Spreadsheets used to be actual sheets of paper. Sometimes, a bunch of sheets of paper taped together. Then, in the late '70s, a bored student invented the electronic spreadsheet. It transformed industries. But its effects ran deeper than that. As one...
#605: 'What Goes Up'
Today on the show, the story of Roger Babson, a guy who made a very, very bold prediction, and got it right. He correctly forecast, really, one of the biggest things you could imagine predicting. It’s the story of how he did that, and what happened to...
#604: Hey Big Spender
Today on the show, we bring you three short stories. One about a guy at the center of a high stakes international negotiation.Another about poker players trying not to win money, but give it away. And finally, that thing everyone loves to hate, but...
#603: A Rose On Any Other Day
Red roses are a unique product — a commodity worth double the price for a very short, 24-hour period: Valentine's Day.To cash in on this demand, flower growers have to figure out how to make millions of roses bloom exactly the right amount, at exactly...
#510: The Birth Of The Minimum Wage
Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran inJanuary 2014.For most of U.S. history, there was no minimum wage. A few times, politicians passed laws tiptoeing toward a minimum. But the Supreme Court struck those laws down.On today's show: how the...
#602: Big Weed
Pot is now legal in some states. But on the federal level, it's illegal. The legal gray area means banks in the U.S. are wary to give pot businesses access to basic financial instruments – like checking accounts. Today on the show, we visit a country...
#601: The Chocolate Curse
The world is running out of chocolate. Cocoa is in short supply. Demand is way up, thanks to China and India developing a taste for the sweet stuff. And producing more cocoa isn't so easy. Cocoa is a fussy plant. It doesn't grow in very many places...
#600: The People Inside Your Machine
They are hundreds of thousands of people out there doing stuff to your internet that you probably think is automatic. They aren't computer programmers, they're just regular people working from their offices, homes and bedrooms. They are the people of...
#599: The Invisible Wall
Hernando de Soto wanted to figure out what was trapping people in poverty. "There's gotta be an invisible wall someplace," he thought. "Let's find the wall." Today on the show: How de Soto found the invisible wall that was trapping people in poverty....
#598: The Very First Short
There have been short sellers throughout history. Today, the story of a man who was the very first short seller. The first person to bet that a stock will go down. It doesn't go well for him.
#597: We're Short America
If you own a house, stock, bonds, or a retirement account, you're betting that things are going to get better — that the lines on the chart will keep going up. Historically, this is a reasonable bet. But you can place a bet in the opposite direction....
#253: Gold Standard, R.I.P.
Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran inFebruary 2011.Franklin Delano Roosevelt ignores the advice of America's big-name economists — and listens instead to a guy who helped take care of the trees on his estate.Montagu Norman, head of the...
#252: The Gold Standard
We visit the respected finance writer (and charming curmudgeon) James Grant. He makes the case for going back on the gold standard. For more:n.pr/1IxK0L2
#596: Johnny Mnemonic's Secret Door
Note: This episode contains explicit language.Every time there is a big new release of some software, an operating system or a new browser, hackers get to work. Each new release is the start of a race because there are all these giant players who...
#222: The Price Of Lettuce In Brooklyn
Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran inOctober 2010.On today's Planet Money, we go shopping with George Minichiello.George is one of hundreds of federal employees who goes to stores all over the country and record the prices of thousands...
595: The Rest Of The Story, 2014 Edition
Sometimes all you can say at the end of a story is "time will tell." Today on the show, time has told. We follow up on our favorite stories of 2014 to find out what happened after we turned off our recorders.We follow up on one of the boldest plans of...
#594: Board Games
CEO pay comes up a lot in the news. The stories often include someone complaining that it's too high. Then there's someone on the other side, defending CEO pay. But that's usually that's where the stories stop.On today's show: an actual story about...
#593: Who Had The First Job?
People have always worked. But the thing we think of today as a job — the thing you apply for instead of being born into, the thing you go to in the morning and leave at night — is actually a recent invention. The modern job can act as a buffer to...
#592: Bell Wars
On today's show, a story on a Christmasy theme: Handbells!But also, a not-so-Christmasy theme: A decades-long feud between two big bell companies, located right down the road from each other.But then, a Christmasy ending: Peace!For...
#591: War? What War?
Last month, a bunch of Ukrainian business owners flew to New York to try to convince a bunch of New York portfolio managers and private equity funds to invest in Ukraine. There are lots of reasons that it is crazy to hold an "Invest in Ukraine"...
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