Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

By Marketplace

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Subscribers: 2450
Reviews: 12

 Sep 19, 2020
Love this show!

A Podcast Republic user
 Aug 14, 2020

 May 29, 2020
This is incredibly essential podcast, coronavirus or not. Kai, Molly and the crew are a joy and cut through the partisan bs straight to the facts.

 Jan 2, 2020

david pegna
 Oct 28, 2019
i really enjoy this podcast, the way you layout the interviews and the lenght of them the topics you talk about and the comedy..


Hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly is now a daily news podcast that breaks down the impact of COVID-19 on the economy and the most complex topics of the week. Together, we make sense of today. Because none of us is as smart as all of us. As a leading public media voice, Ryssdal has been a trusted broadcaster for two decades and has received the Alfred I.duPont-Columbia University Award, a Peabody Award and an Emmy. He is the host of our daily news business radio program Marketplace. Wood has spent two decades covering the tech industry on all platforms and is known as a pioneer in podcasting. She is an Ideas contributor at Wired and has been recognized for her dynamic reporting by the Webbys, the National Magazine Awards, and the Gracie Awards. Listen to them together on Make Me Smart With Kai & Molly wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode Date
Voting and economics have always been intertwined

Who can afford to vote? On the season premiere of “This Is Uncomfortable,” host Reema Khrais looks into the history of voting rights in this country, and their long relationship with socioeconomic status. She’s filling in for Kai on our weekly happy hour episode to talk about it. Plus: the latest controversy at the CDC and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

As always, you can find a slink to everything we talked about today at

Sep 19, 2020
It’s not free speech, it’s market-manipulated speech

Facebook makes an interesting decision about speech on the company’s internal version of of the social media site that has us scratching our heads. Plus: the pandemic in Europe, small business closures and Martha Stewart’s Instagram.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about on the episode page at

Sep 18, 2020
When a controlled burn is better than the alternative

Last week we talked about the settled science of preventing forest fires. Today we hear from one listener, a lung doctor in smoky Seattle, who wants to know how to start that process. We’ll answer as best we can on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Later, we’ll take a look back in history to see what might drive the federal government to some kind of action.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at

Sep 17, 2020
Coronavirus is pushing women out of work

And by “we,” we mostly mean “women.” After six months of this pandemic, we have data showing women are working longer hours and taking on a disproportionate amount of the extra work at home. For those womens’ careers, sociology professor Caitlyn Collins says it can mean death by a thousand cuts. On today’s show, we’ll talk with Collins about women dropping out of the workforce, the ripple effects that could have years down the line and what we can do about it now.

Sep 16, 2020
The Barry Bonds theory of climate change

The West Coast of the United States is burning, and chewable air is making its way into neighboring states. And yet President Donald Trump, staring the crisis in the face today in a visit to California, continued to question the science. “It’ll start getting cooler. You just watch,” he said. You might have heard similar points from your loved ones talking about “global warming.” So today we’re going to propose a new way of talking about the climate crisis — it puts whatever climate you’re in on steroids. It’s not all doom and gloom through, because we get to hear Paul Rudd say face masks are “beast.”

As always, you can find a slink to everything we talked about on our episode page at

Sep 15, 2020
How do you prevent wildfires? The science is settled

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and a brutal wildfire season, 2020 is all about the stuff we definitely knew how to prevent and just … didn’t want to. Today we’re going to zoom in a bit on those fires, and clarify a few things about the president’s income tax deferral. We’re gonna need a drink.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about at Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! Subscribe so you don’t miss the next one.

Sep 12, 2020
Maybe things are better across the pond?

The United States is changing its focus from doing very little about the pandemic to doing very little about election interference. So to avoid getting too hollowed out this Thursday, let’s shift our focus to something less maddening, like … uh … Brexit?

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at And don’t forget to join us tomorrow on YouTube at 3:30 p.m. PDT/6:30 p.m. EDT for our live happy hour show! Subscribe so you don’t miss it.

Sep 11, 2020
Trump’s tax holiday is no holiday at all

President Donald Trump is allowing companies to defer payroll tax deductions through the end of the year. But those taxes come due Jan. 1, so who’s actually benefiting? We’ll try and puzzle that one out on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, how secure are Zoom doctor’s appointments? Which economic numbers should we be watching besides jobs? And the most burning question of all: What’s Kai’s favorite fruit?

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on our episode page at

Sep 10, 2020
Is it too late to stop QAnon?

QAnon is more than just a conspiracy theory. BuzzFeed News has taken to calling it a “collective delusion.” Others just call it a cult. Whatever you call it, QAnon is not based on fact, but it’s had much more staying power than, say, Pizzagate or garden-variety social media misinformation. There are thousands of Facebook groups, supporters at Trump rallies and even candidates for Congress who say they believe the theory that President Donald Trump is battling Satan-worshiping pedophiles at the highest levels of government. Today, we’ll talk with professor and author Jevin West about QAnon’s spread and how to fight it. Plus, we answer your questions about Q, like how to talk to a loved one who’s caught in its thrall.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on our episode page at

Sep 09, 2020
What the president said, and what it says about him

We’re trying to be careful to stay in our lane these days, but we haven’t been able to shake that Atlantic article about President Donald Trump calling soldiers who die in war “losers.” So beer in hand, we’re gonna talk about it. Plus: the (de)politicization of COVID-19 vaccines, teen hormones and dreams of traveling far, far away … TGIF.

Sep 04, 2020
COVID is an earthquake — we’ll feel the aftershocks for decades

On today’s show, we’re looking at the long tail of COVID-19 and the effects it will have on health and health care long after we get a vaccine. Plus, we read your many, many emails about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. You have strong thoughts.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at

Sep 04, 2020
You can’t win public office without being on Facebook

One of our listeners asked, and the answer is no. Not even if you’re Captain America. We’re talking about Mark Zuckerberg and the Avengers on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Of course, it wasn’t always this way. We’ll look at the role of cheap Facebook ads in elections and how Mark Zuckerberg sees it. Plus, the appliance shortage, the Phillips curve and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Sep 03, 2020
How we shop now

We could all be forgiven for indulging in a little retail therapy right now. In fact, retail sales in July were up 2.7% year over year as Americans flocked to home improvement stores and took up new hobbies while in lockdown. Today we’ll spend some time talking with Marketplace retail reporter Marielle Segarra about how spending habits have changed six months into the coronavirus pandemic and what shifts are yet to come.

Sep 02, 2020
We’re not working from home, we’re living at work

Today on the show, how COVID-19 upends parents’ ability to care for their children, and — surprise! — women are more likely to see it affect their careers than men. According to new research from the Census Bureau and Federal Reserve, 1 in 5 working-age adults said they were not working because they had COVID 19-related child care issues. Of that group, “women are nearly three times more likely than men” to not be working. Plus, the stock market continues to make sense to nobody but the rich. Homecoming masks make us smile, and Molly’s hankering for some chowda! Which is a whole lot better than frogs in a pot.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Aug 31, 2020
Disinformation is real

There’s a “parallel media universe” on Facebook. And the biggest companies in the gig economy are pushing an alternative narrative of their own. It’s all kinda bananas … to put it lightly. But today is Friday, so we’re putting down the Twitter and raising a glass. Here’s to the National Basketball Association and its players’ union, who have set out plans to expand voting access and promote social justice.

Aug 29, 2020
The weirdest thing happening in American business right now

No, not Amazon’s new tone-policing wearable, though we’ll get to that. And no, not the Fed turning up the heat on inflation — but we’ll cover that, too. The weirdest thing happening at this very weird time is that Walmart is teaming up with Microsoft to buy TikTok. On today’s show, we’ll talk about why a retail giant would want to own a video app. We’ll also talk a little bit about poop. It’s a weird day.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at

Aug 28, 2020
Where are those new unemployment checks?

It’s been more than a week since President Donald Trump took executive action to extend unemployment benefits. One of our listeners wants to know: Has anyone actually received a check yet? The answer is … complicated. But we’ll do what we can. Plus, questions about COVID-19 testing, the Dow and Trump’s proposal to eliminate payroll taxes on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. But first, there are some bigger stories we need to talk about.

Aug 27, 2020
The stock market is not the economy, exhibit 3,443.62

The S&P 500 closed at another record high today at 3,443.62. The NASDAQ hit a record high, too. The Dow is well on its way. But the pandemic keeps taking lives, new unemployment claims rose again, and consumer confidence has taken a dive. If you listen to our show, you know we’re fond of saying, “The stock market is not the economy.” Because it isn’t. So what is going on? To find out, we called up New York Times markets reporter Matt Phillips. After the interview, we’ll debate the fracas at Syracuse University and the pros and cons of an astroid hitting our planet. Plus, a bunch of listeners wrote in to tell us what the pandemic isn’t screwing up for them; we’ll share some of their answers.

Aug 26, 2020
Everything is so fragile right now

Today was the first day back to school for a bunch of kids, and Zoom crashed. California is burning again. Police shot another Black man on camera. And a man in China was reinfected with COVID-19. The bad news keeps coming back to haunt us. Even pumpkin spice.

For a list of everything we talked about today, head to the episode page at


Aug 25, 2020
Here’s the mail, it never fails …

… at least, according to Louis DeJoy. The postmaster general testified before Congress today, promising — with more than a little prodding — that election mail would be delivered “fully and on time.” Between this week’s Democratic National Convention and next week’s Republican National Convention, everything feels politicized. And what’s this now about Facebook getting ready for a contested election? Thank goodness it’s happy hour.

By the way, we taped this episode just before news broke that Mei Xiang, the National Zoo’s panda, has given birth. That will all make more sense when you listen. For slinks to that story and everything else we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Aug 22, 2020
This was always where things were going

Today we ask, with respect to … everything, “Why didn’t the right people see this coming?” Between the ride-share industry’s brinksmanship in California and the mess on college campuses as they attempt to reopen, we’re feeling a bit hollowed out. But that’s Thursday for you. Step away with us as we contemplate the passage of time….

As always, there are slinks to everything we talked about at Finally, don’t forget to join us Friday on our YouTube channel for our weekly happy hour episode! Subscribe so you won’t miss it.

Aug 21, 2020
Those masks are doing double duty now

It’s wildfire season in California. That means face masks are not only an essential accessory in fighting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but now they’re also filtering out smoke and ash particles. That led one Bay Area listener to ask: How is the N95 supply chain doing these days? Are we … good? We’ll talk about it on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, online privacy, shareholder voting and a few TV recommendations.

Aug 20, 2020
The climate is still changing

It’s not easy to keep your eye on the ball with an election, economic collapse and a pandemic hanging over your head, but here’s the thing: Climate change is as much of an existential threat as it ever was, and the Trump administration has continued cutting environmental regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here to talk about the effect of those rollbacks and how the pandemic plays into it all is Kendra Pierre-Louis. She was a reporter on The New York Times’ climate team and now works on Gimlet’s podcast “How to Save a Planet.” Later, we’ll hear from listeners and experts on voting concerns, the digital divide and what effect all those disposable face masks could have on the environment. Man, it’s a hot one.

For a full list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Aug 19, 2020
Back to school … for about a day

Kai’s kids had their first miserable day of remote learning today. Molly’s kid was back last week, while she provided IT support. The situation at some colleges and universities is even worse, with students being sent home just days after arriving (and paying deposits for the semester). It’s all playing out just as Scott Galloway predicted on our show this summer. And it’s still only August. To lighten the mood: “The Golden Girls” and a whiz-bang way to get people to put masks on. Plus, a “state of democracy” update from Molly.

For slinks to everything we talked about today, plus that “Karenator” video, check out the episode page at


Aug 18, 2020
Yeah, we’re still talking about the Postal Service

We’ll stop discussing absentee voting and the upcoming election when things  that threaten it stop happening. Today it’s the revelations that 46 states might not get their ballots in time and drop-off boxes are being scooped up in a couple of  cities. At least we have tequila and pandas.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today at

Aug 15, 2020
Some threats to democracy are real

President Donald Trump spelled things out pretty clearly today when he told Fox News why he doesn’t want Congress to allocate funding to the U.S. Postal Service. Without the money, he said, universal mail-in ballots — aka absentee voting, aka kind of a necessary thing during a pandemic — may not be possible. Ahem. We’re not sure you were supposed to say that part out loud. Sorry, we couldn’t help but curse a little in this episode. Oh, great bald eagle, please, please rescue our democracy.

As always, find slinks to everything we talked about at, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss our live happy hour tomorrow!

Aug 14, 2020
College football’s canceled … sort of

Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams field listener questions on this Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll cover a range of topics from college sports to insider trading, a tax credit for low-income families and one particularly nostalgic movie. Kimberly drops some fencing knowledge, and we’ll explain (again!) what’s up with inflation. Stay to the end for a special promise from Kai.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on the episode page at

Aug 13, 2020
Is our right to vote at risk?

Confidence in our elections system is sagging. This year’s primary season brought reports of long lines at polling places and uncounted absentee ballots. And just when it was looking like many of us would be voting by mail this fall (as the pandemic rages on), a shake-up in leadership at the U.S. Postal Service is generating more uncertainty. This week, we speak with R. Michael Alvarez of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project about protecting the “franchise” — that is, our individual right to vote — and what we can do now and on Election Day to make sure our voices are heard. Later in the show, we’ll hear about the 2021 cruise season and the fate of small businesses in the pandemic economy.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on the episode page at

Aug 12, 2020
Oh good, we’ve got … memoranda

More kids are testing positive for COVID-19, people are making rent payments on their credit cards and Disney’s got no more “Fox” to give (pardon our French). On this Monday show, Kai Ryssdal returns from vacation, “bringing gender diversity back to the show,” in the words of co-host Kimberly Adams. We’ll talk about the virus, the economy and a few headlines that brought a twinkle to our eye. Plus, is the health care system for animals actually working better than the health care system for humans right now?

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on the episode page at

Aug 10, 2020
The virus is the economy

Talks for a now-overdue coronavirus aid package collapsed going into the weekend, with President Trump weighing what he can do with executive orders. Meanwhile, the country has passed 200,000 “excess deaths.” We know we’ve had some bummer episodes this week, but we do bring this one back with a heartfelt appreciation of Phil Collins’ masterpiece, “In the Air Tonight.”

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream! Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next one. You’ll find slinks to that and everything else we talked about on our episode page at

Aug 08, 2020
It’s OK to not be OK!

Whether you’ve lost someone, lost a job, gotten sick or are just feeling lonely, this pandemic is taking a toll on all of us. Today, we discuss two pieces in The New York Times about the physical and mental complications of the COVID-19 crisis. But it’s not all bad — we’ll also go deep into Amazon’s “A League of Their Own” series.

Aug 07, 2020
The data collection ‘arms race’

Microsoft is in talks to acquire TikTok — owned by Beijing-based ByteDance — amid much handwringing over the data the app collects. And while TikTok’s fate may ultimately be decided by the obscure Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, it seemed worth asking: Why is it so important to keep data collection domestic? There are certainly plenty of American apps collecting information on their users, too. We’ll talk about that and more on this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus: contact tracing, supply shockwaves and alpacas.

Aug 06, 2020
An unequal country is a vulnerable country

A widening wealth gap isn’t good for democracy. Yet inequality has been on the rise for decades in the United States. So what does that tell us about the state of the republic? On today’s show, Atlantic staff writer George Packer walks us through some historical examples of when stark inequities led to revolution and reform — and boils down everything from the New Deal to collard greens.

Aug 05, 2020
Let’s get real about USPS

Kimberly Adams is co-hosting the show this week with Molly Wood. We kicked off our Monday episode with a little perspective on the U.S. Postal Service. Plus, we try and unpack what exactly has been going on with TikTok over the past few days. For smiles, we’ll have an update on your favorite uncles and some cute alpacas.

Aug 04, 2020
It’s a ‘Succession’ day

James Murdoch, scion of News Corp. founder Rupert Murdoch, resigned from the company’s board of directors today, citing “disagreements over certain editorial content.” We’ll spend a little time today talking about what that means for Murdoch’s older brother, Lachlan, and the family’s media empire. Plus, somehow “Make Me Smile” keeps getting sadder. TGIF.

As always, you’ll find slinks to everything we talked about on the episode page at You’ll also find a slink to subscribe to our YouTube channel, so you never miss a live taping.

Aug 01, 2020
Happy National Blueberry Month, or something?

After failing to agree on and pass a new pandemic relief bill, the U.S. Senate appears to have officially recognized July 2020 as National Blueberry Month. That sounds a least a little productive … until you remember July ends Saturday, and so does the extra $600 weekly unemployment benefit millions of Americans rely on. You know it was a tough day when even “Make Me Smile” makes us cry.

Jul 31, 2020
Check your quarantine snack supplies

We’re tackling a deeply important question on this Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday: What’s everyone snacking on in quarantine? Let’s compare notes. Plus, we’ll answer some other listener questions about the coronavirus relief bill and how weirdly hard it is to unload your extra coins.

For a list of everything we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Jul 29, 2020
Let’s get antisocial

The convergence of nationwide protests over police violence and a global pandemic have placed renewed scrutiny on the role of companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple in our democracy. On Wednesday, chief executives from those companies will face lawmakers — virtually — for a much-anticipated hearing on their power and influence in this election year. We had New Yorker staff writer Andrew Marantz on the show to talk about it. He covers tech and social media for the magazine, and he wrote the book “Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation.”

Jul 29, 2020
Let’s just call this year a wash

Tech was one of the first industries to send workers home in response to the pandemic. And it was one of the first to let its employees work from anywhere. So what should we make of the fact that Google has pushed the date it’s calling employees back to the office to July 2021? Molly returns from a weekend of “Chrismukkah in July” to a Dark Place indeed. Join us!

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on the episode page at

Jul 28, 2020
Be nice to someone this weekend

We’re 135 days into the COVID-19 pandemic and the bottom could fall out of the economy in a few days. Everyone’s having a hard time in some way, so our main message for today’s happy hour episode is this: Be nice to someone, or a few someones, this weekend. Also on tap, the mask policy at McDonald’s, a somewhat-related thing about George H.W. Bush, baseball’s return and more on that AOC speech. TGIF!

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on the episode page at Thanks to everyone who joined us live on YouTube! Subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss the next one.

Jul 25, 2020
So you’re out of work. How’s 70% of your old salary sound?

That’s the pitch Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin gave CNBC today when outlining the Republican plan for coronavirus relief after the extra weekly $600 in unemployment benefits runs out at the end of the month. On today’s show, we’ll try to figure out why Congress left this to the last minute and whether the legislators’ latest proposal will work for the 34 million Americans now jobless. Plus: Kai gets hacked (maybe).

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about on our episode page at Finally, join us for our live happy hour episode Friday at 6:30 p.m. EDT, 3:30 p.m. PDT. Subscribe to our YouTube channel so you don’t miss it.

Jul 24, 2020
Why hasn’t Congress extended jobless benefits yet?

Congress is about to blow through its deadline to extend extra unemployment benefits for the tens of millions of Americans out of work due to the coronavirus. What gives? Great question. For Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll attempt to answer. Plus, your questions about CEO pay caps, Mexican Coke and more.

As always, you’ll find slinks to everything we talked about on By the way, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick, anonymous survey at

Jul 23, 2020
U.S.-China relations are bad, but are they ‘new Cold War’ bad?

As China returns to some sense of normalcy after the worst of the pandemic — and as the U.S. tries to slow down a new surge in coronavirus cases — relations between the two countries have reached a low point. On today’s show, Marketplace’s China correspondent, Jennifer Pak, tells us about the view from Shanghai, what state media are saying and what’s going on with a potential ban on the mega-popular app TikTok. Later, we’ll hear from a listener who’s wrestling with the child care crisis here at home and another who’s using lockdown to pick up (and stick with!) a new hobby.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on our episode page at And don’t forget to check out Marketplace’s brand-new kids’ podcast, “Million Bazillion,” on your favorite podcast app.

Jul 22, 2020
This is the whole ballgame, folks

The vast majority of Americans support the United States Postal Service, but the president is not a fan, and apparently neither is the Trump-donor-turned-postmaster-general-appointee Louis DeJoy. Today, we’ll look at what a new postmaster general could mean for the institution, and the stakes as millions of people vote by mail this fall. Plus: The federal agents we talked about last week are planning to expand to Chicago. Happy Monday.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on our episode page at And don’t forget to check out our brand-new kids’ podcast, “Million Bazillion,” on your favorite podcast app.

Jul 21, 2020
What’s happening to protesters in Portland?

On today’s happy hour episode, “This Is Uncomfortable” host Reema Khrais is on to talk about what’s happening in Portland, Oregon, this week. Federal law enforcement officers are taking protesters off the street, placing them under arrest for reasons unknown and driving away with them in unmarked vans. It sounds like a headline from a different place and a different time, but it’s happening in an American city right now. Later, we’ll lighten things up by talking about a socially distanced knighting and … ants.

As always, find slinks to everything we talked about at Thanks to everyone who joined us live! Subscribe on YouTube so you don’t miss the next one! Finally, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick, anonymous survey at

Jul 18, 2020
The Washington … Red Tails?

That’s just one name being kicked around for Washington, D.C.’s football team, and it’s our favorite so far. That’s our Make Me Smile today, but first we have to talk about this pandemic recovery plan that … doesn’t mention the pandemic.

As always, find slinks to everything we talked about at, plus a slink to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where Kai Ryssdal and “This Is Uncomfortable” host Reema Khrais will stream our live happy hour episode tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. EDT / 3:30 p.m. PDT! Finally, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick anonymous survey at

Jul 17, 2020
Rent is due??? Again???

Just in time for Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, one of our listeners is making us smart. We talked a bit last week about eviction moratoriums happening around the country. Today we have a lawyer listener who wrote in on the issue. Plus: the coin shortage, a world without cars and diversity in public media.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page on our site. And by the way, please help us improve this podcast by taking a quick anonymous survey at

Jul 16, 2020
The state of Oklahoma

… after last week’s landmark ruling over Native land rights, that is. A huge swath of eastern Oklahoma has been a reservation since the Trail of Tears in the 1830s, and the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed that status. Independent journalist Rebecca Nagle has been covering the case on her podcast “This Land,” and she joins us today to talk about the history of that land and what’s next for the 1.8 million people living there.

Jul 15, 2020
‘A Tapestry of Bonkers’

Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry. That’s how guest host Kimberly Adams is feeling about two big news stories out of her hometown of St. Louis and her current town, Washington, D.C. Today on the show we’re talking about reopening and re-closing California, that couple that brandished guns at protesters and the football team that finally changed its racist name.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at Finally, please help us out by taking a quick anonymous survey at

Jul 14, 2020
“Open the schools, or else”

That’s apparently the mandate from the Trump administration. And, look, maybe going back to school is the best thing (perhaps more data would be useful). But we’re looking for more planning, less politicization. And stop comparing schools to Disney World. Also on tap for today’s happy hour episode: comets, TikTok and a farewell to Carl Reiner.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about on our episode page at You can also find a slink to our YouTube channel — subscribe so you never miss a Friday broadcast!

Jul 11, 2020
They’re banning TikTok, Ma

Things felt so quaint when we covered the video app TikTok on the show last year. Lil Nas X was topping the chart, and parent company ByteDance had just racked up a few million in Federal Trade Commission fines. Now, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is floating a “ban” on Chinese social media apps, citing national security concerns, and that’s got Molly’s son and other teens on edge. We’ll talk about it, plus parking lots and roller coasters.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on our episode page at You can also find a slink to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where Kai and Molly will be broadcasting live tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific for happy hour!

Jul 10, 2020
How college got so unaffordable

On our recent episode on higher education, Scott Galloway discussed the “Rolexification” of public education. For today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll dig a bit into how we got here. Plus, a listener’s heartbreaking housing dilemma, why Molly is canceling “cable” again and a “Hamilton” close read.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today at

Jul 08, 2020
We can’t reopen the economy without solving child care

It’s kind of a circular problem: If we’re ever going to get people back to work, they need child care. But those child care workers are out of work, too. As Congress weighs new coronavirus relief programs, both parties are making a point to devote billions to child care. But America’s child care system has been in crisis long before this pandemic. Today, Washington Post reporter Valerie Strauss walks us through it. Plus, we’ll hear from a Vermont sheep farmer with a new side hustle, and Kai Ryssdal answers the Make Me Smart question again.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at

Jul 08, 2020
Is it too early in the week for a rage supernova?

If you’re flying on a plane, you should wear a mask. But as far as the federal government is concerned, of all the things you have to do to get on a plane, wearing a mask isn’t one of them. Make it make sense!!!!!! We’ll also talk about the inequality of COVID-19 and the foreign students falling through the cracks at Harvard and other all-remote schools this fall. It’s grim. Maybe some Quibi gossip will cheer us up.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on our episode page at

Jul 06, 2020
How are you doing?

We’re about 113 days into this pandemic, heading into a holiday weekend unlike any other in recent memory. We’re still learning about the best way to treat COVID-19, and some states are coming around on mask mandates. It’s not necessarily getting any easier. So how are you doing?

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the livestream. It was our best yet. Links to subscribe to our YouTube channel, plus everything we talked about today, are at our episode page at

Jul 02, 2020
Will coronavirus make it easier to buy a home?

We’ve gotten a lot of questions about the housing market during the COVID-19 recession. For today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’re going to dive into that, plus scary tech, reserve currency and a little “M*A*S*H” trivia.

You can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at, along with a slink to subscribe to our YouTube page, where we’ll be live Thursday!

Jul 01, 2020
A higher ed crisis is a terrible thing to waste

The rock walls, sushi bars and student center bowling alleys at colleges around the country will likely sit empty this fall. The spring semester has shown that online learning has significant limitations, said NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway, and welcoming back students and faculty is going to be like “Contagion 2.” But there’s also an opportunity here, he says, to increase budgets, cut costs and leverage technology to make higher education as accessible as it used to be.

Jul 01, 2020
Even the pandemic is bigger in Texas

Marketplace reporter Andy Uhler is in for Kai today, bringing us his on-the-ground reporting from Austin, Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott is rolling back reopening plans. But Abbott’s mostly left the rule-making to local governments and, well, no one knows what’s happening. For the rest of the California-based Make Me Smart crew, that confusing relationship between local and state government sounds familiar. Might be the same way in your state, too. Plus: Talking about sports, and talking around the COVID-19 sadness, not at the same time.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about on

Jun 29, 2020
That was fast: Facebook’s ad moderation flip-flop

It was just days ago that Facebook declared it would “not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure” after advertisers announced a boycott over the platform’s moderation efforts — or lack thereof. Today, Facebook announced it would, in fact, respond to that boycott by tamping down misinformation and discriminatory ads on its platform. So, that worked. Plus: Why oh why oh why aren’t more Americans wearing masks???? We need a drink.

As always you can find slinks to everything we talked about on our episode page at

Jun 26, 2020
Verizon boycotts Facebook (for a month)

Joining the likes of REI, Patagonia and others, Verizon is the biggest company by far to pull advertising from Facebook to protest the social media company’s moderation policies and overall corporate approach to combating misinformation. Can a boycott that’s just a month long lead to lasting change? We’ll talk about it. Plus: The country’s mayors speak out about racism in criminal justice.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at

Jun 25, 2020
Who gets to be an “investor”?

There’s an accreditation process… and there’s an app. For this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, we’ll talk about both. Plus: If you’re not attending college in person this fall, should you get a discount?

As always, you can find a list of some of the stuff we talked about today at

Jun 24, 2020
Stock up on masks and wipes, the country’s reopening

Loren Wold came on the show to talk about testing and vaccines back in late April, which feels like eons ago in this pandemic. Wold’s a professor and assistant dean for biological health research at Ohio State University. His lab is one of many working on a coronavirus vaccine. Today he’s back to talk masks, vaccines and whether he’d get on a plane again anytime soon.

Jun 23, 2020
Let’s rename the places and stuff named after racists

Sen. John C. Stennis was a segregationist who opposed civil rights bills during his 41-year tenure. So why is there still an aircraft carrier named after him? That’s just one example we’ll pick apart today. Plus, President Trump’s suspension of H1-B visas and, of course, “Hamilton.”

As always, for a list of stuff we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Jun 22, 2020
Friday the Juneteenth

It’s Juneteenth, the day in 1865 when the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached slaves in Galveston, Texas. To celebrate, Kimberly is lining up joyful movies about Black characters to watch this weekend. We’re also going to spend some time today reflecting on the decline of Black-owned businesses during this pandemic and a shameful history that’s not that far in our past. But first, Kai gives an update on the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at

Jun 20, 2020
We have an empathy gap in this country

Kai has said it over and over again: We’ve given up on this pandemic. But people are still dying by the thousands from coronavirus infections. And, according to an interview Kimberly talks about today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says we’re still in the first wave. All that, some cookies, plus: Kai sings!

Jun 19, 2020
What do you do when a business is spreading COVID?

On this week’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday, Kai and Kimberly tackle a listener’s ethical dilemma: Should you blow the whistle on a company that’s knowingly accelerating the spread of coronavirus? Plus, voting machines, stress tests and Champagne problems.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today at

Jun 18, 2020
BLM and pride take it to the streets

Pride month and Juneteenth are upon us, and protests against police brutality are entering their third week. Across the country, we’re seeing two civil rights movements gaining momentum together. Here to talk with us about intersectionality at this moment and how the coalition could come together is Keith Boykin. He’s a lawyer, journalist and commentator on CNN. He worked in the Clinton administration and wrote the book “One More River to Cross: Black & Gay in America.” His new book, out next year, is called “Race Against Time: Politics of a Darkening America.” Plus, with “Marketplace’s” Kimberly Adams in for Molly Wood on this episode, we’ll talk about Infrastructure Week — are we in it now? Did it ever end? — and President Donald Trump’s new executive order on policing.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today at

Jun 16, 2020
Imagine the economic upside of dismantling systemic racism

Kicking off the week with guest co-host Kimberly Adams, we pick up the conversation within the context of Kai’s interview with Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic. Plus, what today’s big Supreme Court ruling protecting gay and transgender employees says about “constitutional textualism,” and how the lockdown is changing American fashion. False eyelashes. Crocs. And more.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today on our episode page at

Jun 16, 2020
This just in: a rollback of protections for trans Americans

A Friday-afternoon story we couldn’t ignore: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new rules Friday afternoon that would effectively exclude trans people from protection against health care discrimination. The news  comes amid the pandemic, during LGBT Pride Month and at a time when America is in a fury over systemic oppression of a different sort… We discuss. But it’s not all dark on this Friday show. We’ll also journey back into the thicket of HBO’s sophisticated/weird branding.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today at

Jun 13, 2020
Who got half a trillion in COVID loans? The Trump administration won’t say

The Small Business Administration was supposed to release detailed information about who got hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer-backed PPP loans. But at a hearing yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it’s “confidential information.” We’re going to talk a lot about the shredding of norms on today’s show … if Kai’s recording setup can make it through the end of the taping.

As always, you can find a list of everything we talked about today (including Kai’s “room rating”) on our episode page at

Jun 12, 2020
Do investors care about fighting systemic racism?

IBM’s stock price slumped this week after the company announced it would get out of the facial recognition business for fear that it could lead to racist, abusive surveillance. So what do we make of that? We’ll talk about this disconnect between our national moment and Wall Street on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.

Jun 10, 2020
Defund police? Then what?

Following two weeks of sustained protest over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, the City Council there voted to explore dismantling its Police Department. Minneapolis is among the few cities now seriously considering the work of activists and academics who’ve tracked the failure of police-reform efforts. It is looking at alternate systems, pledging to build new options for public safety.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about today on our episode page at

Jun 10, 2020
We’re officially in a recession

After a 128-month expansion, the U.S. economy entered a recession in February. Today, we’ll talk about what that means and where we go from here. Plus: Guest co-host Kimberly Adams talks about a #MeToo-style movement for Black journalists and why it really feels like this time racist media bosses are on notice.

As always, you can find slinks to everything we talked about on the episode page at

Jun 09, 2020
Yes, you can trust the jobs report

We were all surprised by this morning’s May jobs numbers, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust them. That’s a dangerous road to go down. On today’s show, we’ll pick apart how the Bureau of Labor Statistics does the numbers and the wonkiness behind the (forgive us) wonky numbers. Plus: revolt over comments from public officials at The New York Times and Facebook.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Jun 06, 2020
K-Pop stans vs. racism

If you find yourself rage-clicking on trending topics that appear to be racist this week, you’ll likely be greeted by gifs and videos of BTS or another massively popular Korean pop group. Their famously dedicated fan armies have joined the fight against racism online, flooding anti-Black hashtags. Also on the docket today: What would it take for you to sit in the middle seat on an airplane again?

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Jun 05, 2020
Yes, Quibi still exists

For Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday, we dipped into the mailbag and pulled out a mix of your questions from the past week, including: What’s happening with Quibi, the very-well-funded mobile-only streaming service that landed with a thud in the middle of a pandemic? Plus, we look at consumerism post-COVID-19 and the ripple effects of Silicon Valley workers permanently working from home anywhere in the world.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Jun 04, 2020
Will the George Floyd protests finally catalyze real change?

Protests against the killing of George Floyd in police custody have flared in some 140 cities. Once again Americans are confronted with a reminder of the ways people of color, particularly black people, bear a disproportionate burden in this economy in the areas of health care, resources like loans and pandemic relief, food security and more. Today, we talk with D’Artagnan Scorza, founder and executive director of the Social Justice Learning Institute, about the language we use to talk about protest and policing, and where the fight for equality and justice goes after a crisis.

Jun 03, 2020
Facebook, protests and a whole lot more

Many Facebook employees took a virtual hike to protest the company’s policies around presidential messaging. And there’s a lot to process on this Monday. We do bring you a couple of things to make you smile, though.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at

Jun 02, 2020
These are broken times

It’s been a long week, so we went live on YouTube Friday to talk about what’s happening in Minneapolis, our hobbled economy, and President Trump’s leadership over a drink. In lighter news, we’ll also discuss how to leave your dog at home after the pandemic and “Haircut Night in America.”

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at

May 30, 2020
What does Hong Kong bring to China’s economy?

As China cracks down on Hong Kong’s autonomy, we take a minute to examine the territory’s place in the world’s second-largest economy. Plus: the Boston Marathon, the Wall Street Journal and a couple of Uncles David.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at

May 29, 2020
What’s HBO Max?

Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday isn’t just about answering your questions.  Sometimes our hosts have questions too. Today, Kai is trying to figure out the latest entrant in the streaming wars. Plus: how oil prices bounced back and the future of higher ed.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at

May 28, 2020
Back to the mall … but is anyone buying?

After years of sagging sales and changing customer habits, the coronavirus pandemic has retail fighting for its life. As more states move to partially reopen nonessential businesses, it’s still not clear who’s going to make it out of this crisis. For our 200th (!) episode, Marketplace retail reporter Marielle Segarra walks us through the winners and losers, what this crisis says about the way Americans shop and what’s coming next. Get ready for a mall-walking comeback.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And a big thanks to everyone who’s helped us get to 200 episodes! Here’s to 200 more.

May 27, 2020
Happy Friday: Your SAT scores really don’t matter anymore

Not in California, anyway. The University of California system announced this week it will phase out the use of ACT and SAT test scores in its admissions process. Will it ease stress and lower barriers for low-income families? We’ll talk about it. Plus: American oil production and coffee snobbery.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And another big thanks to everyone who helped make our spring fundraiser a success. If you missed it, there’s still time to donate at

May 23, 2020
Hank Paulson on the strong dollar

On today’s show, we’ll dig into former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s column in Foreign Affairs about how to keep the dollar strong. Plus, Big Tech’s new work-from-home reality check and some useful euphemisms for “President Trump lied.”

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 22, 2020
Can you deduct a home office on your taxes?

Or will your employer pay for some WFH remodeling? Eh, don’t get your hopes up. We’re fielding a couple of personal finance questions on today’s Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll also answer your mail about the confusing surge in the stock market and the future of retail (which we’ll talk about more on our Tuesday episode next week).

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 20, 2020
When we go back to work, tech will have a new job

Ready or not, the country is starting to reopen, and some Americans are getting back to work. There’s a lot of new tech on the table for preventing a surge in COVID-19 cases, but what’s actually effective? And what data will you have to give up to use it? Here to talk us through how the American office will change is Chris Calabrese, the vice president for policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 20, 2020
This recession curve could take many shapes

Is it a “V”? A “W”? What about a Nike swoosh? What about a “K”? Stay with us. Also meeting up here today: Masayoshi Son, Chuck E. Cheese and Jesus Christ.

For a full list of stories we talked about today, check out our episode page at

May 19, 2020
Will there be a baseball season?

For now, it’s millionaires versus billionaires. The MLB is exploring a way to get baseball season started during the pandemic… and Kai’s out today. So we drafted Andy Uhler to go deep on the players union, salary caps and more. Plus: a playlist for your weekend and, oh yeah, Facebook’s $400 million purchase of Giphy.

For a full list of the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 16, 2020
If you could work from anywhere, where would you live?

Twitter was the first big tech company to tell workers they could work remotely indefinitely, even after the pandemic wanes. Does this portend tech workers fleeing the high price of living in Silicon Valley, or even a migration away from big cities? We’ll talk about it. Plus: spaceflight simulators, the legacy of “Demolition Man” and the grim outlook for America’s restaurants.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 14, 2020
Some Airbnb, more MMT and ‘keyboard money’

You guys had a lot of questions after our episode about Modern Monetary Theory, and today we’re going to answer one on Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. We’ll also talk about the Fed, Airbnb and the history of unemployment in this country.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 14, 2020
Maybe Modern Monetary Theory is an answer to the COVID-19 economic crisis

Does debt matter? For an individual, a household or even a generation, sure it does. But what about a nation? Modern Monetary Theory says no. To help us understand MMT and why it matters in this crisis is Stephanie Kelton. She’s a professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University, and she served as an adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. Her new book, “The Deficit Myth” is out June 9.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 13, 2020
What is Elon Musk doing now?

In his (sigh) tweet today, the Tesla CEO said he’s reopening a Northern California factory a couple weeks before he’s allowed, daring police to come arrest him. But given the way this pandemic works and Tesla’s safety record, Elon Musk could very well be threatening Oakland overall. Also on the docket today: hotel bonds, Guy Fieri and dog poop bags.

For a full list of all the stories we talked about today, check out the episode page at And if you can, consider supporting Marketplace with a donation at

May 12, 2020
What a week, huh?

Some days you’re the murder hornet, some days you’re the praying mantis. It’ll make more sense when you listen.

For all the links from today’s show, check out the episode page at

May 09, 2020
We know what we need to do, but we’re not doing it

The U.S. is the richest country in the world. Why can’t we get our act together around COVID-19? If it sounds like we’re oversimplifying, on the show today we’ll look to Germany and how it’s kept factories open while avoiding severe outbreaks. Plus, why so many oil tankers are slowing way down, and why men need to get over themselves. What else is new?

For more links from today, check out the episode page at

Finally, tomorrow’s “Economics on Tap” episode will be broadcast live on YouTube! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it at

May 08, 2020
When we look back, will this be a blur? Or a new beginning?

Will the memories of this COVID-19 outbreak and economy fade away for most of us, or change society forever? That’s one of the big questions for this edition of “Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.” Plus: Is this 2008 for commercial real estate? And how is unemployment counted anyway? Send your questions for WYWKW to

Your donations make this show possible. If you can, give today at, and thanks!

May 07, 2020
The state of the states

Thirteen percent of American workers are employed by a state government, and states get about 70 percent of their income from sales and income taxes. But with businesses shuttered and unemployment claims surging, local governments are facing a huge financial crunch. Here to talk us about what states are facing and what’s ahead is Marc Nicole. He’s president of the National Association of State Budget Officers and the deputy secretary of the Department of Budget and Management in Maryland.

May 06, 2020
Is the simulation breaking? Cruises are going to set sail again?

We don’t have enough time today to ponder the nature of our existence, but we are going to talk about these fascinating coronavirus pandemic simulations. Also, yes, Carnival’s plan to start cruises again in August. Plus: Kai’s deep in this thread and Molly’s making bread pudding.

May 04, 2020
Elon Musk is tweeting through it

Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Twitter this morning: “Tesla stock price is too high imo,” along with a bunch of other stuff. We need a drink before we can dive into this one. Also today on Economics on Tap: consumer spending, additional stimulus and a remote jazz festival.

May 01, 2020
How about contact tracing for COVID-19 misinformation?

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, no great fan of Facebook, has asked other tech giants to follow the company’s example by contacting users who’ve interacted with misinformation. Plus, we’ll talk about the joy of vacuuming and the wonders of nature.

Apr 30, 2020
Can states run out of unemployment money?

And can they go bankrupt? That’s just two of the questions we’re tackling in today’s “Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday.” Plus: Should we be concerned Google is in so many schools? Why do big companies get small business money? And maybe the most important of all: How are we staying sane right now?

Apr 29, 2020
We need millions of tests to open this economy. So, where are they?

Coronavirus testing is way, way, waaaay behind here, folks. A lack of tests hobbled the government’s efforts to track the pandemic in the U.S. Now health experts say we need millions of tests every week to safely reopen the economy. Here to walk us through the problems in the testing supply chain is Loren Wold, director of biomedical research at the College of Nursing at Ohio State.

Apr 28, 2020
UFOs? Sure, why not.

After years of leaks and reportage, the Pentagon has finally declassified three videos of Navy pilots encountering unidentified flying objects. You know our own former Navy pilot and current sci-fi geek had to weigh in. But first, a bit about the Payroll Protection Program for small businesses, which restarted again today. After that, though: Aliens. Yes.

Apr 28, 2020
A very-happy happy hour

First of all, we have to kick off this episode with a big thank you. In just two days, 230 of you donated to support the show. If you wanna join that group, head to Also on tap today: the continuing scandal in the U.S. Navy, how to reopen local economies, and… New Yorker cartoons? This is public radio after all.



Apr 24, 2020
That new $484 billion aid package isn’t enough

Right before we started the taping, the House of Representatives passed another big coronavirus relief bill. President Donald Trump has said he will sign it, but how long will it last? Kai’s predicting another bill in less than 12 days. Plus: The “invisible menace” in Facebook, and we hear from a priest who’s enjoying some Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA (with a selfie you can find on our site).

Correction (4/23/20): A previous version of this story misstated the value of the new coronavirus aid bill. It’s worth $484 billion.

Apr 23, 2020
Where will all that extra oil go?

It’s time for another “Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday,” where Kai and Molly take your questions about the economics of the COVID-19 crisis. On the docket today: What’s it take for contact tracing apps to work? Where will we keep all that excess oil? And the economic impact of mass casualties. You know how we like to keep it light.

By the way, we love doing five episodes per week, but this doesn’t work without your help. Consider a donation at

Apr 23, 2020
Trump’s OSHA could mandate essential worker protections, but it hasn’t. Why not?

In the U.S., there are no specific regulations for protecting workers from a disease like COVID-19. President Donald Trump could use the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to mandate essential worker protections, but he hasn’t. Why not? To help talk us through it, we’re joined by Dr. David Michaels, who ran OSHA under President Barack Obama.

Apr 22, 2020
Who’s organizing those anti-quarantine protests?

Large Facebook groups appear to be amassing protests against local shelter-in-place orders, but the real organizers are apparently a trio of pro-gun activists. We’ll talk about it and the implications of taking those pages down. Plus: A new resource for tracking the virus and how Molly’s staying entertained at home.

Apr 21, 2020
Whatever you’re going through, it’s OK

It’s important to take care of yourself in these trying times, so we’re back with another happy hour episode, aka Economics on Tap. We’ll cover Trump’s “liberate” tweets, some new mental health data and this oral history of pandemic warnings in Wired. Then a special guest stops by and things get a little chaotic.

Apr 18, 2020
Where Is Congress?

Lawmakers are deadlocked over additional funding for struggling small businesses, and the already-approved loans are almost gone. So why did the Senate adjourn today? And where’s the House? We’ll talk about it. Plus: Why testing is still the biggest coronavirus story, and the 99-year-old raising money for British health services.

Apr 16, 2020
Why did Zoom win the teleconference race?

There’s a lot of video conferencing software out there, so why did the relatively new Zoom take over the public consciousness so quickly? That’s just one question we try to answer in this week’s Waddaya Want to Know Wednesday episode. Also discussed: inflation, the job market for 2020 graduates and which businesses have actually gotten their relief loans.

Apr 16, 2020
There’s plenty of food. Why can’t we get it?

No matter how many times we hear that the U.S. has plenty of food, the sight of empty grocery store shelves can still provoke anxiety. Should we worry? Here to talk us through the disruptions in the supply chain is Millie Munshi, an agriculture editor at Bloomberg. Plus, we’ll hear from listeners struggling to access small business relief loans.

Apr 15, 2020
Trump alone can’t reopen the economy, so who can?

President Donald Trump has said repeatedly, including during this taping, that he alone has the authority to reopen this economy after we’re past the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s not true, and several governors have banded together to go their own way. But it’s not that simple. We’ll talk through it. Plus: What do consumers really want from Amazon, other than stuff?

Apr 13, 2020
Google and Apple are slinking up to track COVID-19
The two giant-est giants in mobile software are collaborating on a system to track contact between users and slow the spread of the coronavirus. But what are the privacy implications? We’ll talk about the system’s potential and its limitations. Plus, as part of our Friday series “Economics on Tap,” we’ll discuss Republican Sen. Josh Hawley’s co-sign on a proposal for the federal government to pay workers.
Apr 11, 2020
Google and Apple are linking up to track COVID-19
The two giant-est giants in mobile software are collaborating on a system to track contact between users and slow the spread of the coronavirus. But what are the privacy implications? We’ll talk about the system’s potential and its limitations. Plus, as part of our Friday series “Economics on Tap,” we’ll discuss Republican Sen. Josh Hawley’s co-sign on a proposal for the federal government to pay workers.
Apr 11, 2020
Tip your delivery people, people!

CNN reported today that some Instacart shoppers are taking on delivery jobs on the promise of big tips that never materialize. We’ll talk a bit today about that, and the grocery supply chain ahead of a bigger show on where the food is next week. Plus: Even if the science is dubious, it’s probably not a great idea to spit while you run right now.

Apr 09, 2020
Is that coronavirus relief check taxable?

Another Wednesday, more of your questions. Like: Whenever it arrives, how do you deal with that $1,200 check on your taxes? How’s this crisis going to affect the housing market? And when can people who have recovered from COVID-19 return to work? Plus, a glimpse into Kai’s college days. Say it with us: “burrito popsicles.”

Apr 09, 2020
Relief for small businesses is already too little, too late

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has asked Congress for another $250 billion for small businesses suffering the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. But a lot of small businesses haven’t been able to access the existing relief package. Unemployment insurance is its own trial by fire. Today, we’ll talk with Marketplace personal finance reporter Sam Fields about the lengths people and businesses need to go to get that financial aid, and whether it’s actually helping.

Apr 07, 2020
California leads states in coronavirus cooperation

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is interested in teaming up with other states to tamp down bidding wars on personal protective equipment, and we’re all learning the word “monopsony.” Plus: Apple’s spending spree and a very musical Zoom call.

Apr 07, 2020
Start getting comfortable with the word “depression”

Now, there’s no technical definition of an economic depression other than a very, very bad recession. That’s what it looks like we’re in the early stages of — and today on the show, Kai Ryssdal and guest host Kimberly Adams will talk about some of the knock-on effects of coronavirus we’ll feel for a long time. Plus, Trump’s COVID-19 protectionism, a little gardening talk and of course, some drinks. TGIF.

Apr 04, 2020
The coronavirus economy numbers are getting big

… So big that it’s starting to feel hard to grasp the damage this pandemic is doing. Like the 7% gross domestic product drop in the second quarter, the more than 6 million new unemployment claims or … a 9% year-over-year increase in cruise bookings? We’ll break it down. Plus: Dolly Parton reads to your kids.

Apr 03, 2020
What are we not talking about … while we’re talking about coronavirus?

Like many of you, we’re starting to build routines in self-isolation. So now Wednesdays are “Whadd’ya Wanna Know Wednesdays,” where we take your questions. Questions like: Will credit card companies be more forgiving while we all weather this crisis? And, what other news is happening while everyone’s talking about COVID-19? Kai and Molly each have their own very specific examples. Plus, we learn about the little recessions that can happen inside a depression.

Apr 02, 2020
So, when are we getting that $1,200 check?

Rent is due tomorrow, along with car payments and other bills. You might think that historic $2 trillion economic stimulus package, with up to $1,200 going directly to Americans, is coming just in time. But not everyone’s getting a check, and those checks are definitely not arriving tomorrow. Here to talk us through it is Andrew Stettner, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation.

Apr 01, 2020
Things can always get worse

The March jobs report is due out this Friday, and it’s not going to be pretty. But thanks to some wonkery with how the Bureau of Labor Statistics handles its data, the reality is probably a lot worse than the numbers will look. We’ll explain. Plus, we’ll talk about making your own masks, finding “Joy” when you’re stuck at home and — sorry, why is Nancy Pelosi out shopping?

Mar 31, 2020
Happy hour for an unhappy time

It’s Friday. Kai and Molly raise a glass to a very hard week and talk through everything you need to know: what’s ahead for states that are losing their tax base, what the Instacart workers are threatening to strike over and what kind of recession we might be facing. We might even talk about something that will make you smile (we hope).

Mar 28, 2020
Reminder: the markets don’t care if you live or die

Markets are up for the third day in a row, even as weekly unemployment claims hit 3.2 million, ten times what they were last week. Plus this milestone: the U.S. notches the most cases of COVID-19 in the world. What gives? We’re steering straight into the dark place today.

Mar 27, 2020
Your coronavirus questions, answered

We started doing daily podcasts and asking about your COVID-19 economy almost a week ago, and you guys didn’t disappoint. We’ve already received more than 100 emails, and we’re devoting this Wednesday show to answering as many as we can. It’s like an abbreviated Explainathon. Today: answers about $2 trillion relief bill, our national debt and the work-from-home broadband load now that lots of us are doing that.

Mar 26, 2020
The U.S. health care system is bracing for COVID-19

Just because we’re doing 10-minute daily dispatches doesn’t mean we’re stopping the regular weekly podcast. For this week’s deep-dive, we’re speaking with New York Times health care reporter Sarah Kliff about supply chains for masks and ventilators, the Defense Production Act and how Obamacare will fare in a recession. Plus, we hear from a listener who recovered from COVID-19 and another who does buying for grocery stores.

Mar 24, 2020
Where are all the masks?

As some political and industry voices start calling for America to “reopen for business,” we have another, more pressing question: why aren’t there enough masks for medical professionals who need them? We’ll talk about it, and skid into the Dark Place. Only Dodgers legend Vin Scully can pull us out.

Mar 23, 2020
Early indicators of a COVID-19 recession are here

The economy is hitting a brick wall, but we don’t yet have the hard economic data — like jobs numbers. On our second daily episode, Kai and Molly talk about some of the indicators we do have and how much you can trust them. Plus, we look at the essential question in fighting this pandemic: If we shut down the economy, will that paralyze our healthcare system? Finally, a seasonal Make Me Smile moment.



Mar 21, 2020
The COVID-19 economy: our new daily podcast

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our economy in real time, meaning it’s harder than ever to keep up with the news. Starting today, Kai and Molly are doing a 10-minute podcast every afternoon to help you make sense of it all. (We’ll still take a deep drive into one topic every Tuesday.) Today, we’re talking about the repo market, the Senate stimulus bill and why you don’t need to hoard groceries. Remember, this show only works when we’re all getting smarter together. Send your questions to

Mar 19, 2020
School’s out. COVID-19 means we’re all learning a lot. Differently.

Nearly 38 million children are home, quite possibly through the summer break. For education, this is unprecedented. Many schools are embracing some kind of distance learning, but not everyone has access, and it can’t replace school’s function as an essential piece of the social safety net. So how will weeks or months of this new normal affect students, the digital divide and — oh, yeah — parents? Here to talk us through it is Pedro Noguera, UCLA distinguished professor of education.

Mar 18, 2020
Welcome to the coronavirus economy

Even after recent market volatility, supply shock, a surprise rate cut and a brewing oil war, COVID-19 has only just started to batter the American economy. It’s starting to look like the start of a real economic slowdown, even a recession. Does the government have the tools to avoid the worst? That’s something we’re still figuring out. Here to talk us through this and more is the New York Times’ Neil Irwin. Plus, we hear from a “Make Me Smart” listener in Venice, Italy.

Mar 10, 2020
What did the Fed just do?

As if you needed more evidence that the COVID-19 outbreak has ripple effects through the economy, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates by a half point this morning. It’s a very unusual move, unseen since 2008. So we’re going to take some time today to talk though what that cut means, what the Fed is saying about coronavirus, the market reaction and whether or not we should even care about stocks when there’s a pandemic brewing.

Mar 04, 2020
When CDC says “this might be bad”

… it’s bad. There are now 80,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including new diagnoses in Italy, Iran and South Korea. This news has sent American markets plummeting, and prompted the CDC to warn of an outbreak Tuesday morning, but the World Health Organization isn’t declaring a pandemic yet. Here to talk with us about pandemics past and their economic effects is is Olga Jonas, a senior fellow with the Harvard Global Health Institute.

Subscribe to the “Make Me Smart” newsletter at and tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for daily explainers.

Feb 26, 2020
Every problem is a housing problem

At least, according to New York Times reporter Conor Dougherty. We talk with him about the affordable housing crisis, local government and his new book “Golden Gates.” Plus, listeners weigh in on BlackRock and the “Internet der Dinge,” and we celebrate our 150th episode.

Feb 19, 2020
No more business as usual?

The big buzzwords among the executives and world leaders at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting this year were “stakeholder capitalism,” the idea that a corporation should serve a social and environmental good, not just enrich shareholders. What a concept, right? It comes after those Business Roundtable guidelines on corporate responsibility, and sustainability pledges from big players like Microsoft and BlackRock. But is this really a challenge to Milton Friedman’s 50-year-old treatise on corporations’ purpose? Or just a savvy but cynical PR move? We put that question to Jerry Davis, the associate dean for business and impact at the University of Michigan’s business school. He says it’s harder for a company to be a “successful hypocrite” now.

Feb 12, 2020
We now have Impossible Burgers!

In a few short years, artificial “meat” has gone from co-op curio to heavily hyped menu item at giant chains like Dunkin’ and Burger King. America consumes more meat than any other country, but new widespread awareness of meat’s heavy environmental toll has accelerated the race to find a more sustainable alternative. Larisa Rudenko, a research affiliate in the Program on Emerging Technologies at MIT, joins us to talk about Impossible Burger, lab-grown meat and where this exploding industry is headed. Plus: Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood taste test edible insects and answer a holiday listener question.

By the way, this is our last show before we go on break for the holidays. But don’t worry — for the next three weeks we’ll be revisiting some of our favorite interviews of the year, revisiting our 2019 predictions and creating new ones for 2020. We’ll have new daily Alexa explainers and email newsletters all through the holidays.

Dec 18, 2019
Must. Keep. Growing.

Every single day here at Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal “does the numbers,” talking about how the stock market fared at close. When they are up, we play the happy music. Same with monthly jobs numbers and the GDP. We’ve had a few listeners write in to ask: Why? Does the economy always need to get bigger, all the time, forever? Here to help us sort through this kind of existential question and maybe even figure out some better numbers to “do” is Josh Bivens with the Economic Policy Institute. By the way: We’re still looking for your 2020 predictions! Send them to, and we’ll play some on our last episode of the year.

Dec 11, 2019
Congrats!? Your business has been “rescued”

Toys R Us, Payless, Brookstone, Sports Authority, Gymboree. Maybe you remember shopping at some of these stores. Maybe you remember reading elegies when they shut down. All of these stores were bought by private equity firms that claimed to see value in a fledgling brand. When that didn’t pan out, there were store closures, bankruptcy filings and a lot of layoffs. Many progressive politicians are now pointing to private equity as “exhibit A” in the case for more Wall Street regulation. Joining us to sort through it all is Marketplace reporter Marielle Segarra.

Meanwhile, we’re looking for your 2020 predictions for our annual predictions episode. Send your voice memos to

Dec 04, 2019
Explainathon VI: Return of the Explainathon

It’s time for Kai and Molly to face the gauntlet again. Every six(ish) months or so we put them through an Explainathon, where they try to answer as many of your questions as they can with minimal prep in just 30 minutes! This time, you have all kinds of great questions like: What’s a “currency pact”? How does a fair tax work? Is 401(k) matching making inequality worse? And more. By the way, we’re preparing for a new predictions episode! Turn your crystal ball toward 2020 and tell us what you see coming at

Nov 26, 2019
Is this even working? Economist Esther Duflo is trying to find out.

About 1.3 billion people are in extreme poverty, living on less than $1.25 a day. Meanwhile, some of the most powerful people in wealthy countries, like the U.S., say they want to help alleviate some of that poverty. Every year, individuals, charities and governments pour billions of dollars into aid, development and a range of causes. But how do you know what’s actually working and what’s a waste of time? Our guest today, MIT economist Esther Duflo, just won a Nobel Prize for using a hard science approach to answer that question.

Nov 20, 2019
When student athletes play hard, who gets paid?

The NCAA has been regulating college sports for more than a century, and its ban on student athletes making money from their playing, name and likeness has ostensibly kept the game more “pure.” But pressure has been mounting for years for the NCAA to share some of its billion-dollar business with the athletes that drive it, and a new California law is poised to challenge the old model of “amateurism” in college sports entirely. Today we’re joined by Katelyn Ohashi, a former UCLA gymnast who went viral this year with a floor routine and is now speaking out against the NCAA for preventing her from capitalizing on it.

Nov 13, 2019
Native Americans and the tech economy

Native Americans have the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the country. Technology, particularly new financial tech, offers an opportunity for this historically marginalized group to better access the strong economy. But getting online in largely rural, remote reservations is a challenge — to say nothing about access to capital and credit. Tribal sovereignty can also make access, taxes and generally doing business more complicated. To help talk us through the challenges and potential technology offers, we’re joined by Dante Desiderio, executive director of the Native American Finance Officers Association and a member of the Sappony Tribe.

Nov 06, 2019
We have plug-in cars. Why not plug-in planes?

Planes are bad for the environment, we know this. Innovation in electric cars has surged in the past decade, so why not electric planes? Today on the show, Aviation Week and Space Technology managing editor Graham Warwick talks us through making the friendly skies a bit friendlier.

Oct 29, 2019
VC hype vs. Wall Street

How does a company lose $39 billion in value in just a few weeks? This week we’re diving into all the unicorn companies that rode a wave of venture capital hype onto the rocky, unforgiving shores of the stock market. It’s not just WeWork either — Uber, Slack, Snap and plenty of other tech darlings have struggled after their splashy IPOs. Is it the exception or the rule? And what’s it say about how investors assess a company’s value? Here to help us sort through it is the New York Times’ Erin Griffith, who reports on startups and the VC world.

Oct 23, 2019
Your outfit is trash

What happens to our clothes when we’re done with them, they go out of style or just lose a button? Maybe we donate them, or sell them, but too often we throw them away. And that’s to say nothing about how they’re produced — The clothes we wear are tied to climate change as what we eat or how we get around. And in recent years, the impact of clothing on the environment has drastically increased. That’s the argument fashion reporter Dana Thomas makes in her new book “Fashionopolis: the Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes.” She joins us this week to unpack the problems and explore some potential solutions. Programming note: This week was supposed to be our sixth Explainathon, but we had to delay it a couple weeks. The good news is you have more time to submit your questions!

Oct 15, 2019
Brexit is really, maybe happening this time, probably.

It’s been three years, three months and 15 days since the Brits voted to leave the EU. There have been three prime ministers since then, and so far none of them have successfully brokered a Brexit deal. This time, new PM Boris Johnson says it’s gonna happen by the end of the month, no matter what. To help us sort through what’s going on and what it means for the rest of us, we’re joined by Ros Atkins, who hosts “Outside Source” on the BBC.

Oct 08, 2019
Nuclear, but better

We heard you: After our show on climate change, several listeners wanted to know more about nuclear power and its place in the green energy discussion. Joining us is Suzy Hobbs Baker, the creative director of the Fastest Path to Zero Initiative at the University of Michigan. She’ll walk us through the basics of how nuclear power works, its impact on the environment, its tricky economics and, yes, the image problems it can’t shake. By the way, we have an Explainathon coming up and we need your questions! Send your voice memos to!

Oct 01, 2019
A gig is a gig is a gig

Used to be, gigs were for musicians, artists, folks who did work that didn’t fit neatly in any traditional notion of “employment.” These days, the “gig economy” means something very different: Nearly a fourth of Americans earn money from freelance work, and 44% said “gigging” was their primary source of income. And while the future of work as we know it is still very murky, a new law in California has thrown the gig economy into a transitional moment. Here to talk us through is Marketplace workplace culture correspondent Meghan McCarty Carino.

Sep 25, 2019
We need solutions to climate change, but who’s going to help pay for them?

Tech giants like Google, Apple and Facebook are seemingly unafraid to take on huge challenges. So why are they relatively quiet about climate change? Molly has spent several weeks reporting around Silicon Valley about tech companies and VCs’ relationship to the climate. We’ll hear some of her interview with Danny Kennedy, runs a nonprofit startup incubator focused on clean energy. Plus: Your thoughts on our women at work episode and a bit about Marketplace’s fall fundraiser.

Sep 17, 2019
The economy isn’t working for women who work

Between the ’70s and ’90s, women were entering the workforce in droves. Then female workforce participation peaked in 2000. What happened? And why are women’s wages still stagnant? We’re picking up our series on the economics of inequality, trying to figure that out with some help from Emily Bazelon, an author, lecturer at Yale Law School and a staffer for The New York Times Magazine. Plus: Back to the Dark Place on deepfakes, and departing producer Shara Morris answers the Make Me Smart question.

Sep 10, 2019
Deep thoughts about deepfakes

Deepfake videos can make for a lot of fun … someone’s face on someone else’s body saying something completely out of context — like Bill Hader doing an impression of Tom Cruise with Cruise’s face superimposed. But the implications of this technology are serious, from disinformation to political upheaval. Here to walk us through it is Berkeley School of Information professor Hany Farid. Plus, professional dogsledder Blair Braverman answers the Make Me Smart question.

Sep 03, 2019
So, when’s that recession gonna start?

Talk of a coming recession has only gotten more heated this week, following a meeting of central bankers at Jackson Hole and a bunch of trade back and forth at the G7. Markets rebounded Monday, but the yield curve remains inverted and the global economy is still slowing down. So what now? We called Neil Irwin, senior economics correspondent at “The New York Times,” to help us figure out what we should be watching for, and what happens next

Aug 27, 2019
The “Hunger Games” of streaming

Used to be you signed up for cable and voila, you’re watching your favorite shows (as well as a bunch of stuff you don’t care about, for maybe too high a price). Then streaming came along. First Netflix. Then Amazon. Hulu. And now a whole new batch of subscription services are about to launch: Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus. It’s getting more complicated and competitive, with content jumping off some platforms and clustering onto others. What services will survive this battle? And why is this happening now? CNBC media and tech reporter Alex Sherman helps us out. Plus, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman answers the Make Me Smart question.

Aug 20, 2019
What does your privacy mean to you?

Regulators, tech journalists and the most informed consumers have been wringing their hands about “privacy” online for years. But just as more users and regulators start taking notice, heavy hitters like Apple and Facebook are announcing their renewed commitment to “your privacy” … with very different definitions. It’s hard to take control of privacy when you’re not even sure what that means anymore. To help draw some distinctions we’re joined by Laura Moy, associate professor and executive director of Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology.

Aug 14, 2019
The economy still isn’t working for people of color

We know economic inequality in America is real and keeps growing. We know people of color, especially black people, are hit the hardest. That’s not news. What is new is the wave of politicians, primarily Democrats, who are speaking more candidly about race and inequality than ever before. There’s also new research from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland into the massive wealth gap between black and white Americans, which has barely changed since the 1960s, thanks, mostly, to unequal pay. Here to help us sort through the numbers is Valerie Wilson, director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity, and the Economy at the Economic Policy Institute.

Aug 07, 2019
It’s time to pay attention to TikTok

Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” the meme turned song of the summer, has been the number-one song in country for a record-breaking 17 weeks. It originally took off on TikTok, a video-sharing app you should really be paying attention to. It’s been downloaded a billion times, and Facebook execs flagged it as competition during recent Congressional testimony. It’s also owned by a Chinese company, Bytedance, that was just hit by FTC fines for collecting children’s data. This week, The Wall Street Journal’s Georgia Wells catches us up on everything we need to know about the favorite app of every kid these days.

Jul 30, 2019
Why even have a debt ceiling?

Kai and Molly are reunited at last, and they’re trying something new. We asked the staff here at Marketplace to send in their burning questions they want to get smart about, including the debt ceiling, that Equifax settlement and CBD. All that, plus your thoughts on our recent episode on ~*~*outer space.~*~*~

Jul 23, 2019
Space — the final business frontier

Fifty years ago today, the Saturn V rocket took off from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, carrying the first men to walk on the moon. Today, we’ll mark that milestone by looking ahead to the exploration, colonization and militarization of space. By some estimates, the current space economy is worth $400 billion, and it could reach $1 trillion by 2040. Here to break it all down with Molly Wood is Marketplace’s de facto space reporter Kimberly Adams and Politico’s Jacqueline Feldscher, who co-writes their space newsletter. Plus, we’ll hear from a “space architect,” which is apparently A Thing.

Jul 17, 2019
The end of history (majors)

President Donald Trump gave a speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial last week to mark the Fourth of July. Critics and Democrats went after Trump for politicizing the occasion, though many presidents of both parties have done the same in the past. Do such knee-jerk reactions mean we have lost understanding of the importance of history? It’s personal for Kai Ryssdal, an undergrad history major who often finds the past a useful way to make sense of today. Here to talk with us about what history is and what it’s good for (and what it isn’t) is Brian Rosenwald, editor of the Made by History blog from the Washington Post.

Reema Khrais, of the podcast “This Is Uncomfortable,” co-hosts this week, in for Molly Wood. Check out her show for stories about life and how money messes with it here.

Jul 09, 2019
The view from Shanghai

Kai Ryssdal lived and worked in China during the ’90s, and has made several trips there over the past 20 years. But most of the time he keeps tabs on the world’s second-largest economy the way most of us do: through the news. There are the headlines about the trade war, concerns about government overreach, the candidates stumping about China as an economic enemy, this week’s protests in Hong Kong. That’s a lot of noise that often brings us no closer to understanding what life’s actually like in China. To help us with that is Marketplace China correspondent Jennifer Pak, who works out of Shanghai and has reported on the country since 2006.

Jul 02, 2019
How did CEO pay get so bloated?

We’re kicking off a new series focusing on a topic that comes up a lot around here: Is the economy working for everybody? Today we’re talking about CEO pay. Some chief executives make up to 1,000 times more than their average employees. It didn’t used to be this way. Here to talk with us about CEO and worker compensation is Heather Boushey, executive director of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Finally: Time is running out! Support “Make Me Smart” today and get exclusive Marketplace 30th anniversary merchandise.

Jun 25, 2019
Bonus: This Is Uncomfortable, episode 2

Marketplace has a brand-new podcast: “This Is Uncomfortable.” Every Thursday, host Reema Khrais tells stories about life and how money messes with it. This week’s episode is all about the baggage that comes with crying at work, and it features a certain Marketplace host. Listen to that episode here, and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Jun 22, 2019
What’s in a face?

San Francisco banned government agencies from using facial recognition last month, citing civil liberty concerns. It’s a baby step in regulating technology that could make some aspects of life safer and more convenient, but comes with a host of unintended consequences for surveillance, profiling, discrimination and so on. But the recognition tech is already out there, in your face and accumulating data being used by the federal government and tech giants like Amazon. Today, BuzzFeed senior tech reporter Ryan Mac tells us what we should be keeping our eyes on. Plus, New York Times food writer Alison Roman shares a lesson learned about writing a cookbook.

Don’t forget to support “Make Me Smart” today and get our exclusive Marketplace swag at a discount this week only!

Jun 18, 2019
The internet as we know it rests on 26 words from 1996

You might not know what Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act says, but it affects your life every day. This short passage of the law says online platforms are not legally liable for what people say or do in the spaces they run. Trillions of dollars in company valuation and the sharing of content as we know it rests on the rule. But in the era of deep fakes, election meddling and radicalization by algorithm, is it time to revisit Section 230? If you got rid of it, what kind of rules would replace it? And what platforms would even be left? We asked Jeff Kosseff, a professor of cybersecurity law at the U.S. Naval Academy and the author of “The 26 Words that Created the Internet.”

Jun 11, 2019
Your crash course on the Indian economy

India is the largest democracy in the world, a major American ally and something of a counterpoint to a rising China. The country’s 900 million eligible voters just reelected Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who’s facing an economic slowdown and the loss of special trade status with the United States. Anu Anand, host of the Marketplace Morning Report from the BBC World Service, is here to talk us through it. She’s spent years reporting in and out of India and just got back from covering the election. Plus: Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood learn all about thermoception.

Jun 04, 2019
Huawei and the tech cold war

Huawei hasn’t been a household name in the U.S. But that’s changing as the Trump administration proceeds with its ban on American companies doing business with the Chinese tech giant. Industry allegations of Huawei spying and theft date back more than a decade. If relations remain chilly, China could start making more of its own software and components, erecting an “iron curtain” in tech that could be a big part of a total rewiring of the global economy that harkens back to…the Cold War. Steven Overly covers tech policy for Politico, and joins us.

May 28, 2019
Antitrust the process

Remember when we had Tim Wu on the show to talk about Big Tech parallels to the monopoly-controlled Gilded Age, and what that future might bring? Well, six months later the future has arrived. Kind of. The Supreme Court ruled this month that a huge antitrust lawsuit against Apple and its app store could move forward, and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes wrote a massive New York Times op-ed calling for the company to be broken up. And the conversation among legal thinkers is changing. Here to guide us through it is Vanderbilt law professor Rebecca Haw Allensworth. Plus, get smart about the chocolate-to-peanut-butter ratio in different Reese’s products.

May 21, 2019
How to survive climate change

It’s time to shift our approach to climate change. The truth is, it may very well be too late to avoid the worst consequences of our warming planet — lost ecosystems, millions of plants and animals going extinct, scarce water and more extreme weather. It may be time to focus more on technology that will help us adapt. That’s the focus of “How We Survive,” the new series from Molly’s other show, “Marketplace Tech.” Here to talk with us about climate adaptation and how it’ll impact the economy and society is Solomon Hsiang, University of California, Berkeley, public policy professor and Stanford visiting scholar.

Subscribe to “Marketplace Tech” to hear more from “How We Survive” and check out Vox to get even smarter about Ramadan.

May 14, 2019
What. The. Fed.
May 07, 2019
CRISPR for beginners
Apr 30, 2019
What does “Medicare for all” actually look like?
Apr 23, 2019
The future of work is anchor jobs and side hustles
Apr 17, 2019
The Explainathon strikes back
Apr 09, 2019
Why your tax refund might be lower this year
Apr 02, 2019
How do drug epidemics end?
Mar 26, 2019
The Great British Break-Off
Mar 19, 2019
A year after Cambridge Analytica, what have we learned?
Mar 12, 2019
Quantum computing for normals
Mar 05, 2019
The 2020 election will be all about socialism
Feb 26, 2019
What’s the deal with the Green New Deal?
Feb 20, 2019
The Oscars are a mess
Feb 12, 2019
When memes are moneymakers
Feb 05, 2019
Can we shut down the shutdowns?
Jan 29, 2019
Think before you major
Jan 22, 2019
Do it for the ‘gram
Jan 15, 2019
Back to design school
Jan 08, 2019
The problem with platforms
Dec 31, 2018
Adam ruins our Christmas
Dec 24, 2018
Dusting off our crystal ball for 2019
Dec 18, 2018
Bottomless fixations
Dec 11, 2018
Rep. Joe Kennedy is all about moral capitalism, and that sounds familiar
Dec 04, 2018
The affordability crisis of house and home
Nov 27, 2018
How do you get out of your echo chamber?
Nov 20, 2018
Are we in a new gilded age?
Nov 13, 2018
You voting in 2016 vs. you voting in 2018
Nov 06, 2018
Should you trust polling?
Oct 30, 2018
Why is the price of college such a mystery?
Oct 23, 2018
86: What it's like to live in 2043
Oct 16, 2018
85: Expl4inathon
Oct 09, 2018
84: Potcast
Oct 02, 2018
83: The Sanctuary of Smart
Sep 25, 2018
82: This is your brain on VR
Sep 18, 2018
81: If you didn't see this coming, you weren't paying attention
Sep 11, 2018
80: Google is rigged, just not in the way Trump thinks
Sep 04, 2018
79: The Amazon Effect
Aug 28, 2018
78: Keepin' it Civil with blockchain
Aug 20, 2018
77: Big Tech is a nation-state with a constitutional crisis
Aug 14, 2018
76: The host of "Slow Burn" makes us smart about Clinton's impeachment
Aug 07, 2018
75: A little Wisconsin root in a big trade war
Jul 31, 2018
74: What do we do about Elon Musk?
Jul 24, 2018
73: Bitcoin IRL
Jul 17, 2018
72: Are we an eponymous lifestyle brand yet?
Jul 10, 2018
71: Your front row seat to the trade war
Jul 03, 2018
70: Can VR make us more empathetic?
Jun 26, 2018
69: Why does "zero tolerance" look like this?
Jun 19, 2018
68: Ajit Pai's internet is "free and open," but no longer neutral
Jun 12, 2018
67: Blockchain all the things. Or don't.
Jun 05, 2018
66: "Roseanne" and ethics in business
May 29, 2018
65: It's a GDPaRty!
May 24, 2018
64: The case of the Butter Bot
May 22, 2018
63: Take your data and go home
May 15, 2018
62: We could never get free
May 08, 2018
61: Is capitalism obsolete?
May 01, 2018
60: "The great lie at the heart of the criminal justice system"
Apr 24, 2018
59: Adam ruins our show
Apr 17, 2018
58: So ... you wanna talk about Facebook?
Apr 12, 2018
57: Can big data really bring the world closer together?
Apr 10, 2018
56: "The best cure for hatred and ignorance"
Apr 03, 2018
55: The surveillance economy
Mar 27, 2018
54: Protecting speech, protecting students
Mar 20, 2018
53: The hidden workplaces all around us
Mar 13, 2018
We're back! New episodes start next week
Mar 06, 2018
52: Rahm Remixed
Feb 20, 2018
51: Remember when a Columbia River boat pilot made us smart about shoes?
Feb 06, 2018
50: The internet of thoughts
Jan 23, 2018
49: Gerrymandering, hard-wired brains and the baby under the desk
Jan 09, 2018
48: Explainathon the third
Jan 02, 2018
Special report: How one sentence helped set off the opioid crisis
Dec 28, 2017
47: Make Me Smart predictions
Dec 26, 2017
46: With Gates' power comes Gates' responsibility
Dec 19, 2017
45:"A Wrinkle in Time" and the battle against rhythmic cyclical hopelessness
Dec 14, 2017
44: Where are all the "lost Einsteins?"
Dec 05, 2017
43: Andy Weir loves to geek out about space economics
Nov 28, 2017
42: Breaking bread without conflict
Nov 21, 2017
41: Do you hear the people sing?
Nov 14, 2017
40: Explainathon 2! The search for more answers
Nov 07, 2017
39: Distressed human assets
Oct 31, 2017
38: Confronting Capitalism
Oct 25, 2017
37.5: Hold on for one more day...
Oct 24, 2017
37: Is it time to take capitalism into the shop for a look under the hood?
Oct 18, 2017
36: "The Man in the High Castle" has a lot on his mind
Oct 10, 2017
35: Facebook is the field democracy plays out on (and that's not good)
Oct 05, 2017
34.5: No new show today
Oct 03, 2017
34: Explainathon!
Sep 26, 2017
33: Equifax and the future of your data
Sep 19, 2017
32: April Reign, #OscarsSoWhite and the art of influence
Sep 12, 2017
31: What's a CEO's statement worth to this White House?
Sep 05, 2017
30: The price of too much pavement
Aug 29, 2017
29: Too many two-Molly interviews
Aug 22, 2017
28: CEOs quit the CEO in Chief
Aug 16, 2017
27.5: Where's my podcast?
Aug 15, 2017
27: Where are all the bitcoins?
Aug 08, 2017
26: Too much is never enough
Aug 01, 2017
25: The police can just take your stuff
Jul 25, 2017
24: Always tie your shoes
Jul 18, 2017
23: The Righteous Mind
Jul 11, 2017
22: Weird is the new normal
Jun 27, 2017
21: Tax cuts and partisan brain candy
Jun 20, 2017
20: The Enforcer
Jun 13, 2017
19: Delete your account?
Jun 06, 2017
18.5: We're not here
May 30, 2017
18: A source familiar with the matter
May 23, 2017
17: Filter Failure
May 16, 2017
16: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel wants to challenge your premise
May 09, 2017
15: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on 'Minecraft' and H-1B visas
May 02, 2017
14: Beware of the nurtured narrative
Apr 25, 2017
13: 'Nobody's got to use the internet'
Apr 18, 2017
12: This is your brain on Trump
Apr 11, 2017
11: Why do our taxes have to be so complicated?
Apr 04, 2017
10: Avocado toast is really a story about NAFTA
Mar 28, 2017
9: Everything or nothing is a crisis
Mar 21, 2017
8: The singer and the supercomputer
Mar 13, 2017
7: Lyft co-founder says the company could be profitable by 2018
Mar 07, 2017
6.5: Complexification
Mar 01, 2017
6: Reddit CEO Steve Huffman is not horsing around
Feb 28, 2017
5: Reputation in the age of the protest economy
Feb 21, 2017
4: It's the economy, Cupid
Feb 14, 2017
3: Lord of the attention merchants
Feb 07, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood take the Marketplace quiz
Feb 03, 2017
2.5: The limits of moral capitalism
Feb 02, 2017
2: Checks and balances and business
Jan 31, 2017
1: The land of unintended consequences
Jan 24, 2017
Mini Ep 3: Unlock the vault!
Dec 21, 2016
Mini Ep 2: The golden lobby parade
Dec 14, 2016
Mini Ep 1: Unanswered and Unintended
Dec 09, 2016
Introducing "Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly"
Nov 28, 2016