The surprisingly entertaining history of the income tax.
Why won't some people wear masks? Is there anything we can do to convince them? We look to behavioral economics for help. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
The economics of free trade and what happens when governments get involved.
The pandemic is transforming college from a can't-miss into a can't-attend experience. Can colleges survive? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Class 4 brings us an economic conundrum: how do you efficiently share a scarce resource? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Rest of the Story, Pandemic Edition We check in on the people we've met and stories we've covered since this whole thing started. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
In our third class, we take all that we've learned about decisions and markets and bring it to a former drug kingpin. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
In 1967, President Johnson created a commission to investigate racial unrest in America. But, the answer they came up with was not the answer he was hoping for. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Shortening prison sentences might be about morals, but it's definitely about money. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
In our second class, we meet our old friends supply and demand and do graphs using only the power of the human voice. Then, we show you how markets can be created anywhere by telling the story of a food bank that had too many pickles and not enough pancake syrup. It's economics to the rescue. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
In 2005, an anonymous list of the best unmade scripts in Hollywood shook up the movie biz. This episode: how a math-loving, movie nerd solved Hollywood's script problem. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
First lesson: Economics is not about money. It's a lens of great power and beauty. In this episode, we meet our teachers and learn the first four fundamental concepts of economic thinking, and watch them applied to things like dating and hailing a cab. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Introducing an economics education for your ears! We're calling it Planet Money Summer School. It's all the economics you meant to learn, but didn't get around to. Each Wednesday, we'll serve up a Planet Money story, or selection of excerpts, paired with insights from our economists-in-residence for the summer. Get an understanding of the basic concepts of economics going to the beach. You can pick up your economics knowledge while you bike, stroll the sand or just lay in the grass. Amuse your f...more
For years, some Chicago police officers tortured suspects. Survivors fought for reparations — and got them. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
After decades of relative stability, prices in the US may be about to go through the roof — or the floor. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Espionage. Deceit. Theft. In this episode we follow the case of a global effort to steal top secret high technology: seeds. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Rental car giant Hertz declared bankruptcy last month, which should have made their stock worthless. So how come people keep buying it? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Money and social change. We talk policing, nonprofits, reparations, and the awkwardness of brands getting woke. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Wild ginseng sells for thousands. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Violence, including racist attacks, stifles innovation and the economy. Dr. Lisa Cook proved how. It took 10 years to be heard. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We've only made vaccines for so many diseases. Let's look at the history. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We look at the data connecting police unions and police violence. Today's episode comes from our daily podcast, The Indicator. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
When the economy tanks, does money just vanish? Why are home prices still so high? You asked these and other questions. We try to answer. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Small towns need fast internet. One town tried to solve the problem itself, but ran into a legal firewall. What gives? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
On today's show, ideas to fight the virus, get people money, and revive a multibillion-dollar corner of the economy. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
This month, J.Crew went bankrupt. But not before inventing a whole new way of playing hardball with lenders. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Unemployment offices and small banks are getting money from the government to the people who need it. But it's like trying to smoosh a fifty foot pile of money through a ten foot hole. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
It's here! We did it! 1,000 episodes! And, to thank all our listeners for riding shotgun the whole way — we're gonna let you in on our secrets... | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
With over 5.5 million workers unemployed or furloughed, no other industry has been hit harder than restaurants. Yet one guy is thinking about expanding. Huh? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We get on a boat and go to the Federal Reserve to talk about why it may be the most important institution in the world right now. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Can you safely reopen a business right now — and should you? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We spend a morning at a grocery store and we ask: How much is essential work worth? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Over the past decade, American companies spent billions buying back their own shares. Now they need a taxpayer rescue. Do they deserve it? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Since lockdown began, some companies are doing unexpectedly well. This episode: Farm animals, a crafty comeback, Clint Eastwood, and a story with a twist. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
On Monday, the price of a barrel of oil in the United States fell to negative $37. That's never happened before. What's going on with the price of oil? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
States are scrambling to find any way to get more masks, gloves, anything. Including mass emailing people who have nothing to do with it. Enter, a man with a van. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Is it worth it to shut down the economy to save lives? How do you know when to reopen it? Should we let people die to save the economy? Economists say each human life is worth about $10 million dollars. How did they get that number? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
There's a brand new government program with $349 billion in aid for small businesses. The problem? It was thrown together in a week. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We follow the distress from a laid-off worker, to her landlord, to the multi-trillion-dollar mortgage market. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Bellevue, the oldest public hospital in the nation, has seen everything and survived everything. But even they might not have enough beds. Here's why. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Ventilators are the supply and demand problem of the COVID pandemic. We go inside the scramble to build more, fast. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A record number of Americans filed for unemployment this week. The system isn't designed for this. What's next? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
The COVID-19 rescue bill is the largest ever. Where will that money come from? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
To find out what's happening with our food, we talk to an economist, a farmer, and, of course, farmworkers. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Some answers: The deal with toilet paper; stock market circuit breakers; coronabucks; corporate paper & how to help. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Neel Kashkari is the President of the Minneapolis Fed. And he's run a bailout of an economy already. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Making a test for a pandemic — which rules should you keep, and which to bend? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
The central bank is trying to prevent a health crisis from becoming a financial crisis. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
COVID-19 is hammering our economy. We ask three super smart economists what we should do about it. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Oil prices are way down. We follow the story from an outbreak in China, to a meeting in Vienna, to a small-time oilman in Kansas. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Coronaviruses didn't come out of nowhere. They've actually been around for years. But economics makes it hard to find a vaccine. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
An online review turns into a fine-print nightmare — until the victims fight back. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A wool magnate gets pulled into a fight with the government over reparations. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Vodka is the best-selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Michael Milken once made $550 million in one year. Then, he went to prison. This week, the President pardoned him. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
From our daily podcast The Indicator: How Amazon Prime packages reach you so damn fast? And why Lancaster, PA became the refugee capital of America?
A mysterious woman promises a financial revolution. That promise leads to greed, corruption and... a beauty pageant. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We're sending valentines to books, ideas, and other stuff we love. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A farmer in California built an empire dealing raw milk. And then the Feds showed up. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
How fast is the world really changing? The answer affects everything from how we live, to whether robots really will take all our jobs. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
In Barbuda, land isn't a thing you buy. It's something you just... have. Put up a fence and it's yours. But all that might change. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We re-engineer a restaurant with a consultant so good, she can move a table a few inches, and make thousands of dollars. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
You may be owed money. The government may decide to just use it. So we go looking for it inside a little-known "lost and found" of forgotten fortunes. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Our friends at Throughline dive into the life of Vladimir Putin and try to understand how he became Russia's new "tsar." | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We team up with Vox's The Impact, to tell the story of how one man changed the way Germany – and arguably the world – uses energy. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We are dedicating an entire show to billboards: good and old-fashioned, or fancy and high-tech. And we put up our own. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We went to the American Economic Association's annual conference and asked: What's the most useful idea in economics? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Free is cool, but it can backfire. On today's show, what happens when you take something that's free and give it a price. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Four lessons for creating fairness from a big race in New York. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Inflation in Brazil was out of control for a decade. Four former drinking buddies from grad school fixed it. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A lot can happen after we put an episode out into the world. In The Rest Of The Story, we check-in on stories we've reported. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here
In April, 7,000 TV writers across the U.S. fired their agents. All on the same day. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Tom Whitwell made an amazing list of 52 things he learned this year. We dig into our favorite items. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
When air traffic controllers went on strike in 1981, Reagan gave them 48 hours to return. Labor would never be the same. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Getting paid twice a month is like loaning money to your boss. What if you got paid every day? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
The two biggest handbell companies in the world have been locked in a feud for decades. Why? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
People have been arguing over the constitutionality of wealth taxes since 1794, when Washington put a tax on carriages.| Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Where there are casinos, there are people trying to cheat. And now, they're using iPhones. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Blackbeard, a filmmaker, and a fight between two powerful forces in American law. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
In the 1600s, a good spice rub was the ultimate display of wealth. People would risk their lives for a sack of cloves. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We've heard a lot about illegal foreign meddling in the United States elections. But what about legal foreign participation? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
7 million Americans are at least 3 months behind on car payments. It's a record but is it a crisis? | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Denmark is a big exporter of human sperm. And mad cow disease may have helped. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Snakebites are common but antivenom is expensive to develop. So a doctor goes to extreme lengths to find a solution. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Today on the show, economist Tyler Cowen rates the NBA, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, the humanities, your neighbors, and more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A free-love commune of perfectionists in upstate New York embraced the free market, and became a blockbuster brand. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A hundred years ago, economist Arthur Cecil Pigou explained how to tax things like pollution. Countries are starting to do it. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A Halloween journey into the economists' worst nightmare, an endless time loop of recession after recession after... | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Income pools could change the way baseball players, and maybe the rest of us, think about how we get paid. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Fast food delivery is threatening the french fry. So a band of potato scientists go to work. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
A man in Texas had a dream: To build a whole new kind of city, with no property tax, no debt, and a whole lot of freedom. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Charlie Shrem went from living in his parents' basement, to bitcoin millionaire, to federal prison in just a few years. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Sometimes we forget to mention something. And our listeners always let us know. Today on the show, we make good. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Two years ago, we built a machine that bought and sold stocks automatically based on President Trump's tweets. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
The risk-addicted investor who made WeWork possible and changed the way startups work. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Investors can fund lawsuits for profit, which gives more people access to the courts. But some worry it will warp the justice system. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
We jog to New Jersey to bet on tennis, we solve a mystery in Las Vegas, and we venture into the world of video game loot. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
When India suddenly got rid of most of its cash, in an effort to end corruption and modernize its economy, chaos ensued. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
All over the world, interest rates are very, very low. In some places, they're negative: you lend out money, and get less back. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Strikes these days are pretty boring. But they weren't always like this. In the past, strikers risked their lives. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Hear what ordinary people told Studs Terkel about their jobs in the 70s — and what they have to say now. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
The hidden economy of producers buying and selling sonic snippets, texting each other beats, and angling for royalties. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Sometimes the way to help yourself is to help your enemy. After WWII, the U.S. launched what might be the most successful intervention in history, rebuilding Germany and also the rest of Western Europe. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Every dollar bill in the world comes from the same paper mill in Massachusetts. Today on the show, we get a front-row seat to the dollar-making process. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
In the 90s, the government ran an experiment: What happens if we move people out of high-poverty neighborhoods and into low-poverty ones? Housing policy as hope? The results surprised them. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Kenny takes Jacob on a nerdy quest to find the "typical American." Naturally, it ends up harder—and nerdier—than we planned, and the answer is more subtle than we expected. | Subscribe to our newsletter here.
The top producer of Top Chef helps us spice up this food edition of listener questions. How do you master the salad bar? Why do Americans refrigerate eggs? The story of Choco Pies and more. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
An inverted yield curve has predicted recessions for the past six decades. The curve is inverted right now. What does that tell us? | Subscribe to our newsletter here.
Helium is so special, and so rare, that the U.S. government once tried to buy it all up. And hide it. But the government's helium stockpile is running low. And we need it for MRI machines and NASA rockets.
For a long time, only rich people could afford to put solar panels on the roof. Not anymore. Here's what changed.
Elephants are in danger. Counting them is crucial to saving them. But they're hard to see in the rainforest. So scientists are enlisting the help of AI technology.
A notorious con artist offered Felipe an IT job. He took the job —and tried to con the con man. | Plus, listen to a full double feature all about cons here.
Scientists have studied twins for years, hoping to figure out how big a role genes play in human behavior. Our very own pair of twin reporters are on the case.
Everyone said betting against the entire stock market was a terrible idea. We did it anyway. Today, we find out the results, and revisit the first short ever done in the 17th century.
Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people and bet against something people love.
Elizabeth Warren wants to tax the wealth of the mega-rich to help fix inequality. Europe tried this, and failed. Can it work in the U.S.?
In 1960, a 12-year-old boy left mainland China, hidden in the bottom of a fishing boat. He later became one of Hong Kong's richest people. His story is the story of Hong Kong.
Two highlights from our daily podcast, The Indicator, about houses. A plan to lower rents pits state against city, and a private firefighter breaks down his business for us. | Subscribe to our weekly newsletter here.
Cities might be picking up your recyclables, but there is a very good chance they aren't being recycled. And that might be a good thing...if you really care about the planet. Part two of a two-part series. ⎸Subscribe to our newsletter here.
In 1987, an Alabama man had an idea. So he made a deal with the mob. And ended up with 3,186 tons of trash no landfill would take. This is the accidental birth of recycling in the U.S. ⎸Subscribe to our newsletter here.
China is building a high-tech surveillance state to capture minorities' every move and word. We go inside it and find that some Americans are involved. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter npr.org/planetmoneynewsletter
A farmer in Georgia became more in tune with nature. Then eagles started killing his chickens. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter: npr.org/planetmoneynewsletter
Teachers made a deal with the Department of Education. They kept their end of the bargain. Why didn't the government?
Accidentally sending $1,500 to a stranger on Venmo reveals just how hard it is to get your money back in the new economy.
Three stories: A tire-booting vigilante, a surge price conspiracy, and the civil rights fight over parking tickets.
The economic recovery turns 10 this month. Don't get too comfortable. There's plenty to be worried about.
Big cities used to be the land of opportunity for most people. But with changes in work, some economists are wondering: Are cities overrated?
Gyms don't want you to workout. Or at least, not often. It's better for business that way. Economics explains why.
People didn't always know what time it was. But in the nineteenth century, a high school principal, a scientist, and a railroad bureaucrat synchronized the nation.
In Japan, salmon used to be garbage fish. Today, it's a delicacy. How one Norwegian with a lot of extra fish changed the tastes of a nation.
Sometimes an economy can get so strong the power dynamic between bosses and workers flips: Full employment. Are we there yet?
Jordan Thomas is a lawyer who represents some of Wall Street's biggest whistleblowers. The life that led him here is extraordinary.
In which someone runs a science experiment on an actual election, on actual voters, to test the persuasive power of ethically sketchy methods.
After Donald Trump's companies declared four bankruptcies, several major banks stopped loaning him money. But Deutsche Bank didn't.
From renting hotels to a jobs report-like census in the night, we look at ways communities are helping the homeless.
The story of an innovation that changed the way the world works, and of the man who made this innovation possible: Luca Pacioli.
James Holzhauer took data, probability and a lot of practice with a fake buzzer, and turned it into a fortune on a game show.
We answer a bunch of the questions you asked — and even one you *didn't* ask.
A young economist holds a mirror up to her field. And starts a national conversation about women in economics.
For 70 years, the price of a bottle of Coca-Cola stayed a nickel. Why? The answer includes a half a million vending machines and a 7.5 cent coin.
Every six hours a new dollar store opens in the U.S. Are they killing grocery stores?
The remarkable story of the online "CAPTCHA" tests we've all taken to prove that we're not robots.
The Indicator from Planet Money explores trade wars, peanuts, hurricanes, and happiness.
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.
How a ruthless dictator, and a bunch of economists known as the Chicago Boys, took Chile from socialism to capitalism.
In the late 1950s and early '60s a handful of Chilean students went to study economics at the University of Chicago. What they learned changed their country.
Copyrighting comedy is expensive. So comedians have devised an informal system of sanctions to protect their jokes from theft. Sometimes it works.
Joe Bankman, professor at Stanford, figured out a way to make filing your taxes easy and painless. Then the tax lobby found out about it.
Some colleges are offering students a new way to pay. It's not a scholarship. It's not a loan. It's more like the students are selling stock in themselves.
The story behind two sneaky forces that drive us to buy more products, more often: Planned obsolescence and psychological obsolescence.
There's an industry of people working to eliminate bad police behavior. They're not activists or protestors. They're insurers.
Today's show is about the fickle market for art. What makes a dead shark cost $12 million, and a photo of steel wool that looks like a tornado cost only $1,265?
When an American company named ABRO learns their goods are being counterfeited in China, they start their own trade war.
The internet was supposed to get rid of middlemen--but instead they are taking over the global economy.
Thieves are stealing billions of dollars worth of gasoline in Mexico. The President is taking drastic action to cut them off, and it comes at a serious cost. Content warning: Audio of deadly pipeline explosion.
The story of an NBA All-Star and an experiment: To make a desirable basketball shoe cheap enough for anyone.
The story of the day the Federal Reserve got its independence and the fight—an actual physical fight—to keep it.
Airbnb has changed New Orleans. And now landlords and preservationists are fighting over the future of the city.
What does the rise of dominant tech companies say about competition and the state of antitrust law? Third in a series.
How Robert Bork won the fight over the very meaning of competition in America, and paved the way for some of the biggest companies we've ever seen.
At the turn of the 20th century, Ida Tarbell investigated John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. What she discovered changed the economy of the United States.
To catch drug traffickers, the U.S. government tried something it had never tried before. It set up and ran a fake offshore bank for money laundering. Fake name. Fake employees. Real drug money.
We give a shout out to the stuff we've been obsessing over in the office — those stories that were so good, we wished we had thought of them ourselves.
In December, a commercial flight had to make an emergency landing in Iran. They discovered that landing there would be easy. Getting out – much, much harder.
Five years ago, two sides met on our show to make a bet about the future of bitcoin. Today, we announce the winner.
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?
Today on the show, we take on one of life's most vexing problems: Sharing.
John Bogle died last week. His creation — the index fund — changed investing. Today, how his invention set off a million dollar bet between some of the biggest brains on Wall Street, including Warren Buffett.
In 2010, Panera launched several pay-what-you-want cafes. On today's show: How this charitable experiment worked out.
In 1879, Congress and the President were locked in a battle over the rights of African-Americans. It led to the first government shutdown.
On today's show we answer questions about silver dollars, Venmo, and Brexit. Why? Because you asked!
We go inside a professional poker tournament, where some of the smartest betting takes place behind the scenes.
Hackers are an expensive headache for companies. But there might be a simple economic fix.
People are the engine that fuels an economy. But what happens when you start running out of people?
We check in on some stories we did this year to see what's changed. Find a full list of the episodes we referenced at our website, NPR.org/money.
How the card game "Magic: The Gathering" deflated a speculative bubble. You can support our show at donate.npr.org/planetmoney.
Most products in this world are vulnerable to creative destruction: as new products are developed, they make old ones obsolete. But there are some exceptions — products that persist, resisting change while economic evolution continues without them. For instance: the graphing calculator. (This episode is from our other podcast, The Indicator from Planet Money. Subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts.)
Charles Dickens wanted to pick a fight with economists. So he invented Ebenezer Scrooge. But did he get it all right? Also: If you want to support our show, head over to donate.npr.org/planetmoney. We appreciate it.
How a professor invented a formula for synthesizing cannabinoids and unintentionally helped launch a drug revolution.
Ricardo Hausmann, a Harvard-based Venezuelan economist, has constructed his own indicator, one that captures the horrifying scale of the economic catastrophe in Venezuela. (This episode is from our other podcast, The Indicator. Subscribe to it wherever you get your podcasts.)
A truce in the U.S.-China trade war seemed close. The leaders of China and the United States were meeting to discuss a fix. And then arrests started. It got even more confusing, so today, we call up our man on the ground in Shanghai to make sense of it all. The key to understanding the latest turn in the trade war centers around a giant company most Americans haven't heard of called Huawei. Its rise traces the rise of China's economy and Chinese-style capitalism.
We try to figure out what makes cents.
It feels like all of New York City is arguing about Amazon's new office in Queens. But what do the people in Long Island City think?
The U.S. and Europe just can't agree on car safety standards. That puts car companies in a weird position, makes cars cost more and just seems kind of random and wasteful.
Their plan was dangerous, risky, and extremely unpopular. But America copied them anyway. Today on the show: how a tiny country on the other side of the world changed how America runs its economy.
We talk to Kid Rock about how he tried to cut scalpers out of the business — and still sell cheap tickets to his shows.
For 70 years, a Coca-Cola cost a nickel. The price didn't change. How is that even possible? You can also watch the video here: https://youtu.be/Bcz0BJGEVUY
We go deep inside the market for online mugshots. Is it extortion? Or is it a First Amendment right?
You get what you measure. Work expands to fill the time allotted. Who comes up with this stuff? And is it true?
A quick history of slow credit cards. This video also available here: https://youtu.be/2IksSNiEo2g
A bunch of you asked why so many cities threw billions in tax breaks at Amazon. It reminded us of an episode we did in 2016.
How World Patent Marketing stole nearly $26 million. And how the acting attorney general was involved.
If you die in America, chances are the cemetery is going to promise to maintain your grave forever. Americans take this for granted, but it's a wacky, wild promise that we maybe should not be making. You can also watch this video here: https://youtu.be/xYDYDThuJe4
To take advantage of the surprising benefits provided by an interlocked economic system on the other side.
The Falcons are trying something radical: Making their food cheaper. It could break stadium economics.
For most of human history, you had to haggle over prices before you could buy something. Then came the idea of the price tag.
Seattle's radical solution to big money in politics: Flood elections with even more money.
Something spooky has been happening here at Planet Money.
We're kicking off a quick season of our bonus video series, Planet Money Shorts. Watch how apples became brands, and started being more than delicious.
China is trying a bold experiment to help people trust each other more: The social credit score. Will it work? Does it go too far?
The first lottery was a royal affair with poems, golden flatware and invited criminals. Also, how someone won the lottery over and over.
President Trump promised to slash regulations. How has he done?
We try to tell the difference between correlation and causation.
Seth Frotman worked overseeing student loans for the government. He saw things that made him quit, and tell all.
Bill Nordhaus just won the economics Nobel. In this show: He shows how history of light is the history of economic growth — of things getting faster, cheaper, and more efficient.
We follow writer Oliver Bullough as he explores how stolen money moves around the world, and what that might mean for democracies.
Ever seen one of those signs asking if you want to work from home? We find out what happens when you call.
We tell the story of a massive crackdown on asylum fraud, and the fallout.
We rethink everything we know about government spending, taxes, the nature of money... All of it.
We propose small fixes for baseball, weddings, salary negotiations and buying your morning coffee. Warning: They may be too rational.
How one man took the onion market hostage.
We crash a party of central bankers to get an answer to one of the biggest economic questions of our time.
In honor of our 10th anniversary, we revisit our very first episode.
What a hole-in-one gone awry says about the state of charity.
Subaru's sales had been slumping for years. Then they went straight to their biggest fans: Lesbians.
That time we accidentally created a cheese surplus so large it had to be stored in a ginormous cave.
California just did away with cash bail. But credit where credit is due. New Jersey already tried something similar.
When food makes people sick all around the country, an army of germ detectives jumps into action.
Today on the show: Could New Jersey become the next Napa?
Six states. Three days. One ugly cookie jar. Today on the show: Yard sale!
The line between trash and recycling is moving a lot these days. It's a tough time to be a recycler.
You have a lot of questions... about tariffs, unemployment rates, and RV dealerships, to name a few. We have answers.
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.
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.
Is there a secretive postal organization fixing international shipping rates, and giving American businesses a bad deal?
There's a simple way to solve the housing crisis in U.S. cities. Only problem is, almost everybody hates it.
What happens when a group of economists applies the number one rule of economics... to number two?
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?
Tax carbon emissions. That's basically the whole plan. What's the hold up?
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.
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.
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.
It takes strategy and skill to sell snacks at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.
A pesticide wreaks havoc. A listener needs a bitcoin detective. And the search for the rarest economic good continues.
Fake product reviews are wrecking the internet. But help is on the way: From a bodybuilding fake review hunter.
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.
Politicians have argued for decades that CEOs are overpaid. But there's this precise moment in the 1990s when CEO pay suddenly shot up. We find out what happened.
President Trump says China is stealing U.S. technology. So we looked into one case. And things got a little complicated.
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.
The medical world has been trying to cure color blindness for centuries. Then a glass scientist figured it out. By accident.
When Florida outlawed partisan gerrymandering, politicians tried to sneak it back in...in disguise.
Meet Sue, the dinosaur who sparked a gold rush for fossils buried in the badlands of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
Meet the man who figured out how to reshape national politics by making tiny investments in the smallest of places.
In game theory, sometimes the best way to win, is to lose.
Today on the show: A small town stakes its future on writing, directing, and starring in a musical.
Gene Freidman built a taxi empire. We visited him before he was in legal trouble.
The World Trade Organization: Can't live with it, hard to crush your trade opponents without it.
Class actions run from big civil rights cases to arguments about pepper. Are they noble, or silly?
We meet the man who invented duty free shopping and find out if these tax free stores are really saving us any money.
Today on the show: A chicken index, some Wall Street investors, and an unlikely whistle-blower.
California is way more than Hollywood. Today on the show, we look at what else is going on in this powerhouse state economy.
Today on the show: How a cheese cartel abandoned the rules of economics and convinced the world to eat fondue.
Unordered trinkets have been arriving at homes around the country. We try to find out why.
Today on the show: the economics of drought, and why the rational thing to do in California right now is use more water.
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.)
Why are used car commercials so annoying? Meet the original sinner.
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.
Today on the show: how an economic fix helped made the deadliest job in America safer, and why people are angry about it.
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?
What exactly would happen if you didn't pay your taxes? Today on the show, we follow one man who did just that.
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.
What happens when you put someone who wants to close an agency, in charge of that agency? Today on the show, we find out.
A man who got caught insider trading explains everything — what he did, how he did it, and why.
Planet Money joins the gold rush 170 years late. And the rules are still about the same. How did that happen?
What do sugar farmers have against candy? A lot, according to candy manufacturers.
How did the social security number become the most important identifier in the United States? And is that even a good idea?
Two guys from different ends of the political spectrum agree that the economy is rigged. And they think they know who's responsible.
There's something wrong with the way we're doing science. Today on the show, we find out how to fix it.
We ponder the price of chicken, safe haven currencies, and the cash value of coupons. Why? Because you asked.
What do human blood, the conservative tax plan, and beer hops tell us about the world? Find out in today's episode.
Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them?
How do you reinvent something as simple as the wooden shipping pallet?
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?
If you can't beat 'em, send 'em a valentine.
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.
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.
How does the market for Super Bowl tickets work? And why did it collapse in 2015?
Billionaires, diplomats, thinkfluencers. This is the Davos everyone hears about. Today on the show, we take you to a different Davos.
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?
Douglas Bruce had a bold vision for Colorado.
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.
The wild ginseng market has gone crazy. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why.
Will 3-D printing make gun control impossible?
Why does it take days to send money electronically?
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.
What does a country with no debt look like? To find out, we went back to the United States in 1835.
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.
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.
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.)
Congress just passed the largest tax overhaul in decades. We dig in.
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.
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.
Five reporters go to the New York Produce Show and Conference, each on a mission.
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.
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.
We've got a satellite. We got a rocket. We're heading to the launch pad.
We found a satellite. We tried to figure out what it would do. Now we need to choose our rocket.
We hitched a ride on a satellite. Now we have to figure out what we're going to do up there.
We really are going to space.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Once a year, teenagers from across the country team up and compete to run the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Why do smart people make dumb decisions? Figuring that out won Richard Thaler a Nobel Prize.
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.
In any other industry, it's illegal for a group of companies to get together and cap wages. What makes the NCAA different?
Today on the show: death. We have four stories about how people prepare for death and what they leave behind for the living.
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.
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.
Republicans are proposing big changes to the corporate income tax. Trillions of dollars are at stake. Here's what it all means.
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.
It might just be the secret weapon of the U.S. economy.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
We look at three time bombs Congress is sitting on: The federal budget, the debt ceiling, and DREAMers.
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.
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.
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.
Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine's fight against fake news teach the US?
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.
Your phone rings--it looks like your neighbor's calling. But instead, it's the creepiest scam of the year.
Costco made shopping harder, and customers loved it. Now a new company is taking the Costco experience to new extremes.
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.
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.
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.
We answer one of the most important questions in finance: What actually happens at the end of Trading Places?
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.
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.
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.
On today's show: The story of two guys who tried to cut the pay of a CEO at a small pneumatic tool company.
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.
Bail is broken. In New Jersey, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges banded together to try a dramatic solution: Blow it up.
We run through the entire federal budget — in 10 minutes. More than $6 billion per second. Go.
We visit a company where people work on figuring out how to make stuff get cheaper.
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.
We visited a libertarian summer paradise. What we found: People paying in gold. Exotic bacon dishes. A nine-year-old selling alcohol.
Flip-floppers, this one's for you. Changing your mind is hard, but it's one of the smartest things you can do.
What happens when an unstoppable shrimp meets an unmovable senator? A researcher goes to Washington to defend herself, her shrimp, and science itself.
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.
Today on the show, a businessman goes to prison, and decides he is going to disrupt the biggest captive market in America.
How a free-love commune embraced the free market and became a blockbuster brand.
The president's budget promises 3% growth. Is that doable? Yes, but he won't like what it would take.
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.
A man goes looking for the invisible wall that traps poor people in poverty. Finding it almost gets him killed.
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.
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.
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.
The creation of the electronic spreadsheet transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that.