Adam Davidson

This podcast sounded a lot different back when it started. Times were different too. In early September, 2008, the housing crisis was underway, but Lehman Brothers was still in business. It was an economy on the brink, fraught with menace and foreboding, but still standing. Nobody knew how bad it would get during that particular week.

Note: This episode originally ran in 2011.

Six years ago, we traveled to a place where people are trying to live without government interference. A place where you can use bits of silver to buy uninspected bacon. A place where a 9-year-old will sell you alcohol.

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This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

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And I'm Robert Siegel.

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This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a plan to overhaul the nation's immigration system. Much of the debate about immigration boils down to a simple economic question: Do immigrants hurt or help those of us who are already here?

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Three hundred eighty five thousand Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. That number, announced today by the Labor Department as it is every week, and the number is up, an increase of 28,000 people.

One jobs number gets all the attention: The number of jobs lost or gained in the previous month.

That number is important. But focusing too much on the net change in jobs can be misleading. It gives the impression that a job is like a widget — it's something that gets made in a factory somewhere, and that we hope exists forever.

That's not how it works. Even in good economic times ,new jobs are constantly being created and old jobs are constantly being destroyed. (Of course, you do want the number of jobs created to exceed the number of jobs destroyed.)

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We're going to dig into some of those policy differences now between Republicans and Democrats. When it comes to reducing the deficit, both sides insist it's time for compromise. But President Obama says tax cuts for the richest Americans must end.

Every day, small shop owners from Africa and Latin America fly into New York with wads of cash and empty suitcases. As Robert Smith reports today, their destination is zip code 10001 in Manhattan, home to a cluster of wholesale stores selling a quirky mix of decently made goods at cheap prices.

Peter Frew is one of a tiny number of people left in the United States who can — entirely on his own, using almost no machinery — make a classic bespoke suit. He can measure you, draw a pattern, cut the fabric and then hand-stitch a suit designed to fit your body perfectly.

Frew spent more than a decade as an apprentice for a remarkable tailor in his native Jamaica. He now sells his suits for about $4,000. Since New York is filled with very rich people who see their suits as an essential uniform, Frew has all the orders he can handle.

Every day at 11 a.m., a few big banks tell the British Bankers' Association what it costs them to borrow. Out of that comes LIBOR — the London Interbank Offered Rate, a dull but vital interest rate that underpins trillions of dollars of transactions globally, from home mortgages and personal credit cards to major corporate lending.

For more, see our video, Inside The Matzo Factory, and see Adam Davdson's latest NYT Magazine column

The matzo business may be the most heavily regulated business in the world.

Why are some nations rich and others poor? In a new book called Why Nations Fail, a pair of economists argue that a lot comes down to politics.

To research the book, the authors scoured the world for populations and geographic areas that are identical in all respects save one: they're on different sides of a border.

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

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