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Our wildest “Economics on Tap” episode yet!
Jul 14, 2023
Episode 966

Our wildest “Economics on Tap” episode yet!

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Come for the news, stay for the drama.

It’s a wild show, y’all. About halfway through, an unwelcome surprise besieges Kimberly. But don’t worry, Kimberly (and Jasper) are all right. We’ll also touch on the latest in the Johnson & Johnson talc powder saga, how the U.S. women’s national soccer team landed Taylor Swift in its 2023 squad announcement video, why cottage cheese is going viral and Barbenheimer!

Here’s everything we talked about today:

We want to hear what you’re reading this summer. If you’ve got a reading recommendation you’d like to share with fellow Smarties, email us at makemesmart@marketplace.org or leave us a voicemail at 508-U-B-SMART.

Make Me Smart July 14, 2023

**Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kai Ryssdal 

I believe I’m ready.

Kimberly Adams 

I believe we can get to it.

Kai Ryssdal

Okay, but I don’t have the script up, Kimberly, so if you start, you start.

Kimberly Adams

That’s okay, I got this. Hello. I’m Kimberly Adams. Thank you everyone for joining us for Economics on Tap. It is Make Me Smart with our YouTube live stream and it is Friday, July the 14th. So thank you everyone for joining in. We’re excited to be here.

Kai Ryssdal 

I’m Kai Ryssdal. It is as Kimberly said, Friday, so we’re gonna drink a little bit. We’ll do some news. I apologize for how I look on the live stream, but we had some computer snafoos and there’s nothing I can do about that. So I’m doing this off my laptop and that’s where we are. Maybe I could…yeah, I don’t know. I’ll try something. Anyway. That’s what we got going on. We’re gonna do a little drinking, a little talking, a little news. Also, note to self I cannot turn the volume down on my Zoom all the way, that is a design flaw. Anyway.

Kimberly Adams 

We have got this. What are you drinking Kai?

Kai Ryssdal 

I am, so, I had some, I went out the store last night got a couple of beers because you know I’m a beer guy. And then I remembered I had some ginger ale in the garage. And I have a bottle of Old Forester that Anika gave me when she left she actually gave me a going away present which is just very shrewd of her.

Kimberly Adams

Aww that’s sweet.

Kai Ryssdal

So I’m having myself bourbon and ginger ale on a 96 degree day here in Los Angeles.

Kimberly Adams 

Hopefully with a lot of ice that sounds good though. I do love a good bourbon and ginger. So I have made one of my very fancy DIY cocktails, which is sort of like a glammed up tequila sunrise, except for instead of using grenadine I used cranberry orange syrup. And then I had these blood orange saffron shrub, this blood orange saffron shrub that I put in there. And then it’s got orange juice and I was gonna put tequila in it, but I don’t feel like drinking tonight. So I use my non-alcoholic tequila instead. And then I’ve got little saffron threads on the top for garnish just because I want to feel fancy.

Kai Ryssdal 

Hey, go hey, go nice. Feels fancy. Why don’t you take a quick stroll through the live stream?

Kimberly Adams 

Yes, so Jennifer Flipping Pierce has a gin and tonic with a ton of ice. Gin is the devil. Paul has Moxie straight up. People like your Old Forester and Megan is having a dark and stormy, Y Amir a Moscow mule. So lots of interesting drinks tonight. Love it all. Love it all Kai. What is your news?

Kai Ryssdal 

So look, today, it was one of those days, I’m gonna raise my microphone a little bit on the on the off chance that y’all can’t hear me well enough.

Kimberly Adams

We can hear you today. Okay. Today, it was one of those days where I went to pick out a news item for this, to make out a news item, to pick out a news item for this podcast. And I I realized I was done with the news. I don’t want to do news today. I don’t. It’s I’ve had enough, you know, between like, the NDAA and all the climate change stuff. And I’m just I’m done with the news. It just feels like it’s been a very long week. So I picked an item, which I’ll talk about in a minute, but I just didn’t have it today news wise. You know what I mean?

Kimberly Adams 

It you know, I was I was just telling Michael who edited my spot on the NDAA today. It’s just such a Friday, I had like zero energy in me left and I just like I was it was a grind today, getting it done because it has been In a heavy news week and busy and hot and uncomfortable, and so yeah, that’s that’s real life. So, I mean, I have some news items, but I’ll blow through them real quick, too from the wires, and then we’ll get to your hopefully not newsy thing. There’s a story in Reuters and it’s a couple of other places too, Johnson and Johnson is suing the researchers that linked its talc powder to cancer. So remember, there were all of these lawsuits about Johnson and Johnson’s baby powder and talcum powder, potentially being contaminated with asbestos and causing cancer or at least contributing to people’s cancer. Johnson and Johnson has always denied these allegations. Nevertheless, the lawsuits are going forward and a lot of places they siphoned off the debt and the liabilities into a different company to try to shield themselves big long story we’ve covered before. But the fact that they are suing the researchers who did this, man, what a chilling effect on what could be, you know, really important research moving forward, if you know, that, you know, you do research that’s damaging to one of the biggest corporations in the country, and you might be at risk of a lawsuit. And I mean, like, I get it that, you know, if it’s not true, obviously, they’re fully in their in their rights. But I just think it’ll be very interesting to see how this case plays out and what it does for academia. So.

Kai Ryssdal 

So, yes, to everything you said, and the chilling effect, especially but but here’s a sort of a different. Here’s how I think of this. I don’t understand. Let me back up for a minute. Nominally, companies exist to make a profit, right? This is not the shareholder value argument. This is this is the company’s we’re there to sell things and make money for it. And that’s what they’re for. And okay, fine, we could copy out that and I could, there’s a whole riff on on all that, that we can do, but but let’s just accept the fact that they’re there to make money. What I don’t understand is, how companies don’t see how their actions are perceived, or perhaps don’t care about the tone-deaf sadness of what they’re doing. I just don’t get it. It bothers me.

Kimberly Adams 

I don’t think they care, because they don’t have to care, right? Like, I guess what happens in the markets and the profits keep coming in. And, you know, people do what they can get away with. And I think it’s the same with corporations. And until there’s a reason that they can’t, that they actually have to face consequences for looking bad. I mean, remember, pharma bro dude, who hiked up the price of everything, literally shoes me, did Martin Shkreli I think. He didn’t care because he didn’t have to care until he went to jail. You know? And then, but for the most part, it was just like, why not? I want to make money. This is what it’s for. I own it. I’m gonna do it. So,

Kai Ryssdal 

Right. Exactly, exactly Yeah. Because I can.

Kimberly Adams 

My other one, my other one is another quick hit.

Kai Ryssdal 

Ooh, ooh. And I thought I was having problems. Is that a fire alarm.

Kimberly Adams 

It’s a fire alarm. So it’s really…Oh, I think it’s because of the weather. Let’s give it minute.

Kai Ryssdal 

You should probably…

Kimberly Adams 

I will in just a second because there’s a bad thunderstorm. And often when there’s thunderstorm, the fire alarm goes off. But let’s let’s see. And then I’ll grab Jasper and run.

Kai Ryssdal 

You grab Jasper and run. We’ll do a very quick half full, half empty. Oh my Lord. That’s so funny.

Kimberly Adams 

I’m gonna get on Zoom on my phone and we’re gonna do this. I believe in us.

Kai Ryssdal 

I will. I will give you time to get on Zoom on your phone. We’ll figure out how the recording is gonna go. That’s why Jayk. That’s why Jayk Cherry gets the big money. But in the meanwhile, I will go through my news item. And maybe Kimberly, as you’re getting on Zoom, you can update us on Slack and see what the hell’s going on. So here’s my news item. Obviously, I’m done with the news news. Oh, it stopped. Or maybe she just muted us. Oh, Jayk took her off. Good move. Primo, primo radio engineer move. So here’s my thing. I was done with the news, obviously, as I said, but the Women’s World Cup starts in something like a weekish, down under. And a number of weeks ago Kimberly had a an item on the rollout of the Women’s World Cup team. And how they had this video with all these celebrities Taylor Swift and and Lil Wayne and the Biden’s and all of them. There’s a piece there’s a piece in the athletic today, which is the sports outfit that The New York Times bought a year two, three ago whatever it was, and just this week or Maybe last week, announced that it was going to fold its sports section and use the athletic as its sports section. Anyway, there’s a piece in The Athletic about how that video came to be, and about how they lined up. The most popular star in the world right now, oneTaylor Swift, who is an economy unto herself, to get into that video, not to mention, oh, by the way, a slightly less celestial luminary, the President of the United States and you think I’m kidding, but honestly Taylor Swift drives more economic stuff than the President United States, and all y’all can quote me on that. Anyway, so great piece in The Athletic, we’ll put it on the show page. It’s it’s super fun. It’s very behind the scenes which I definitely enjoy. And you all should put it there. And with that, while we wait for Kimberly to come back, or maybe she won’t, I don’t know. We’re done with the news. We’re going to take a quick break, get some advertisers in here and when we come back to Drew Jostad is here I will have a foil for round of half full half empty drew Heads Up to you sir this may be a different thing than you’ve ever done before on the pod so we’ll be right back.

Kai Ryssdal 

All right half full, half empty is the game. I’m going to try to fire up YouTube on my phone. So maybe I can take some questions from the people on the livestream we shall see. But in the meanwhile Drew Jostad, how are you?

Drew Jostad

I’m alright. Okay, how are you?

Kai Ryssdal 

I’m less good than I was five minutes minutes ago.

Drew Jostad

You’re handling it very well.

Kai Ryssdal 

I will tell you this, this bourbon and ginger ale is going down very, very smoothly. And I’m glad frankly that I have it. Okay, so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go to the Google Doc and I’m gonna get the YouTube live stream thing going on. And in the meanwhile, I would like you to tell me what the first question is, on this week’s half full and or half empty? Go.

Drew Jostad

So this week’s first topic is are you half full or half empty on the new MSG sphere in Las Vegas, which is the huge video screen LED screen. I’m not sure exactly what the screen is. But it’s basically a huge sphere that projects whatever they want to project on it.

Kai Ryssdal 

Okay, so look, you said MSG and I thought of two things. One is monosodium glutamate and the other one is Madison Square Garden and I’m reasonably sure that this is neither of those. So, help?

Drew Jostad

I think it’s the second one.

Kai Ryssdal

Madison Square Garden?

Drew Jostad

I think so.

Kai Ryssdal 

Okay, all right.

Drew Jostad

It’s affiliated. I guess I might have to fact check that but

Kai Ryssdal 

Well, no, I guess we’ll see. So look anything Veg, look, I’m gonna lay it on the line here. And this is only honestly because there’s a bourbon in me. And I’m all alone and I have to fill some time. I don’t really like Las Vegas. It’s not my thing. It’s very I don’t I just, and look, people are gonna complain about this, but don’t at me. Um, no, I don’t even know.

Kimberly Adams

Hey! I’m back.

Kai Ryssdal

Kimberly Adams as I live and breath. How are you?

Kimberly Adams 

Hello? Hi, I’m good outside. Alarm is still going off, there is a beautiful storm behind me. All my neighbors are outside. Good. Let’s do it.

Kai Ryssdal 

Alright, let’s do it. So you missed the first one. The first one is about Las Vegas. I was about to say I really hate Las Vegas. So Drew, let’s go to the second one.

Kimberly Adams 

I will say I don’t like it either. All the way empty. All right, good.

Drew Jostad

Any opinions on the new sphere thing?

Kai Ryssdal 

I don’t really care.

Kimberly Adams 

No, it’s just another gimmick. I’m not into it. All right.

Drew Jostad

There. Yeah. All right. Cottage cheese sales were up 15% in the year ending in May.

Kai Ryssdal 

Oh my god. So there was an article in the Wall Street Journal the other day about how cottage cheese is making a comeback among Gen Z and it’s all because of social media and influencers and Tik Tok. I, because I’m old remember my mother, who doesn’t listen this podcast so I can say this, eating cottage cheese as as a diet mechanism in the 1970s. I have a real texture problem with cottage cheese. But apparently what they’re doing now is they’re making it into ice cream and breads and cakes. And I guess if you disguise it, it’s okay. It’s a little bit like what you do with vegetables with your children like when you make like a like a squash thing or a carrot cake or something. But yeah, fine. Okay, but not my first choice.

Kimberly Adams 

So I don’t like to eat cheese in general. And cottage cheese in particular as like the slime component and so hard pass. My mother loves it though. My mother really likes cottage cheese, so. She eats it like…

Kai Ryssdal 

Total generational thing total generational. Yeah, yeah,

Drew Jostad

I will say that. I tried a cake made with cottage cheese a couple of weeks ago, sort of like a cheese cake and

Kimberly Adams 

I have heard of cottage cheese going into like chocolate cake and actually adding something to it being kind of good. I don’t know.

Drew Jostad

My experience, I didn’t I didn’t love it. Anyway

Kimberly Adams 

By the way, I’m just assuming y’all can hear me right?

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, well, I can hear you. I don’t know if the YouTube can hear you. I think they can. Alright,

Kimberly Adams 

We’ll hope for the best.

Kai Ryssdal 

YouTube let us know if you can hear Kimberly because if not, this is gonna sound like a really awkward conversation.

Drew Jostad

All right. All right.

Kai Ryssdal

Anyway, go ahead.

Drew Jostad

Okay, are you half full or half…

Kai Ryssdal 

Yes, they can. Sorry. Yes, the YouTube live stream can hear Kimberly so we’re good.

Drew Jostad

half empty on remote employees secretly working abroad.

Kai Ryssdal 

Oh, this is such a great story. Oh my god. So Kristin Schwab did a story for us about people who unbeknownst to their company and that’s the important part, are living and working not just remotely, but like way remotely like overseas like in Spain and in Canada up in the mountains and all over this place. And and sometimes getting caught, it should be said, but how hard that can be. And you have to like yeah, you have to like dummy things up on your computer and you can’t tell your friend you have to pay attention to the weather back home so that your colleagues are like “yeah it’s really hot” and you can say yeah, it’s really odd even though you’re in Spain or wherever and it’s gorgeous yeah great story by Kristin Schwab, and look I’m all,  the rules have changed you can now work anywhere you want and more power to

Kimberly Adams 

So I personally think if you can get the work done, be wherever you want to be have a great time however, I also get sort of the security concerns for corporations like you’re on different networks your information through different company do different countries if you have somebody in finance, who decides that they want to you know reside in China or Russia for remote work, I can see where it might become problematic. So right you know, right within Suzanne I think go for it.

Kai Ryssdal 

So there’s some experts here in the in the YouTube comments. So Chuck Kleinteck, says “no,, serious legal and tax liability for both the employer and the employee. No, no, no.” Jennifer Flipping Pierce, who I believe we’ve referenced once already today says “full but the company needs to know for accounting purposes” which by the way, Jennifer kind of spoils the fun. 3yogabybaby says “the payroll software consultant accountant finance person in me wants to be sick.” So I’m going to take that for a no. So you know, it’s not as easy as I might have believed.

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah. Oh, oh, I’m sorry. Jasper is crying. He’s real upset.

Kai Ryssdal 

Well, I will tell you that there’s some comments and questions in the live stream about how Jasper is doing so you got him out.

Kimberly Adams

Yeah, you’re okay.

Kai Ryssdal

All right, Drew, are we on number three or number four. But by the way, let me just say, by the way for hanging on, for the producers down the line, and for everybody listening on the live stream, we’re not doing a poll today because that honestly is just going to be too damn hard. Just for the record, so Drew on four on five, which one?

Drew Jostad

This is four, if you if you wanna do more. Yeah. All right. The Associated Press this week announced a two year deal to share news content with OpenAI. Yeah, are you half full or half empty?

Kimberly Adams 

I have complicated feelings about this. So I am half full that a news organization is getting paid for its content all the way. Half empty, because part of the reason we have so much bias in AI is because the data set is in itself biased. And we know that media going back all that time has not always been, we have a lot of animals in my complex, has been the most that we say balanced when it comes to the right side of history, you know, and like, I just I wonder if like, media narratives of things in the past, going back as far as the AP’s records go, are really everything that we want to be feeding into AI. So like, mostly full, but with the caveat.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, what Kimberly said, I totally agree. It’s great. They’re getting paid and figuring out a way but there are parallels here. Number one that we know about that Kimberly just elucidated. But number two that we just don’t know about yet.

Kimberly Adams 

Right. Right. And it’s also a step toward us being replaced. Because once all that data is fed into the AI, they’re going to be able to churn out, you know, reports as well. I mean, I believe the AP is already using AI, even before the generative AI, for some like stock reports and some election stuff every so often. So.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah. Right. And if people heard the Marketplace Morning Report this morning, you heard David play a clip of him being artificially reproduced by AI. And it sounded a lot like David except for and he made a joke about this, his last name, which the computer could not pronounce, and also Matt Levin’s doing a piece for us on Marketplace next week, or however long it’s going to take to do it, about AI and the challenges thereof. And they’re going to do their voice emulation of me, like committing some crime or something. And it’s with my permission to be clear. So it’s, it’s kind of wild.

Kimberly Adams 

I feel like I’m an old hat at this ever since I found out that one of the Siri voices sounded like me. So it’s like,

Kai Ryssdal 

I’ve been here before. Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Kimberly Adams 

All right, was last one,

Drew Jostad

Just off of that thing you said about how far back the AP archives go, according to Axios, this deal is only going to be information going back to 1985. But I guess,

Kimberly Adams

A little bit better about that. All right. Yes, yes.

Kai Ryssdal 

But still 1985 is 40 years ago, think how much things have changed and what some of the attitudes were back in 1985. Hello?

Kimberly Adams 

I don’t need to hear that. As the 80s. Baby. I don’t need to hear that.

Kai Ryssdal 

Dude, dude, shut up. Shut up. Look me up on Wikipedia, figure out when I was born and then shut up. All right.

Kimberly Adams 

All right. The storm has passed.

Kai Ryssdal 

Anyway, all right.

Drew Jostad

All right. Are you half full or half empty on Barbenheimer.

Kai Ryssdal

Oh, man.

Kimberly Adams

Barbenheimer?

Kai Ryssdal 

Yes. So there’s the Barbie movie and then there’s Oppenheimer, both of which come out next week. And so alright, so look, so I’m a science history, World War II, specific geek, I really want to see Oppenheimer. It’s really good. I’m in the middle of the biography on which that movie is based. It’s kind of wild. So I’m definitely down for that. But there was a great piece in the New York times a week ago, give or take about Greta Gerwig, who directed and I think wrote the Barbie movie. Yeah. Which, which made me want to see that movie. And before I was, I was scoffing and I’m like, “Oh, this is stupid. Whatever Barbie. You know, Margot Robbie”

Kimberly Adams 

Supposedly it’s like high level feminist, you know, commentary, right?

Kai Ryssdal 

Right. And now I’m totally intrigued, so I’m gonna see them both. Sadly, I’m out of town next week, next weekend, but I’m definitely gonna see them both. I think what’s interesting is a lot of people are doing the doubleheader, they’re going to see Barbie and then they’re going to see Oppenheim or they’re going to see Oppenheimer and then Barbie. So hence the up and Barbie or Barbieheimer.

Kimberly Adams 

Barbieheimer sounds a little bit better

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah I’m fine with that yeah

Kimberly Adams 

Yeah maybe, maybe I’ll maybe I’ll do that to go see go see them both. The only person I really go to the movies with there’s no Noel though so I’ll have to see if she wants to go.

Kai Ryssdal 

When you when you see her by the way yeah and this will be an unsolicited endorsement but for those of you listening if you’re not listening to Today Explained with Noel King because she is spectacular. She is spectacularly good at her job. Just as she is but you know I mean Sean is fine but, but but Noel is the bomb truly.

Kimberly Adams 

Truly hard endorsement. Yes.

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, you bet.

Kimberly Adams 

So half full on OppenBarbie, Barbieheimer. Yeah,

Kai Ryssdal 

Yeah, Barbieheimer, yes.

Kimberly Adams

Barbieheimer.

Kai Ryssdal

Yes, all right Jayk I think we need the sting here pal we got to get out. Oh my lord. Alright, so look as Kimberly makes her way back inside. Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to read the rest of the copy and then Kimberly is going to come in to say goodbye we’re done with a half full or half empty obviously. We’re back next week on Monday in the meanwhile, we’re doing a summer reading list in our newsletter and we need some help if you got a summer reading recommendation that you think, people who listen to this podcast might enjoy, send them our way and tell us why you think they should be added to our list. Fiction, nonfiction, biography, documentary take your pick whatever you want. You know how to get a hold of us. It’s makemesmart@marketplace.org or the voicemail comes to us at 508-U-B-SMART that is 508 the letters U and B and S M A R T go there we go. There’s Jasper.

Kimberly Adams

I was trying to hold on to him and now he’s climbing all over-

Kai Ryssdal

Kimberly, I’m doing all these credits and then you can get to come in and say goodbye. Make me smart is produced by Courtney Bergsieker.Today’s episode was engineered by Jayk,Jayk Cherry with a little bit of sleight of hand with Zoom and all the rest of that. Drew Jostad wrote the theme for our game half full, half empty. Our intern is Niloufar Shahbandi. The team behind our Friday game is Emily Macune Antoinette Brock. Marissa Cabrera is our senior producer who’s probably pulling her hair out right now. Bridget Bodnar is the director of podcasts Francesca Levy, who’s probably going to fire all of us is the Executive Director of Digital and on demand. Kimberly Adams say goodbye to everyone

Kimberly Adams 

Hello, and Jasper pulling out my hair.

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