Economics & Economy

Why the US buys all its rare earth metals from China

Jun 26, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst

Rare earth minerals, though not actually rare, have unique chemical properties that make them essential for wide-ranging technologies, including smartphones, hybrid cars and high-tech weapons. Two years ago, the only rare earth mine in the United States filed for bankruptcy protection. The ongoing dispute over control of that mine's assets, and thus the ore it produces, center on China's near monopoly over the rare earth element supply chain.

South Carolina’s political elite turned out today to celebrate an expansion of BMW’s facility in the Palmetto State. It’s now BMW’s largest in the world. At the event, Sen. Lindsey Graham had this to say on Twitter: “to those who fear globalization, embrace it b/c it’s not going away...if you want to see the good it can do, come to SC.”   The senator’s tweet could be interpreted as a jab at President Trump, who has been highly critical of Germany and other U.S. trading partners.

What the Trump White House and a newly public company have in common

Jun 26, 2017
Kai Ryssdal and Sean McHenry

One of the president's main pitches for his presidency was the assertion that business management equates to government experience. While, yes, a for-profit business is not the same thing as government, consider this thought experiment for a moment: In a way, the president's transition from running the privately owned Trump Organization to the U.S. government is sort of like going public. And like companies that go public, the president has been met with all sorts of unexpected challenges, not the least of which is public scrutiny.

Olga Oksman

The map that started it all — the original 1953 drawing used to persuade investors to fund theme park Disneyland — has sold at auction for $708,000. While a respectable sum, it fell short of the $750,000 to $1 million that Los Angeles-based auction house Van Eaton Galleries estimated. An anonymous American collector put in the winning on bid on June 25 for the 3 ½-foot-by-5 ½-foot plan for Disneyland, which would come to fruition in 1955.

Robert Garrova

My Economy tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.

For this latest installment of our series, we hear from Rebecca Dunne, a music teacher and publications technician in Fairbanks, Alaska. 

My name is Rebecca Dunne and I live in Fairbanks, Alaska.