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Planet Money

Money makes the world go around, faster and faster every day. On NPR's Planet Money, you'll meet high rollers, brainy economists and regular folks — all trying to make sense of our rapidly changing global economy.More from Planet Money »

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#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. How it transformed poor countries around the world. And how his discovery almost got him killed.  For more: http://n.pr/1K6ddLZ

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#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.

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#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. You can make a bet that things will go down: a short. For example, if you short Apple stock and the stock price drops, you make money. While all the normal shareholders are consoling themselves, you can celebrate. But for the most part, people don't do it. Experts warn us that we shouldn't either. Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people, and we put our own money down on a bet against something people love. We short America.

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#253: Gold Standard, R.I.P.

Note: Today's show is a rerun. It originally ran in February 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 Bank of England, gets a coded message at a critical moment — and completely misunderstands what it means.

On today's Planet Money: The gold standard and the Great Depression.

It's the latest in our series on gold and the meaning of money. 

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#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

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