Public transit boosts economic opportunity and social mobility. It’s good for the environment. So why do we charge people to use it? The short answer: it’s complicated. Also: We talk to the man who gets half the nation’s mass-transit riders where they want to go (most of the time).
U.S. marriage rates have plummeted. But the babies keep coming, and the U.S. now leads the world in single-parent households. In her new book The Two-Parent Privilege, the economist Melissa Kearney says this is a huge problem, and that it’s time for liberals to face the facts. Plus: our friends at Atlas Obscura explore just how many parents a kid can have.
The union that represents N.F.L. players conducted their first-ever survey of workplace conditions, and issued a report card to all 32 teams. What did the survey reveal? Clogged showers, rats in the locker room — and some helpful insights for those of us who don’t play pro football.
Artificial intelligence, we’ve been told, will destroy humankind. No, wait — it will usher in a new age of human flourishing! Guest host Adam Davidson (co-founder of Planet Money) sorts through the big claims about A.I.’s future by exploring its past and present — and whether it has a sense of humor. (Part 1 of “How to Think About A.I.“)
For years, whale oil was used as lighting fuel, industrial lubricant, and the main ingredient in (yum!) margarine. Whale meat was also on a few menus. But today, demand for whale products is at a historic low. And yet some countries still have a whaling industry. We find out why. (Part 2 of “Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.”)
Whaling was, in the words of one scholar, “early capitalism unleashed on the high seas.” How did the U.S. come to dominate the whale market? Why did whale hunting die out here — and continue to grow elsewhere? And is that whale vomit in your perfume? (Part 1 of “Everything You Never Knew About Whaling.”)
Sure, markets work well in general. But for some transactions — like school admissions and organ transplants — money alone can’t solve the problem. That’s when you need a market-design wizard like Al Roth. Plus: We hear from a listener who, inspired by this episode, made a remarkable decision.
The world’s great museums are full of art and artifacts that were plundered during an era when plunder was the norm. Now there’s a push to return these works to their rightful owners. Sounds simple, right? It’s not. (Part 2 of “Stealing Art Is Easy. Giving It Back Is Hard.”)
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