Make Me Smart

Marketplace

About

Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams make today make sense. Along with our supersmart listeners, we break down happenings in tech, the economy and culture. Every Tuesday we bring on a guest to dive deeper into one important topic. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.

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597 episodes

China is at a COVID-19 crossroads

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s strict zero-COVID policies have kept the virus at bay, but public frustration with lockdowns and a stunted economy are coming to a boil. We’ll discuss what recent mass protests could mean for the Chinese economy. Plus, who gets to access public lands in the United States? A navigation app is revealing how much public land is blocked by privately owned land. And, how artificial intelligence could help us connect with our inner child. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Be a Giving Tuesday early bird! TRIPLE the impact of your donation to Marketplace today: https://support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

17m
Nov 29
Is globalization a myth?

There’s lots of debate over globalization. Some experts believe globalization is dying https://www.marketplace.org/shows/marketplace/is-this-the-end-of-globalization/. Others say it’s going through a reboot https://fortune.com/2022/11/02/mizuho-americas-future-of-globalization/. And some think the free flow of goods across borders is evolving https://www.bloomberg.com/news/newsletters/2022-05-19/supply-chain-latest-globalization-2-0-is-going-to-be-costly into something else. But what if we never really globalized to begin with? On the show today, Shannon O’Neil, author of “The Globalization Myth,” breaks down what we got wrong about globalization and what it means for the future of the U.S. economy. In the News Fix, how inflation is affecting the cost of a Thanksgiving meal. Plus, are rich people running a shell game with money and the global economy? Then, we’ll hear from a teacher who left the profession and learn why talking about the weather isn’t so boring after all. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ “Make Me Smart” will be off the rest of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday. We’ll be back on Monday. In the meantime, keep sending your comments and questions to 508-U-B-SMART or email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

29m
Nov 23
The FTX meltdown is a cautionary tale

FTX customers fear they’ll never get their money back from the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange. They’re not wrong to worry. Could this further erode consumers’ trust in the financial system? Plus, mourners are grieving the victims of a deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Meanwhile, in Qatar, anti-LGBTQ rules are already being tested at the 2022 World Cup. Then, Kimberly makes us smile with a story about ice-skating and perseverance. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ We can’t do this show without you. Keep sending your comments and questions to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave a voice message at 508-U-B-SMART.

17m
Nov 22
The big quit: teachers’ edition

At the start of the year, a survey from the National Education Association revealed that more than 50% of teachers were thinking about leaving their jobs. And now teachers are quitting en masse. We’ll discuss what this could mean for classrooms nationwide. Also, the case of disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is coming to a close. Plus, the moral quandary of World Cup 2022. And, we’ll play a round of Half Full/Half Empty! Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ We can’t do this show without you. Keep sending your comments and questions to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave a voice message at 508-U-B-SMART.

26m
Nov 19
FTX-bomb

FTX, the recently imploded cryptocurrency exchange, has filed for bankruptcy. The new CEO said he’s never seen corporate mismanagement quite like this. We’ll unpack new revelations about what went wrong from the company’s bankruptcy filings. Plus, we’ll look back on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s legacy. And, Kai and Kimberly stan Lizzo! Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap. The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.

14m
Nov 18
Should we care about political polls?

Every election season, headlines speculate about which political polls got it right and how others got it so wrong. A listener called in to ask if they even matter. We’ll get into it and answer  questions about whether the 2017 tax cuts set us up for inflation and state lawmakers’ surprisingly low wages. Plus, how are individual shareholders affected when companies like Twitter go from public to private? Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ If you’ve got a question about the economy, business or technology, let us know. We’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org, or leave us a message at 508-U-B-SMART.

16m
Nov 17
Unpacking Mastodon

Since Elon Musk bought Twitter, over a million people (including Kai and Kimberly) have joined Mastodon, a decentralized social media network. On the show today, Robert Ghel, professor of communications and media studies at York University in Toronto, explains the ins and outs of Mastodon and decentralized social media and what it means for our public discourse. In the News Fix, we’ll talk about why mortgage rates are so darn high (it’s not all because of rising interest rates) and the future of self-driving cars — don’t plan to take your hands off the wheel anytime soon. Later, we’ll hear from a listener about what it takes to run for a local school board in Wisconsin. Plus, the eBay hack you didn’t know you needed. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ We want to hear from you. If you’ve joined Mastodon or are staying with Twitter, let us know how it’s going. We’re at 508-U-B-SMART or email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

32m
Nov 16
Are U.S.-China relations thawing?

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the leaders of the two most powerful countries in the world met face to face, on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit today. We’ll talk about why this IRL meeting matters and what the future of U.S.-China relations could mean for the global economy. Plus, there are signs the Federal Reserve is getting ready to slow its roll on interest rate hikes. And, Kai Ryssdal and Kimberly Adams talk missions to the moon, past and present! Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts or your own answer to the Make Me Smart question, call 508-U-B-SMART and leave us a voicemail. Or email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org.

15m
Nov 15
It’s time to talk about climate reparations

Rich countries, like the United States, are the biggest emitters https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/11/12/climate/cop26-emissions-compensation.htmlof gases that drive climate change. Should they pay developing countries for climate damage? Kai and guest host Andy Uhler recap the COP27 summit and the debate over climate reparations. Plus, NASA thought it had collected all the artifacts from the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster, until now. And, we’ll play a round of Half Full/Half Empty! Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ We can’t do this show without you. Keep sending your comments and questions to makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave a voice message at 508-U-B-SMART.

18m
Nov 12
Crypto world is reeling

Earlier this week, we told you about two cryptocurrency giants joining forces. Well, that deal fell apart, and now a major crypto exchange is in big trouble. Kimberly and guest host Andy Uhler talk about the fallout from FTX’s collapse. Plus, we’ll check in on El Salvador’s bitcoin investments. Then, the hosts’ attempt to make us smile fails, but they later redeem themselves. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap. The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.

17m
Nov 11
What’s the deal with Twitter Blue?

You can now pay to get verified on Twitter (without actually verifying your identity). What does this mean for misinformation on the app? We’ll discuss. Plus, Kai Ryssdal explains why he joined Mastodon, the Twitter alternative. And we’ll answer more of your questions about inflation, the future of sports broadcasting and California’s sky-high gas prices. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ If you’ve got a question about the economy, business or technology, let us know. We’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org, or leave us a message at 508-U-B-SMART.

17m
Nov 10
The rise of outside money in local school board elections

School board races have become some of the most contentious elections of the 2022 midterms. These used to be mostly local affairs, with candidates typically raising less than $1,000 from friends and family. But now it’s not uncommon for big national political action committees to sink tens of thousands into a single race. It’s a trend that goes back more than a decade and has been supercharged by culture war issues and the pandemic. Today, we talk with Rebecca Jacobsen https://education.msu.edu/people/jacobsen-rebecca/, a professor of education policy at Michigan State University, about the implications of outside money in school board elections for education policy and local democracy. In the News Fix, we’ll discuss what’s being done to address voter intimidation at the polls. Plus, two cryptocurrency giants are joining forces. Then, we’ll hear from a listener who wonders if the universe is sending us an Election Day message, and a mathematician who has thought a lot about “How Not to Be Wrong” https://www.jordanellenberg.com/how-not-to-be-wrong/ answers the “Make Me Smart” question. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ We want to hear your answer to the “Make Me Smart” question. Leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. You can also email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

30m
Nov 09
Elon Musk’s Twitter troubles

Twitter is supposed to be the digital version of the public square. But what happens when the richest person in the world buys it and tells you how to vote? We’ll talk about why that’s troubling and whether Twitter is turning into the next Truth Social. Plus, young Latinas in Texas are using their quinceañeras to get their communities to the polls. And, after years of complaints, Airbnb is finally doing something about those pesky hidden fees. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts or your own answer to the “Make Me Smart” question, call 508-U-B-SMART and leave us a voicemail. You can email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

14m
Nov 08
Oil industry: Help wanted

If you’re looking for a job in the oil and gas industry, chances are it’s yours. The jobless rate for the U.S. oil industry is at a historic low, and producers are scrambling for workers. We’ll explain what this means for President Joe Biden’s plan to ramp production and bring down gasoline prices. Plus, new revelations about Russian atrocities in Ukraine. On a lighter note, we’ll also play a round of Half Full/Half Empty! And, guest host Andy Uhler’s dog makes a surprise appearance. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts, leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. You can also send an email to makemesmart@marketplace.org. Donate $5 a month or $60 to Marketplace today, and we’ll send you the cool Marketplace flight paddle: https://support.marketplace.org/smart-sn

22m
Nov 05
Brands are breaking up with Twitter

Companies like Audi and General Mills are temporarily pulling their ads from Twitter. They’re not fans of Elon Musk’s ideas for more relaxed content moderation policies on the platform. We’ll talk about what that might mean for the future of the company. Plus, Kimberly Adams talks about the new social media sites she’s checking out in case Twitter goes off the rails. And, Daylight Saving or standard time? Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap. The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.

11m
Nov 04
With less than a week until Election Day, do political donations still matter?

Political candidates are always asking for money. A listener called in to ask if donating actually makes a difference so close to Election Day and what happens to donations that go unspent after Tuesday. We’ll get into it and answer more of your questions about the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and why fines might not keep Meta from breaking campaign finance laws. Plus, Kai and Kimberly fill us in on what they look for when they’re car (or motorcycle) shopping. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ If you’ve got a question about the economy, business or technology, let us know. We’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a message at 508-U-B-SMART.

16m
Nov 02
We’re (still) not in a recession. Right?

Spoiler alert: We’re not in a recession. But maybe one is on the way. That debate reignited last week after the yield curve inverted, again. As we’ve talked about on the show, inverted yield curves https://www.marketplace.org/2019/08/14/inverted-yield-curves-2019/ can be a warning sign. “A lot of this is psychological. It’s a lot about what you is going on, not necessarily what is going on,” said Todd Knoop, professor of economics at Cornell College and author of “Business Cycle Economics: Understanding Recessions and Depressions From Boom to Bust.” While the National Bureau of Economic Research https://www.nber.org/research/business-cycle-dating has the final word on whether we’re in a recession, today we’re asking: If recessions are a regular part of the economy, why are they so hard to predict? Knoop breaks it down. Plus, we dig into the psychology of recessions and why they could become self-fulling prophecies. In the News Fix, Kai gives a lesson in how to decode the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting. Plus, Kimberly gets an up-close look at the ongoing supply chain crisis. And for this week’s answer to the Make Me Smart question, a listener explains what potty training her kids taught her about creating new habits. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ Join us for tomorrow for Whaddaya Wanna Know Wednesday. If you have a question you’d like the hosts to answer in a future episode, leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART or email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

25m
Nov 01
Scared that affirmative action might go away?

The Supreme Court is hearing two cases on affirmative action in higher education. We’ll talk about what it means for race and diversity across society, from college campuses to corporate America. Plus, can haunted houses ease stress and anxiety? And, Kimberly gets in the Halloween spirit by sharing a few jokes and last-minute costume ideas. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts or your own answer to the Make Me Smart question, call 508-U-B-SMART and leave us a voicemail. You can email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

15m
Nov 01
Gambling on politics?

You can bet in Vegas. At the racetrack. On sports. But what if you could place a bet on the midterm elections? A government commission is weighing a startup’s proposal. We’ll explain. Also, President Joe Biden reacts to Exxon’s record-breaking profits. Plus, a round of Half Full/Half Empty! And, find out what listeners think about political candidates on TikTok. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts, leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. You can also send an email to makemesmart@marketplace.org.

17m
Oct 29
The climate crisis vs. the energy crisis

The International Energy Agency says we’re experiencing the first global energy crisis. But the United Nations says we’re also falling way short of meeting our climate goals and need to do more to reduce our demand for fossil fuels. We’ll talk about a pair of reports and what they mean for the clean energy economy. Plus, will Twitter become a free-for-all hellscape? And guest host Andy Uhler and Kai make a bet. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap. The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/6:30 Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.

12m
Oct 28
Political ads can lie to you

After last week’s discussion about political advertising https://www.marketplace.org/shows/make-me-smart/can-spending-billions-on-political-ads-win-elections/, a listener wrote in to ask how candidates get away with putting misleading info or even complete lies on the air. The answer is at the top of the Bill of Rights. We’ll get into it and answer more of your questions about the Kroger-Albertsons merger, “normal” recessions and dollar-slice pizza joints. Here are links to everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question about the economy, business or technology, let us know. We’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a message at 508-U-B-SMART.

15m
Oct 26
Is Miami’s housing market ignoring the climate crisis?

Today, we’re bringing you an episode https://www.marketplace.org/shows/how-we-survive/selling-miami/from “How We Survive” https://www.marketplace.org/shows/how-we-survive/, Marketplace’s podcast about solutions to climate change. Hosted by Marketplace senior correspondent (and occasional “Make Me Smart” host) Amy Scott, this season of “How We Survive” is all about how we will (or won’t) adapt to rising waters. The team headed to Miami, Florida, which is now considered one of the most vulnerable coastal cities in the world. But you’d never know that by looking at the local housing market. Florida’s economy is powered by real estate, and the state has no income tax. Local governments depend on revenue from property taxes, which is a precarious situation to be in when billions of dollars of property is at risk from rising seas and flooding (not to mention hurricanes). In this episode we’re asking: If Miami is doomed, why isn’t the housing market acting like it? “How We Survive” Season 2 is out now with new episodes dropping every Wednesday.

34m
Oct 25
Consequences for Kanye West

It’s a tough day to be reading the news. We’ll discuss the consequences of Kanye West’s antisemitic hate speech, including racist protests in Los Angeles and reactions from some of his corporate partners. We’ll also talk about a personal connection to today’s school shooting in St. Louis. Then, we’ll try to pivot to a Make Me Smile with a not-so-friendly neighborhood clown and a data dive into bugs on your windshield. And Kimberly reveals an unplanned answer to the Make Me Smart question (what is something you thought you knew and later found out you were wrong about?). Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts or your own answer to the Make Me Smart question, call 508-U-B-SMART and leave us a voicemail. You can email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

17m
Oct 25
Are we SURE about these Elon Musk deals?

Elon Musk’s business dealings come with some pretty important international implications. And officials in the US are wondering if those deals should be subject to review for national security concerns. We’ll discuss, plus, a huge research gap in the medical field negatively impacts about half the world. We’ll talk about some of the repercussions of the lack of medical study on the clitoris. And, a round of Half Full/Half Empty! Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts, leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. You can also send an email to makemesmart@marketplace.org

27m
Oct 22
Corporate profits, we see you

U.S. Rep. Katie Porter is pulling out her famous charts. This time it’s to argue that corporate greed is driving inflation. We’ll explain why this debate isn’t settled. Plus, Liz Truss’ time as the United Kingdom’s prime minister comes to an abrupt end. And, why is lettuce all over our feeds? Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ Join us tomorrow for Economics on Tap. The YouTube livestream starts at 3:30 Pacific time/6:30 Eastern. We’ll have news, drinks, a game and more.

12m
Oct 21
Can spending billions on political ads actually win elections?

By Election Day, campaigns and PACs will spend an estimated $9.7 billion on ads. One of our listeners wants to know: Does flooding the airwaves even move the needle? Where’s the saturation point? We’ll do our best to answer on this Whaddaya Wanna Know Wednesday. Plus, your questions about student loan forgiveness, the poverty line and regional Halloween traditions. Here are links to what we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question about the economy, business or technology, let us know. We’re at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a message at 508-U-B-SMART.

18m
Oct 20
Health care is going hybrid

Telemedicine exploded at the start of the pandemic, for all the obvious reasons. Doctor visits went virtual and lots of companies, including Walmart, started going all-in on telehealth. But usage https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/2021/feb/impact-covid-19-outpatient-visits-2020-visits-stable-despite-late-surgehas slowed and remained flat over the last year as some patients go back to in-person appointments. Some waivers that allowed physicians to practice across state lines have expired too. So is telehealth at a crossroads? Not exactly, said Dr. Aditi Joshi, who has been in the telehealth industry for more than a decade and is the chair of the telehealth committee for the American College of Emergency Physicians. She said while there will be some aspects of virtual health care that may go away in the short term, telehealth is still here to stay. “I see it as just part of our health care in the future. We’re having this conversation about telemedicine, but in 10 years, we’re not going to say this is a telemedicine visit or an in-person visit. It’s just ‘I saw my doctor.’ It’s going to be just a normal part of our everyday care,” she said. On the show today, Joshi makes us smart on the future of telehealth and why it’ll look less like online banking and more like the hybrid workplace. In the Newsfix, homebuyers are flocking to … Florida? We’ll continue our ongoing conversation about the state’s housing market in the wake of Hurricane Ian. Plus, remember The Onion’s SCOTUS brief in defense of parody? The guy who wrote it answers the Make Me Smart question. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ There’s still time to submit your questions for Whaddya Wanna Know Wednesday. Call 508-U-B-SMART and leave us a voicemail. You can also email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

31m
Oct 18
The surprising factors that affect who gets to live where

There’s a lot that determines the cost of housing. And it goes beyond market forces like supply and demand. Kimberly Adams and guest host Janet Nguyen talk about the unexpected ingredients that are playing a role in housing prices and how they affect where people get to live. Plus, now that Fat Bear Week is over, meet the world’s chunkiest parrot! Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts, call 508-U-B-SMART and leave us a voicemail. You can email makemesmart@marketplace.org.

16m
Oct 17
This isn’t your run of the mill grocery store merger

One of the largest supermarket chains in the country wants to eat its competition. Today, Kroger announced a deal to buy Albertsons. Guest host Sabri Ben-Achour talks about what it might mean for your grocery bill and the food delivery industry. Plus, what we know about Germany’s decision to buy natural gas from Russia months before the invasion of Ukraine. And we’ll play a round of Half Full/Half Empty. Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts, leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART. You can also send an email to makemesmart@marketplace.org

17m
Oct 15
We’re still in a bear market, folks

Despite the latest inflation https://www.marketplace.org/2022/10/13/inflation-is-a-subjective-number/numbers, the stock market had a great day today. We even got to play the happy, jazzy music on “Marketplace.” But that doesn’t mean we’re out of bear market territory. We’ll explain. Plus, guest host Samantha Fields talks about the big changes to a popular student loan program. (No, not President Biden’s student debt relief.) And, tastier beer? Here’s everything we talked about today: __ __ If you’ve got a question for the hosts, call us and leave us a voicemail. Our number is 508-U-B-SMART. You can also send an email to makemesmart@marketplace.org

17m
Oct 14