Our economic choices

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It’s easy to see the economic problems of another country: Greece, Italy. You can look at the economic trends and see what is going to make things worse. However, it is a lot harder to even spot the mistakes in your own fishbowl.

This Planet Money episode on “We’re Headed For A Fiscal Cliff. Should We Jump?” has stuck with me for laying out in stark terms the hard choices we have to make. Give it a listen.

photo by: squacco


Inside Washington’s Money Machine

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Sure, we all know that members of Congress need to raise between $5,000 and $14,000 each and every week for their reelection bid.

The Planet Money podcast has an interesting episode on how this fundraising gets done and the impact on who gets heard.

…we talk to Jimmy Williams, a former lobbyist now working on campaign finance reform. He describes what it’s like to meet with a Congressman when you’re a lobbyist and your PAC hasn’t been donating to the Congressman.

Money, access, and secrecy. Check it out at “Inside Washington’s Money Machine.”


Theft, Graft, and Hit Albums

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Two great episodes from NPR’s Planet Money podcast take a behind the scenes look at how two industries work:

First up:  Inside the Mind of Master Criminal how popular electronics store Crazy Eddie skimmed sales tax, hid profits, and then leveraged those hidden earnings on a massive payoff when the company went public. If you ever wonder how those little mom and pop store manage to keep their doors open, well, this show will make you even more suspicious.

Next: Manufacturing the Song of Summer takes you to music camps – not I am not talking about where you kids go in the summer. I am referring to 25,000 a day jam sessions where top song writers and producers work to create the song you will change the station to get away from. And the $25,000 is just the first drop in the bucket. See how hit songs are manufactured, promoted and see the costs associated.

Creative Commons License photo credit: cmpalmer


And if you want to hear some pornography

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This is not what you expect to hear in the middle of an economics podcast. However, Episode 308 of Planet Money: Keynes vs. Hayek, has an interesting look at John Maynard Keynes going beyond the strong economic role he advocated for the public sector. It’s fun to hear how Keynes was something of an Oscar Wilde figure.

Oh, and you also get to hear about the Keynes versus Hayek economic policy differences. ;)

Creative Commons License photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography


Total European Collapse

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Cash Money - 100 Euro Notes

I imagine that economists tell exactly this kind of story while sitting around camp fires to scare one another.

Planet Money presents the worst case scenario for Europe: how the failure of a few countries could pull the whole of Europe and the world into another 2008 style depression. /Shivers.

Save it for Halloween, if you wish, but give it a listen.

Creative Commons License photo credit: viZZZual.com