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355: The Giant Pool of Money

355: The Giant Pool of Money

May 9, 2008
A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s?
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Download a transcript. Read the German translation by the magazine of Swiss daily, Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

A shorter companion version of this story appeared on NPR's All Things Considered.

Stay updated! Alex Blumberg and Adam Davidson (the guys who did this program) have a free daily podcast and blog applying that same explanatory power to each day's breaking news on the financial crisis: Planet Money.

  • Prologue.

    4 Min
    Host Ira Glass talks with an NPR business and economics correspondent about two gatherings he attended—one at the Ritz Carlton and one at a community college in Brooklyn. The first was an awards dinner for finance professionals who created the mortgage-based financial instruments that nearly brought down the global economic system. The other was a non-profit conference for people facing foreclosure. Ira explains that today's show lays out how the finance guys and the people facing foreclosure are connected by a chain of middlemen, and that together, they all brought about the current housing and credit crisis. Ira Glass
  • Act One.

    30 Min
    This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teams up with NPR's Adam Davidson for the entire hour to tell the story—the surprisingly entertaining story—of how the U.S. got itself into a housing crisis. They talk to people who were actually working in the housing, banking, finance and mortgage industries, about what they thought during the boom times, and why the bust happened. And they explain that a lot of it has to do with the giant global pool of money. Adam Davidson, Alex Blumberg, Planet Money

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