A Wisconsin ginseng farm, circa 1930.
A Wisconsin ginseng farm, circa 1930. - 
Listen To The Story

Journalists love to list the disparate items caught up in the trade war. Blue jeans! Cranberries! Bourbon! Ginseng! There's something giddy about the seeming randomness of it. But lists of tariffs are not random. They're made by actual people looking very carefully at products and politics across international borders. Former U.S. trade official Matt Gold used to help make those lists. He makes us smart on how governments in a trade war take a gimlet eye to literally every product that exists in the world. And we take a dive into one tariff story: ginseng. It's a pretty obscure little medicinal root to most of us. But it's a highly prized crop grown mostly in Wisconsin, sold mostly to China, and a target for the trade war. Ginseng farmer Will Hsu gives a little peek into his business. Plus, we hash your comments and questions, including privacy concerns over one landlord's plans to make a building "smart." 

Links from this week's show:

Kai's news fix: "The Rules for Beating Donald Trump" in The New York Times.

Our timeline: How Wisconsin became a ginseng pioneer and the perfect target in a trade war.

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Follow Kai Ryssdal at @kairyssdal