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.


  • Why are we so bummed about the economy?

    01/12/2023 Duração: 23min

    Would you say that you and your family are better off or worse off, financially, than you were a year ago? Do you think in 12 months we'll have good times, financially, or bad? Generally speaking, do you think now is a good time or a bad time to buy a house? These are the kinds of questions baked into the Consumer Sentiment Index. And while the economy has been humming along surprisingly well lately, sentiment has stayed surprisingly low.Today on the show: We are really bummed about the economy, despite the fact that unemployment and inflation are down. So, what gives? We talk to a former Fed economist trying to get to the heart of this paradox, and travel to Michigan to check in on the place where they check the vibes of the economy.

  • So you want to sell marijuana across state lines

    29/11/2023 Duração: 23min

    In the state of Oregon, there is a glut of grass. A wealth of weed. A crisis of chronic. And, jokes aside, it's a real problem for people who work in the cannabis industry like Matt Ochoa. Ochoa runs the Jefferson Packing House in Medford, Oregon, which provides marijuana growers with services like drying, trimming and packing their product. He has seen literal tons of usable weed being left in marijuana fields all over the state of Oregon. Because, Ochoa says, there aren't enough buyers. There are just over four million people in Oregon, and so far this year, farmers have grown 8.8 million pounds of weed. Which means there's nearly a pound of dried, smokable weed for every single person in the state of Oregon. As a result, the sales price for legal marijuana in the last couple of years has plummeted.Economics has a straightforward solution for Oregon's overabundance problem: trade! But, Oregon's marijuana can only be sold in Oregon. No one in any state can legally sell weed across state lines, because mariju

  • A very Planet Money Thanksgiving

    22/11/2023 Duração: 26min

    Here at Planet Money, Thanksgiving is not just a time to feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casseroles and pie(s). It's also a time to feast on economics. Today, we host a very Planet Money Thanksgiving feast, and solve a few economic questions along the way.First: a turkey mystery. Around the holidays, demand for turkey at grocery stores goes up by as much as 750%. And when turkey demand is so high, you might think that the price of turkey would also go up. But data shows, the price of whole turkeys actually falls around the holidays; it goes down by around 20%. So what's going on? The answer has to do what might be special about supply and demand around the holidays. We also reveal what is counted (and not counted) in the ways we measure the economy. And we look to economics to help solve the perennial Thanksgiving dilemma: Where should each dinner guest sit? Who should sit next to whom? This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Jeff Guo. It was produced by James Sneed with an assist fr

  • Economic fact in literary fiction

    18/11/2023 Duração: 26min

    Some of the most influential and beloved novels of the last few years have been about money, finance, and the global economy. Some overtly so, others more subtly. It got to the point where we just had to call up the authors to find out more: What brought them into this world? What did they learn? How were they thinking about economics when they wrote these beautiful books? Today on the show: we get to the bottom of it. We talk to three bestselling contemporary novelists — Min Jin Lee (Pachinko and Free Food for Millionaires), Emily St. John Mandel (Station Eleven, The Glass Hotel and Sea of Tranquility), and Hernan Diaz (Trust, In the Distance) – about how the hidden forces of economics and money have shaped their works.This episode was hosted by Mary Childs and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. It was produced by Willa Rubin, edited by Molly Messick, and engineered by Neisha Heinis. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at p

  • China's real estate crisis, explained

    15/11/2023 Duração: 20min

    China's economic growth for the past few decades has been extraordinary. And much of that growth was fueled by real estate – it was like this miraculous economic engine for the country. But recently, that engine seems to have stopped working. And that has raised all kinds of questions not just for China but also for the global economy. Today on the show, we look at what's happening inside China's real estate market. And we try to answer the question: how did we get here?Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at

  • The alleged theft at the heart of ChatGPT

    10/11/2023 Duração: 23min

    When best-selling thriller writer Douglas Preston began playing around with OpenAI's new chatbot, ChatGPT, he was, at first, impressed. But then he realized how much in-depth knowledge GPT had of the books he had written. When prompted, it supplied detailed plot summaries and descriptions of even minor characters. He was convinced it could only pull that off if it had read his books.Large language models, the kind of artificial intelligence underlying programs like ChatGPT, do not come into the world fully formed. They first have to be trained on incredibly large amounts of text. Douglas Preston, and 16 other authors, including George R.R. Martin, Jodi Piccoult, and Jonathan Franzen, were convinced that their novels had been used to train GPT without their permission. So, in September, they sued OpenAI for copyright infringement.This sort of thing seems to be happening a lot lately–one giant tech company or another "moves fast and breaks things," exploring the edges of what might or might not be allowed witho

  • We dare researchers to leave the ivory tower

    08/11/2023 Duração: 28min

    The world of economics has these two different sides. One one side, there are the economists in their cozy armchairs and dusty libraries, high up in their ivory towers. On the other, there's the messy world we're all living in, where those economics are actually playing out. Sometimes, researchers will write about something that they themselves have never actually experienced. Sure, they've thought about it, theorized, come up with smart analyses...but that's not the same as getting out of that armchair and into the real world.So, in this episode, we play our own version of Never Have I Ever. We dare two researchers to go places and do things they have never done before, in hopes of learning something new about the economic world around us. (Okay, fine, it's maybe more like Truth or Dare...but go with us here.)Today's episode was hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and produced by Emma Peaslee with help from Willa Rubin. It was edited by Sally Helm, fact checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Maggie Luthar. Al

  • FTC Chair Lina Khan on Antitrust in the age of Amazon

    03/11/2023 Duração: 30min

    When Lina Khan was in law school back in 2017, she wrote a law review article called 'Amazon's Antitrust Paradox,' that went kinda viral in policy circles. In it, she argued that antitrust enforcement in the U.S. was behind the times. For decades, regulators had focused narrowly on consumer welfare, and they'd bring companies to court only when they thought consumers were being harmed by things like rising prices. But in the age of digital platforms like Amazon and Facebook, Khan argued in the article, the time had come for a more proactive approach to antitrust.Just four years later, President Biden appointed Lina Khan to be the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, one of the main government agencies responsible for enforcing antitrust in America, putting her in the rare position of putting some of her ideas into practice.Now, two years into the job, Khan has taken some big swings at big tech companies like Meta and Microsoft. But the FTC has also faced a couple of big losses in the courts. On today's show

  • Antitrust in America (classic)

    01/11/2023 Duração: 40min

    Earlier this fall, the Federal Trade Commission filed a high-stakes lawsuit against Amazon.In that suit, the FTC claims Amazon is a monopoly, and it accuses the company of using anti-competitive tactics to hold onto its market power. It's a big case, with implications for consumers and businesses and digital marketplaces, and for antitrust law itself. That is the highly important but somewhat obscure body of law that deals with competition and big business.And so, this week on Planet Money, we are doing a deep dive on the history of antitrust. It begins with today's episode, a Planet Money double feature. Two classic episodes that tell the story of how the U.S. government's approach to big business and competition has changed over time.First, the story of a moment more than 100 years ago, when the government stepped into the free market in a big way to make competition work. It's the story of John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil, and a muckraking journalist named Ida Tarbell.Then, we fast forward to a turning

  • All you can eat economics

    27/10/2023 Duração: 25min

    You might expect to find economic concepts in the pages of an economics textbook. But you know where you can really see a lot of economic concepts in action? Buffets.Here at Planet Money we believe there's a lot of economics going on at the all-you-eat buffet, tucked in between the mountains of brisket and troughs of mashed potatoes. From classic concepts like adverse selection, sunk costs, diminishing marginal returns, to more exotic economic mysteries, like the flat rate pricing bias.Today on the show, we're headed to the place where the modern buffet may have been born: Las Vegas. Our mission? To feast ourselves on all the economics we can handle at the all-you-can-eat buffet. And along the way, an economist and fellow buffet-lover will teach us his hyper-rational strategy for optimizing his buffet experience.Today's show was produced by James Sneed and Nick Fountain with help from Emma Peaslee. It was edited by Jess Jiang, engineered by James Willetts, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is o

  • Cutting school... by 20%

    26/10/2023 Duração: 23min

    Right now, a lot of school districts across the country are making a pretty giant change to the way public education usually works. Facing teacher shortages and struggling to fill vacant spots, they are finding a new recruitment tool: the four-day school week.Those districts are saying to teachers, "You can have three-day weekends all the time, and we won't cut your pay." As of this fall, around 900 school districts – that's about 7% of all districts in the U.S. – now have school weeks that are just four days long.And this isn't the first time a bunch of schools have scaled back to four days, so there is a lot of data to lean on to figure out how well it works. In this episode, teachers love the four-day school week, and it turns out even parents love it, too. But is it good for students?This episode was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler with help from Willa Rubin. It was edited by Molly Messick and engineered by Maggie Luthar. Fact-checking by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer. Help su

  • How unions are stopped before they start

    20/10/2023 Duração: 27min

    Union membership in the U.S. has been declining for decades. But, in 2022, support for unions among Americans was the highest it's been in decades. This dissonance is due, in part, to the difficulties of one important phase in the life cycle of a union: setting up a union in the first place. One place where that has been particularly clear is at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.Back in 2008, Volkswagen announced that they would be setting up production in the United States after a 20-year absence. They planned to build a new auto manufacturing plant in Chattanooga. Volkswagen has plants all over the world, all of which have some kind of worker representation, and the company said that it wanted that for Chattanooga too. So, the United Auto Workers, the union that traditionally represents auto workers, thought they would be able to successfully unionize this plant. They were wrong.In this episode, we tell the story of the UAW's 10-year fight to unionize the Chattanooga plant. And, what other unio

  • Indicator exploder: jobs and inflation

    18/10/2023 Duração: 18min

    When someone says "the economy is doing well"—what does that even mean? Like, for workers, for employers, for the country as a whole? According to what calculation? How do you put a number on it?The world of economics is filled with all sorts of "measuring sticks." GDP. Inflation. Unemployment. Consumer sentiment. Over time, all kinds of government agencies, universities and private companies have come up with different ways to measure facets of the economy. These measures factor into all kinds of huge decisions—things like government policy, business strategies, maybe even your personal career choices or investments.On today's show, we're going to lift the curtain on two of these yardsticks. We are going to meet the people tasked with sticking a number on two huge measures of our economic well being: the official U.S. government inflation report and the monthly unemployment and jobs numbers. Come along and see how the measures get made.This episode was hosted by Darian Woods, Stacey Vanek Smith, and Wailin W

  • Maria Bamford gets personal (about) finance

    13/10/2023 Duração: 27min

    Note: There is swearing in this episode.In 2017, The University of Minnesota asked comedian Maria Bamford to give their commencement speech. But the University may not have known what it was in for. In her speech, Bamford told the crowd of graduates how much the university offered to pay her (nothing), her counteroffer ($20,000), and the amount they settled on ($10,000), which (after taxes and fees, etc.) she gave away to students in the audience to pay down their student loans.Maria Bamford is a big believer in full disclosure of her finances, a philosophy she's adopted after decades in a Debtors Anonymous support group. In meetings, she learned important financial tips and tricks to go from thousands of dollars in debt to her current net worth of $3.5 million (a number which, true to her philosophy, she will share with anyone).She spoke with us about her financial issues, how she recovered, and why she believes in total financial transparency, even when it makes her look kinda bad.Disclaimer: Planet Money i

  • Why the price of Coke didn't change for 70 years (classic)

    11/10/2023 Duração: 19min

    Prices go up. Occasionally, prices go down. But for 70 years, the price of a bottle of Coca-Cola didn't change. From 1886 until the late 1950s, a bottle of coke cost just a nickel.On today's show, we find out why. The answer includes a half a million vending machines, a 7.5 cent coin, and a company president who just wanted to get a couple of lawyers out of his office.This episode originally ran in 2012.This episode was hosted by David Kestenbaum. 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

  • A man, a plan, wind power, Uruguay

    06/10/2023 Duração: 23min

    In 2007, Uruguay had a massive problem with no obvious fix. The economy of this country of 3.5 million people was growing, but there wasn't enough energy to power all that growth.Ramón Méndez Galain was, at the time, a particle physicist, but he wanted to apply his scientific mind to this issue. He started researching different energy sources and eventually wrote up a plan for how Uruguay's power grid could transition to renewable energy. It would be better for the climate, and, he thought, in the long run it would be the most economical choice Uruguay could make.Méndez Galain shared his plan online and in a series of informal lectures. Then, one day he received a phone call from the office of the president of Uruguay, inviting him to put his plan into action.Countries all over the world have announced lofty goals to reduce the emissions that cause climate change. But Uruguay actually did it. In a typical year, 98% of Uruguay's grid is powered by green energy. How did it get there? It involved a scientist, an

  • The flight attendants of CHAOS

    04/10/2023 Duração: 28min

    When contract negotiations between Alaska Airlines and their flight attendants' union broke down in 1993, the union had a choice to make.The union — The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA — knew that if they chose to strike, Alaska Airlines could use a plan. While Alaska Airlines technically couldn't fire someone on strike, they could permanently replace the striking flight attendants with new workers. Essentially, if the union went on strike, they could risk thousands of people's jobs. The flight attendants knew they needed a counter-strategy.They went with a strategy they called CHAOS: "Create Havoc Around Our System."The strategy had two phases. Phase one: The union kept Alaska guessing about when, where, and how a strike might happen. They kept everyone, even their own members, in the dark. And in turn, Alaska Airlines had to be prepared for a strike at any place and any time. Phase two was to go on strike in a targeted and strategic way.The havoc that the flight attendants created set off a sort-of lab

  • A trucker hat mystery, the curse of September and other listener questions

    29/09/2023 Duração: 26min

    Ba-dee-yah! Say do you remember? Ba-dee-yah! Questions in September!That's right - it's time for Listener Questions!Every so often, we like to hear from listeners about what's on their minds, and we try to get to the bottom of their economic mysteries. On today's show, we have questions like:Why is September historically the worst month for the stock market?How did the Bass Pro Shops hat get so popular in Ecuador?Are casinos banks?What is the Federal Reserve's new plan to make bank transfers faster?Today's show was hosted by Sarah Gonzalez and produced by James Sneed. The audio engineer for this episode was Josephine Nyounai. It was fact checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Dave Blanchard. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at

  • The natural disaster economist

    27/09/2023 Duração: 23min

    There seems to be headlines about floods, wildfires, or hurricanes every week. Scientists say this might be the new normal — that climate change is making natural disasters more and more common.Tatyana Deryugina is a leading expert on the economics of natural disasters — how we respond to them, how they affect the economy, and how they change our lives. And back when Tatyana first started researching natural disasters she realized that there's a lot we don't know about their long-term economic consequences. Especially about how individuals and communities recover.Trying to understand those questions of how we respond to natural disasters is a big part of Tatyana's research. And her research has some surprising implications for how we should be responding to natural disasters.This episode was hosted and reported by Jeff Guo. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and edited by Jess Jiang. It was fact checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Josephine Nyounai. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.Help support Pla

  • A black market, a currency crisis, and a tango competition in Argentina

    23/09/2023 Duração: 23min

    The Nobel-prize winning economist Simon Kuznets once analyzed the world's economies this way — he said there are four kinds of countries: developed, underdeveloped, Japan... and Argentina.If you want to understand what happens when inflation really goes off the rails, go to Argentina. Annual inflation there, over the past year, was 124 percent. Argentina's currency, the peso, is collapsing, its poverty rate is above 40 percent, and the country may be on the verge of electing a far right Libertarian president who promises to replace the peso with the dollar. Even in a country that is already deeply familiar with economic chaos, this is dramatic.In this episode, we travel to Argentina to try to understand: what is it like to live in an economy that's on the edge? With the help of our tango dancer guide, we meet all kinds of people who are living through record inflation and political upheaval. Because even as Argentina's economy tanks, its annual Mundial de Tango – the biggest tango competition in the world – t

página 1 de 18