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Planet Money

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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.

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#72 Planet Money: Bloody, Miserable Medieval Economics

July 28th, 2009

Episode 165 of 910 episodes

Before governments had regulators with suits and briefcases, says College of William and Mary history professor Philip Daileader, they had knights. The Lancelots of real life went around the kingdom forcing people to pay whatever the knights decided they owed. It was a brutal economic approach. If you think the knights were tough, be thankful you never faced the guild system. It existed to eliminate competition and benefit producers at the expense of consumers. Craftspeople fought each other for control and tried to limit access to the market — at their own expense, it turned out.

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