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Planet Money

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Planet Money is an award-winning podcast that explores the often complicated and complex world of economics and finance through engaging and thought-provoking storytelling. With a focus on bringing the economic concepts that impact our daily lives to a wider audience, Planet Money dives deep into topics such as trade policy, government spending, tax reform, and the role of technology in shaping the economy of the future. Hosted by a team of seasoned journalists, economists, and experts in the field, Planet Money delivers informative, insightful, and often entertaining perspectives on the forces that drive our global economy. Whether you're a student of economics or simply curious about the world around you, Planet Money is a must-listen podcast for anyone interested in understanding how money shapes our world.

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Episodes

Japan's Lost Decades

22m · Published 05 Apr 22:14
Last month, Japan's central bank raised interest rates for the first time in 17 years. That is a really big deal, because it means that one of the spookiest stories in modern economics might finally have an ending.
Back in the 1980s, Japan performed something of an economic miracle. It transformed itself into the number two economy in the world. From Walkmans to Toyotas, the U.S. was awash in Japanese imports. And Japanese companies went on a spending spree. Sony bought up Columbia Pictures. Mitsubishi became the new majority owners of Rockefeller Center.
But in the early 1990s, it all came to a sudden halt. Japan went from being one of the fastest growing countries in the world to one of the slowest. And this economic stagnation went on and on and on. For decades.
On this episode, the unnerving story of Japan's Lost Decades: How did one of the most advanced economies in the world just fall down one day — and not be able to get up? Japan's predicament changed our understanding of what can go wrong in a modern economy. And gave us some new tools to try and deal with it.
This episode was hosted by Jeff Guo. It was produced by Emma Peaslee and engineered by Cena Loffredo. It was edited by Molly Messick. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

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The real estate industry on trial

28m · Published 03 Apr 23:07
In 2019, Mike Ketchmark got a call. Mike is a lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, and his friend, Brandon Boulware, another lawyer, was calling about a case he wanted Mike to get involved with. Mike was an unusual choice - he's a personal injury lawyer, and this was going to be an antitrust case.
But Brandon knew Mike was great in front of a jury. And that he'd won huge settlements for his clients in the past.
So the lawyer friend drops by Mike's office, and pitches him the case. Rhonda and Scott Burnett had just sold their home for $250,000, and out of that amount, they had paid $15,000 in commission (plus a small fee), which was split between two real estate agents - even though they had hired only one. And the commission was high - 6%. Mike's friend said the whole thing seemed... suspicious. Maybe even illegal.
Mike agreed to take the case, a case that would soon become bigger than one about just what had happened to the Burnetts. It would become a fight about the way homes are bought and sold in the U.S. and challenge the way real estate agents have done business for more than 100 years.
This episode was hosted by Amanda Aronczyk and Keith Romer. It was produced by Willa Rubin, edited by Keith Romer, engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

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

23m · Published 29 Mar 17:13
There's been a lot of disagreement in Congress and in the country about whether the U.S. should continue to financially support the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.
Some taxpayers don't think the U.S. should give Ukraine any money to fight off Russia's invasion. And some taxpayers have concerns about how they might be funding weapons that have been used to kill civilians in Gaza. And there are questions about how much individual taxpayers contribute to war efforts, generally.
So in this episode, we attempt to do the math: The average taxpayers' contribution to Israel and Ukraine. It's not so simple. But in attempting to do this math, we get this window into the role of our tax dollars on foreign assistance, and how the U.S. sells weapons to other countries.
For links to some of the reports we looked at to report this episode, check out the episode page on NPR.org.
This episode was hosted by Sarah Gonzalez and Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. It was produced by Sam Yellowhorse Kesler and edited by Jess Jiang. It was fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and engineered by Robert Rodriguez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.

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The trouble with Table 101 (Update)

24m · Published 27 Mar 22:33
(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.
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What is Temu?

25m · Published 22 Mar 22:08
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.

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How Big Steel in the U.S. fell

22m · Published 20 Mar 07:00
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.

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The billion dollar war behind U.S. rum

23m · Published 15 Mar 23:14
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 — U.S. taxpayer dollars — into the pockets of big liquor companies instead.
This episode was hosted by Jeff Guo and Sarah Gonzalez. It was produced by James Sneed with help from Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Molly Messick, engineered by Cena Loffredo, and fact checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

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Wind boom, wind bust (Two Windicators)

16m · Published 13 Mar 22:42
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 Ritchey with engineering by Valentina Rodriguez Sanchez and James Willetts. They were fact-checked by Sierra Juarez and edited by Dave Blanchard and Kate Concannon.

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On the Oscars campaign trail

25m · Published 08 Mar 22:10
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.

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Is dynamic pricing coming to a supermarket near you?

25m · Published 06 Mar 23:16
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 was time for a change ... in pricing.
This episode was hosted by Amanda Aronczyk and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Willa Rubin and edited by Keith Romer. It was engineered by Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez.
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Planet Money has 541 episodes in total of non- explicit content. Total playtime is 221:17:11. The language of the podcast is English. This podcast has been added on June 16th 2022. It might contain more episodes than the ones shown here. It was last updated on April 9th, 2024 23:12.

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