Economy & Business

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Marketplace Tech for Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Dec 5, 2016
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Marketplace

On today's show, we'll talk about Amazon's new cashier-free grocery store; Uber's purchase of Geometric Intelligence, a company with a multidisciplinary approach to artificial intelligence; and the European Commission's reminder to companies like Facebook and Twitter that they agreed to curb hate speech on their platforms.

Since her son Tommy went to jail, Dawn Herbert has been trying to see him as much as she can. He's incarcerated less than a 10-minute drive from her house in Keene, N.H. But he might as well be a lot farther.

"He's in that building and I can't get to him," Herbert says.

Dawn's visits probably don't look like what one might picture, where she's sitting across a table, or behind a pane of Plexiglas looking at and talking to her son.

More and more of the things we use every day are being connected to the Internet.

The term for these Internet-enabled devices — like connected cars and home appliances — is the Internet of things. They promise to make life more convenient, but these devices are also vulnerable to hacking.

Security technologist Bruce Schneier told NPR's Audie Cornish that while hacking someone's emails or banking information can be embarrassing or costly, hacking the Internet of things could be dangerous.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET on Dec. 6

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota is asking people camping near the route of the Dakota Access Pipeline to go home.

"I'm asking them to go," Dave Archambault III told Reuters on Monday, saying that the Obama administration "did the right thing," and that he hoped to "educate the incoming administration" of President-elect Donald Trump.

"Nothing will happen this winter," he said.

Inside Mongolia's largest open-air market in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, it doesn't feel like the economy is on the brink of collapse. Alleyways are packed with people selling carpets, fabric, clothes and nearly anything else you could think of.

But vendors here have had a front-row seat to an economy that has quickly gone from the world's fastest growing to one of the slowest. Everyone here seems to have a riches-to-rags story.

Chart of the day: Consumer spending is up

Dec 5, 2016

Average daily spending ticked up slightly last month, according to Gallup. Throughout the month, surveyors asked Americans how much they spent yesterday, excluding bills and major purchases. 

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns

Dec 5, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal

The Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigned today after losing a referendum on government control of the country’s economy yesterday. About 60 percent of Italians voted against a plan for constitutional reform favored by Renzi.

After one of the founders of Corona beer died last summer at age 98, some news went viral: In his will, he'd apparently left his fortune to the tiny, hardscrabble village in northern Spain where he was born. Each resident — mostly retired farmers and miners of meager means — would receive more than $2 million.

Carrier to raise commercial prices

Dec 5, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal

Even though President-elect Donald Trump pushed Carrier to prevent 1,000 jobs from being exported from their plant in Indianapolis, it's likely that their parent company, United Technologies, may still move jobs to Mexico.

Why clothing sizes are all over the map

Dec 5, 2016
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Mitchell Hartman

Listener Caren Johannes of Westminster, Colorado, emailed this question to Marketplace: “I’ve always wondered how clothing manufacturers figure out what sizes of clothes to make. I’m very short and I have a terrible time finding clothes, as do many of my relatives and friends.”

President has some broad powers when it comes to trade

Dec 5, 2016
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Sabri Ben-Achour

President-elect Donald Trump has made many promises about what he'll do once he's president when it comes to trade.  He's doubled down on some of them — for example over the weekend he tweeted that companies that move production out of the U.S. could face a 35 percent tax on the things they want to sell here. But what can a president actually do?

For example, Trump has talked about renegotiating The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Could he do that without Congress?

The Valley's Problem with Empathy

Dec 5, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal and Adhiti Bandlamudi

The tech giants of Silicon Valley constantly look for the next move that changes the way we live. And while these advancements are groundbreaking, it can shift a system that already existed, affecting the jobs and livelihoods of people embedded in that system. In a world of algorithms and technological processes, the customer at the end of that process is sometimes reduced to a number or statistic. 

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Annie Baxter

The controversial Dakota Access pipeline has been halted for now. The Army Corps of Engineers denied a permit for the oil pipeline to pursue a route near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, amid protests from the tribe, which was worried about potential water pollution. But other groups, such as opponents to fossil fuel, hoped to thwart the project as part of a bigger strategy. They're trying to delay new pipelines and other fossil-fuel infrastructure projects until renewable energy sources can be competitive.

What it means to be a futurist

Dec 5, 2016
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Kai Ryssdal and Bridget Bodnar

Given the pace of change in the tech industry, sometimes it’s hard for companies to know just which trends to chase. One person they might turn to for answers is Amy Webb, a futurist.

Trying to understand the Trump Organization is a daunting task. President-elect Donald Trump has not released tax documents, so the best clues about his privately held business interests come from a financial disclosure form he released in May.

The document covers scores of pages with small type, and suggests he is financially involved with hundreds of companies, including some that simply license his name.

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