Make Me Smart with Kai and Molly

Nov 06 2019 16.3k

Hosted by Kai Ryssdal and Molly Wood, “Make Me Smart with Kai & Molly” is a weekly podcast about the economy, technology and culture. In a time when the world is moving faster than ever, this podcast is where we unpack complex topics, together. Because none of us is as smart as all of us.





















Maybe Modern Monetary Theory is an answer to the COVID-19 economic crisis (rerun)
Dec 29 2020 41 mins  
Hey smarties! We’re on a break for the holidays, so we’re revisiting some favorite episodes from 2020. We want to say a big thank you for being part of the Make Me Smart family this year — every voicemail, question and donation makes a huge difference. None of us is as smart as all of us, and we couldn’t do this show without you. There’s still time to help us raise $500,000 for Marketplace before the end of the year! Donate here. Thanks, happy holidays and we’ll see you in the new year! 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. Here are links to what we talked about today: “The Economist Who Believes the Government Should Just Print More Money” in the New Yorker “Is modern monetary theory nutty or essential?” in The Economist “Stephanie Kelton: ‘They’re going to have massive deficits. And it’s fine’ ” in the Financial Times “Dr. Fauci says NFL season is feasible” in the L.A. Times “Twitter Will Allow Employees To Work At Home Forever” in BuzzFeed “Uber Technologies Makes Takeover Approach to Grubhub” in The Wall Street Journal


A higher ed crisis is a terrible thing to waste (rerun)
Dec 22 2020 34 mins  
Hey smarties! We’re on a break for the holidays, so we’re revisiting some favorite episodes from 2020. We want to say a big thank you for being part of the Make Me Smart family this year — every voicemail, question and donation makes a huge difference. None of us is as smart as all of us, and we couldn’t do this show without you. There’s still time to help us raise $500,000 for Marketplace before the end of the year! Donate here. Thanks, happy holidays and we’ll see you in the new year! 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. Here’s a list of everything we talked about today: “Here’s a List of Colleges’ Plans for Reopening in the Fall” from the Chronicle of Higher Education “What the Shift to Virtual Learning Could Mean for the Future of Higher Ed” from Harvard Business Review “The Coming Disruption,” Galloway’s recent piece for New York magazine “Goldman Sachs says a national mask mandate could slash infections and save economy from a 5% hit” from CNBC “Is it safe to send kids back to school?” from MIT Technology Review “A Look Back On Shirley Chisholm’s Historic 1968 House Victory” from NPR Finally, this painting by Rhonda Brown




All the ICUs in Southern California are full
Dec 18 2020 17 mins  
In what feels like a flashback to New York in March, field hospitals are sprouting up around Southern California as the region hit an alarming milestone: ICU capacity at 0%. It’s a grim reminder that even with one approved COVID-19 vaccine and more on the way, we are still in the darkest days of this pandemic. We hope you’re staying home and staying safe for the holidays. But before we talk about that, Molly Wood will break down the latest about that huge, probably Russian hack into the U.S. government. Plus, your chance to implode President Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casino. Here’s everything we talked about today: “More Hacking Attacks Found as Officials Warn of ‘Grave Risk’ to U.S. Government” from The New York Times “I Was the Homeland Security Adviser to Trump. We’re Being Hacked.” from The New York Times “Bar complaint filed against Trump attorneys in Arizona” from 12News “ICU availability in Southern California at 0% amid deluge of COVID-19 patients” from the Los Angeles Times “In New York City, snowfall tops all of last winter’s.” from The New York Times. Check out that photo! “Win a Chance to Destroy Trump’s Casino Like He Destroyed Our Country” from Rolling Stone Here’s the link to that auction “In Historic Move, Biden To Pick Native American Rep. Haaland As Interior Secretary” from NPR This beautiful, musical Christmas dispatch from Camp Davids Make Me Smart is powered by listeners like you — become a Marketplace Investor today!
















How we got a COVID-19 vaccine so fast
Dec 09 2020 37 mins  
The United Kingdom administered its first COVID-19 vaccine today, a little less than a year from the first recorded cases. Back then, the effectiveness of this kind of vaccine was an open question. These new shots use messenger RNA to give the immune system an “instruction sheet” for fighting off COVID-19. This mRNA technology has been around for about a decade, but hasn’t been used successfully in a vaccine before now. On today’s show, biotech investor and author Safi Bahcall walks us through something like 150 years of pharmaceutical history and how mRNA will change vaccine development. Oh, and we’ll ask him why that Pfizer vaccine has to be kept so dang cold. Here’s everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, check out our episode page at makemesmart.org): “We had the vaccine the whole time” from New York Magazine Bahcall’s interview about vaccine technology on “Marketplace Tech” And his op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, “The Conference Call to Cure Covid-19.” “A gamble pays off in ‘spectacular success’: How the leading coronavirus vaccines made it to the finish line” from The Washington Post “Low Prices for Vaccines Can Come at a Great Cost” from The New York Times “How much could Pfizer make from a COVID-19 vaccine?” from “Marketplace” “Uber Is Giving Self-Driving Car Project to a Start-Up” from The New York Times “Palantir Wins FDA Contract to Power Drug Review, Inspections” from Bloomberg “Coronavirus vaccines may be less effective for Black and Asian recipients, MIT study suggests” from The Week Make Me Smart is powered by listeners like you — become a Marketplace Investor today!











You can’t really retire with a 401(k) alone
Dec 02 2020 37 mins  
The vast majority of Americans lacked enough retirement savings even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, some older Americans are leaving the workforce and others have stopped contributing to retirement accounts because they can’t afford to. Just half of workers participated in a retirement plan at work in the first place, partly because employers are not required to offer 401(k)s or other retirement plans. So, where did these plans come from? And, are they actually helping people save? On today’s show, New School labor economist Teresa Ghilarducci walks us through the 40-year decline of retirement in this country, the incentive structures setting up Americans for failure and why there’s some reason for hope in the new presidential administration. Here’s everything we talked about today: Ghilarducci’s first appearance on Marketplace in 2012 “A brief history of the 401(k), which changed how Americans retire” from CNBC “The 401(k) is forty and fabulous” from Quartz BLS data showing just half of private sector workers participate in a retirement plan at work “Few people are tapping 401(k)s, even without withdrawal penalties” from Marketplace “Nasdaq pushes diversity requirements for company boards” from the Washington Post “Don’t forget the other virus: How to keep COVID from reversing progress on AIDS” from Fortune Make Me Smart is powered by listeners like you — become a Marketplace Investor today!













This is American exceptionalism
Nov 20 2020 17 mins  
It’s almost hack to say at this point, but it’s worth remembering: If what President Donald Trump and his campaign are doing right now — refusing to concede a called election, eroding trust in the democratic process, asking for ballots to be tossed — if all that was happening in another country, we’d be talking about it very differently. It’s worth unpacking why that is, which we’ll do today. But first: We’ll explain the feud between Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jerome Powell and present yet more evidence that you should stay home for Thanksgiving. Seriously. Join us tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time/6:30 p.m. Eastern for our live happy hour episode on YouTube! Subscribe so you don’t miss out. Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work on your device, try our episode page at makemesmart.org): “The coronavirus risk for a big Thanksgiving dinner in your community” from The Washington Post “Don’t rely on a negative test result to see your family for Thanksgiving” from CNN “Treasury moves to end several crisis-era programs, drawing pushback from the Fed” from CNBC “Federal Reserve’s Emergency Loan Programs at Center of Political Fight” from The New York Times “Dog at Delaware SPCA for 866 days finds forever home” from Fox 29 Philadelphia This Twitter exchange between Chef José Andrés and Chris Krebs, the recently fired director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Kai’s interview with Andrés from 2018













Here’s how presidential transitions are supposed to work
Nov 12 2020 22 mins  
The 2000 election isn’t a particularly great analogue to the Trump campaign’s legal challenges here in 2020, but it can help us better understand presidential transitions — because George W. Bush had the shortest one ever. We discussed the transfer of power on yesterday’s show, and a listener asked about it, so today we’re going to get into some presidential history. Plus: your questions about campaign finance, conservative social media and California’s new rules for gig workers, all on this super-sized Whadda Ya Wanna Know Wednesday. Here’s a list of everything we talked about today (if these links don’t work, try our episode page at makemesmart.org): “Campaign spending could continue long after Election Day” from “Marketplace Morning Report” “2020 election to cost $14 billion, blowing away spending records” from Open Secrets, the Center for Responsive Politics website “A Twitter for conservatives? Parler surges amid election misinformation crackdown” from NBC News “Foreign election interference is finding plenty of places online to spread” from “Marketplace Tech” “Fact-Checked on Facebook and Twitter, Conservatives Switch Their Apps” from The New York Times “Why it’s ‘critical’ for presidential transition to move forward” from PBS NewsHour “What’s ascertainment? The green light to launch transition” from the Associated Press “What Uber, Lyft Prop 22 win could mean for the future of all freelance work” from NBC News

















































































































































4 • 4 Ratings

Bdawg Nov 13 2020
Used to really like the pod but it's gotten very cliche bad puns and jokes. The final straw w molly embarrassing herself with how little she knows about jerrymandering.






Ragabash May 15 2020
Wow! Best layperson's explanation of MMT I've heard! I'll be steering people to this one.

dnorthgate May 13 2020
Molly is awesome and Kai is great. The show provides the right amount of news and entertainment.

astoriabound Apr 15 2020
Informative and entertaining!