Podcast Review: NPR’s Planet Money

Grant commemorative dollar coin

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All Planet Money Podcast are available at NPR’s website.

Planet Money is a podcast that focuses on business and economics. Now, that may sound boring, but it is delivered in a format that is enlightening, captivating, and funny. In a nutshell, they explain or solve complex business and economic issues in simple terms and in less than 30 minutes. What more could you ask for?

Top 5 Reasons to Listen to Planet Money:

Financial Schemes: My latest favorite podcast is Dollar Coins in The Wild. Sidenote: the U.S. Mint has temporarily stopped producing dollar coins. In addition to discussing a marketplace that used an alternative forms of tender and modern day barter colonies, the hosts also discovered a dollar coin money making scheme. At the time of the story, people were using their reward point credit cards to buy dollar coins! For example, I would purchase 1,000 dollars of dollar coins with my credit card. By using my credit card, I would receive airline miles on top of my 1,000 dollars of dollar coins. Apparently, the broadcast of this story was so popular that the U.S. Mint quickly took measures to shut this down. 😦

Planet Money Indicator: It’s a short segment at the beginning of the podcast that discusses a number in the news, which is a financial indicator. Recently, the numbers have been focused on unemployment, industry sales, debt, and GDP.

You Will Like This, If You Enjoy Reading the Economist: Oftentimes, economists come on the show to discuss their latest research papers in the context of current events. Some economists that were recently featured on the show, include: Herman Daly, Robert Mendelsohn, and Severin Borenstein. Moreover, it also shows how past economic theory is applied today. See Keynes v. Hayek, a discussion regarding the extent that spending, taxing, and regulations can control or prevent a nation’s boom bust cycle.

Explains Things That You Think You Know, But Don’t: France and Germany, A Love Story discusses the origins of the Euro.  What If We Paid Off All The Debt, takes a look at the negative effects that would result if the U.S. did not have any debt. Finally, there is a podcast that discusses the fallout of another country’s financial crisis, which was caused by a housing bubble entitled Japan’s Lost Lesson.

White Collar Criminals: Sam Antar, cousin of Crazy Eddie, talks about the Securities and Exchange Commission‘s investigation into his family’s business. The shenanigans of Crazy Eddie’s retail stores included inflated profits and overstated income. See Inside the Mind of a Financial Criminal.  In How Office Politics Could Take Down EuropeJack Abramoff discusses lobbying, need I say more…

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