Podcast

Hear: A Ponzi Drama

Economic metaphor?

hide captionNot a house of cards, but still needs propping up

girlonbike/Planet Money Flickr pool

Listen19:52

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On today's Planet Money:

Bernie Madoff woke up in jail today, after pleading guilty to 11 charges stemming from an enormous Ponzi scheme. How enormous? The most recent court documents put the figure at $65 billion. (NPR's Jim Zarroli describes the courthouse scene.)

In another amazing Planet Money Radio Dramatization, Alex Blumberg, Adam Davidson and David Kestenbaum act out a Ponzi scheme of their own.

With a cameo by Harvey Pitt, former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who suggests that the estimate of $65 billion is "badly inflated."

Bonus: Comment of the week, after the jump.

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Jason Rosenfeld saw the item "What Is The Economy?" and took a whack at trying to get an answer from an online version of 20 Questions.

He reports this Q&A with the machine, which we'll post here from one to 20:

1. Is it hard? No.
2. Does it have a tail? No.
3. Can you smell it? No.
4. Can you buy it? No.
5. Is it located in the sky? No.
6. Does it have feelings? No.
7. Can it affect you (cause an effect to you)? Yes.
8. Do most people use this daily? Yes.
9. Is it white? No.
10. Can it help you find your way? No.
11. Is it soft? No.
12. Is it considered valuable? Sometimes.
13. Is it ferocious? Sometimes.
14. Is it annoying? Sometimes.
15. Is it spontaneous? Sometimes.
16. Is it a feeling? No.
17. Does it involve contact with other humans? Yes.
18. Does it make noise? No.
19. Is it pleasurable? Sometimes.
20. I am guessing that it is stupidity? Right, Wrong, Close

So is the economy animal, vegetable or mineral? Says the computer: "It is classified as Unknown."

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