Rosalsky what he found. Their talk marks another edition of Behind The Newsletter, in which Greg shares conversations with policy makers and economists who appear in the Planet Money newsletter.

Subscribe to the newsletter at https://www.npr.org/newsletter/money.

Read more about James Choi's paper here: https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2022/09/06/1120583353/money-management-budgeting-tips
2022-11-23
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How the cookie became a monster

30 years ago, Lou Montulli set out to solve a fundamental problem with the internet, and accidentally created an entirely different one. On today's show, how the cookie went from an obscure piece of code designed to protect anonymity, to an online advertiser's dream, to a privacy advocate's nightmare.

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2022-11-19
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Sam Bankman-Fried and the fall of a crypto empire

Sam Bankman-Fried built a reputation as the one reliable crypto bro. But within the span of days, his empire came crashing down. What the rise and fall of crypto's 30-year-old elder statesman says about the story of crypto so far.

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2022-11-17
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The E-Book Wars

In 2019, a group of librarians (quietly) stormed the offices of a major publisher, Macmillan, to protest a controversial policy on e-books. On this show, how a tiny change - a book on a screen - threw an industry into war with itself.

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2022-11-12
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Peak Sand (classic)

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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2022-11-10
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Planet Money tries election polling

Polling is facing an existential crisis. Few people are answering the phone, and fewer people want to answer surveys. On today's show, we pick up the phones ourselves to find out how polling got to this place, and what the future of the poll looks like.

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2022-11-05
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Two Indicators shaking China's economy

Xi Jinping recently secured his third term as China's president ? so we're looking at two shocks to the world's second-largest economy. First: How China's housing boom turned into a real estate crisis. Second: How the recent U.S. ban on selling advanced semiconductor chips to China could affect China's technology industry.
2022-11-02
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Planet Money Records Vol. 2: The Negotiation

We got our hands on the long-lost "Inflation" song, and now it's time to put it out into the world. So, we started a record label, and we're diving into the music business to try and make a hit.

(This episode is part two of a series. Listen to part one here.)

Listen to "Inflation" on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, Amazon Music & Pandora.

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2022-10-29
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Planet Money Records Vol. 1: Earnest Jackson

We try to start a real record label. Just to put one song out there. It's a song about inflation, recorded in 1975... and never released. Until now.

(This episode is part one of a series)

Listen to "Inflation" on Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Tidal, Amazon Music & Pandora.

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2022-10-27
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The high cost of a strong dollar

When it comes to international trade and finance, everyone pretty much speaks one language: the U.S. dollar. So when the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates and the dollar suddenly gets strong, it can cause huge headaches all over the world.

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2022-10-22
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The money fixers (classic)

How do you mend a broken bill? On this classic episode, we visit the Mutilated Currency Division.

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2022-10-19
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You asked for coupons, Delaware, and the truth about goldfish

On today's show, we're answering listener questions from the Planet Money inbox. Like, who really benefits from retail coupons? And why are goldfish so cheap?

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2022-10-15
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Two Indicators: back to school

It's fall, so on this episode, we're taking you back to school. First, what sorority rush can teach us about a particular kind of market. Then, how two economists fixed the way macroeconomics was taught in high schools. It's econ, inside and outside the classroom.

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2022-10-13
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Forging Taiwan's Silicon Shield

Taiwan is at the center of a global feud. Its main defense may be what some call its "Silicon Shield" ? its powerful semiconductor industry. On today's show, the story of how one economic hero helped to transform Taiwan's economy and create the "Taiwan Miracle."

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2022-10-08
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Economic anarchy in the UK

Liz Truss, the new Prime Minister of the UK, was determined to change the British economy. Instead, her government's mini-budget helped kick off a mini-financial crisis.

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2022-10-06
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Would you like a side of offshoring with that?

A lot of restaurants took a hit during the pandemic. And when they struggled to find workers, some found surprising solutions. On today's show, what happens when you offshore cashiers.

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2022-09-30
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The miracle apple (Classic)

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.
2022-09-29
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Econ's Brush with the Law

What happens when you take some of the most powerful people in America ? federal judges ? and teach them economics? We look at the swanky econ retreats that may have changed American law forever.

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2022-09-24
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The Midnight Connection

Texas's energy grid is largely disconnected from the rest of the U.S. That led to disastrous consequences last year when the state's grid was overloaded during a winter storm. Back in the 1970s, one company attempted to change the system in a secret, middle-of-the-night operation.
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2022-09-22
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Vibecession Vibes Session

We're not in a recession, but why are the vibes feeling so off? We put the question to an economist and one expert on "vibes" and also hire a jazz band to take a pun way too far.

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2022-09-17
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The Good, the Bad, and the Uggly

Eddie Oygur is an Australian businessman who's sold sheepskin ugg boots for years. But one day, he was hit with a lawsuit for breaking American trademark law. On today's show ? what's in the name ugg?

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2022-09-15
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Two Indicators: unlikely economic relationships

On today's show - how your social circle is one of the strongest predictors of economic mobility and how pop music reflects the economy.

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2022-09-09
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The salvage car Silk Road

A practically brand new Lexus with a New Jersey inspection sticker lands on an auto body lot in Turkmenistan. How did it get there? To find out, we journey into the bizarro economy for misfit cars. And we follow a very different kind of journey ? of the auto body repairman from Turkmenistan who brought us this story in the first place. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.

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2022-09-08
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Breaking down the price of gasoline

High gas prices have fueled speculation and investigations ? is anyone raising prices and keeping prices high for profit? To find out, we break down the price of gas, piece by piece, to show you how we get to the price we see at the pump and how much everyone profits at each step of the way. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-09-03
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SUMMER SCHOOL 8: Productivity & Getting Lit

Productivity is our economic measure for how far our work goes, as individuals and as a society over all. It plays an important role in determining our quality of life, the prices of our goods and services, and, to some extent, the amount of free time we have. Today, we explore how thousands of years of productivity advancements transformed something now so standard that we take it for granted: light. | At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-09-01
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Wake up and smell the fraud

Sometimes online shopping can feel a little unsavory. There are the listings that make you question if you'll really be getting exactly what's advertised. And there's no worse feeling than paying for something and then not getting it. But when Nina Kollars ordered coffee pods and got WAY more than she asked for, it made her feel just as uneasy. Her quest for answers and what it teaches us about a new generation of online fraud. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-08-27
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SUMMER SCHOOL 7: The Fed & Volcker's Socks

The Federal Reserve plays a very important role in the economy. When things start to look uncertain, the central bank is tasked with stepping in to restore people's confidence in the economy. But how do they do it? On today's episode we dive deep on monetary policy and the role of the fed. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-08-25
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Inflation Reduction Actually

Congress just passed the biggest, most ambitious climate bill in history. And it's called ... the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. What's with that branding? And what can the bill teach us about actually fighting inflation? | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-08-20
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SUMMER SCHOOL 6: Trade & The Better Life

International trade is the web of cross-border relationships that binds economies together. Because of trade we have access to cheaper, higher-quality goods, and we get to benefit from other countries' cultures. Economics tells us trade makes society, overall on average, better off, but that doesn't mean everyone wins. Today, the good and bad of trade through the eyes of workers in developing economies who make the things sold around the world. We follow them as they navigate the ever-shifting international trade environment. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-08-18
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Carried interest wormhole

The carried interest tax loophole is a way that wealthy Americans ? often the people who manage hedge funds or private equity firms ? avoid paying billions of dollars worth of taxes. It has been one of the most controversial yet durable features of the U.S. tax code. But where did it come from? Today we romp through space and time to piece together the origins of this loophole. There will be pirates and mutiny. A 50s tax-dodge-a-palooza. And perhaps the Michelangelo of tax lawyers. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-08-13
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SUMMER SCHOOL 5: Car Parts, Celery & The Labor Market

You can learn a lot about a person from their job. The same can be said of an economy. The market for jobs can us a lot about how the economy is doing, but more importantly, it is where we look to see who the economy is working for, and who is left behind. In today's lesson we'll visit two workplaces each facing a different labor puzzle. At one end, there's the question of when to replace a worker with a robot, and what it is like to be that worker waiting for the robots to come. We'll also visit a farm where raising wages aren't enough to attract the workers needed to do the work. How wages are set, and who gets the raises on this session of Summer School. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-08-11
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A new way to pay for college (Update)

College has gotten incredibly expensive. And some colleges are offering students a new way to pay. It's not a scholarship. It's not quite a loan. It's more like the students are selling stock in themselves. We check in on how income share agreements at one school have been working. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-08-05
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SUMMER SCHOOL 4: Inflation & Drinking Buddies

Inflation can be one of the scariest forces in the economy. As prices rise and your dollar doesn't go as far, you feel poorer, and it's all out of your control. To better understand inflation, we turn to the story of Brazil, where, in the 90s, hyperinflation threatened to derail the whole economy until the country turned to a group of unlikely heroes: four drinking buddies. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. |At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-08-04
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BONUS: Micro-Face: The Musical

This episode, Micro-Face: The Musical. A full concert recording of a one-of-a-kind Planet Money superhero musical, taped during our recent live show at the Roulette Theater in Brooklyn, New York.

Here's more from our project We Buy A Superhero.

Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-08-01
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Two recession Indicators

So are we in a recession or not? The jury is still out, but there are some warning signs. GDP is down and inflation is up. But how much do we know about the 'indicators' that tell us how the economy is doing? Today, the stories of two of our most important indicators, the Consumer Price Index and GDP, and what they can and can't tell us about our current economic predicament.| Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-07-29
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SUMMER SCHOOL 3: Booms, Busts & Us

Life has its ups and downs. Same for the economy. Today we ask, can the business cycle be tamed? Two stories of recession and techniques for moderating the ferocity of booms and busts. Plus, how bankruptcy is a secret weapon of the American economy. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. | At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-07-28
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Little House on the Blockchain

It has great bones, three bedrooms and one and half baths, and it comes with its own machine that mines cryptocurrency. But in a year of reckoning for crypto, how interested are potential buyers? | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-07-23
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SUMMER SCHOOL 2: GDP & What Counts

What even is "the economy"? And how do you measure it? Our path out of the economic darkness and into the light has been guided in large part by one single statistic: GDP. This week: the origins, history, and problems with the economic indicator to rule them all. | At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-07-21
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Best by, sell by, use by

Wait, wait...don't throw that out! What if much of what you've been told about food expiration dates is... wrong? | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-07-16
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SUMMER SCHOOL 1: Recessions & Rap Battles

It's macro time! Today: Keynes vs. Hayek.

Season 3 of summer school is here asking the biggest economic questions about what makes an entire economy grow or contract? Things like, is there a "right" level of unemployment? Who gains from trade? What rhymes with 'paradox of thrift'? Also, inflation, we'll get to inflation.

Episode 1 begins with the rise of macroeconomics as a field, with one of the great economic debates of the 20th century: what causes booms and busts, and what can the government do about it? How free should a free market be?

It's a debate (over beats and with an actual rap battle) between John Maynard Keynes and F.A Hayek.

Watch this Tik Tok to learn more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here. | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.
2022-07-14
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A tale of two cityhoods

There's a movement underway in Georgia. More and more communities around Atlanta are choosing to keep their tax dollars very local, and become their own cities. It's a story about equity and exclusion ? and also potholes. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-07-09
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Two crypto crash Indicators

Two stories of consternation from inside the crypto world. Can a crypto crash spread to the wider economy? How does contagion work? And ... why has crypto had such appeal with Black investors? | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-07-06
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Suitcases, secret lists, and Citizens United

On today's show: the Watergate scandal you haven't heard about ? that led directly to Citizens United and multi-billion dollar elections. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
2022-07-02
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When Subaru came out (Classic)

In the early 90s, Subaru was struggling to stand out in a crowded automobile market. In their greatest time of need, they turned to an unlikely ally: lesbians | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
2022-06-30
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Recession referees

Whenever the economic data start to look rough, we're forced to confront a familiar question: Are we in a recession, or about to be? But there are actually only eight opinions in the country that officially matter. Today on the show, we meet the committee that calls recessions. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-06-25
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The tale of the Onion King (Update)

How one man's quest to dominate the onion market changed commodities trading, and potentially how much you pay at the grocery store, forever. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.
2022-06-23
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The debate over what's causing inflation

The last few months have made us acutely aware of inflation. We all agree that it's making our lives harder, but economists disagree about what's causing it. | Fill out our listener survey: npr.org/podcastsurvey
2022-06-18
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Let them eat lunch

For many Americans, desk lunches are the norm. You might even be having one right now. But what if it didn't have to be this way? | Fill out our listener survey here
2022-06-16
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