We talk with Nicholas Wapshott, the author of the new book Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics. The fight over their ideas has never been more relevant.
Tagged with “planet money” (13)
NPR and Propublica collaborated on a story () related to this interview.
‘Two years before the financial crisis hit, Merrill Lynch confronted a serious problem. No one, not even the bank’s own traders, wanted to buy the supposedly safe portions of the mortgage-backed securities Merrill was creating.
Bank executives came up with a fix that had short-term benefits and long-term consequences. They formed a new group within Merrill, which took on the bank’s money-losing securities. But how to get the group to accept deals that were otherwise unprofitable? They paid them. The division creating the securities passed portions of their bonuses to the new group, according to two former Merrill executives with detailed knowledge of the arrangement. …
Within Merrill Lynch, some traders called it a "million for a billion" — meaning a million dollars in bonus money for every billion taken on in Merrill mortgage securities. Others referred to it as "the subsidy." One former executive called it bribery. The group was being compensated for how much it took, not whether it made money.’
The periodic table lists 118 different chemical elements. And yet, for thousands of years, humans have really, really liked one of them in particular: gold. Gold has been used as money for millennia, and its price has been going through the roof.
Why gold? Why not osmium, lithium, or ruthenium?
We went to an expert to find out: Sanat Kumar, a chemical engineer at Columbia University. We asked him to take the periodic table, and start eliminating anything that wouldn’t work as money.
"How does a guy whose mom is a heroin addict — a guy who drops out of high school, has a kid, and starts working a minimum-wage job at a fast-food restaurant — climb out of poverty?
On today’s Planet Money, we hear the answer from Katherine Newman.
Newman, a sociologist, found 300 people who were working at fast-food restaurants in Harlem in the early ’90s. She followed them for the next eight years and told the story in a book called Chutes and Ladders.
About a third of the people she followed managed to rise out of poverty during that time. A lot, of course, had to do with individual initiative — taking the civil service exam, landing union jobs, that sort of thing."
Planet Money returns to the "explainer" show type and digs into the risks (current and post-reform) in putting money in a bank.
"On today’s Planet Money we take a closer look at proprietary trading, which is under attack by the latest proposal from the Obama administration. The new banking regulations proposed by the president call for a ban on commercial banks engaging in potentially risky trades with their own funds— or, in some cases, your funds. So we called up MIT Sloan School of Management professor Andrew Lo to shed some light on the murky world of ‘prop trading’, as the cool kids like to call it."
Awesome show featuring the Planet Money crew. Best part is the pet-care part. Vacuuming. Heh.
"If you find MySpace more chaotic than Facebook, that’s no accident. Founders Chris DeWolfe and Tom Anderson wanted to create a site that’s just as disorienting as your average nightclub, a crazy landscape of musicians and models and Hollywood desire, says Julia Angwin, author of Stealing Myspace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America.
DeWolfe and Anderson came to their social networking juggernaut from the world of porn and spyware. Their greatest asset? Complete ignorance, Angwin says. Not knowing what to fear, the entrepreneurs just dove in. It gave them a great beginning, Angwin says, but became an Achilles heel."
Credit card companies have decided to become your friend, before it’s too late. If they chat you up instead of sounding threatening when you call, they figure, you might pay them back first. That’s the message from New York Times reporter Charles Duhigg, who just published What Does Your Credit Card Company Know About You? While they’re getting friendly with you, credit card companies have managed to learn a thing or two about exactly your ways. For starters, they’re never happier than when customers buy premium bird seed, or put their kids’ pictures on their credit cards. But if they hang out at Sharx, an upscale pool hall in Montreal? That’s bad news. With a special guest appearance by Sharx regular Laura Roberts.
On this week’s edition of Rebooting The News, NYU Journalism Professor Jay Rosen riffs on the seminal NPR/This American Life co-production from last year, Giant Pool of Money, and finds in it the germ of a compelling argument: Deep reporting is not only good journalism, it may actually be the thing that creates a desire for more news, building new consumers of news where there were none before. From http://www.niemanlab.org/2009/05/rosen-deep-reporting-creates-hunger-for-updates/
Bernie Madoff woke up in jail today, after pleading guilty to 11 charges stemming from an enormous Ponzi scheme. How enormous? The most recent court documents put the figure at $65 billion. (NPR’s Jim Zarroli describes the courthouse scene.)
In another amazing Planet Money Radio Dramatization, Alex Blumberg, Adam Davidson and David Kestenbaum act out a Ponzi scheme of their own.
With a cameo by Harvey Pitt, former chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who suggests that the estimate of $65 billion is "badly inflated."
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