249 episodes

Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood 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.

Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly American Public Media

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

Each weekday, Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood 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.

    The case for a carbon tax

    The case for a carbon tax

    How big is your carbon footprint? Do you really know? If it was taxed, you’d find out one way or another. Maybe the cost of carbon gets added on like a sales tax, or maybe the producer gets hit with additional taxes and passes the cost onto you, like a tariff. Either way, you’ll learn something. It’s an idea some Democrats have been kicking around. So has the European Union. Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, which starts this weekend in Glasgow, we’re going to step back and explain the carbon tax. Joining us to help with that is economist Shi-Ling Hsu, a professor at Florida State University College of Law and author of “The Case for a Carbon Tax.”



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    “The 5 most important questions about carbon taxes, answered” from Vox
    A nifty map of existing carbon pricing programs around the world
    “Ahead of COP26, UN report says G-20 is failing to fight climate change” from The Washington Post
    “Disneyland ticket prices rise as much as 8%; parking up 20%” from the Los Angeles Times
    “Hey, Kid, Wanna See Some Leaked Facebook Docs?” from Gizmodo
    “Biden names Jessica Rosenworcel as first female FCC chair” from The Washington Post
    Molly’s interview with Rosenworcel on “Marketplace Tech”



    Read the transcript here.

    Finally: We need your voice memos! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood to answer! Here’s how to do it.

    • 33 min
    What you need to know about the Facebook Papers

    What you need to know about the Facebook Papers

    The whistleblower-driven “Facebook Files” investigation at The Wall Street Journal has expanded to include a whole consortium of journalists and a flood of reporting. Oh, and it’s called “The Facebook Papers” now. We’ll talk about the high-level stuff and the company’s response at today’s blockbuster earnings call. Later on, we’ll talk about a disappointing update to the family leave proposal from the White House and hear a spooky song from a listener.



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    A handy Google doc with all the “Facebook Papers” stories (h/t Katie Harbath)
    “Four revelations from the Facebook Papers” from the Financial Times
    “Zuckerberg slams recent negative press before painting rosy, futuristic vision for Facebook” from CNBC
    “How Frances Haugen Became a Power Player in the Facebook Leaks” from The New York Times
    “Taxing Billionaires to Pay for Biden’s Agenda: What to Know About the Democrats’ Plan” from The Wall Street Journal
    “How 4 Weeks of US Paid Leave Would Compare With the Rest of the World” from The New York Times
    “Hertz Orders 100,000 Tesla Model 3 Cars for Rental Fleet, TSLA Stock Surges” from Bloomberg

    Read the transcript here.

    Finally: We need your voice memos! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood to answer! Here’s how to do it.

    • 16 min
    The Alec Baldwin on-set shooting is a labor story

    The Alec Baldwin on-set shooting is a labor story

    We’ve been gripped today by the tragic accident on the set of the Western movie “Rust.” Star Alec Baldwin’s prop gun discharged while shooting Thursday, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding Joel Souza, the film’s director. The investigation is ongoing, but the reporting that’s come out of the New Mexico set so far indicates this is a much more complicated story about labor unions and workplace safety. We’ll talk about it today, plus Facebook’s rebranding and the merits of closed captioning. And, of course, we’ll play our favorite game, Half Full/Half Empty.



    Here’s everything we talked about today:




    “Haugen claims backed by new Facebook whistleblower filing with SEC” from The Washington Post
    “Donald Trump Does a SPAC Deal” from Bloomberg
    “Trump SPAC skyrockets as much as 1,657% since deal was announced” from CNN, plus this thread
    “Alec Baldwin ‘Rust’ camera crew walked off the set in protest before the fatal shooting” from the Los Angeles Times
    “Alec Baldwin Was Told Gun in Fatal Shooting on Set Was Safe, Officials Say” from The New York Times
    And our Half Full/Half Empty topics: bitcoin ETF, the Earthshot prize, PayPal acquiring Pinterest, Facebook’s new name and AMC adding closed captioning

    Read the transcript here.

    • 25 min
    The climate crisis is the only story because it touches everything

    The climate crisis is the only story because it touches everything

    We’re talking about twin reports from the federal government today, focused on the risks climate change poses to the American economy and global security. It’s, uh, not good. We’ll talk about what’s in each, why the White House wants that information out now and the Joe Manchin of it all. Plus, Big Tech earnings, Jerome Powell’s next moves and a little WeWork news on this grab bag of a Hollowed-Out Shell Thursday.



    Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:




    “Report: Climate change is an “emerging threat” to U.S. economic stability” from Axios
    “White House, intelligence agencies, Pentagon issue reports warning that climate change threatens global security” from The Washington Post
    “Apple’s ad business sees windfall; is accused of breaking its own privacy rules” from 9to5 Mac
    “Snap plummets 22% after missing on revenue expectations” from CNBC
    “Facebook stock drops after company warns Apple’s privacy changes to have bigger Q3 impact” from TechCrunch
    “Facebook plans to change company name to focus on the metaverse” from The Verge
    “Fed cracks down on trading by top officials in wake of scandal” from Politico
    “Scoop: “How about zero?” Manchin, Sanders get heated behind closed doors” from Axios
    “Adam Neumann hosts booze-soaked party as WeWork stock soars in debut” from The New York Post
    “Djokovic will need to be vaccinated to play Australian Open: minister” from Reuters



    Read the transcript here.

    Join us on YouTube Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode! Subscribe to our channel and sign up for notifications so you don’t miss it.

    • 19 min
    All Hands on Deck!

    All Hands on Deck!

    When President Joe Biden announced last week that the Port of Los Angeles would begin operating 24 hours a day, it left one of our listeners asking why the port wasn’t doing that already. We answer that, and ponder future supply chain relief. Plus, we answer some additional questions about the Great Resignation, Zoom’s carbon footprint and banana pants!



    Here’s everything we talked about on the show today:




    “Pay or delay: Importers caught in shipping backup face limited options” from “Marketplace”
    “Biden announces Port of LA will be open 24 hours a day in effort to ease cargo backlog” from CBSLA
    “COVID pandemic is not the supply chain’s only problem” from The Washington Post
    “Trucking industry not confident in Biden’s 24/7 port plan” from the Commercial Carrier Journal
    “The Great Resignation Is Accelerating” from The Atlantic
    “The Great Resignation goes global” from the Washington Post
    “How to reduce the environmental impact of your next virtual meeting” from MIT News
    “Are Zoom video calls destroying the planet?” from Sustainablog



    Read the transcript here.

    Our show needs your voice! Tell us what you think of the show or ask a question for our hosts to answer! Send a voice memo or give us a call at 508-82-SMART (508-827-6278).

    • 13 min
    DeFi: What you need to know about decentralized finance

    DeFi: What you need to know about decentralized finance

    Imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have to wait days for your paycheck to be processed by the bank. Or getting a loan without having to go through a bank loan officer.



    That’s finance, decentralized. Fans of decentralized finance believe DeFi has the potential to make our current financial system more efficient, accessible and affordable by getting rid of intermediaries like banks, brokers and exchanges.



    “The goal of DeFi is to make financial services more democratic,” says Linda Jeng, a visiting scholar of financial technology and adjunct professor at Georgetown Law. “That means more open access. Anyone should be able to use it. It’s about empowering the customer. So users get to decide the rules of the game.”



    There’s a lot of hype around DeFi. It’s gone from $1 billion industry in 2018 to $90 billion in 2021. But there’s not a lot of regulation.



    On the show today, we’ll talk about the risks and rewards of decentralized finance.



    In the newsfix, we’ll stay on the DeFi theme and discuss a new Securities and Exchange Commission report on the GameStop brouhaha and explain why coal-fired power is on the rise in America. Plus, a “Make Me Smart” listener weighs in on the difference between sailing and yachting.



    When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week we’ll explain the business behind Halloween candy and haunted houses. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.



    Here’s everything we talked about today:


    “Crypto Banking and Decentralized Finance, Explained” from The New York Times
    “Crypto’s ‘DeFi’ Projects Aren’t Immune to Regulation, SEC’s Gensler Says” from The Wall Street Journal
    “Coal-fired power is on the rise in America for the first time since 2014” from CNN
    “Behind the Energy Crisis: Fossil Fuel Investment Drops, and Renewables Aren’t Ready” from The Wall Street Journal
    “Explainer: Why did the SEC release a report on GameStop?” from Reuters
    “Joe Manchin’s ‘blind trust’ is an utter farce | Will Bunch Newsletter” from The Philadelphia Inquirer
    “Algorithms are often biased. What if tech firms were held responsible?” from “Marketplace Tech”

    Read the transcript here.

    • 24 min

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