Charlton Thorp

The Marketplace Superhero Show

Marketplace Staff Dec 19, 2016
Charlton Thorp

Editor’s note: If superheroes were real, what would Marketplace sound like? That’s the idea behind this special edition of our show. Check out our episode guide below to get a sneak peek of each story and then click on the audio player below to hear the full show. Enjoy!

Wall Street reacts

This has been an interesting day in the American and global economies. A day in which long-harbored suspicions have been confirmed: superheroes are real.

We already know Tony Stark is Iron Man — he won’t let us forget it. Wall Street was spooked by the news. A tech investor like Stark having superpowers? They can deal with. Finding out that the number of people with special abilities is so large that there’s even one named Negasonic Teenage Warhead? Well, that’s an entirely different thing.

But the fundamentals of the American economy remain strong. Remember — the Dow is not the economy and the economy is not the Dow!

Female empowerment (or lack thereof)

A new study out today shows that only a small percentage of women are in positions of power in the superhero community. Call it a glass-cape, but they’re being left behind despite their impressive abilities.

How Wonder Woman got her start

Jill Thompson is one of the premier Wonder Woman biographers. In her new book, “Wonder Woman: The True Amazon,” she shares Diana of Amazon’s origin story.

Don’t call them “costumes”

The arrival of superheroes and super villains has created some uncertainty in our economy and in our daily lives. But it’s also a business opportunity for Sammy Sheldon Differ. She’s a seamstress and a costume designer, but since all these superheroes started popping up, she’s built a thriving business creating bespoke superhero suits that can withstand just about anything. And, she’s pro-cape. 

How did the markets do on a groundbreaking day like today?

Will Wakanda unseat Silicon Valley as world’s tech center?

The world has seen a whole lot of technology these past few years. Some of it other-wordly, but a lot of it comes from American companies, like Stark Industries or Silicon Valley. But there is a potential competitor to American ingenuity in all this. The small African country of Wakanda. Should Silicon Valley be worried? Marketplace’s Senior Tech Correspondent, Molly Wood says yes…and no.

Stark Industries to backtrack to drone manufacturing

Stark Industries announced this morning it will add thousands of jobs over the next couple of years as it pivots to drone manufacturing. This might be considered a step back for them, and CEO Tony Stark says they’re not going to have any trouble catching up to the competition. What could possibly go wrong?

Should Superheroes have secret identities?

As of today, there are two kinds of superheroes in this world. The ones who tell you who they really are, and the ones who keep their identity a secret. How they make that decision — and the implications it can have on their careers and personal economies — is something David Betancourt, The Washington Post’s superheroes reporter, has been pondering. 

He said superheroes with secret identities are usually trying to protect their loved ones and might have limited financial resources to do so. “We cannot assume that every superhero is a billionaire or a millionaire,” said Betancourt, referring to Tony Stark as the most prominent example of a wealthy superhero who doesn’t hide who he is. Betancourt guesses that many of these heroes or vigilantes work regular daytime jobs. He’s not really sure when they sleep.

So should we just pay superheroes a guaranteed basic income since they’re working for the public good?

“We’d have to look at where that money would come from. Would it come from government? Would it come from taxpayer dollars?” Betancourt said. “Part of the reason superheroes are so controversial is, for example, if there’s a big superhero battle going on like what what took place with Avengers the last time they saved New York. There’s tons of damage, who’s going to pay for all that?”

Should Superheroes be given a basic income for doing works of public good?

Yes, for sure! I value their contribution!
No way! And they should pay for all that infrastructure destruction!


Introducing: Hero Hotline

The latest gig-economy company to get some big venture capital funding is old-school — no fancy app for them.

Hero Hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days week. These are superheroes available for everything from smaller missions like getting a cat down from a tree or help finding paperwork, to fighting the occasional supervillain. 

Dial 1-800-555-HERO and you get help from the likes of Microwavebelle, Ms. Terrific, and Fred.

Thank you for listening. We had fun producing it for you. If you like this episode, share it with a friend, or let us know in the comments section below. 

This episode was produced by Bridget Bodnar with help from Robert Garrova, Daisy Palacios, and Jennie Josephson. Editing by Deidre Depke, George Judson, and Betsy Streisand. Special thanks to Nancy Farghalli, the senior producer of Marketplace, and Charlton Thorp, for the artwork. 

Want more? Test your knowledge of super heroes….take our challenge. Or, listen to the real-life story of the boy who saved Batman. 

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