Planet Money reporters David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein went to Kenya to see the work of a charity called GiveDirectly in action. Instead of funding schools or wells or livestock, GiveDirectly has decided to just give money directly to the poor people who need it, and let them decide how to spend it.
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NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. Executives at Intellectual Ventures insist they are not trolls, but rather, promoters of innovation.
The dramatic conclusion to Laura and Alex's search for information about Intellectual Ventures, and the inventor they claimed they were helping, Chris Crawford. The story turns out to be different than the one Intellectual Ventures originally told.
A young idealist named Octavio Sanchez is chief of staff to the president of Honduras. He gets an idea: What if you could cure all your country's ills by just ... starting over? In one little spot, you could create a whole new, perfect city.
Ira Glass asks guest host Alex Blumberg whether we should really care about the current European debt crisis. The answer: yes, we should, and we should WANT to care too, because this story—and it's actually the story of the Euro itself—is very surprising and dramatic.
For a look at the nuts and bolts of government job creation, This American Life Senior Producer Julie Snyder and Planet Money correspondent Adam Davidson attend a meeting of the International Economic Developers Council in San Diego.
Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt explains why prescription drug coupons could actually be increasing how much we pay, and prevent us from even telling how much drugs cost.
Ira Glass speaks with several members of the Planet Money team, who all found themselves—in the course of their reporting—independently asking the same stoner-ish question: What is money? Ira and Planet Money producer Jacob Goldstein discuss a pre-industrial society on the island of Yap that used giant stones as currency. The book that Jacob read about Yap is called The Island of Stone Money.
Host Ira Glass explains how the Planet Money team spent a thousand dollars of their own money to buy a toxic asset, and introduces Planet Money reporters David Kestenbaum and Chana Joffe-Walt. Their stories about "Toxie" have appeared on the Planet Money podcast and daily public radio news shows, and are collected here for the first time, into one epic, Dickensian tale.
David and Chana buy a toxic asset, from a guy named Wit Solberg, who used to work on Wall Street and now helps small banks who've been saddled with toxic assets. Turns out...it's hard to buy a toxic asset.
David and Chana try to track down the actual homeowners in their toxic asset. The toxic asset is made up of 2000 mortgages all over the country.
David and Chana discover a dark criminal plot inside their toxic asset.
David and Chana meet another toxic asset owner, like themselves. Only difference, David and Chana bought theirs after it was already toxic, for a steep discount, 99% off.
David and Chana's toxic asset, which has acquired the nickname Toxie, gets sick. And the payments that it's supposed to provide them every month stop.
Ira with Planet Money economics correspondent Adam Davidson on why—even after everything President Obama has done to save Wall Street, actions which have led to record profits and bonuses—Wall Street seems ungrateful. Adam and producer Jane Feltes head out to a Wall Street bar where they're told by three finance guys that there's no reason to thank the President for saving their jobs. Planet Money is a co-production of This American Life and NPR News.
Planet Money's Chana Joffe-Walt has this story about a really ambitious million dollar idea: Getting people to see the good side of death. Planet Money is a collaboration between NPR and This American Life.
Why is it that Barbados and Jamaica faced almost identical financial crises, but now Jamaica is incredibly poor and Barbados is prospering? Alex Blumberg reports on the surprising strategy Barbados used to survive its crisis. Alex first learned about this story from a paper by Peter Blair Henry, the dean of the Stern School of Business at New York University.
A hedge fund named Magnetar comes up with an elaborate plan to make money. It sponsors the creation of complicated and ultimately toxic financial securities...while at the same time betting against the very securities it helped create. Planet Money's Alex Blumberg teams up with two investigative reporters from ProPublica, Jake Bernstein and Jesse Eisinger, to tell the story.
Adam Davidson and Alex Blumberg from our Planet Money team report on economic forecasts for 2010 and what they can and cannot accurately predict. Planet Money is a co-production of This American Life and NPR News.
Host Ira Glass talks with NPR correspondent Adam Davidson about a black tie event he attended in the spring of 2008. The event was an awards dinner for finance professionals who created the mortgage-based financial instruments that nearly brought down the global economic system.
We replay sections from the original "Giant Pool of Money," in which This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR's Adam Davidson to tell the story of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened.
Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson talk to Ira about the lawsuit phase of the economic crisis, and the ongoing search to find someone to take the blame. So far at least 196 lawsuits are simply banks suing other banks.
Planet Money reporter Chana Joffe-Walt asks a simple question: Who was the federal regulator who was supposed to be regulating AIG? The answer turns out to be far from simple.
Alex Blumberg and NPR correspondent (and "Planet Money" reporter) Dave Kestenbaum examine what went wrong with the credit ratings agencies. When all these financial instruments that brought down our economy—the mortgage backed securities, the derivatives—were originally issued, the rating agencies (Standard and Poors, Moody's and Fitch) gave many of these things their top rating of triple-A.