Planet Money



The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. 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. That's what we're going for at Planet Money. People seem to like it.


  • FTX and the Serengeti of bankruptcy

    19/04/2024 Duración: 25min

    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 Jaurez. It was engineered by TK. 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 more about sponsor message choices: Privacy Policy

  • Grocery prices, credit card debit, and your 401K (Two Indicators)

    17/04/2024 Duración: 17min

    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 more about sponsor message choices: Privacy

  • TikTok made me deduct it

    12/04/2024 Duración: 20min

    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

  • How much does this cow weigh? (Classic)

    10/04/2024 Duración: 17min

    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 Po

  • Japan's Lost Decade

    05/04/2024 Duración: 22min

    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

  • The real estate industry on trial

    03/04/2024 Duración: 28min

    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 dollars, 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

  • How much of your tax dollars are going to Israel and Ukraine

    29/03/2024 Duración: 23min

    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 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

  • The trouble with Table 101 (Update)

    27/03/2024 Duración: 24min

    (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 more

  • What is Temu?

    22/03/2024 Duración: 25min

    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. He

  • How Big Steel in the U.S. fell

    20/03/2024 Duración: 22min

    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

  • The billion dollar war behind U.S. rum

    15/03/2024 Duración: 23min

    When you buy a bottle of rum in the United States, by law nearly all the federal taxes on that rum must be sent to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It's an unusual system that Congress designed decades ago to help fund these two U.S. territories. In 2021 alone, these rum tax payments added up to more than $700 million.Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands split the money according to how much rum each territory produces. And the territories produce a lot of it — especially Puerto Rico, which single handedly supplies the majority of the rum that Americans drink.But in 2008, the U.S. Virgin Islands pulled off a coup. It convinced one of the largest rum brands in the world, Captain Morgan, to abandon Puerto Rico and to shift its operations to the tiny island of St. Croix.This was the beginning of the Rum Wars.On today's show, the story of how a scheme designed to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands turned them into bitter rivals. And how it ended up putting hundreds of millions of dollars a year —

  • Wind boom, wind bust (Two Windicators)

    13/03/2024 Duración: 16min

    The wind power business is a bit contradictory right now. It's showing signs of boom and bust seemingly all at once. The story of wind energy markets in two acts today. First, the Gulf of Mexico saw its first-ever auction of leases for offshore wind this summer. It was another sign of the Biden administration's desire to get more renewable energy online as fast as possible. Expectations were high, but results did not deliver. Two of the three patches of sea didn't get any bids at all. Hidden in the flop for this auction are some keys to what it takes to spark a whole new market, quickly. Then, the booming side of wind power: the job that's projected to be the fastest-growing in the U.S. is wind turbine service technician. Is it a "good" job? Reporter Darian Woods suits up to see a green-collar job above the clouds for himself.Today's episode is adapted from episodes for Planet Money's daily show, The Indicator. Subscribe here. The original Indicator episodes were produced by Cooper Katz McKim and Julia Ritche

  • On the Oscars campaign trail

    08/03/2024 Duración: 25min

    When you sit down to watch the Oscars, what you are really watching is the final battle in a months-long war of financial engineering and campaign strategy. Because in Hollywood, every year is an election year. A small army of Oscars campaign strategists help studios and streamers deploy tens of millions of dollars to sway Academy voters. And the signs of these campaigns are everywhere — from the endless celebrity appearances on late night TV to the billboards along your daily commute. On today's show, we hit the Oscars campaign trail to learn how these campaigns got so big in the first place. And we look into why Hollywood is still spending so much chasing gold statues, when the old playbook for how to make money on them is being rewritten. This episode was hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and edited by Jess Jiang. It was engineered by Cena Loffredo and fact checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Help support Planet Money and get bonus epi

  • Is dynamic pricing coming to a supermarket near you?

    06/03/2024 Duración: 25min

    Dynamic pricing is an increasingly common phenomenon: You can see it when Uber prices surge during rainy weather, or when you're booking a flight at the last minute or buying tickets to your favorite superstar's concert. On an earnings call last week, Wendy's ignited a minor controversy by suggesting it would introduce dynamic pricing in its restaurants, but the company quickly clarified that it wasn't planning on using it for "surge pricing."One place you hardly ever see dynamic pricing? American supermarkets. Why is that? Why shouldn't the prices for meat or bread or produce go down as they get older? Why does all the milk in the store cost the same, even when the "sell by" dates are weeks apart? Wouldn't a little more flexibility around prices be better for customers and help reduce waste?Professors Robert Evan Sanders and Ioannis (Yannis) Stamatopoulus had similar questions. So they set out to discover what was keeping supermarkets from employing a more dynamic approach, and what might convince them it wa

  • Shopping for parental benefits around the world

    01/03/2024 Duración: 29min

    It is so expensive to have a kid in the United States. The U.S. is one of just a handful of countries worldwide with no federal paid parental leave; it offers functionally no public childcare (and private childcare is wildly expensive); and women can expect their pay to take a hit after becoming a parent. (Incidentally, men's wages tend to rise after becoming fathers.) But outside the U.S., many countries desperately want kids to be born inside their borders. One reason? Many countries are facing a looming problem in their population demographics: they have a ton of aging workers, fewer working-age people paying taxes, and not enough new babies being born to become future workers and taxpayers. And some countries are throwing money at the problem, offering parents generous benefits, even including straight-up cash for kids. So if the U.S. makes it very hard to have kids, but other countries are willing to pay you for having them....maybe you can see the opportunity here. Very economic, and very pregnant, host

  • The secret world behind school fundraisers

    29/02/2024 Duración: 27min

    Fundraising is a staple of the school experience in the U.S. There's an assembly showing off all the prizes kids can win by selling enough wrapping paper or chocolate to their neighbors. But it's pretty weird, right?Why do schools turn kids into little salespeople? And why do we let companies come in and dangle prizes in front of students?We spend a year with one elementary school, following their fundraising efforts, to see how much they raise, and what the money goes to. The school – Villacorta Elementary in La Puente, California – has one big goal: To raise enough money to send every single student on one field trip. The whole school hasn't been able to go on one in three years. We find out what the companies who run school fundraisers do to try to win a school's business. And we find that this bizarre tradition is ... surprisingly tactical. That's on today's episode. Today's show was hosted by Sarah Gonzalez and produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Jess Jiang, fact checked by Sierra Juare

  • A controversial idea at the heart of Bidenomics

    23/02/2024 Duración: 25min

    Réka Juhász is a professor of economics at the University of British Columbia, and she studies what's known as industrial policy. That's the general term for whenever the government tries to promote specific sectors of the economy. The idea is that they might be able to supercharge growth by giving money to certain kinds of businesses, or by putting up trade barriers to protect certain industries. Economists have long been against it. Industrial policy has been called a "taboo" subject, and "one of the most toxic phrases" in economics. The mainstream view has been that industrial policy is inefficient, even harmful. For a long time, politicians largely accepted that view. But in the past several years, countries have started to embrace industrial policy—most notably in the United States. Under President Biden, the U.S. is set to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on industrial policy, to fund things like microchip manufacturing and clean energy projects. It's one of the most ambitious tests of industrial p

  • Two Indicators: Economics of the defense industry

    21/02/2024 Duración: 19min

    The Department of Defense's proposed budget for 2024 is $842 billion. That is about 3.5% of the U.S.'s GDP. The military buys everything from pens and paper clips to fighter jets and submarines. But the market for military equipment is very different from the commercial market.On today's episode, we're bringing you two stories from The Indicator's series on defense spending that explore that market. As the U.S. continues to send weapons to Ukraine and Israel, we first look at why defense costs are getting so high. Then, we dive into whether bare-bones manufacturing styles are leaving the U.S. military in a bind.The original Indicator episodes were produced by Cooper Katz McKim with engineering from Maggie Luthar and James Willetts. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and Angel Carreras. They were edited by Kate Concannon and Paddy Hirsch. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Learn more about sponsor message choices: Privacy Policy

  • How the Navy came to protect cargo ships

    16/02/2024 Duración: 19min

    The Genco Picardy is not an American ship. It doesn't pay U.S. taxes, none of its crew are U.S. nationals, and when it sailed through the Red Sea last month, it wasn't carrying cargo to or from an American port. But when the Houthis, a tribal militant group from Yemen, attacked the ship, the crew called the U.S. Navy. That same day, the Navy fired missiles at Houthi sites.On today's show: How did protecting the safe passage of other countries' ships in the Red Sea become a job for the U.S. military? It goes back to an idea called Freedom of the Seas, an idea that started out as an abstract pipe dream when it was coined in the early 1600s – but has become a pillar of the global economy. This episode was hosted by Alex Mayyasi and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler, edited by Molly Messick, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez, with help from Maggie Luthar. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer. Learn more about sponsor message choices

  • It's giving ... Valentines

    15/02/2024 Duración: 26min

    L, is for the way you Listen to Planet MoneyO, is for the Only podcast I hearV, is Very, very, fiduciaryE, is for... ECONOMICS! Every February, we dedicate a show to the things in our lives that have been giving us butterflies. Whether it's an obscure online marketplace or a piece of stunt journalism that made us green with envy. And then we go out into the world to proclaim our the form of a Valentine. And we have a great roster this Valentine's Day:- A grocery store in Los Angeles with the very best produce - A woodworking supply company with an innovative approach to... innovation!- A basketball player that makes a strong case for taking risky shots- A book that catalogues the raw materials that shape our world- A play that connects the 2008 financial crisis to the sale of the island of Manhattan in the 1600s- And, a podcast that turns corporate intrigue into watercooler chit-chatLearn more about sponsor message choices: Privacy Policy

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