David Kestenbaum http://wesa.fm en New Web Addresses Provide Alternatives To Crowded Domains http://wesa.fm/post/new-web-addresses-provide-alternatives-crowded-domains Transcript <p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>On a Friday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.<p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>And I'm Linda Wertheimer. Think of the Internet as a group of islands. There's one island for all the Web addresses with .COM. That one's very crowded. There is the less popular .NET island. Also our personal favorite, .ORG. Well, now the number of islands is expanding dramatically. There's .BIKE and .PLUMBING, .NINJA and more islands to come. Fri, 04 Apr 2014 08:59:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 27008 at http://wesa.fm Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? http://wesa.fm/post/does-raising-minimum-wage-kill-jobs President Obama has called for increasing the minimum wage, saying it will help some of the poorest Americans. Opponents argue that a higher minimum wage will lead employers to cut jobs.<p>Figuring out the effect of raising the minimum wage is tough. Ideally you'd like to compare one universe where the minimum was raised against an alternate universe where it remained fixed.<p>Economist David Card found the next best thing. In 1992, New Jersey was about to raise its minimum wage. Thu, 06 Mar 2014 22:41:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 25462 at http://wesa.fm Does Raising The Minimum Wage Kill Jobs? The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America http://wesa.fm/post/birth-minimum-wage-america In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.<p>"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."<p>New York passed a law called the Bakeshop Act. It didn't set a minimum wage — the minimum wage didn't exist yet in the U.S. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 08:39:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 22966 at http://wesa.fm The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet http://wesa.fm/post/bet-five-metals-and-future-planet This famous bet — between a biologist and an economist — was over population growth. It started three decades ago, but it helped set the tone for environmental debates that are still happening today.<p>The biologist at the heart of this bet was Paul Ehrlich at Stanford. He wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called <em>The Population Bomb.</em> It was so popular he appeared on <em>The Tonight Show</em> with Johnny Carson.<p>He told Carson, "There are 3.6 billion people in the world today, and we are adding about 70 million a year. And that's too many. Thu, 02 Jan 2014 17:00:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 22259 at http://wesa.fm A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner http://wesa.fm/post/we-found-20-year-old-t-shirt-kenya-internet-found-original-owner We recently <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/12/10/247362140/the-afterlife-of-american-clothes" target="_blank">published a story</a> about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 19:44:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 21222 at http://wesa.fm We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto http://wesa.fm/post/bitcoin-insider-crime-congress-and-satoshi-nakamoto <em>For more on what Bitcoin is and how it works, see our story </em>"<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/24/138673630/what-is-bitcoin" target="_blank">What Is Bitcoin?</a><em>"</em><p>Gavin Andresen is chief scientist at the <a href="https://bitcoinfoundation.org/" target="_blank">Bitcoin Foundation</a>. I first talked with him about Bitcoin, the virtual currency, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/08/24/138673630/what-is-bitcoin" target="_blank">back in 2011</a>. Fri, 22 Nov 2013 08:35:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 20224 at http://wesa.fm A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto What's A Bubble? http://wesa.fm/post/whats-bubble Robert Shiller was surprised when he got the call telling him he'd won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics — surprised that he'd won (of course), but also surprised that he was sharing the award with Eugene Fama.<p>"He and I seem to have very different views," Shiller told me. "It's like we're different religions."<p>In particular, they have very different views about economic bubbles.<p>"The word 'bubble' drives me nuts, frankly," Fama told me.<p>Fama believes markets are basically rational. At any given moment, he says, prices reflect the collective wisdom of everyone in the market. Fri, 15 Nov 2013 08:06:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 19856 at http://wesa.fm What's A Bubble? What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? http://wesa.fm/post/what-happens-when-you-just-give-money-poor-people <em>For more of our reporting on this story, please see our work in </em><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/is-it-nuts-to-give-to-the-poor-without-strings-attached.html?_r=0" target="_blank">The New York Times Magazine</a><em> and on </em><a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/503/i-was-just-trying-to-help" target="_blank">This American Life</a><em>.</em><p>A couple of months ago, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/08/23/214210692/the-charity-that-just-gives-money-to-poor-people" target="_blank">we reported</a> on a charity called GiveDirectl Fri, 25 Oct 2013 07:29:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 18716 at http://wesa.fm What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People? I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* http://wesa.fm/post/i-loaned-99978-federal-government Earlier this week, I bought a Treasury bill.<p>Everybody calls Treasury bills T-bills, and they work like this: The government promises to pay holders of T-bills a specific amount on a specific day in the near future. For the T-bill I bought, the government promised to pay $1,000 on Oct. 31.<p>I bought the T-bill on Tuesday, before Congress had made the debt-ceiling deal, so it was unclear whether I would get paid back on time.<p>If people are worried about a bond, the price tends to fall. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 07:26:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 18330 at http://wesa.fm I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government* What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security http://wesa.fm/post/what-us-default-would-mean-pensions-china-and-social-security What would happen if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling and the U.S. defaults on its debt later this month? The broad economic implications are unpredictable, but a default could cause huge trouble for the global economy.<p>But whatever happens to the global economy, one thing is clear: People all over the world who have loaned the U.S. government money won't get paid on time.<p>And lots and lots of people have loaned the government money. Those people are commonly referred to as owners of Treasury bonds. Thu, 10 Oct 2013 07:00:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 17911 at http://wesa.fm What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner http://wesa.fm/post/aerogramme-professor-higgs-nobel-winner Well, it's happened. Tue, 08 Oct 2013 17:55:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 17825 at http://wesa.fm An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare http://wesa.fm/post/one-key-thing-no-one-knows-about-obamacare Tuesday is a big day for Obamacare. The online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance are supposed to open for business.<p>No one really knows who is going to sign up — not the Obama administration, not the insurance industry, not the president's critics. Yet the success of the law hangs on this question: Will the right mix of people sign up? In particular, will healthy people buy health insurance?<p>"The danger if you don't get young, healthy people signing up ... Mon, 30 Sep 2013 07:36:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 17339 at http://wesa.fm One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare Ecuador To World: Pay Up To Save The Rainforest. World To Ecuador: Meh. http://wesa.fm/post/ecuador-world-pay-save-rainforest-world-ecuador-meh The government of Ecuador has abandoned a plan that would have kept part of the Amazonian rainforest off limits to oil drilling. The initiative was an unusual one: Ecuador was promising to keep the oil in the ground, but it wanted to be paid for doing so.<p>The oil sits under the Yasuni national park, one of the most biodiverse places on Earth — orchids, jaguars, monkeys, birds. To get to the corner of the park that holds the oil, you have to take a plane, then a motorboat, then paddle a canoe. Mon, 02 Sep 2013 07:21:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 15837 at http://wesa.fm Ecuador To World: Pay Up To Save The Rainforest. World To Ecuador: Meh. Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy http://wesa.fm/post/cash-cows-and-rise-nerd-philanthropy <em>For more of our reporting on this story, please see our recent column in the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/is-it-nuts-to-give-to-the-poor-without-strings-attached.html" target="_blank">New York Times Magazine</a>, and the <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/503/i-was-just-trying-to-help" target="_blank">latest episode of This American Life</a>.</em><p>This morning, <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/08/23/214210692/the-charity-that-just-gives-money-to-poor-people" target="_blank">we reported</a> on a charity called GiveDirectly th Fri, 23 Aug 2013 20:55:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 15376 at http://wesa.fm Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People http://wesa.fm/post/charity-just-gives-money-poor-people <em>For more of our reporting on this story, please see our <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/magazine/is-it-nuts-to-give-to-the-poor-without-strings-attached.html" target="_blank">recent column in the New York Times Magazine</a>, and the <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/503/i-was-just-trying-to-help" target="_blank">latest episode of This American Life</a>.</em><p>There's a charity called GiveDirectly that just gives money to poor people in Kenya. No strings attached. Fri, 23 Aug 2013 07:24:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 15315 at http://wesa.fm The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People Why Doesn't Everybody Buy Cheap, Generic Headache Medicine? http://wesa.fm/post/why-doesnt-everybody-buy-cheap-generic-headache-medicine Why does anyone buy Bayer aspirin — or Tylenol, or Advil — when, almost always, there's a bottle of cheaper generic pills, with the same active ingredient, sitting right next to the brand-name pills?<p>Matthew Gentzkow, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth school, recently tried to answer this question. Along with a few colleagues, Gentzkow set out to test a hypothesis: Maybe people buy the brand-name pills because they just don't know that the generic version is basically the same thing.<p>"We came up with what is probably the simplest idea you've ever heard of," Gentzkow says. Fri, 05 Jul 2013 02:03:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 12573 at http://wesa.fm Why Doesn't Everybody Buy Cheap, Generic Headache Medicine? Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change http://wesa.fm/post/economists-have-one-page-solution-climate-change Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.<p>"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.<p>Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. Fri, 28 Jun 2013 08:33:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 12234 at http://wesa.fm Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change A Surprising Barrier To Clean Water: Human Nature http://wesa.fm/post/surprising-barrier-clean-water-human-nature In many parts of the developing world, drinking a glass of water can be deadly — especially for young children, who can die of diarrheal diseases contracted from dirty water.<p>So getting clean water to people in the developing world has been a top priority for aid groups for a long time. But it's been a surprisingly hard problem to solve.<p>For a while, aid workers largely treated clean water as an engineering problem: If there's no clean water in a village, dig a well. Thu, 20 Jun 2013 07:03:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 11769 at http://wesa.fm A Surprising Barrier To Clean Water: Human Nature Who Hides Money Outside The Country? http://wesa.fm/post/who-hides-money-outside-country Over the past decade, some 39,000 people have come forward voluntarily to tell the IRS about offshore money they haven't been paying taxes on. This group provides a small window into the world of people who are hiding money in offshore havens. (It's a world we've been trying to learn more about, partly by <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/27/157499893/episode-390-we-set-up-an-offshore-company-in-a-tax-haven" target="_blank">setting up an offshore company in Belize</a>.)<p>The names of the 39,000 aren't published anywhere, and they're not eager to be interviewed. Tue, 14 May 2013 19:34:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 9547 at http://wesa.fm Who Hides Money Outside The Country? Lady Gaga Writing A New Song Is Like A Factory Investing In A New Machine http://wesa.fm/post/lady-gaga-writing-new-song-factory-investing-new-machine I spoke yesterday with Dan Sichel, a Wellesley economist and a Lady Gaga fan. Both of these facts are relevant for this story.<p>The U.S. government is about to tweak the way it measures the economy, and some of the biggest changes will affect the entertainment industry.<p>Under the current system, Sichel told me, Lady Gaga's sales of concert tickets, online songs and CDs all count toward gross domestic product. But the value of the time she spends in the studio working on new songs isn't counted. Thu, 25 Apr 2013 07:30:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 8441 at http://wesa.fm Lady Gaga Writing A New Song Is Like A Factory Investing In A New Machine When A Famous Hospital Didn't Want An Expensive New Drug http://wesa.fm/post/when-famous-hospital-didnt-want-expensive-new-drug Last year, a new drug called Zaltrap was approved as a kind of last-chance therapy for patients with colorectal cancer. Studies suggested Zaltrap worked almost exactly as well as an existing drug called Avastin. In fact, the main difference between the two drugs seemed to be the price.<p>"I was rather stunned," Dr. Thu, 28 Mar 2013 07:41:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 6916 at http://wesa.fm When A Famous Hospital Didn't Want An Expensive New Drug Three Ways To Totally Transform U.S. Immigration Policy http://wesa.fm/post/three-ways-totally-transform-us-immigration-policy With immigration policy in the news again, I asked three economists, "Dream big: If you could create any immigration policy for the U.S., what would it be?" Here's what they said.<p><strong>1. The Best And The Brightest</strong><p>Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research would give out more visas to highly skilled workers: scientists, engineers, computer programmers and doctors.<p>In this universe, with fewer low-skill immigrants, low-skilled labor would be more expensive. So, food would cost a bit more. Child care might, too. There could be fewer restaurants. Thu, 21 Feb 2013 08:05:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 1320 at http://wesa.fm Three Ways To Totally Transform U.S. Immigration Policy 'Give Me The Money Or I'll Shoot The Trees' http://wesa.fm/post/give-me-money-or-ill-shoot-trees Ecuador's Yasuni National Park is one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. But there's a complication: The park sits on top of the equivalent of millions of barrels of oil.<p>This creates a dilemma.<p>Ecuador prides itself on being pro-environment. Its constitution gives nature special rights. Thu, 07 Feb 2013 08:34:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 601 at http://wesa.fm 'Give Me The Money Or I'll Shoot The Trees' An International Battle Over One Of The Most Boring Things In Finance http://wesa.fm/post/international-battle-over-one-most-boring-things-finance This week saw the end of a years-long, international, multi-billion-dollar battle over one of the most boring things in finance: savings accounts.<p>At the center of the battle was Iceland, a tiny country where the banks grew into international behemoths during the credit bubble.<p>The banks got so big partly by convincing foreigners to open up online savings accounts. In particular, lots of people in England and Netherlands opened up "ICESAVE accounts" with a bank called Landsbanki. Fri, 01 Feb 2013 11:29:00 +0000 David Kestenbaum 296 at http://wesa.fm An International Battle Over One Of The Most Boring Things In Finance