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October 3, 2008

Another Frightening Show About the Economy

Alex Blumberg and NPR's Adam Davidson—the two guys who reported our Giant Pool of Money episode—are back, in collaboration with the Planet Money podcast.

They'll explain what happened this week, including what regulators could've done to prevent this financial crisis from happening in the first place. You can learn more about the daily ins and outs and join the discussion on the Planet Money blog.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass goes to Union Square, a 15-minute subway ride from Wall Street, where it doesn't look like we're on the edge of an economic abyss. (2 minutes)

Out Of The Hedges And Into The Woods

One more confusing financial product that's bringing down the global economy. And one of way to think about this product is this: If bad mortgages got the financial system sick, this next thing you're about to hear about, helped spread the sickness into an epidemic. These are "credit default swaps." Alex explains. (19 minutes)

Swap Cops

Ira talks with Michael Greenberger, a former commodities regulator, who tells the story of when it was decided not to regulate credit default swaps. And how that decision was emblematic of the way we didn't regulate a lot of the toxic financial products we're hearing about now. (7 minutes)