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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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#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.

#789: Robocall Invasion

18.08.2017
Your phone rings--it looks like your neighbor's calling. But instead, it's the creepiest scam of the year.

#653: The Anti-Store

16.08.2017
Costco made shopping harder, and customers loved it. Now a new company is taking the Costco experience to new extremes.

#788: Robert And Kenny Go To The Fair

12.08.2017
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.

#399: Can You Patent a Steak?

09.08.2017
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.

#787: Google Is Big. Is That Bad?

04.08.2017
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.

#471: The Eddie Murphy Rule

02.08.2017
We answer one of the most important questions in finance: What actually happens at the end of Trading Places?

#786: Rest of the Story 2017, Vol. 1

28.07.2017
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.

#629: Buy Low, Sell Prime

26.07.2017
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.

#785: The Starbury

21.07.2017
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.

#594: Board Games

20.07.2017
On today's show: The story of two guys who tried to cut the pay of a CEO at a small pneumatic tool company.

#784: Meeting The Russians

15.07.2017
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.

#783: New Jersey Bails Out

12.07.2017
Bail is broken. In New Jersey, defense attorneys, prosecutors, and judges banded together to try a dramatic solution: Blow it up.

#782: Budget Time

07.07.2017
We run through the entire federal budget — in 10 minutes. More than $6 billion per second. Go.

#586: How Stuff Gets Cheaper

05.07.2017
We visit a company where people work on figuring out how to make stuff get cheaper.

#781: The Money Fixers

30.06.2017
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.

#286: Libertarian Summer Camp

28.06.2017
We visited a libertarian summer paradise. What we found: People paying in gold. Exotic bacon dishes. A nine-year-old selling alcohol.

#780: On Second Thought

23.06.2017
Flip-floppers, this one's for you. Changing your mind is hard, but it's one of the smartest things you can do.

#779: Shrimp Fight Club

22.06.2017
What happens when an unstoppable shrimp meets an unmovable senator? A researcher goes to Washington to defend herself, her shrimp, and science itself.

#778: What the Falcon's Up With Qatar?

17.06.2017
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.

#610: The Prisoner's Solution

14.06.2017
Today on the show, a businessman goes to prison, and decides he is going to disrupt the biggest captive market in America.

#777: Free Love, Free Market

10.06.2017
How a free-love commune embraced the free market and became a blockbuster brand.

#776: Here We Grow Again

08.06.2017
The president's budget promises 3% growth. Is that doable? Yes, but he won't like what it would take.

#775: The Pigweed Killer

03.06.2017
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.

#599: The Invisible Wall

31.05.2017
A man goes looking for the invisible wall that traps poor people in poverty. Finding it almost gets him killed.

#774: Unspeakable Trademark

26.05.2017
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.

#773: Slot Flaws Scofflaws

24.05.2017
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.

#772: Small Change

19.05.2017
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.

#606: Spreadsheets!

17.05.2017
The creation of the electronic spreadsheet transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that.

#771: When India's Cash Disappeared, Part Two

13.05.2017
What happened when India's Prime Minister declared most of the paper money in India worthless? We travel to India to see what happened after the country's demonetization.

#770: When India's Cash Disappeared, Part One

11.05.2017
Something incredible happened in India about six months ago. The government declared most of the paper money invalid. Demonetization they called it. Today, we meet the man who came up with the plan.

#769: Speed Dating For Economists

06.05.2017
We visit a job market created by economists, for economists. It's a hyper-efficient, optimized system, tested by game theorists, tweaked by a Nobel Prize winner, but it requires comfortable shoes.

#768: A Chat With Ben Bernanke

04.05.2017
Ten years ago, two little-known funds at Bear Stearns blew up, and the financial crisis was on its way. Today, we ask the person at the center of it all, former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, why it ha...

#553: The Dollar At The Center Of The World

28.04.2017
Today on the show, how a New Hampshire hotel filled with boozing economists saved the global economy.

#767: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part Two

27.04.2017
In 1838, the Maryland Jesuits sold 272 people, slaves, to pay the debts of Georgetown University. We talk with the descendants about what - if anything - they're owed.

#766: Georgetown, Louisiana, Part One

22.04.2017
For the residents of a small Louisiana town, there's always been a question about their past: How'd they get there? Solving the mystery only raised more questions.

#765: The Holiday Industrial Complex

19.04.2017
Where do holidays like National Potato Chip Day and Argyle Day come from? We trace the roots of one made-up holiday until we find out who is running the global holiday machine.

#381: When Business Loves Regulation

14.04.2017
One in three American jobs require a license. Today on the show, why those licensing rules hurt the U.S. economy.

#764: Pub In A Box

13.04.2017
One man figured out how to reproduce the magic of an Irish pub, and ship it in a container to anywhere in the world.

#763: BOTUS

07.04.2017
On today's show, we get in on the future of investing. We build an automated stock-trading bot. It analyzes the twitter feed of President Donald Trump, then trades stocks with real money. Our money...

#531: The Tough, The Sweet, The Nosy

05.04.2017
The tricks and mind games tax collectors use to get people to pay up.

#762: The Fine Print

01.04.2017
On today's show: Snuggies, printer toner, and a banking road trip. Three stories about what happens when you actually read the fine print.

#650: The Business Genius Behind Get Out

29.03.2017
Jason Blum makes a lot of movies and makes them cheap. So why are so many turning into blockbusters?

#761: The Bank War

25.03.2017
A populist president versus the most powerful banker in America.

#760: Tax Hero

23.03.2017
One professor had a way to make filing taxes easy and painless. It worked. People loved it. But then a big tax lobby heard about it...

#759: What's It Worth To You?

17.03.2017
Three short stories about putting a price on something hard to value precisely. We go from $4.66 under a pillow all the way up to $1 trillion across every inch of highway in America.