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Answering your questions about stocks, bagged milk, contraction, and rich tech: Planet Money: NPR


Cole Burston / Getty Images

CALEDON, ON - SEPTEMBER 04: Canadian milk and dairy products are seen in a grocery store on September 4, 2018 in Caledon, Canada.  (Photo by Cole Burston / Getty Images)

Cole Burston / Getty Images

It’s still time. Today on the show, we open our hearts and our phone lines to hear the economic dilemmas that keep you awake at night.

We answer the following burning questions:

Q: I’ve heard stories of people buying GameStop shares and just thought when the shares go up what happens with that money as far as the company is concerned? Do they make money with it?

A: New Planet Money host Erika Beras answered that question while watching AMC, which became a memestock earlier this year. Companies like AMC can use becoming a memestock to continue fundraising, but only as long as stocks stay high. AMC even distributes free popcorn to satisfy its shareholders. So it is possible for a business to make money as a memestock, but it is not clear whether becoming a memestock is a good deal in the long run.

Q: Why does Canada sell milk in bags?

A: When Pierre Trudeax led Canada’s conversion to the metric system in the 1970s. Canada had to replace every container and package in the country from gallons or pounds to liters or kilograms. Milk producers have chosen to switch to plastic bags to avoid the costly task of molding new cartons or jugs. And that’s only in Eastern Canada. In Western Canada, bags are not popular.

Q: Is there a way to see inflation without increasing prices?

A: Normally when we think of inflation, we think of the increase in the price of products. But there is another kind of inflation which is not when the price inflates – it is when the size of the product deflates, but the price stays the same. And it’s called Shrinkflation. You might notice smaller ice cream and cereal containers at the store, but the same bill at checkout.

Q: What gadgets and services do the rich have today that might become cheaper and more accessible in the future?

A: This question is about a classic marketing and communications theory called “diffusion of innovation”. Think of cell phones, flat screen televisions, and cars. Expensive new technologies can take a long time to take off, and only a handful of people with disposable income can afford to try them. But after a while, the technology becomes more efficient, prices drop, and the majority of ordinary consumers can finally adopt it. Consumer tech analyst Carolina Milanesi said private space travel, currently pursued by some billionaires, could eventually be made available to the general public. In the meantime, Carolina has said that fast broadband internet for everyone could be one of the most important technology spreads of the next two decades.

Thanks to all the listeners who wrote to us. We read all of your posts, so keep giving us tips and questions.

Music: “Time heals, “”graceful as she is, “and”thanks and good night. ”

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