Can we tame the cycle that causes economic ups and downs? : Planet Money : Planet Money Summer School Life has its ups and downs. Same for the economy. Today we ask, can the business cycle be tamed? Two stories of recession and techniques for moderating the ferocity of booms and busts. Plus, how bankruptcy is a secret weapon of the American economy. | Subscribe to Planet Money+ in Apple Podcasts or at plus.npr.org/planetmoney. | At this Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class... Check out this week's PM TikTok! | Listen to past seasons of Summer School here.

Summer School 3: Booms, Busts & Us

Summer School 3: Booms, Busts & Us

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1114137519/1114166810" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
James Yang/James Yang
illustration by James Yang
James Yang/James Yang

Find all episodes of Planet Money Summer School here.

Life has its ups and downs. The economy is no exception.

The good times can lift millions out of poverty, create new jobs, and fuel innovation through increased saving and investment. The bad times can be devastating. People lose their jobs, families are forced to make sacrifices, and businesses disappear in what feels like the blink of an eye. Economists dub this ebb & flow, the business cycle.

It is such an essential force of such consequence that understanding and taming the business cycle is one of the grand dreams of the field of economics.

This week, we hear two stories of living through the business cycle, one personal, on business, and the techniques created by economists and governments to help mitigate that pain and the business cycle's effects.

We Cover:

  • The Business Cycle 
  • Contractions and recessions 
  • How it exacerbates inequality 
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy 
  • Counter cyclical government policy

Homework:

Think about a moment when you or the people around you felt the effects of the business cycle? Let us know using #PMSummerSchool.

Econ songs of summer: Every week, we'll pick a few of our favorites and add them to our playlist. Recommend your favorite on social media. Make sure to use #PMSummerschool.

At Planet Money Summer School, phones ARE allowed during class. Check out this week's PM Tik Tok!

Music: Lost Situation, Todo Mundo, Funky Dude & Forever and Ever

Find us: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram / TikTok

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Pocket Casts and NPR One.

Want extra credit? Subscribe to Planet Money's Newsletter