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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.

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#854: The New Socialists

20.07.2018
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?

#472: The One-Page Plan To Fix Global Warming Revisited

18.07.2018
Tax carbon emissions. That's basically the whole plan. What's the hold up?

#853: Peak Sand

14.07.2018
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.

#427: LeBron James Is Still Underpaid

11.07.2018
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.

#852: Two Summer Indicators

06.07.2018
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 worki...

#700: Peanuts And Cracker Jack

04.07.2018
It takes strategy and skill to sell snacks at a baseball game. Meet the hot dog vending legend of Fenway Park.

#851: The Rest Of The Story Summer 2018

30.06.2018
A pesticide wreaks havoc. A listener needs a bitcoin detective. And the search for the rarest economic good continues.

#850: The Fake Review Hunter

27.06.2018
Fake product reviews are wrecking the internet. But help is on the way: From a bodybuilding fake review hunter.

VIDEO: The Chicken Tax

25.06.2018
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.

#682: When CEO Pay Exploded

22.06.2018
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.

#849: It Takes Two To Make A Trade War Fight

20.06.2018
President Trump says China is stealing U.S. technology. So we looked into one case. And things got a little complicated.

#848: The World's Biggest Battery

15.06.2018
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.

#847: Inventing Accidents

13.06.2018
The medical world has been trying to cure color blindness for centuries. Then a glass scientist figured it out. By accident.

#846: Ungerrymandering Florida

09.06.2018
When Florida outlawed partisan gerrymandering, politicians tried to sneak it back in...in disguise.

#660: The T-Rex In My Backyard

06.06.2018
Meet Sue, the dinosaur who sparked a gold rush for fossils buried in the badlands of North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

#845: REDMAP

02.06.2018
Meet the man who figured out how to reshape national politics by making tiny investments in the smallest of places.

#844: Nice Game

31.05.2018
In game theory, sometimes the best way to win, is to lose.

#843: Swamp Gravy

25.05.2018
Today on the show: A small town stakes its future on writing, directing, and starring in a musical.

#643: The Taxi King

23.05.2018
Gene Freidman built a taxi empire. We visited him before he was in legal trouble.

#842: Showdown at the WTO

18.05.2018
The World Trade Organization: Can't live with it, hard to crush your trade opponents without it.

#696: Class Action

16.05.2018
Class actions run from big civil rights cases to arguments about pepper. Are they noble, or silly?

#841: The Land Of Duty Free

12.05.2018
We meet the man who invented duty free shopping and find out if these tax free stores are really saving us any money.

#840: Fixing Chicken

10.05.2018
Today on the show: A chicken index, some Wall Street investors, and an unlikely whistle-blower.

#839: The Indicator Goes To California

04.05.2018
California is way more than Hollywood. Today on the show, we look at what else is going on in this powerhouse state economy.

#575: The Fondue Conspiracy

02.05.2018
Today on the show: How a cheese cartel abandoned the rules of economics and convinced the world to eat fondue.

#838: A Series of Mysterious Packages

27.04.2018
Unordered trinkets have been arriving at homes around the country. We try to find out why.

#640: The Bottom Of The Well

26.04.2018
Today on the show: the economics of drought, and why the rational thing to do in California right now is use more water.

#837: The Belt, The Road And The Money

21.04.2018
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 ...

#836: The Rational Madness Of The Used Car Salesman

19.04.2018
Why are used car commercials so annoying? Meet the original sinner.

#835: Tariffied

14.04.2018
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.

#661: The Less Deadly Catch

12.04.2018
Today on the show: how an economic fix helped made the deadliest job in America safer, and why people are angry about it.

#834: NDA Tell-All

07.04.2018
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?

#685: Larry vs. The IRS

05.04.2018
What exactly would happen if you didn't pay your taxes? Today on the show, we follow one man who did just that.

#833: Worst. Tariffs. Ever.

30.03.2018
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.

#832: Mulvaney Vs The CFPB

29.03.2018
What happens when you put someone who wants to close an agency, in charge of that agency? Today on the show, we find out.

#671: An Insider Trader Tells All

23.03.2018
A man who got caught insider trading explains everything — what he did, how he did it, and why.

#831: The Golden Rules

21.03.2018
Planet Money joins the gold rush 170 years late. And the rules are still about the same. How did that happen?

#454: The Lollipop War

16.03.2018
What do sugar farmers have against candy? A lot, according to candy manufacturers.

#830: XXX-XX-XXXX

14.03.2018
How did the social security number become the most important identifier in the United States? And is that even a good idea?

#829: Rigging The Economy

09.03.2018
Two guys from different ends of the political spectrum agree that the economy is rigged. And they think they know who's responsible.

#677: The Experiment Experiment

07.03.2018
There's something wrong with the way we're doing science. Today on the show, we find out how to fix it.

#828: You Asked For More

02.03.2018
We ponder the price of chicken, safe haven currencies, and the cash value of coupons. Why? Because you asked.

#827: Three Indicators

28.02.2018
What do human blood, the conservative tax plan, and beer hops tell us about the world? Find out in today's episode.

#826: The Vodka Proof

23.02.2018
Vodka is the best selling spirit in the United States, and there are zillions of brands. But is there any difference between them?

#545: The Blue Pallet

21.02.2018
How do you reinvent something as simple as the wooden shipping pallet?

#825: Who Started The Wildfire

16.02.2018
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?

#824: Our Valentines

14.02.2018
If you can't beat 'em, send 'em a valentine.

#823: Planet Monet

09.02.2018
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.

#337: The Secret Document that Transformed China

07.02.2018
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.

#822: The Shortest Super Bowl

03.02.2018
How does the market for Super Bowl tickets work? And why did it collapse in 2015?

#821: The Other Davos

01.02.2018
Billionaires, diplomats, thinkfluencers. This is the Davos everyone hears about. Today on the show, we take you to a different Davos.

#820: P Is For Phosphorus

26.01.2018
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?

#819: Tax Me If You Can

25.01.2018
Douglas Bruce had a bold vision for Colorado.

#508: A Bet On The Future Of Humanity

19.01.2018
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.

#818: The Problem Of The Root

18.01.2018
The wild ginseng market has gone crazy. We go to a farm hidden in the Appalachian mountains to find out why.

#817: The Gun Man

13.01.2018
Will 3-D printing make gun control impossible?

#489: The Invisible Plumbing Of Our Economy

11.01.2018
Why does it take days to send money electronically?

#816: Bitcoin Losers

06.01.2018
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.

#273: When The U.S. Paid Off The Entire National Debt

03.01.2018
What does a country with no debt look like? To find out, we went back to the United States in 1835.

#815: The Rest of the Story 2017

29.12.2017
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...

#544: The M&M Anomaly

27.12.2017
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.

BONUS INDICATOR: How Airfare Is Changing

25.12.2017
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 y...

#814: The Tax Plan Is Huge

22.12.2017
Congress just passed the largest tax overhaul in decades. We dig in.

#670: The Santa Suit

20.12.2017
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.

BONUS INDICATOR: Forget Neutrality

19.12.2017
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...

#813: The Produce Show

16.12.2017
Five reporters go to the New York Produce Show and Conference, each on a mission.

#812: High Rise, Low Returns

14.12.2017
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.

BONUS: The Indicator, From Planet Money

12.12.2017
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 d...

SPACE 4: 3 2 1

09.12.2017
We've got a satellite. We got a rocket. We're heading to the launch pad.

SPACE 3: Rocket Shopping

07.12.2017
We found a satellite. We tried to figure out what it would do. Now we need to choose our rocket.

SPACE 2: Wait, Why Are We Going To Space?

02.12.2017
We hitched a ride on a satellite. Now we have to figure out what we're going to do up there.

SPACE 1: We're Going To Space

30.11.2017
We really are going to space.

#807: Anatomy of a Hustle

24.11.2017
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.

#665: The Free Food Market

22.11.2017
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.

#806: Walmart's Pickle

17.11.2017
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!

#805: War And Peace And Cows

15.11.2017
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.

#672: Bagging the Birkin

10.11.2017
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.

#804: Your Cell Phone's A Snitch

08.11.2017
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.

#369: If Teens Ran the Fed

03.11.2017
Once a year, teenagers from across the country team up and compete to run the U.S. Federal Reserve.

#803: Nudge, Nudge, Nobel

01.11.2017
Why do smart people make dumb decisions? Figuring that out won Richard Thaler a Nobel Prize.

#802: The Hotel at the Center of the World

28.10.2017
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.

#579: Is the NCAA An Illegal Cartel?

25.10.2017
In any other industry, it's illegal for a group of companies to get together and cap wages. What makes the NCAA different?

#801: The Death Show

21.10.2017
Today on the show: death. We have four stories about how people prepare for death and what they leave behind for the living.

#581: Free Money

18.10.2017
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 sin...

#800: North Korea's Capitalists

14.10.2017
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...

#799: Corporate! Income! Tax!

12.10.2017
Republicans are proposing big changes to the corporate income tax. Trillions of dollars are at stake. Here's what it all means.

#798: Bad Credit Bureau

07.10.2017
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.

#648: The Benefits of Bankruptcy

04.10.2017
It might just be the secret weapon of the U.S. economy.

#797: Flood Money

30.09.2017
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?

#524: Mr Jones' Act

28.09.2017
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.

#796: The Basic Income Experiment

23.09.2017
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.

#795: Is Record Breaking Broken?

20.09.2017
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.

#794: How To Make It In The Music Business

16.09.2017
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.

#647: Hard Work Is Irrelevant

14.09.2017
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?

#793: This Week in Time Bombs

09.09.2017
We look at three time bombs Congress is sitting on: The federal budget, the debt ceiling, and DREAMers.

#628: This Ad's For You

06.09.2017
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.

#792: The Ransom Problem

02.09.2017
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.

#791: Tips From Spies

31.08.2017
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.

#790: Rough Translation in Ukraine

25.08.2017
Fake news from Russia helped spark a real war in Ukraine. What can Ukraine's fight against fake news teach the US?

#652: The Hydrox Resurrection

23.08.2017
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.