423: The Invention of Money

423: The Invention of Money

Jan 7, 2011
Five reporters stumbled on what seems like a basic question: What is money? The unsettling answer they found: Money is fiction. Photo: Stone money on the island of Yap.
This episode is produced by the Planet Money team.
  • Though the name of the Federal Reserve includes the word "federal," it's not actually part of the government. It's an independent institution tasked with something very simple, but very huge: Creating money out of thin air. And during this last financial crisis, the leaders of the Fed did things that they would never have considered doing in the past. Alex Blumberg and David Kestenbaum report on what the Fed usually does, and how, since 2008, it's taken a trip to what amounts to Fed Crazytown. (26 minutes)EconomicsGovernment
    Song:
    • "We Do (The Stonecutters' Song)", The Simpsons

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