Planet Money Wanna see a trick? Give us any topic and we can tie it back to the economy. At Planet Money, we explore the forces that shape our lives and bring you along for the ride. Don't just understand the economy – understand the world.

Wanna go deeper? Subscribe to Planet Money+ and get sponsor-free episodes of Planet Money, The Indicator, and Planet Money Summer School. Plus access to bonus content. It's a new way to support the show you love. Learn more at plus.npr.org/planetmoney

Planet Money

From NPR

Wanna see a trick? Give us any topic and we can tie it back to the economy. At Planet Money, we explore the forces that shape our lives and bring you along for the ride. Don't just understand the economy – understand the world.

Wanna go deeper? Subscribe to Planet Money+ and get sponsor-free episodes of Planet Money, The Indicator, and Planet Money Summer School. Plus access to bonus content. It's a new way to support the show you love. Learn more at plus.npr.org/planetmoney

Most Recent Episodes

Graphite samples at Westwater Resources in Coosa County, Alabama. Sally Helm/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Sally Helm/NPR

Bringing a tariff to a graphite fight

Graphite is sort of the one-hit wonder of minerals. And that hit? Pencils. Everyone loves to talk about pencils when it comes to graphite. If graphite were to perform a concert, they'd close out the show with "pencils," and everyone would clap and cheer. But true fans of graphite would be shouting out "batteries!" Because graphite is a key ingredient in another important thing that we all use in our everyday lives: lithium ion batteries.

Bringing a tariff to a graphite fight

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959267/1254095392" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

How much national debt is too much?

Most economic textbooks will tell you that there can be real dangers in running up a big national debt. A major concern is how the debt you add now could slow down economic growth in the future. Economists have not been able to nail down how much debt a country can safely take on. But they have tried.

How much national debt is too much?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959252/1253863608" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The history of light (classic)

For thousands of years, getting light was a huge hassle. You had to make candles from scratch. This is not as romantic as it sounds. You had to get a cow, raise the cow, feed the cow, kill the cow, get the fat out of the cow, cook the fat, dip wicks into the fat. All that--for not very much light. Now, if we want to light a whole room, we just flip a switch.

The history of light (classic)

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959235/1253707852" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Olivier Morin/AFP via Getty Images

How the FBI's fake cell phone company put criminals into real jail cells

There is a constant arms race between law enforcement and criminals, especially when it comes to technology. For years, law enforcement has been frustrated with encrypted messaging apps, like Signal and Telegram. And law enforcement has been even more frustrated by encrypted phones, specifically designed to thwart authorities from snooping.

How the FBI's fake cell phone company put criminals into real jail cells

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959218/1253489468" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

What happens after you get scammed? Can you get your money back?

We are living in a kind of golden age for online fraudsters. As the number of apps and services for storing and sending money has exploded – so too have the schemes that bad actors have cooked up to steal that money. Every year, we hear more and more stories of financial heartbreak. What you don't often hear about is what happens after the scam?

What happens after you get scammed? Can you get your money back?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959145/1253351799" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Junkman Jon Rolston has spent the last two decades clearing out houses and offices of their junk. In that time, he's become a kind of trash savant. James Sneed/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
James Sneed/NPR

The junkyard economist

On today's episode, we ride through the streets of San Francisco with a long-time junkman, Jon Rolston.

The junkyard economist

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959130/1253157330" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Good Tape Studio

Lay-offs can leave you with big questions. An HR expert has answers.

By one estimate, 40 percent of American workers get laid off at least once in their careers. And when that happens, companies will often say, "It's not personal. It has nothing to do with you or your performance. We're just changing priorities, making a strategic shift."

Lay-offs can leave you with big questions. An HR expert has answers.

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959117/1253017396" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The hack that almost broke the internet

Last month, the world narrowly avoided a cyberattack of stunning ambition. The targets were some of the most important computers on the planet. Computers that power the internet. Computers used by banks and airlines and even the military.

The hack that almost broke the internet

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959102/1252250148" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Sanat Kumar, professor of chemical engineering at Columbia University. David Kestenbaum/NPR hide caption

toggle caption
David Kestenbaum/NPR

Why Gold? (Classic)

In the past few months, the price of gold has gone way up – even hitting a new high last month at just over $2,400 per troy ounce.

Why Gold? (Classic)

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959089/1251671997" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Karen McDonough sits inside her home in Quincy, Massachusetts. Vanessa Leroy for NPR hide caption

toggle caption
Vanessa Leroy for NPR

Zombie 2nd mortgages are coming to life, threatening thousands of Americans' homes

Karen McDonough of Quincy, Mass., was enjoying her tea one morning in the dining room when she saw something odd outside her window: a group of people gathering on her lawn. A man with a clipboard told her that her home no longer belonged to her. It didn't matter that she'd been paying her mortgage for 17 years and was current on it. She was a nurse with a good job and had raised her kids there. But this was a foreclosure sale, and she was going to lose her house.

Zombie 2nd mortgages are coming to life, threatening thousands of Americans' homes

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1197959049/1250640492" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
or search npr.org