Every weekday on Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal hosts a lively and unexpected exploration of the day’s business and economic news from Wall Street to your wallet.
Airing on Wednesday, March 18, 2015: Lots of Americans are thinking about European vacations this year because the Euro has become so cheap. But luxury brands like Chanel aren’t happy about some of the tourists who are buying up their products in Paris. The price difference for Chanel between Paris and China has grown so wide that Chinese tourists are flying around the world to buy handbags and other luxury items, which is undermining these brands’ strategies of opening stores in China itself. Plus, Kraft Food Group’s shares are already down after its recall of around 6-and-a-half million boxes of Macaroni and cheese. The voluntary recall came after some consumers complained of finding metal pieces in the food. We explain how recalls work, whether consumers pay attention and the economic cost to the companies involved.
Airing on Tuesday, March 17, 2015: ICANNs decision to allow all sorts of new new domain suffixes is causing a stir in corporate circles. Companies are all hot under the collar about dot sucks, claiming that people will open up domain names such as coke.sucks and hold companies to ransom. How much do companies care about this kind of negative campaigning. And how much will they pay to snuff it out? Plus, Pinterest says it’s now raised $367 million, giving it a valuation of $11 billion. Like Snapchat, this doubles Pinterest's valuation in less than a year. And, like Snapchat, the fact that Pinterest is now selling ads is named as the reason. Why are these targets audiences so attractive to advertisers and is Pinterest’s female-centric user base particularly alluring? We explore.
Airing on Monday, March 16, 2015: China finds itself where the United States was in the 1960’s: economic growth has polluted the skies, and the population is demanding clean air as a piece of prosperity. But just like the auto industry in the U.S. fought regulation, China’s state-supported industries are pushing ahead, pumping out pollution along with steel, concrete and electricity. History repeats. Plus, the pressure on big networks like Facebook and Twitter to keep their houses in order is growing as social media networks grow and have to combat everything from trolls to ISIS. We look at the growing costs of keeping social media sites in check — both monetary and otherwise, and what’s at stake.
Airing on Friday, March 13, 2015: Teach for America received nearly 44,000 applications by last week’s deadline — 12 percent fewer than last year. Is this a correction given the improving labor market or are potential applicants finding better public service opportunities elsewhere. Plus, this week the FDA released a report suggesting the legal age to buy cigarettes should jump from 18 to 21. The savings to public health costs would be significant, but on the other side of that economic equation is the U.S. tobacco industry. It’s worth $100 billion a year, but for how long?
Airing on Thursday, March 12, 2015: How’s this for a terrifying number: Your chance of surviving any of four high-risk surgeries varies by 23 percent, depending on which hospital you choose. We unpack why that is and what consumers ought to make of it. Plus, do all these stress tests mean our banks are safe now — safe as in, is it “safe” to eat that piece of sushi in your local Japanese restaurant safe? How do the fed tests compare to how the Department of Health checks on the safety of restaurants? We explain. Also, the FTC is taking DirecTV to court, claiming that its advertising for a popular $20 package was deceptive to customers and that the terms were not properly disclosed. But complicated terms and extra fees buried in the fine print are part of an advertising model that’s used across the industry. We take a broader look at this model and ask why it’s in place.
Airing on Wednesday, March 11, 2015: Four years after Japan turned off its nuclear generators because of the Fukushima disaster, the country is struggling to build a new electricity network. The country has invested heavily in solar, but its experience reveals the challenges involved in integrating this intermittent source of power into a grid maintained by traditional utilities. We explore. Plus, as the dollar remains strong against other major currencies such as the Euro and the Yen, we ask what is the effect on the average consumer? And after, one of the things the Department of Justice criticized the Ferguson Police Department for was its aggressive ticketing policies — and Ferguson is not the first or the only department to be censured for this. To what extent do police departments around the country use fines — from speeding, to parking, to running red lights — to keep them in the black. And how ethical is this as a business model for a public service. This and more.