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  • English Listening Resource: What’s happening to the US economy?

    Lately, almost all of my English students have been asking me what is happening with the U.S. economy. Why is the stock market going crazy? What is a debt ceiling? How bad is the U.S. economy? Who’s fault is it?

    National Public Radio (NPR) is the United States equivalent, more or less, to the BBC. It has many great free podcasts you can download, with transcripts, including Planet Money. Planet Money is a specific podcast that focuses on economic issues.

    These issues can often be boring, especially if they’re not being discussed in your native language, but here is Planet Money’s mission:

    We have two rules for ourselves: 1. Everything has to be interesting (and, preferably, fun or funny or poignant or somehow grabby). 2. Everything should be economically smart, but not economically dull.

    Basically, they try to make economic news interesting to the average person, even people who don’t speak English as their first language. The show started a few years ago when NPR reporter Adam Davidson and This American Life producer Alex Blumberg teamed up to create a This American Life report called “The Giant Pool of Money” in 2008. This report became very popular, and won important awards for clearly explaining the economic crises faced by the U.S. at that time.

    After “The Giant Pool of Money” NPR decided to keep Davidson and Blumberg together, and formed Planet Money, which continues to explain the U.S. economy in funny and interesting ways. If you want a clear, understandable explanation of what’s happening with economic issues in the U.S., this is a good place to start. Click here to visit their home page.

    If you would like to take an English class based on an episode of Planet Money, contact us.