© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
Public Files Contact · ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Hot econ summer: The soundtrack to Planet Money Summer School


School is not out for summer. Planet Money Summer School is in session. It's a series where you can dive into macroeconomic concepts like GDP or inflation after you're done diving into the pool.

But as cool as it is to bump podcasts at your pool party, we decided that maybe, in some circumstances, songs might be better. So we made a playlist to sneak just a bit more economics into your summer.

Let the Dollar Circulate by Billy Paul

"Interest rates going up, seems like there's no value in the buck, meat prices up to stay, utilities are on their way"

When Billy Paul released Let the Dollar Circulate in 1975, the U.S was in a crisis at the intersection of rising inflation and slowing economic growth. Stagflation, as it was later dubbed, created a sense of malaise about the economy, and, for a long time, the government seemed incapable of addressing the crisis.

7 Rings by Ariana Grande

"I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it"

Our first summer school episode centered on the heated debate between John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayek about the nature of the economy and the role the government should play in it.

In that episode, we asked economist Kristen Broady what her econ song of the summer was. She chose this song from Ariana Grande. "In it, she sings about money and all of the things that it can be used to purchase," Broady says. She says it makes her think of core macroeconomic concepts, like GDP and consumption.

Can You Stand the Rain by New Edition

"Sunny days, everybody loves them, but tell me baby can you stand the rain?"

In episode 3 of summer school, we learned about the business cycle: the ups and downs of the economy.

New Edition's 1989 song about finding a love that lasts through adversity is a nice metaphor for the business cycle. The economy's "sunny days" are the periods of expansion that bring job creation, GDP growth, and general economic prosperity. "On a perfect day" we know we can count on a strong economy.

The "bad times" are periods of recession, slowed growth, and lower consumer confidence, when economic conditions force businesses and individuals to confront the same kinds of questions Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant had in the song. When the economy is in turmoil, who can we count on? Will our jobs stand by us? Our industries? Our government? Can we stand the rain?

Mo' Money Mo' Problems by Notorious B.I.G

"I don't know what they want from me it's like the more money we come across the more problems we see"

Biggie's posthumous anthem on the perils that come with success has a ready-made macroeconomics application: inflation, a concept that we discussed at length in episode 4.

A prominent theory in macroeconomics is that if the government prints too much money, it will excessively juice demand for goods and services, outstripping the supply of them. That excess demand can cause prices to rise and create — *wait for it* — more problems.

Bonus Homework: Summer of macro still isn't over! The hits will keep coming along with a new episode of Summer School every week! Have a song suggestion? It's still not too late to get on our playlist. Recommend your favorite on social media. Make sure to use #PMSummerschool.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Greg Morton

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content