Planet Money

NPR

Wanna see a trick? Give us any topic and we can tie it back to the economy. At Planet Money, we explore the forces that shape our lives and bring you along for the ride. Don't just understand the economy – understand the world.Wanna go deeper? Subscribe to Planet Money+ and get sponsor-free episodes of Planet Money, The Indicator, and Planet Money Summer School. Plus access to bonus content. It's a new way to support the show you love. Learn more at plus.npr.org/planetmoney

  • 25 minutes 12 seconds
    The hack that almost broke the internet
    Last month, the world narrowly avoided a cyberattack of stunning ambition. The targets were some of the most important computers on the planet. Computers that power the internet. Computers used by banks and airlines and even the military.

    What these computers had in common was that they all relied on open source software.

    A strange fact about modern life is that most of the computers responsible for it are running open source software. That is, software mostly written by unpaid, sometimes even anonymous volunteers. Some crucial open source programs are managed by just a single overworked programmer. And as the world learned last month, these programs can become attractive targets for hackers.

    In this case, the hackers had infiltrated a popular open source program called XZ. Slowly, over the course of two years, they transformed XZ into a secret backdoor. And if they hadn't been caught, they could have taken control of large swaths of the internet.

    On today's show, we get the story behind the XZ hack and what made it possible. How the hackers took advantage of the strange way we make modern software. And what that tells us about the economics of one of the most important industries in the world.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    17 May 2024, 10:35 pm
  • 18 minutes 51 seconds
    Why Gold? (Classic)
    In the past few months, the price of gold has gone way up – even hitting a new high last month at just over $2,400 per troy ounce.

    Gold has long had a shiny quality to it, literally and in the marketplace. And we wondered, why is that?

    Today on the show, we revisit a Planet Money classic episode: Why Gold? Jacob Goldstein and David Kestenbaum will peruse the periodic table of the elements with one goal in mind: to learn which element would really make the best money.

    This classic Planet Money episode was part of the Planet Money Buys Gold series, and was hosted by Jacob Goldstein and David Kestenbaum.

    This rerun was hosted by Sally Helm, produced by Willa Rubin, edited by Keith Romer, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in
    Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Always free at these links:
    Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, the NPR app or anywhere you get podcasts.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    15 May 2024, 9:56 pm
  • 30 minutes 55 seconds
    Zombie mortgages are coming back to life
    Karen McDonough of Quincy, Mass., was enjoying her tea one morning in the dining room when she saw something odd outside her window: a group of people gathering on her lawn. A man with a clipboard told her that her home no longer belonged to her. It didn't matter that she'd been paying her mortgage for 17 years and was current on it. She was a nurse with a good job and had raised her kids there. But this was a foreclosure sale, and she was going to lose her house.

    McDonough had fallen victim to what's called a zombie second mortgage. Homeowners think these loans are long dead. But then the loans come back to life because they get bought up, sometimes for pennies on the dollar, by debt collectors that then move to collect and foreclose on people's homes.

    On today's episode: An NPR investigation reveals the practice to be widespread. Also, what are zombie mortgages? Is all this legal? And is there any way for homeowners to fight the zombies?

    You can read more about zombie second mortgages online at: npr.org/zombie

    Correction: An earlier version of this episode description misspelled Karen McDonough's last name as MacDonough.

    Help support
    Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    10 May 2024, 10:25 pm
  • 18 minutes 51 seconds
    Inside video game economics (Two Indicators)
    Why do video game workers offer labor at a discount? How can you design a video game for blind and sighted players? Does that design have lessons for other industries?

    These and other questions about the business of video games answered in todays episode. The Indicator just wrapped a weeklong series decoding the economics of the video game industry, we're excerpting some highlights.

    First, we meet some of the workers who are struggling with the heavy demands placed on them in their booming industry, and how they are fighting back.

    Then, we check in on how game developers are pulling in new audiences by creatively designing for people who couldn't always play. How has accessibility become an increasingly important priority for game developers? And, how can more players join in the fun?

    You can hear the rest of our weeklong series on the gaming industry at this link, or wherever you get your podcasts.

    This episode was hosted by Wailin Wong, Darian Woods, and Adrian Ma. Corey Bridges produced this episode with help from James Sneed. It was edited by Kate Concannon, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Robert Rodriguez with help from Valentina Rodríguez Sánchez. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

    Help support Planet Money and hear our bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    8 May 2024, 9:40 pm
  • 20 minutes 40 seconds
    The birth of the modern consumer movement
    Today on the show, the story of the modern consumer movement in the U.S. and the person who inspired it: Ralph Nader. How Ralph Nader's battle in the 1960s set the stage for decades of regulation and sparked a debate in the U.S. about how much regulation is the right amount and how much is too much.

    This episode was made in collaboration with NPR's Throughline. For more about Ralph Nader and safety regulations, listen to their original episode, "Ralph Nader, Consumer Crusader."

    This Planet Money episode was produced by Emma Peaslee and edited by Jess Jiang.

    The Throughline episode was produced by Rund Abdelfatah, Ramtin Arablouei, Lawrence Wu, Julie Caine, Anya Steinberg, Casey Miner, Cristina Kim, Devin Katayama, Peter Balonon-Rosen, Irene Noguchi, and fact-checking by Kevin Volkl. The episode was mixed by Josh Newell.

    Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    3 May 2024, 8:50 pm
  • 22 minutes 57 seconds
    Hire Power (Update)
    (Note: This episode originally ran in 2021.)

    Millions of American workers in all sorts of industries have signed some form of noncompete agreement. Their pervasiveness has led to situations where workers looking to change jobs can be locked out of their fields.

    On today's episode: how one man tried to end noncompete contracts in his home state of Hawaii. And we update that story with news of a recent ruling from the Federal Trade Commission that could ban most noncompete agreements nationwide.

    This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Amanda Aronczyk. The original piece was produced by Dave Blanchard, edited by Ebony Reed, and engineered by Isaac Rodrigues. The update was reported and produced by Willa Rubin. It was edited by Keith Romer, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Josephine Nyounai.

    Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in
    Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    1 May 2024, 10:18 pm
  • 18 minutes 56 seconds
    The case of the stolen masks
    About thirty years ago, Yagya Kumar Pradhan woke up to the news that the temple he and his clan used had been broken into. The temple had been ransacked. And someone had stolen two holy Bhairav masks. Yagya says they had been in his family for more than five hundred years – since the 16th century.

    Yagya is a kind of Hindu priest for his clan. And he says, these Bhairav masks were very holy. People made offerings to them during Dashaun, a festival held in the fall.

    Yagya thought the masks were gone for good. He didn't realize... they were hiding in plain sight.

    On today's show: The story of a group of amateur art detectives who use modern tools, subterfuge, and the power of the law to return stolen artifacts to their rightful owners. And we dive into the world of high-end auctions and art museums to ask: Can the art world survive the legacy of cultural theft?

    Clarification: This episode has been updated to clarify that the reason the Rubin Museum is shuttering its building is not directly linked to repatriation.

    This episode was hosted by Erika Beras and Nick Fountain. It was produced by James Sneed, edited by Jess Jiang, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

    Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    26 April 2024, 9:21 pm
  • 32 minutes 58 seconds
    How unions are stopped before they start (Update)
    (Note: This episode originally ran in 2023.)

    Union membership in the U.S. has been declining for decades. But, in 2022, support for unions among Americans was the highest it's been in decades. This dissonance is due, in part, to the difficulties of one important phase in the life cycle of a union: setting up a union in the first place. One place where that has been particularly clear is at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

    Back in 2008, Volkswagen announced that they would be setting up production in the United States after a 20-year absence. They planned to build a new auto manufacturing plant in Chattanooga.

    Volkswagen has plants all over the world, all of which have some kind of worker representation, and the company said that it wanted that for Chattanooga too. So, the United Auto Workers, the union that traditionally represents auto workers, thought they would be able to successfully unionize this plant.

    They were wrong.

    In this episode, we tell the story of the UAW's 10-year fight to unionize the Chattanooga plant. And, what other unions can learn from how badly that fight went for labor.

    This episode was hosted by Amanda Aronczyk and Nick Fountain. It was produced by Willa Rubin. It was engineered by Josephine Nyounai, fact-checked by Sierra Juarez, and edited by Keith Romer. Alex Goldmark is our executive producer.

    Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    24 April 2024, 10:12 pm
  • 25 minutes 27 seconds
    FTX and the Serengeti of bankruptcy
    For the last year and a half, the story of FTX has focused largely on the crimes and punishment of Sam Bankman-Fried. But in the background, the actual customers he left behind have been caught in a financial feeding frenzy over the remains of the company.

    On today's show, we do a deep dive into the anatomy of the FTX bankruptcy. We meet the vulture investors who make markets out of risky debt, and hear how customers fare in the secretive world of bankruptcy claims trading.

    This episode was hosted by Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi and Amanda Aronczyk. It was produced by James Sneed and Sam Yellowhorse Kesler. It was edited by Jess Jiang, and fact-checked by Sierra Juarez. It was engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's executive producer.

    Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    19 April 2024, 10:30 pm
  • 17 minutes 41 seconds
    Grocery prices, credit card debt, and your 401K (Two Indicators)
    What's going on with consumers? This is one of the trickiest puzzles of this weird economic moment we're in. We've covered a version of this before under the term "vibecession," but it's safe to say, the struggle is in fact real. It is not just in our heads. Sure, sure, some data is looking great. But not all of it.

    What's interesting, is exactly why the bad feels so much worse than the good feels good. Today on the show, we look into a few theories on why feelings are just not matching up with data. We'll break down some numbers and how to think about them. Then we look at grocery prices in particular, and an effort to combat unfair pricing using a mostly forgotten 1930's law. Will it actually help?

    Today's episode is adapted from episodes for Planet Money's daily show, The Indicator. Subscribe here.

    Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    17 April 2024, 10:54 pm
  • 20 minutes 19 seconds
    TikTok made me deduct it
    TikTok, and other apps like it, are filled with financial advice. Some of it is reliable, some... less so.

    There are videos about running a business, having a side hustle, generating passive income. And also, there are a lot of tips and tricks, many of them questionable, about saving on your taxes.

    On this show, we run some of the greatest hits of TikTok tax advice by some bonafide tax experts. We'll talk about whether you can use gambling losses to reduce your tax bill, whether your pets qualify you for tax deductions – and we'll fact check the claim that all rich people own expensive Mercedes G-Wagons... for tax purposes.

    Along the way, we'll drill down on the concepts like taxable income and the standard deduction. And we'll ask why so many videos on TikTok suggest that you (fraudulently) categorize personal expenses as business expenses. Sometimes with a literal wink and a nod.

    This episode was hosted by Nick Fountain. It was produced by Emma Peaslee with help from Willa Rubin, who also fact-checked this episode. It was edited by Molly Messick and engineered by Cena Loffredo. Alex Goldmark is Planet Money's Executive Producer.

    Help support Planet Money and get bonus episodes by subscribing to Planet Money+
    in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney.

    Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoices

    NPR Privacy Policy
    12 April 2024, 9:09 pm
  • More Episodes? Get the App
© MoonFM 2024. All rights reserved.