FTX and the Serengeti of bankruptcy
Planet Money
by NPR
1d ago
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 ..read more
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Grocery prices, credit card debt, and your 401K (Two Indicators)
Planet Money
by NPR
4d ago
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 ..read more
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Japan's Lost Decade
Planet Money
by NPR
2w ago
Last month, Japan's central bank raised interest rates for the first time in 17 years. That is a really big deal, because it means that one of the spookiest stories in modern economics might finally have an ending. Back in the 1980s, Japan performed something of an economic miracle. It transformed itself into the number two economy in the world. From Walkmans to Toyotas, the U.S. was awash in Japanese imports. And Japanese companies went on a spending spree. Sony bought up Columbia Pictures. Mitsubishi became the new majority owners of Rockefeller Center. But in the early 1990s, it all came ..read more
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The real estate industry on trial
Planet Money by NPR
by NPR
2w ago
In 2019, Mike Ketchmark got a call. Mike is a lawyer in Kansas City, Missouri, and his friend, Brandon Boulware, another lawyer, was calling about a case he wanted Mike to get involved with. Mike was an unusual choice - he's a personal injury lawyer, and this was going to be an antitrust case. But Brandon knew Mike was great in front of a jury. And that he'd won huge settlements for his clients in the past. So the lawyer friend drops by Mike's office, and pitches him the case. Rhonda and Scott Burnett had just sold their home for $250,000, and out of that amount, they had paid $15,000 in com ..read more
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How much of your tax dollars are going to Israel and Ukraine
Planet Money
by NPR
3w ago
There's been a lot of disagreement in Congress and in the country about whether the U.S. should continue to financially support the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. Some taxpayers don't think the U.S. should give Ukraine any money to fight off Russia's invasion. And some taxpayers have concerns about how they might be funding weapons that have been used to kill civilians in Gaza. And there are questions about how much individual taxpayers contribute to war efforts, generally. So in this episode, we attempt to do the math: The average taxpayers' contribution to Israel and Ukraine. It's not so simple ..read more
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The trouble with Table 101 (Update)
Planet Money
by NPR
3w ago
(Note: This episode originally ran in 2020.) In the restaurant game, you need to make the most of every table every minute you are open. And you need to make sure your guests are happy, comfortable, and want to come back. If you're a restaurateur, your gut tells you "more seats, more money," but, in this episode, restaurant design expert Stephani Robson upends all that and more. She helps Roni Mazumdar, owner of the casual Indian spot Adda in New York's Long Island City, rethink how a customer behaves at a table, and how small changes can lead to a lot more money. It's a data-driven restaur ..read more
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What is Temu?
Planet Money by NPR
by NPR
1M ago
It is rare that a new e-commerce company has such a meteoric rise as Temu. The company, which launched in the fall of 2022, has been flooding the American advertising market, buying much of the inventory of Facebook, Snapchat, and beyond. According to the market intelligence firm Sensor Tower, Temu is one of the most downloaded iPhone apps in the country, with around 50 million monthly active users. On today's show, we go deep on Temu: How does it work, how did it manage such a quick rise in the U.S., and what hints might it offer us about the future of retail? Plus, we'll talk to the bicycle ..read more
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How Big Steel in the U.S. fell
Planet Money
by NPR
1M ago
Steel manufacturing was at one point the most important industry in the United States. It was one of the biggest employers, a driver of economic growth, and it shaped our national security. Cars, weapons, skyscrapers... all needed steel. But in the second half of the 20th century, the industry's power started to decline. Foreign steel companies gained more market power and the established steel industry in the U.S. was hesitant to change and invest in newer technologies. But then, a smaller company took a chance and changed the industry. On today's episode: What can the fall of a once-great ..read more
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The billion dollar war behind U.S. rum
Planet Money by NPR
by NPR
1M ago
When you buy a bottle of rum in the United States, by law nearly all the federal taxes on that rum must be sent to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It's an unusual system that Congress designed decades ago to help fund these two U.S. territories. In 2021 alone, these rum tax payments added up to more than $700 million. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands split the money according to how much rum each territory produces. And the territories produce a lot of it — especially Puerto Rico, which single handedly supplies the majority of the rum that Americans drink. But in 2008, the U.S. Vi ..read more
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Wind boom, wind bust (Two Windicators)
Planet Money by NPR
by NPR
1M ago
The wind power business is a bit contradictory right now. It's showing signs of boom and bust seemingly all at once. The story of wind energy markets in two acts today. First, the Gulf of Mexico saw its first-ever auction of leases for offshore wind this summer. It was another sign of the Biden administration's desire to get more renewable energy online as fast as possible. Expectations were high, but results did not deliver. Two of the three patches of sea didn't get any bids at all. Hidden in the flop for this auction are some keys to what it takes to spark a whole new market, quickly. The ..read more
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