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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
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A little show about big ideas. From the people who make Planet Money, The Indicator helps you make sense of what's happening today. It's a quick hit of insight into work, business, the economy, and everything else. Listen weekday afternoons. Try Planet Money+! a new way to support the show you love, get a sponsor-free feed of the podcast, *and* get access to bonus content. You'll also get access to The Indicator and Planet Money Summer School, both without interruptions. sign up at plus.npr. ...
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Economics is a game you should know how to play. And once you get the fundamental concepts, you start to see it everywhere: the news, the supermarket and even your dating life. So it's time to learn the rules. Planet Money Summer School is a crash course in economics for your ears. See the world through the lens of an economist and you'll start to feel a little less overwhelmed when making financial decisions. And if you're in front of the classroom? Teachers, this is made for you, too. Let ...
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Wekeza means 'save' and 'invest' in Swahili. Join the Wekeza.com community for informative interviews regarding all aspects of money: *Ancestral money mindsets and personalities *History of money *African stock market participation *Estate planning *Investing and dividends *Credit management *Global licensed financial and business influencers *Breaking News #money #financialliteracy #financialplanning #estate #estateplanning #africandiaspora #immigrants #youthfinancialeducation #blackimmigra ...
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We've lived amongst Elon Musk headlines for so long now that it's easy to forget just how much he sounds like a sci-fi character. He runs a space company and wants to colonize mars. He also runs a company that just implanted a computer chip into a human brain. And he believes there's a pretty high probability everything is a simulation and we are l…
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There are some new funds that track stock trading by members of Congress and their family. So we thought, why don't we get in on that? Today on the show, we crack open the Planet Money Investment Jar to learn more about how our political leaders play the market, investing in funds tracking Democratic and Republican stock trades. Whether Congression…
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The federal government classifies potatoes (whether they be baked, waffled, curly, fried) as a vegetable. Recently some nutritional scientists were questioning that logic as the feds updated their dietary guidelines for 2025. On today's episode, why potatoes have such sway on Capitol Hill and the real financial stakes spuds have in staying a veggie…
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There's a behind the scenes industry that helps big brands decide questions like: How big should a bag of chips be? What's the right size for a bottle of shampoo? And yes, also: When should a company do a little shrinkflation? From Cookie Monster to President Biden, everybody is complaining about shrinkflation these days. But when we asked the pack…
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Indicators of the Week is back! This week, we've got indicators about oil gluts, big bucks for Ukraine and fewer bucks at Starbucks. (Apologies for the slurping.) Related episodes: How to get Russia to pay Ukraine An oil boom, a property slump and dental deflation ICYMI, preorder our new Indicator t-shirt at the NPR shop. For more ways to support o…
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There are many anecdotal complaints about Google search not being what it used to be. A German computer scientist and his colleagues put this theory to the test recently focusing on product reviews. Today on the show, we bring their findings to Google's chief search scientist. Related episodes: How Fortnite brought Google to its knees (Apple / Spot…
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Graphite is sort of the one-hit wonder of minerals. And that hit? Pencils. Everyone loves to talk about pencils when it comes to graphite. If graphite were to perform a concert, they'd close out the show with "pencils," and everyone would clap and cheer. But true fans of graphite would be shouting out "batteries!" Because graphite is a key ingredie…
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The Federal Reserve introduced a visual tool called the "dot plot" in 2012 to communicate where officials think interest rates should be in the coming years. The dot plot is eagerly dissected by Fed watchers looking for insight on future policy, but others think that the dot plot has become a visual example of just how little the Fed can predict wh…
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Politicians on both sides of the aisle call the surge at the US Southern Border a "border crisis." One camp says we need to focus on addressing the conditions in other countries that cause people to leave. The other says we have to focus on deterrence and enforcement. But...what if both camps are actually ignoring a major piece of the picture? Toda…
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We are back to answer your questions that you, our listeners, have been sending. On today's show, is chicken actually getting cheaper? Why doesn't the Federal Reserve use different interest rates around the country? And: is election spending an indicator of economic health? If you have a question you'd like us to answer, email us at indicator@npr.o…
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Most economic textbooks will tell you that there can be real dangers in running up a big national debt. A major concern is how the debt you add now could slow down economic growth in the future. Economists have not been able to nail down how much debt a country can safely take on. But they have tried. Back in 2010, two economists took a look at 20 …
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Today's jobs report shows a slight rise in unemployment to 4%. And some frustrated job seekers are growing tired of applying for job after job with no replies, sometimes asking whether the listings are even real. And this isn't just vexing for applicants. It's also haunting economists when trying to figure out how much slack there is in the labor m…
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99.5 percent of megaprojects are either over time, over budget or have lower benefits than expected. What's going wrong? Today, we look at case studies from California's high speed rail project to the Sydney Opera House to consider the do's and don'ts of ambitious projects. Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner's book on megaprojects is How Big Things Get…
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The United States has been a supporter of Israel since the nation's establishment in 1948. With the civilian death toll rising in the Israel-Hamas war, growing scrutiny is mounting over just how much the U.S. should support Israel's military. Today, a historical explanation for why the United States tied itself so closely to support for Israel. Rel…
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For thousands of years, getting light was a huge hassle. You had to make candles from scratch. This is not as romantic as it sounds. You had to get a cow, raise the cow, feed the cow, kill the cow, get the fat out of the cow, cook the fat, dip wicks into the fat. All that--for not very much light. Now, if we want to light a whole room, we just flip…
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Maybe you've heard these things on social media, in the news, and take them as fact: More than half of the adults in the US live paycheck to paycheck, the trade deficit is always bad, and making the super wealthy pay their fair share will fix everything. Well, the truth isn't so simple. Today on the show: economic mythbusting. We take three factoid…
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MERCH! You asked for it. We got it. After rebranding our podcast earlier this year, we decided it was time to create our own merch. On today's show, a brief oral history of early merch, how to score an Indicator t-shirt, and the winning name of our new mascot. • Preorder the t-shirt now at shopnpr.org/indicator • Sign up for Planet Money+ to access…
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There is a constant arms race between law enforcement and criminals, especially when it comes to technology. For years, law enforcement has been frustrated with encrypted messaging apps, like Signal and Telegram. And law enforcement has been even more frustrated by encrypted phones, specifically designed to thwart authorities from snooping. But in …
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Indicators of the Week is back, where we dig into three economic snapshots from the global economy. This week, we are exploring consumers' ever so slightly improved perception of the economy, what's going on with carbon offsets, and why China is sending some pandas to U.S. zoos. Related Episodes: Actors back. Pandas gone. WeBankrupt. (Apple / Spoti…
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It's time for The Indicator Quiz! We test you, dear listener, on your knowledge of topics that we've covered on The Indicator! Today's quiz focuses on ch-ch-changes. (That's a David Bowie reference, kids!) We're covering changes in the economy, the environment, the rental market, you get the picture. We're even tossing in a question about an AI-res…
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We are living in a kind of golden age for online fraudsters. As the number of apps and services for storing and sending money has exploded – so too have the schemes that bad actors have cooked up to steal that money. Every year, we hear more and more stories of financial heartbreak. What you don't often hear about is what happens after the scam? On…
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Eight times a year, we award regional Federal Reserve Banks with our coveted Beigie Award. While the anecdotes within the Beige Book offer us fascinating looks into the economy, to others, it can be difficult to make anything of the stories they tell. That's why we're giving out a special Beigie award today to some economists who found a way to use…
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Dental therapists have been practicing in other parts of the world for decades, but in the U.S. they are relatively few and far between. Like a hygienist, dental therapists can do cleanings as well as some procedures usually reserved for dentists, like simple extractions. They could also be the solution to getting underserved, rural communities bet…
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On today's episode, we ride through the streets of San Francisco with a long-time junkman, Jon Rolston. Jon has spent the last two decades clearing out houses and offices of their junk. He's found all sorts of items: a life-time supply of toilet paper, gold rings, $20,000 in cash. Over the years, he's developed a keen eye for what has value and wha…
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Indicators of the Week is back! On today's episode, we discuss Red Lobster's bankruptcy, the rancid vibes of the U.S. economy, and a surprising shift in vices among Americans. Related episodes: Endless shrimp and other indicators (Apple / Spotify) Is the financial media making us miserable about the economy? (Apple / Spotify) For sponsor-free episo…
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Last week, President Biden placed tariffs on a slew of Chinese goods. When Donald Trump was president, he did the same. Regardless of who wins the election, the US is gearing up for heavy tariffs on imports in 2024. But this is far from the first time the economic tool has been in style. Today, a brief history of US tariffs: how they came into fash…
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By one estimate, 40 percent of American workers get laid off at least once in their careers. And when that happens, companies will often say, "It's not personal. It has nothing to do with you or your performance. We're just changing priorities, making a strategic shift." It's like the business version of: "It's not you, it's me." And just like a br…
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In August 2020, Epic Games launched a legal assault against both Google and Apple, alleging that their mobile app stores are illegal monopolies. Almost four years later, Epic could be close to forcing Google to make major changes to its Play Store. Today, we explain the legal battle behind Epic v. Google and why the outcome could have major implica…
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With a few clicks of AI software, anyone can conjure the voice or visual likeness of a dead celebrity — or really anyone. This new world has opened up a bunch of new legal questions about the rights of people and their heirs to control digital replicas of themselves. Today on the show, how a Drake diss track featuring the voice of Tupac made it int…
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Homes are not just where we eat and sleep, but one of the primary ways people build generational wealth in the U.S. But with home shortages and harsh climates, rural America's path to building that wealth looks a little different than other parts of the country. Today on the show, we focus in on housing challenges in Alabama's Black Belt and one in…
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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 moder…
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Indicators of the Week is back. This time, an in-depth look at what Biden's massive tariffs on Chinese imports might mean for inflation and jobs. After that, why it may soon become easier to become a certified public accountant, addressing that nagging CPA shortage. Related Episodes: If the world had no accountants (Apple / Spotify) The surprising …
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For decades, the Dominican Republic's economy has been growing at a remarkably steady pace. The Caribbean nation of 11 million people is today considered a middle-income nation, but the International Monetary Fund projects it could become an advanced economy within the next 40 years. Today on the show, we uncover the reasons behind the Dominican Re…
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The latest inflation numbers are in. This month's Consumer Price Index, or the CPI, is ... well, good and bad news for renters. Shelter prices went up over the last year, but at a slower pace. Shelter makes up nearly a third of the CPI. Today's episode: Rent. Where is it high? Where is it low? What exactly is "coffee milk"? The Indicator tours the …
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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 …
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When June Carbone, Naomi Cahn and Nancy Levit set out to write a book about women in the workforce, they initially thought it would be a story all about women's march towards workplace equality. But when they looked at the data, they found something more disturbing: of the ways in which women's push toward workplace equality has actually been stall…
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Advancements in cryptocurrency networks are sparking conversations about the potential for Central Bank Digital Currencies, or CBDCs for short. Advocates for CBDCs think they would provide security and unlock more efficient fiscal policy actions. However, opponents believe they would provide a shortcut for government interference and the erosion of…
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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 nurs…
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Indicators of the Week is back! This time, we dig into why gold prices are spiking, why the Biden administration has only spent a small portion of money pledged to infrastructure projects, and what the spurt of streaming consolidations means for you. Related episodes: Gold Rush 2.0 The semiconductor shortage (still) (Apple Podcasts / Spotify) The s…
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According to a government report released this week, Congress has until 2033 to fix Social Security before retirees receive an automatic benefit cut of about 21%. This is a more optimistic estimate from a previous report that stated the Social Security Trust Fund would run dry sooner, but it still paints a grim picture for a program that millions o…
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Back in 2019, The Indicator started checking in on with a Venezuelan economist Gabriela Saade. The economy was in freefall. The country was suffering from hyperinflation and a huge jump in poverty. Today, the U.S. faces a spike in migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, many from Venezuela. So we check back in with Gabriela. Venezuela is due to go to t…
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Navigating Your Money Across All Of Your Relationships." Attorney Angela Barker shares her expert legal insights on managing your finances in any relationship stage—single, engaged, married, or in a common-law partnership. Learn how to navigate the complexities of money and the law! Disclaimer: Always seek the professional counsel of licensed attor…
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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…
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What happens when small town politics collide with the climate crisis? And how do hazard maps—maps that show which homes in your neighborhood are at risk of getting destroyed or damaged by a natural disaster—come into play? On today's episode, how some people—from Indiana to Oregon to Alaska—are facing some very real concerns about insurance and th…
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In Western Colorado, towns and farms are banding together to pay a hundred million dollars for water they don't intend to use. Today on the show, how scarcity, climate change and a first-dibs system of water management is forcing towns, farms and rural residents to get spendy. Related episodes: A watershed moment in the West? (Apple / Spotify) The …
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It's Jobs Friday and the jobs report is in! There's more jobs! ... but not as many as expected. And there's a teensy bit more unemployment and slower wage growth. But there's an upside ... Plus, healthcare is growing like gangbusters and how immigrants affect American-born workers. Learn more about sponsor message choices: podcastchoices.com/adchoi…
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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…
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College campuses nationwide are erupting with protests against Israel's war on Hamas in Gaza. A consistent theme among these actions: a call for university endowment "divestment." Today, we unpack what that means and how divestment would work. Plus, we hear from an expert who explains why divestment might not have the effect that many believe. Rela…
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(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 H…
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The Beigie Awards are back to recognize the regional Federal Reserve Bank with the best Beige Book entry. This time, we shine a spotlight on one entry that explains how some businesses are feeling the impacts of higher for longer interest rates. Related episodes: The interest-ing world of interest rates (Apple / Spotify) The Beigie Awards: Why bank…
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