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Episode 489: The Invisible Plumbing Of Our Economy

Old pipes.
Oyvind Solsatd
/
Flickr

So we're making a T-shirt and we do this Kickstarter campaign and we raise $590,807 (which, really, we can't thank you enough).

It turns out the money collected on Kickstarter is handled by Amazon. Great, we figure: This is the company that will sell you anything on the planet and get it you you the next day. And what we need in this case isn't even a thing, really. We just need Amazon's bank to send money electronically to a checking account at Chase bank. It's just information traveling over wires. How long could it take: A minute? An hour?

It took five days.

On today's show: Why the invisible pipes that move money around America are so slow. (And why the ones in England are so much faster.)

Music: The Black Keys' "Countdown." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/Spotify/ Tumblr. Download the Planet Money iPhone App.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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