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That Time We Shorted America, Part One : Planet Money : NPR

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Their gain is our loss.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Their gain is our loss.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Note: this episode originally ran in 2015.

If you own a house, stock, bonds, or a retirement account, you’re betting that things are going to get better — that the lines on the chart will keep going up.

Historically, this is a reasonable bet. But you can place a bet in the opposite direction. You can make a bet that things will go down: a short. For example, if you short Apple stock and the stock price drops, you make money. While all the normal shareholders are consoling themselves, you can celebrate. But for the most part, people don’t do it. Experts warn us that we shouldn’t either.

Today on the show, we ignore the advice of some very smart people, and we put our own money down on a bet against something people love. We short America.

Also, if you like economics and don’t mind being amused from time to time, subscribe to our weekly newsletter: npr.org/planetmoneynewsletter.

Music: French Quarter Boogaloo, Flinging About.

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