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Each Tuesday and Friday, Ezra Klein invites you into a conversation on something that matters. How do we address climate change if the political system fails to act? Has the logic of markets infiltrated too many aspects of our lives? What is the future of the Republican Party? What do psychedelics teach us about consciousness? What does sci-fi understand about our present that we miss? Can our food system be just to humans and animals alike?

New York Times Opinion


    • Feb 3, 2023 LATEST EPISODE
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    4.6 from 4,696 ratings Listeners of The Ezra Klein Show that love the show mention: ezra klein show, listening to ezra, love ezra, paul krugman, yuval levin, thank you ezra, vivek murthy, thanks ezra, ezra asks, three books, teri gross, ted chiang, klein asks, ezra takes, ezra brings, ezra is smart, ezra's, ezra is an excellent, noam chomsky, intellectual conversations.



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    Latest episodes from The Ezra Klein Show

    Best Of: Why Housing Is So Expensive — Particularly in Blue States

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 3, 2023 76:40


    Ezra is out sick, so today, we're sharing one of our favorite conversations — with Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution whose 2022 book “Fixer Upper: How to Repair America's Broken Housing Systems,”  is perhaps the best, clearest overview of America's housing problems to date.In this conversation, recorded in July 2022, Schuetz breaks down the politics and policies that have contributed to America's multiple housing crises — from housing shortages and high homelessness rates in major cities to the increasing elusiveness of homeownership for many young Americans. We discuss why the states with the highest homelessness rates are all governed by Democrats, the roots of America's homelessness crisis, why economists believe the U.S. gross domestic product could be over a third — a third! — higher today if American cities had built more housing, why it's so hard to build housing where it's needed most, the actual (and often misunderstood) causes of gentrification, why public housing has such a bad reputation in the U.S.; how progressives' commitment to local democracy and community voice surprisingly lies at the heart of America's housing crises, why homeownership is still the primary vehicle of wealth accumulation in America (and the toxic impact that has on our politics), what the U.S. can learn from the housing policies of countries like Germany and France, what it would take to build a better politics of housing and much more.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker, Kate Sinclair and Rollin Hu; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; original music by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    First Person: How the Left Is Cannibalizing Its Own Power

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 31, 2023 36:56


    Ezra is out sick, so today, we're sharing an episode from the New York Times Opinion podcast, “First Person.” Each week, the host Lulu Garcia-Navarro sits down with people living through the headlines for intimate and surprising conversations that help us make sense of our complicated world. This episode features Maurice Mitchell, the head of the Working Families Party.Mitchell has been an organizer for two decades, working in progressive politics and the Movement for Black Lives. In recent years, he's watched progressive organizations torn apart by internal battles in the wake of #MeToo and B.L.M. Now he is speaking out about how he sees purity politics and a misplaced focus on identity derailing the left.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/column/first-person.The episode was produced by Wyatt Orme, with help from Derek Arthur. It was edited by Stephanie Joyce and Kaari Pitkin. Mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones. Original music by Isaac Jones, Sonia Herrero, Pat McCusker and Carole Sabouraud. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. The rest of the “First Person” team includes Anabel Bacon, Olivia Natt, Rhiannon Corby, Sophia Alvarez Boyd, Derek Arthur and Jillian Weinberger. Special thanks to Kristina Samulewski, Shannon Busta, Allison Benedikt, Annie-Rose Strasser and Katie Kingsbury.

    Is This How a Cold War With China Begins?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 27, 2023 51:25


    There are few issues on which the dominant consensus in Washington has changed as rapidly in recent years as it has on China. Donald Trump made taking on China a core pillar of his campaign and presidency. And while Joe Biden has toned down the harsh anti-China rhetoric of his predecessor, many of his administration's policies have gone even further than Trump's did.In October the Biden administration unveiled sweeping controls on advanced chip exports to China — a move that former Trump officials have described as a sharp break from where their administration's policies were. And the Biden administration doesn't intend on stopping there: It plans to roll out further controls that target China's biotech and clean energy sectors.Meanwhile, Biden has repeatedly voiced such strong declarations of American military support for Taiwan that his own administration has had to walk them back. And, in Congress, China policy is one of the few areas Democrats and Republicans seem willing to work together — almost always in the direction of getting tougher on Beijing.Jessica Chen Weiss is a political scientist and China scholar at Cornell. From August 2021 to last July, she was a senior adviser in the Biden State Department. And she emerged from that experience as one of the most outspoken critics of Washington's more hawkish turn regarding China. “The more combative approach, on both sides, has produced a mirroring dynamic,” Weiss wrote in a 2022 essay called “The China Trap.” She worries that Beijing and Washington are misreading each other's ambitions, resulting in a “downward spiral” of mutual aggression that will leave both sides — and the world more broadly — less prosperous and secure.So I asked Weiss to come on the show to help me understand the state of U.S.-China relations and why she thinks it's headed in the wrong direction.Mentioned:“The China Trap” by Jessica Chen Weiss“A World Safe for Autocracy?” by Jessica Chen WeissBook Recommendations:Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts by Jeremy L. WallaceOur Missing Hearts by Celeste NgSee No Stranger by Valarie KaurThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker and Kristina Samulewski.

    There's Been a Revolution in How China Is Governed

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 24, 2023 79:38


    There are few stories that are more crucial to the world's future than what's happening in China. Take any of the most important issues of our time — climate change, geopolitics, the global economy, advanced technologies — and China is at the center of them. American politics itself has increasingly come to revolve around competition with China.In other words, what happens in China doesn't stay in China — it reverberates through the global economy, the American political system and the international order. And a lot is happening in China right now. In November, China experienced what many have called its most significant protests since Tiananmen Square in 1989. In response, Beijing loosened its “zero Covid” policy, demonstrating a level of public responsiveness that shocked many observers of the increasingly authoritarian regime. However, that policy shift also unleashed a huge wave of infections and hospitalizations that puts the country's immediate future in question.Yuen Yuen Ang is a professor of political economy, a China scholar at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “China's Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption.” Her basic argument is this: In order to understand what's happening in China today (and what all of it could mean for its future) you need to first understand China's unique, often misunderstood political system — one that Ang calls “autocracy with democratic characteristics.” Because we in the West are so fixated on how China selects its leaders, she argues, we've overlooked a more subtle but far more consequential revolution in how China is governed. That transformation of the Chinese political system is the deeper story behind both the country's economic success — as well as its current troubles. And it provides an illuminating lens through which to view American politics as well.Mentioned:“An Era Just Ended in China” by Yuen Yuen Ang“The Problem With Zero” by Yuen Yuen Ang“The Procedure Fetish” by Nicholas BagleyBook Recommendations:From The Soil by Xiaotong FeiFei Xiaotong and Sociology in Contemporary China by R. David ArkushThe Fractalist by Benoit MandelbrotThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carole Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.

    How Right-Wing Media Ate the Republican Party

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 20, 2023 83:20


    In recent weeks, America got a preview of how the new Republican House majority would wield its power. In attempting to perform a basic function of government — electing a speaker — a coalition of 20 House members caused Kevin McCarthy to lose 14 rounds of votes, decreasing his power with each compromise and successive vote.This is not normal. Party unity ebbs and flows, but the G.O.P. in recent decades has come apart at the seams. Nicole Hemmer is the director of the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Center for the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, an associate professor of history and the author of two books about the conservative movement and media ecosystem, “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics” and “Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s.” And she says we can't understand the current G.O.P. without understanding when, where and how these dynamics began.We discuss why the Cold War bonded Republicans as a party, how the 1994 Republican congressional victory inaugurated a new era of intraparty fighting, how Rush Limbaugh's rise created a new market for far-out ideas and new pressures on conservative politicians, why conservative media has had so much more sway than liberal media over grass-roots voters, how the business model of Fox News differs from that of MSNBC and what kinds of political ideas those businesses produce, how the G.O.P. is now caught between the pincers of the donor class and the grass roots, when the chief Republican enemy became the Democratic Party, why more moderate conservatives have become so weak and more.Mentioned:The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism by Theda Skocpol and Vanessa WilliamsonThe Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order by Gary GerstleAsymmetric Politics by Matt Grossman and David A. HopkinsRealigners by Timothy ShenkBook Recommendations:Fit Nation by Natalia Mehlman PetrzelaDreamland by Carly GoodmanFreedom's Dominion by Jefferson CowieThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker and Kristina Samulewski.

    A Revelatory Tour of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Forgotten Teachings

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 16, 2023 93:36


    It's hard to think of a more celebrated figure of the 20th century than Martin Luther King Jr.He has a national memorial in Washington, D.C. His birthday is one of just 11 federal holidays. And his words and legacy are routinely evoked by politicians of both major parties.But the paradox of King's legacy is that while many revere him, very few actually read him. Most of us can cite a handful of his most famous quotes, but King's actual teachings span five books, countless speeches and sermons, and years of detailed correspondence.There's perhaps no scholar working today who studies Dr. King's political philosophy as deeply as Brandon Terry. Terry is the John L. Loeb associate professor of social sciences at Harvard, where he specializes in Black political thought. He is the co-editor of “To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” the editor of “Fifty Years Since MLK,” and the author of numerous popular and academic articles on King's political thought. His work is committed to rescuing the nuances of Dr. King's philosophies and forcing a confrontation with what King actually said and believed, rather than what he's come to represent.In this conversation, we follow the commitment that animates much of Terry's work: to take King seriously as a philosopher, rather than as purely a political actor. And it turns out that King understood a lot about politics that we've lost sight of today. We discuss why a “romantic narrative” of the civil rights era stops us from taking King seriously as a philosopher; the true radicalism of King's nonviolent philosophy; King's complex views on the relationship between race and class; how King wrestled with the demands of “respectability politics”; King's wide-ranging economic views, including the idea that the economy should be subservient to the community (and not the other way around); King's enthusiasm for tenant unions and welfare rights unions as critical democratic inventions; whether the state should embrace the same nonviolence it often demands of protesters; the roots of King's opposition to the war in Vietnam; whether we've lost the ability to grapple with “virtue” in politics today; and more.Mentioned:“Imagining the nonviolent state” by Ezra Klein“Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” by Martin Luther King Jr.From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime by Elizabeth Hinton“Rethinking the Problem of Alliance: Organized Labor and Black Political Life” by Brandon M. Terry and Jason LeeThe Truly Disadvantaged by William Julius WilsonBook recommendations:Where Do We Go From Here by Martin Luther King Jr.The Trumpet of Conscience by Martin Luther King Jr.The Sword and the Shield by Peniel E. JosephA More Beautiful and Terrible History by Jeanne TheoharisDark Ghettos by Tommie ShelbyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

    A Guide to the ‘Legal Fictions' That Create Wealth, Inequality and Economic Crises

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2023 94:35


    “Capitalism, it turns out, is more than just the exchange of goods in a market economy,” Katharina Pistor writes. “It is a market economy in which some assets are placed on legal steroids.”Pistor is a professor of comparative law at Columbia Law School, the director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia University and the author of “The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality.” In the book, Pistor argues that economic value isn't just captured by markets; it is created by the legal system. An asset like a piece of land or a machine has some intrinsic value. But it is only when you graft legal attributes onto those assets — backed by the coercive power of the state — that they are transformed into wealth-generating capital.Pistor's theory has sweeping implications for some of the most fundamental economic questions of our time: How is wealth actually created? Why does our current economic system produce such huge inequalities? What causes financial crises? In Pistor's telling, you can't begin to answer such questions without understanding the legal foundation that our economy is built on.This is a conversation that delves into the deepest layer of our economic system — one that shapes all of our lives even as it remains largely invisible. We discuss the four legal attributes that transform an ordinary asset into a wealth-generating device, how the law creates corporations and financial instruments out of thin air, the “feudal calculus” that underpins our modern economy, why focusing solely on wealth redistribution will never be sufficient to solve economic inequality, how private lawyers — operating outside democratic institutions — end up shaping the rules of our economic system, the “law and finance paradox” that explains why financial crises happen, how legal manipulation has eroded the “social contract” of capitalism, whether the law can work as a tool to help fight climate change and more.Mentioned:“A Legal Theory of Finance” by Katharina PistorBook Recommendations:Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas PikettyCrashed by Adam ToozeAges of American Capitalism by Jonathan LevyThis episode is guest-hosted by Rogé Karma, the senior editor for “The Ezra Klein Show.” Rogé has been with the show since July 2019, when it was based at Vox. He works closely with Ezra on everything related to the show, from editing to interview prep to guest selection. At Vox, he also wrote and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Kristin Lin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Mary Marge Locker. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.

    Dan Savage on Where the Sexual Revolution Went Wrong

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 10, 2023 84:54


    Even if you don't recognize the advice columnist Dan Savage by name, it's possible that his ideas have influenced how you think about sex and relationships. For decades now, Savage has been arguing that our expectations for long-term partnerships are way too high; that healthy relationships are about acknowledging our vast spectrum of desires, not repressing them; and that monogamy is not the ideal setup for every partnership. Through over 30 years of writing “Savage Love,” one of the most widely read sex advice columns in the country, and more than 17 years of hosting the podcast “Savage Lovecast,” he has been one of America's most subtly influential public intellectuals on the topic of how humans conduct our most intimate — and important — relationships.In the past half-century or so, America's culture around sex, dating and relationships has undergone a profound transformation. Women are no longer confined to roles as wives and mothers, same-sex marriage is legal, hookup culture has changed the way young people enter the dating world, and there has been a growing interest in less traditional approaches to relationships, like polyamory and ethical nonmonogamy. These transformations have ushered in a lot of new freedoms but also a lot of new anxieties and frustrations. So I wanted to bring Savage on the show to talk through how we navigate this complicated, messy moment in our relational and sexual lives.We discuss how America's relationship culture has changed in the past 30 years, why the myth of finding “the one” can be so damaging, what dating apps are (and aren't) good for, how to give more grace to our partners when they do not meet our expectations, why so many feminist writers are re-evaluating the legacy of the sexual revolution, how gay sexual cultures have influenced straight dating life, why we've had a “sexual revolution” but not a concomitant “relationship revolution,” what Savage makes of the statistic that 18 percent of people have had sexual experiences outside their primary relationships without their partners' consent, the advantages and risks of experimenting with nonmonogamy, what better sex education for young people should look like, why marriages between two men seem to end less frequently than heterosexual marriages do and more.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:YouGov poll on Monogamy and Polyamory“Can We Change Our Sexual Desires? Should We?” with Amia Srinivasan on The Ezra Klein Show“Let's Talk About the Anxiety Freedom Can Cause” with Maggie Nelson on The Ezra Klein Show“Sex, Abortion and Feminism, as Seen From the Right” with Erika Bachiochi on The Ezra Klein ShowDan Savage and Esther Perel on “Love, Marriage & Monogamy”Screaming on the Inside by Jessica Grose“What Does the ‘Post-Liberal Right' Actually Want?” with Patrick Deneen on The Ezra Klein ShowBook Recommendations:The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie EastonBerlin Diary by William L. ShirerA Royal Affair by Stella TillyardThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker.

    A Skeptical Take on the A.I. Revolution

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2023 71:30


    The year 2022 was jam-packed with advances in artificial intelligence, from the release of image generators like DALL-E 2 and text generators like Cicero to a flurry of developments in the self-driving car industry. And then, on November 30, OpenAI released ChatGPT, arguably the smartest, funniest, most humanlike chatbot to date.In the weeks since, ChatGPT has become an internet sensation. If you've spent any time on social media recently, you've probably seen screenshots of it describing Karl Marx's theory of surplus value in the style of a Taylor Swift song or explaining how to remove a sandwich from a VCR in the style of the King James Bible. There are hundreds of examples like that.But amid all the hype, I wanted to give voice to skepticism: What is ChatGPT actually doing? Is this system really as “intelligent” as it can sometimes appear? And what are the implications of unleashing this kind of technology at scale?Gary Marcus is an emeritus professor of psychology and neural science at N.Y.U. who has become one of the leading voices of A.I. skepticism. He's not “anti-A.I.”; in fact, he's founded multiple A.I. companies himself. But Marcus is deeply worried about the direction current A.I. research is headed, and even calls the release of ChatGPT A.I.'s “Jurassic Park moment.” “Because such systems contain literally no mechanisms for checking the truth of what they say,” Marcus writes, “they can easily be automated to generate misinformation at unprecedented scale.”However, Marcus also believes that there's a better way forward. In the 2019 book “Rebooting A.I.: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust” Marcus and his co-author Ernest Davis outline a path to A.I. development built on a very different understanding of what intelligence is and the kinds of systems required to develop that intelligence. And so I asked Marcus on the show to unpack his critique of current A.I. systems and what it would look like to develop better ones.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:“On Bullshit” by Harry Frankfurt“AI's Jurassic Park moment” by Gary Marcus“Deep Learning Is Hitting a Wall” by Gary MarcusBook Recommendations:The Language Instinct by Steven PinkerHow the World Really Works by Vaclav SmilThe Martian by Andy WeirThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.

    Sabbath and the Art of Rest

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2023 60:36


    Do we know how to truly rest? Who would we be if we did?I've been wrestling with these questions since I read Abraham Joshua Heschel's stunning book “The Sabbath” in college. The ancient Jewish ritual of the Sabbath reserves a full day per week for rest. As it's commonly practiced, that means about 25 hours every week of no work, very little technology and plenty of in-person gathering.But the Sabbath is a much more radical approach to rest than a simple respite from work and technology. Implicit in the practice of the Sabbath is a stinging critique of the speed at which we live our lives, the ways we choose to spend our time and how we think about the idea of rest itself. That, at least, is a central argument of Judith Shulevitz's wonderful book, “The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time.”Shulevitz is a longtime culture critic and currently a contributing writer for The Atlantic. Her book isn't just about the Sabbath itself, it's about the world the Sabbath tries to create: one with an entirely different conception of time, morality, rest and community. It's the kind of world that is wholly different from our own, and one whose wisdom is urgently needed.So, to kick off the new year, I invited Shulevitz on the show to explore what the Sabbath is, the value system embedded within it and what lessons it holds for our lives. I left the conversation feeling awed by how such an ancient practice can feel simultaneously so radical and yet so incredibly urgent.Mentioned:The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua HeschelI and Thou by Martin BuberBook Recommendations:Adam Bede by George EliotThe Seven Day Circle by Eviatar ZerubavelOn the Clock by Emily GuendelsbergerThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker.

    Best Of: How America's Poet Laureate Sees Our World

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2022 77:48


    ​​“One of the biggest things about poetry is that it holds all of humanity,” the poet Ada Limón tells me. “It holds the huge and enormous and tumbling sphere of human emotions.”At the end of a turbulent year, we thought revisiting this May 2022 conversation with Limón would be fitting. Just months after our conversation, Limón was named U.S. poet laureate.Limón's work is a salve for all that the world faces: her books of poetry are filled with meditations on grief and infertility, as well as striking moments of insight about friendship, lust and our fellowship with animals. Her most recent book, “The Hurting Kind,” explores what it means to share the planet with nonhuman beings like birds and trees. Limón describes the marvels of Kentucky's rural landscape and the dusky beauty of a New York City bar with equal care. Her writing is highly acclaimed by fellow poets and also delightfully accessible to those who have never before picked up a book of poetry.Limón is a lively reader of her own poetry, so to structure this conversation, I asked her to read a varied selection of her work. We use those readings to discuss what poetry gives us that the news doesn't, the importance of slowing down in a world that demands speed, how the grief of infertility differs from that of losing a loved one, how to be “in community” with ancestors and animals in lonely times, why Limón loves “chatty” and humorous poems as much as serious ones, why we often have our best thoughts in cars and on planes, how Instagram and Twitter affect our relationship to the world, why Limón meditates every day, how our relationship to excitement changes as we age and more.Book Recommendations:Stones by Kevin YoungFrank: Sonnets by Diane SeussPostcolonial Love Poem by Natalie DiazThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Haylee Millikan; original music by Isaac Jones and Jeff Geld; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Rebecca Elise Foote and Jahan Ramazani.

    Best Of: Want to Save Democracy? Run For Office.

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2022 65:51


    This week, we're revisiting some of our favorite episodes from the year. For those who make New Year's resolutions, today's conversation might plant the seed for a bold one: Running for office.Amanda Litman is a co-founder of Run for Something, which recruits and supports young, progressive candidates who want to run for office. We spoke in February 2022, but our conversation remains relevant as ever. It's about the mechanics of American democracy, the confusions and myths that keep so many of us from participating in them and the practical question of what it means to step off the sidelines and, well, run for something. We also talk about why Democrats tend to chase “shiny objects” over real political power, what right-leaning organizations have been up to that liberals should envy, how you probably have more control over issues like abortion and climate change than you think, what it actually takes to run a local campaign, the three questions prospective candidates should be able to answer, and more.This is the rare conversation about democracy that left me feeling better, rather than worse, about what's possible. I think it'll do the same for you.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:“Heeding Steve Bannon's Call, Election Deniers Organize to Seize Control of the GOP — and Reshape America's Elections” by Isaac Arnsdorf, Doug Bock Clark, Alexandra Berzon and Anjeanette DamonWhat It Takes by Richard Ben CramerFind out what elected offices you can run forBook recommendations:The Heart Principle by Helen HoangOlga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl GonzalezLet's Get Physical by Danielle FriedmanThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

    Best Of: Who Wins — and Who Loses — in the A.I. Revolution?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2022 72:00


    This past year, we've witnessed considerable progress in the development of artificial intelligence, from the release of the image generators like DALL-E 2 to chat bots like ChatGPT and Cicero to a flurry of self-driving cars. So this week, we're revisiting some of our favorite conversations about the rise of A.I. and what it means for the world. Today's conversation is with Sam Altman. He's the C.E.O. of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. When I talked to him in June 2021, ChatGPT was still over a year away from being available to the public for testing. But the A.I. developments since then have only increased the salience of the questions Altman raised in his 2021 essay “Moore's Law for Everything.” Altman' argument is this: Since the 1970s, computers have gotten exponentially better even as they're gotten cheaper, a phenomenon known as Moore's Law. Altman believes that A.I. could get us closer to Moore's Law for everything: it could make everything better even as it makes it cheaper. Housing, health care, education, you name it. But what struck me about his essay is that last clause: “if we as a society manage it responsibly.” Because, as Altman also admits, if he is right then A.I. will generate phenomenal wealth largely by destroying countless jobs — that's a big part of how everything gets cheaper — and shifting huge amounts of wealth from labor to capital. And whether that world becomes a post-scarcity utopia or a feudal dystopia hinges on how wealth, power and dignity are then distributed — it hinges, in other words, on politics.Mentioned: “Moore's Law for Everything” by Sam AltmanRecommendations: Crystal Nights by Greg EganThe Last Question by Isaac AsimovThe Gentle Seduction by Marc Stiegler“Meditations on Moloch” by Scott Alexander Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

    Best Of: Is A.I. the Problem? Or Are We?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2022 77:23


    This past year, we've witnessed considerable progress in the development of artificial intelligence, from the release of the image generators like DALL-E 2 to chat bots like ChatGPT and Cicero to a flurry of self-driving cars. So this week, we're revisiting some of our favorite conversations about the rise of A.I. and what it means for the world. Brian Christian's “The Alignment Problem” is the best book on the key technical and moral questions of A.I. that I've read. At its center is the term from which the book gets its name. “Alignment problem” originated in economics as a way to describe the fact that the systems and incentives we create often fail to align with our goals. And that's a central worry with A.I., too: that we will create something to help us that will instead harm us, in part because we didn't understand how it really worked or what we had actually asked it to do.So this conversation, originally recorded in June 2021 is about the various alignment problems associated with A.I. We discuss what machine learning is and how it works, how governments and corporations are using it right now, what it has taught us about human learning, the ethics of how humans should treat sentient robots, the all-important question of how A.I. developers plan to make profits, what kinds of regulatory structures are possible when we're dealing with algorithms we don't really understand, the way A.I. reflects and then supercharges the inequities that exist in our society, the saddest Super Mario Bros. game I've ever heard of, why the problem of automation isn't so much job loss as dignity loss and much more.Mentioned: “Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning”“Some Moral and Technical Consequences of Automation” by Norbert WienerRecommendations: "What to Expect When You're Expecting Robots"  by Julie Shah and Laura Major"Finite and Infinite Games" by James P. Carse "How to Do Nothing" by Jenny OdellThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

    What I'm Thinking About at the End of 2022

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2022 74:56


    As 2022 comes to a close, we decided to invite listeners to send in questions for an ask-me-anything episode. And boy, did you all deliver. We received hundreds of fantastic questions, and my column editor, Aaron Retica, joined me to ask some of them. Is equality of opportunity preferable to equality of outcomes? What would a better version of Twitter look like? Are Republicans more politically savvy than Democrats? What do recent advances in artificial intelligence mean for the future of our society?We also discuss why I think ChatGPT is simultaneously overhyped and deeply unnerving, whether Joe Manchin's policy obstructionism helped Democrats at the midterms, the death of the expanded child tax credit, why I'm more bullish than ever on eliminating the filibuster, whether Mitch McConnell is actually the strategic mastermind that liberals portray him as, why I'm skeptical of Twitter as a tool for social justice, whether the advent of social media has actually made our lives better in any measurable way and more. And we end with my New Year's resolution practices and a whole bunch of music and children's books recommendations.Note: “The Ezra Klein Show” will be taking a break during the holidays, but we will be back with new episodes starting on Jan. 3, 2023.Mentioned:Share your guest suggestions here“The case against equality of opportunity” by Dylan Matthews“The Senate Has Become a Dadaist Nightmare” by Ezra Klein“The Time Tax” by Annie LowreyThe Sabbath by Abraham Joshua HeschelThe Sabbath World by Judith ShulevitzMusic Recommendations:Music Recommendations:PlaylistChildren's Book Recommendations:Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. SeussThe Rabbit Listened by Cori DoerrfeldHere We Are by Oliver JeffersThe Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah DiesenThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

    Time Is Way Weirder Than You Think

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2022 53:42


    It's not an exaggeration to say that “clock time” runs our lives. From the moment our alarms go off in the morning, the clock reigns supreme: our meetings, our appointments, even our social plans are often timed down to the minute. We even measure the quality of our lives with reference to time, often lamenting that time seems to “fly by” when we're having fun and “drags on” when we're bored or stagnant. We rarely stop to think about time, but that's precisely because there are few forces more omnipresent in our lives.“You are the best time machine that has ever been built,” Dean Buonomano writes in his book “Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time.” Buonomano is a professor of neurobiology and psychology at U.C.L.A. who studies the relationship between time and the human brain. His book tackles the most profound questions about time that affect all of our lives: Why do we feel it so differently at different points in our lives? What do we miss if we live so rigidly bound to the demands of our clocks and appointments? Why during strange periods like pandemic lockdowns do we feel “lost in time”? And what if — as some physicists believe — the future may already exist, with grave implications for our ability to act meaningfully in the present?We discuss what time would be in an empty universe without humans, why humans have not evolved to understand time the way we understand space, how our ability to predict the future differs from animals', why time during the Covid lockdowns felt so bizarre, why scientists think time “flies” when we're having fun but slows down when people experience near-death accidents, what humans lost when we invented very precise clocks, why some physicists believe the future is already determined for us and what that would mean for our ethical behavior, why we're so bad at saving money, what steps we could take to feel as if we're living longer in time, why it's so hard — but ultimately possible — to live in the present moment and more.Mentioned:Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes by Daniel L. EverettBook Recommendations:Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. SunsteinWhen We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin LabatutThe Age of A.I. by Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel HuttenlocherThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

    Three Signals We've Entered a New Economic Era

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2022 63:14


    “From the U.S. Federal Reserve's initial misjudgment that inflation would be ‘transitory' to the current consensus that a probable U.S. recession will be ‘short and shallow,' there has been a strong tendency to see economic challenges as both temporary and quickly reversible,” writes the economist Mohamed El-Erian. “But rather than one more turn of the economic wheel, the world may be experiencing major structural and secular changes that will outlast the current business cycle.”There are few people who understand financial markets or central banking as deeply as El-Erian. He is the chief economic adviser at Allianz, the president of Queens' College, Cambridge, and the author of multiple books, including, most recently, “The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability and Recovering From Another Collapse.” Until 2014, he was the C.E.O. of PIMCO — which under his leadership was the largest bond manager in the world.In recent years, markets have been roiled by significant shocks — from a global pandemic that snarled supply chains and disrupted labor markets to a Russian invasion of Ukraine that sent global commodities markets into a tailspin. But El-Erian believes we're also witnessing a deeper structural shift in the very nature of the global economy. Economic policymakers today are trying to bring the economy back to that of 2019, but in El-Erian's view, there is no going back. We've entered a new era that demands a different kind of response.So I invited El-Erian on the show to help me understand the economic era he thinks we're entering and how policymakers can respond. We discuss whether the United States is experiencing a permanent decline in labor force participation, why modern supply chains could continue to experience difficulties well beyond the pandemic, how changing U.S.-China relations could unleash inflationary pressures throughout the world, how the Fed's efforts to stabilize financial markets may have ironically opened the door to the financial collapse, why El-Erian believes a decade-plus of easy money was a colossal mistake, what lessons developing countries learned from the 2008 financial crisis, the parts of the global financial system most at risk of melting down today, El-Erian's scathing critique of the Fed's communication strategy and more.Mentioned:“Not Just Another Recession” by Mohamed El-ErianThe Only Game in Town by Mohamed El-ErianBook Recommendations:Invisible Women by Caroline Criado PerezBad Blood by John CarreyrouThe World For Sale by Javier Blas and Jack FarchyThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Mary Marge Locker. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

    There's Been a Massive Change in Where American Policy Gets Made

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2022 85:35


    Since 2021, Democrats have controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency, and they've used that power to pass consequential legislation, from the American Rescue Plan to the Inflation Reduction Act. That state of affairs was exceptional: In the 50 years between 1970 and 2020, the U.S. House, Senate and presidency were only under unified party control for 14 years. Divided government has become the norm in American politics. And since Republicans won back the House in November, it is about to become the reality once again.But that doesn't mean policymaking is going to stop — far from it. As America's national politics have become more and more gridlocked in recent decades, many consequential policy decisions have been increasingly pushed down to the state level. The ability to receive a legal abortion or use recreational marijuana; how easy it is to join a union, purchase a firearm or vote in elections; the tax rates we pay and the kind of health insurance we have access to: These decisions are being determined at the state level to an extent not seen since before the civil rights revolution of the mid-twentieth century.Jake Grumbach is a political scientist at the University of Washington and the author of the book “Laboratories Against Democracy: How National Parties Transformed State Politics.” In it, Grumbach tracks this shift in policymaking to the states and explores its implications for American politics. Our national mythologies present state government as less polarizing, more accountable to voters and a hedge against anti-democratic forces amassing too much power. But, as Grumbach shows, in an era of national political media, parties and identities, the truth is a lot more complicated.So this conversation is a guide to the level of government that we tend to pay the least attention to, even as it shapes our lives more than any other.Mentioned:Dynamic Democracy by Devin Caughey and Christopher Warshaw“Does money have a conservative bias? Estimating the causal impact of Citizens United on state legislative preferences” by Anna Harvey and Taylor MattiaState Capture by Alex Hertel-Fernandez“From the Bargaining Table to the Ballot Box” by James Feigenbaum, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Vanessa WilliamsonPaths Out of Dixie by Robert Mickey“Old Money: Campaign Finance and Gerontocracy in the United States” by Adam Bonica and Jake GrumbachBook Recommendations:Fragmented Democracy by Jamila MichenerPrivate Government by Elizabeth AndersonDilla Time by Dan CharnasThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

    A Conservative's Take on the Chaotic State of the Republican Party

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2022 68:01


    Republicans already hold tremendous power in America. They have appointed six of the nine current Supreme Court justices. They have more state trifectas (control of both legislative houses, as well as the governor's seat) than Democrats. And come 2023, they will also control the House of Representatives.But there's a hollowness at the core of the modern G.O.P. It's hard to identify any clear party leader, coherent policy agenda or concerted electoral strategy. The party didn't bother putting forward a policy platform before the 2020 election or articulating an alternative policy vision in 2022. It has hardly reckoned with its under-performances in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 elections. At this point, it's unclear whether there's any real party structure — or substrate of ideas — left at all.All of which raises the question: What exactly is the Republican Party at this point? What does it believe? What does it want to achieve? Whose lead does it follow? Those questions will need to be answered somehow over the next two years, as Republican politicians compete for their party's nomination for the 2024 presidential election and Republican House members wield the power of their new majority.Michael Brendan Dougherty is a senior writer at National Review and a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. We disagree on plenty, but I find him to be one of the sharpest observers of the contemporary Republican Party. So I invited him on the show for an inside-the-tent conversation on the chaotic state of the current G.O.P. and the choices it will have to make over the next two years.We discuss how the party is processing the 2022 midterms, why Dougherty thinks Donald Trump has a very good chance of winning the Republican nomination again in 2024, whether the G.O.P. leadership actually understands its own voters, how Ron DeSantis rose to become one of the party's leading 2024 contenders, whether DeSantis — and the G.O.P. more broadly — actually have an economic agenda at this point, why Trump's greatest strength in 2024 could be the economy he presided over in 2018 and 2019, why Dougherty doesn't think Trump's political appeal is transferable to anyone else in the Republican Party, what kind of House speaker Kevin McCarthy might be, which Republicans — other than Trump and DeSantis — to watch out for, and more.Mentioned:“The Question for DeSantis” by Michael Brendan DoughertyBook Recommendations:The German War by Nicholas StargardtThe Demon in Democracy by Ryszard LegutkoThe Face of God by Roger ScrutonThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker, and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

    The Hidden Costs of Cheap Meat

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2022 81:37


    About 50 years ago, beef cost more than $7 a pound in today's dollars. Today, despite high inflation, beef is down to about $4.80 a pound, and chicken is just around $1.80 a pound. But those low prices hide the true costs of the meat we consume — costs that the meat and poultry industries have quietly offloaded onto not only the animals we consume but us humans, too.Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, with some estimates as high as 28 percent. It uses half the earth's habitable land. Factory farms pose huge threats as potential sources of antibiotic resistance and future pandemics. And the current meat production system loads farmers with often insurmountable levels of debt. Our meat may look cheap at the grocery store, but we are all picking up the tab in ways we're often starkly unaware of.Leah Garcés is the chief executive and president of Mercy for Animals and the author of “Grilled: Turning Adversaries Into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry.” Few animal rights activists have her breadth of experience: For years, she's been steeped in the experiences of farmers who raise animals, communities that live alongside industrial animal operations and, of course, the farmed animals that live shorter and more miserable lives. So I invited her on the show for a conversation about what meat really costs and how that perspective could help us build a healthier relationship to the animals we eat and the world we inhabit.We discuss what it's like to live next to a hog farm, factory farming's role in growing antibiotic resistance, how the current system of contract farming saddles individual farmers with debt, the lengths the U.S. government — and taxpayers — goes to to subsidize industrial animal farming, the possibility that the next pandemic will emerge from a crowded factory farm, how high costs — like deforestation in the Amazon — are hidden from consumers at the grocery store, the challenge of helping children make sense of routinized cruelty, whether regenerative agriculture can help undo the damage done by industrial animal farming, the historic animal welfare case currently in front of the Supreme Court and more.Mentioned:Mercy for Animals“Sen. Cory Booker has a plan to stop taxpayer bailouts of Big Meat” by Marina Bolotnikova and Kenny TorrellaBook Recommendations:Wastelands by Corban AddisonMeatonomics by David Robinson SimonAnimal Machines by Ruth HarrisonThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    This Conversation About the 'Reading Mind' Is a Gift

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2022 69:38


    Every day, we consume a mind-boggling amount of information. We scan online news articles, sift through text messages and emails, scroll through our social-media feeds — and that's usually before we even get out of bed in the morning. In 2009, a team of researchers found that the average American consumed about 34 gigabytes of information a day. Undoubtedly, that number would be even higher today.But what are we actually getting from this huge influx of information? How is it affecting our memories, our attention spans, our ability to think? What might this mean for today's children, and future generations? And what does it take to read — and think — deeply in a world so flooded with constant input?Maryanne Wolf is a researcher and scholar at U.C.L.A.'s School of Education and Information Studies. Her books “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain” and “Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World” explore the relationship between the process of reading and the neuroscience of the brain. And, in Wolfe's view, our era of information overload represents a historical inflection point where our ability to read — truly, deeply read, not just scan or scroll — hangs in the balance.We discuss why reading is a fundamentally “unnatural” act, how scanning and scrolling differ from “deep reading,” why it's not accurate to say that “reading” is just one thing, how our brains process information differently when we're reading on a Kindle or a laptop as opposed to a physical book, how exposure to such an abundance of information is rewiring our brains and reshaping our society, how to rediscover the lost art of reading books deeply, what Wolf recommends to those of us who struggle against digital distractions, what parents can do to to protect their children's attention, how Wolf's theory of a “biliterate brain” may save our species' ability to deeply process language and information and more.Mentioned:The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Hermann HesseHow We Read Now by Naomi S. BaronThe Shallows by Nicholas CarrYirumaBook Recommendations:The Gilead Novels by Marilynne RobinsonWorld and Town by Gish JenStanding by Words by Wendell BerryLove's Mind by John S. DunneMiddlemarch by George EliotThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    Bill McKibben on the Power That Could Save the Planet

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2022 84:34


    The fight against climate change is at a crossroads.This past year, the climate movement in the United States achieved significant success. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in emissions reduction in U.S. history. More than a dozen states have taken some form of climate action in 2022 alone. Earlier this year, California — which, if it were a country, would have the fifth largest economy in the world — approved a record $54 billion in climate spending alongside sweeping new restrictions on fossil fuel development. These investments coincide with a wave of technological transformation: Over the past decade, the cost of solar energy has declined around 90 percent and that of onshore wind around 70 percent, making these energy sources economically competitive with fossil fuels for the first time.“The new numbers turn the economic logic we're used to upside down,” writes the climate activist and journalist Bill McKibben. To him, the import of this moment is clear: For the first time, McKibben argues, humanity has at our fingertips the tools needed to end humanity's millenniums-long dependence on burning things for energy — and to save our climate in the process.To those familiar with the climate movement, McKibben is a familiar name. His book “The End of Nature” has been compared to Rachel Carson's “Silent Spring” in terms of its impact on the climate movement. He's founded organizations like Third Act and 350.org, the latter of which is among the largest climate activist organizations in the world today. He was a key leader in the fight to block the Keystone XL pipeline. And he currently writes the influential newsletter “The Crucial Years.” Ask anyone in the climate movement today about their inspirations and McKibben will almost certainly top the list.But in McKibben's telling, the climate movement's successes in getting us to this point actually require it to change. A movement founded on blocking bad things from happening now needs to turn to building at intensified speed; a movement that has long fought to preserve the natural world now has to help usher in a wholesale transformation of the global landscape; a movement that has long been critical of capitalism and economic growth now has to align itself with those forces in order to achieve its ends.Those shifts will require new tactics, new animating ideas, new motivations and new priorities — with the future of the climate hanging in the balance. So I wanted to have McKibben on the show to talk about this dawning era of the climate fight we're entering, and what changes the movement will have to make to meet this moment.Mentioned:“The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I've Heard” by The Ezra Klein ShowBook Recommendations:Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley RobinsonOrwell's Roses by Rebecca SolnitHow It Went by Wendell BerryThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    I Don't Quite Buy the DeSantis Narrative, and Other Midterm Thoughts

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2022 68:40


    The results of Tuesday's midterm elections are still trickling in, but the broader story is clear: The red wave that many anticipated never materialized. Republicans gained 54 House seats against Bill Clinton in 1994 and 63 seats against Barack Obama in 2010. It doesn't look as though the G.O.P. will secure anything close to that in 2022, and Democrats could retain their narrow control of the Senate — all against the backdrop of raging inflation and low approval ratings for President Biden.Why didn't Democrats get wiped out? Why did so many Republicans underperform while others, like Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, won decisively? And what does it all imply for 2024?To talk through the midterm results and their implications, I am joined by my column's editor, Aaron Retica. We discuss why this election ended up being so shockingly close; how Democrats' performance could, paradoxically, make it harder for Biden to win in 2024; why the significance of DeSantis's victory is probably being overhyped; why inflation didn't seem to matter nearly as much to the elections' outcomes as most analysts believed it would; how a possible DeSantis-Donald Trump fight in the 2024 Republican primaries could create electoral space for more traditional Republicans to break through; John Fetterman's distinct working-class appeal in Pennsylvania, the moral calculus of Democrats' decision to bolster extreme Republican candidates in the primaries; the uncertain future of American democracy and more.(Note: This episode was recorded on the afternoon of Wednesday, Nov. 9.)Mentioned:The Bitter End by John Sides, Chris Tausanovitch and Lynn Vavreck“Hillary Clinton Accepted Her Loss, but a Lot Has Changed Since 2016” by Lynn Vavreck“Republicans Have Made It Very Clear What They Want to Do if They Win Congress” by Ezra Klein"What It Means to Be Kind in a Cruel World" by The Ezra Klein ShowPodcast Recommendations:The Prince: Searching for Xi Jinping (The Economist)Odd Lots (Bloomberg)Volts (David Roberts)EKS Episode Recommendations:“These Political Scientists Surveyed 500,000 Voters. Here Are Their Unnerving Conclusions.” by The Ezra Klein Show“A Powerful Theory of Why The Far Right is Thriving Across the Globe” by The Ezra Klein Show“Donald Trump Didn't Hijack the G.O.P. He Understood It.” by The Ezra Klein ShowAaron's essay recommendation:"The Paranoid Style in American Politics" by Richard HofstadterThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    George Saunders on the ‘Braindead Megaphone' That Makes Our Politics So Awful

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2022 62:22


    George Saunders is regarded as one of our greatest living fiction writers. He won the Booker Prize in 2017 for his novel “Lincoln in the Bardo” and has published numerous short-story collections to wide acclaim, including his most recent book, “Liberation Day.” He also happens to be one of my favorite people to read and to talk to.Saunders is an incredibly prescient and sharp observer of American political culture. Way back in 2007, he argued that our media environment was transforming politics into a competition within which the loudest voices would command the most attention and set the agenda for everyone else. With the rise of social media — and the advent of the Trump era — that observation has been more than vindicated. So as we approach the midterm elections, I wanted to have Saunders back on the show to talk about how politics and media have changed, and how those changes are shaping the way we interact, communicate and even think.We discuss how Twitter takes advantage of — even warps — our “malleable” selves, how politicians like Marjorie Taylor Greene strategically manipulate our attentional environments, how Barack Obama leveraged our human desire to be seen as our best selves, whether discipline or gentleness is more effective in helping others grow, what options we have to resist anti-democratic tendencies in our politics, whether a post-scarcity future — with jobs for everyone — would leave us more or less satisfied, how the greatest evils can be committed by those trying to care for their loved ones, what attending Trump rallies taught Saunders about political violence and more.Mentioned:The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders“Host” by David Foster Wallace“The Semplica-Girl Diaries” by George SaundersBullshit Jobs by David Graeber“What It Means to Be Kind in a Cruel World” by The Ezra Klein Show“I Didn't Want It to Be True, but the Medium Really Is the Message” by Ezra KleinBook Recommendations:The Storm Is Here by Luke MogelsonSugar Street by Jonathan DeeMarlena by Julie BuntinThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Mary Marge Locker. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Inflation Does More Than Raise Prices. It Destroys Governments.

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2022 69:40


    “One can usually pretend that there is a logic to the distribution of wealth — that behind a person's prosperity lies some rational basis, whether it is that person's hard work, skill and farsightedness or some ancestor's,” writes J. Bradford DeLong. “Inflation — even moderate inflation — strips the mask.”DeLong is an economic historian at the University of California, Berkeley, a former deputy assistant secretary of the Treasury and the author of “Slouching Towards Utopia” — a new book about the wave of economic growth that transformed the world in the 20th century. In it, he argues, among other things, that inflation isn't just economically damaging; it's one of the most destabilizing, destructive forces in all of politics. Left unchecked, it has the power to swing elections, erode the foundations of core social institutions and usher in wholesale changes in political and economic regimes.That's exactly what happened the last time inflation was this high. In DeLong's telling, the inflation crisis of the 1970s was weaponized to discredit the reigning New Deal economic order and helped give rise to the small government, pro-market political turn of the 1980s — the consequences of which we are living with today. So I wanted to have DeLong on the show to walk me through that story and some of the questions it raises: Why is inflation is so uniquely politically destructive? What are the right — and wrong — lessons to take from the experience of the 1970s? What kinds of political transformations could today's inflation could bring about?We also discuss why inflation spiraled out of control in the 1970s (and whether it could have been stopped sooner), the efficacy of price controls as a way of taming inflation, why DeLong believes it's a mistake to take the 1970s comparisons too literally, how unchecked inflation can decimate social trust, how economic thinking became obsessed with “moochers” and “slackers” in the 1980s and '90s, whether the 2007-08 financial crisis brought an end to the neoliberal era, what DeLong would say to his younger self serving in the early Clinton administration and more.Book Recommendations:The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order by Gary GestleFree Market by Jacob SollAdam Smith's America by Glory M. LiuThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion" in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Hererro. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    A Powerful Theory of Why the Far Right Is Thriving Across the Globe

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2022 90:26


    As we approach the 2022 midterms, the outlook for American democracy doesn't appear promising. An increasingly Trumpist, anti-democratic Republican Party is poised to take over at least one chamber of Congress. And the Democratic Party, facing an inflationary economy and with an unpopular president in office, looks helpless to stop them.But the United States isn't alone in this regard. Over the course of 2022, Italy elected a far-right prime minister from a party with Fascist roots, a party founded by neo-Nazis and skinheads won the second-highest number of seats in Sweden's Parliament, Viktor Orban's Fidesz party in Hungary won its fourth consecutive election by a landslide, Marine Le Pen won 41 percent of the vote in the final round of France's presidential elections and — just this past weekend — Jair Bolsonaro came dangerously close to winning re-election in Brazil.Why are these populist uprisings happening simultaneously, in countries with such diverse cultures, economies and political systems?Pippa Norris is a political scientist at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she has taught for three decades. In that time, she's written dozens of books on topics ranging from comparative political institutions to right-wing parties and the decline of religion. And in 2019 she and Ronald Inglehart published “Cultural Backlash: Trump, Brexit and Authoritarian Populism,” which gives the best explanation of the far right's rise that I've read.We discuss what Norris calls the “silent revolution in cultural values” that has occurred across advanced democracies in recent decades, why the best predictor of support for populist parties is the generation people were born into, why the “transgressive aesthetic” of leaders like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro is so central to their appeal, how demographic and cultural “tipping points” have produced conservative backlashes across the globe, the difference between “demand-side” and “supply-side” theories of populist uprising, the role that economic anxiety and insecurity play in fueling right-wing backlashes, why delivering economic benefits might not be enough for mainstream leaders to stave off populist challenges and more.Mentioned:Sacred and Secular by Pippa Norris and Ronald Inglehart“Exploring drivers of vote choice and policy positions among the American electorate”Book Recommendations:Popular Dictatorships by Aleksandar MatovskiSpin Dictators by Sergei Guriev and Daniel TreismanThe Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah ArendtThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion" in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    ‘I'd Be Very Worried': What a Deep Analysis of 2020 Reveals About the Midterms

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2022 93:59


    How does the popularity of a president's policies impact his or her party's electoral chances? Why have Latinos — and other voters of color — swung toward the Republican Party in recent years? How does the state of the economy influence how people vote, and which economic metrics in particular matter most?We can't answer those questions yet for 2022. But we can look at previous elections for insights into how things could play out.John Sides and Lynn Vavreck — political scientists at Vanderbilt and U.C.L.A., respectively — have routinely written some of the most comprehensive analyses of American presidential contests. Their new book, “The Bitter End: The 2020 Presidential Campaign and the Challenge to American Democracy” — written with Chris Tausanovitch — is no exception.We discuss the core questions of 2020: How did Donald Trump come so close to winning? Why did Latinos swing toward Republicans? What role did Black Lives Matter protests have on the outcome? How did the strange Covid economy of 2020 affect the election results? And of course, what does all of this portend for the midterm elections in November?Mentioned:“Polarization and State Legislative Elections” by Cassandra Handan-Nader, Andrew C. W. Myers and Andrew B. HallIdentity Crisis by John Sides, Michael Tesler and Lynn Vavreck“Losers' Consent” by Christopher J. Anderson, André Blais, Shaun Bowler, Todd Donovan and Ola ListhaugBook Recommendations:The Increasingly United States by Daniel J. HopkinsGroundbreakers by Elizabeth McKenna and Hahrie HanThe Loud Minority by Daniel Q. GillionRock Me on the Water by Ronald BrownsteinState of Terror by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Louise Penny“Bono Is Still Trying to Figure Out U2 and Himself” by David MarcheseThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion" in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Trump Enabler

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 25, 2022 65:55


    ​​“What would you do for your relevance?” the political journalist Mark Leibovich asks in his new book, “Thank You for Your Servitude: Donald Trump's Washington and the Price of Submission.” “How badly did you want into the clubhouse, no matter how wretched it became inside?” For Leibovich, you can't truly understand the current Republican Party without taking stock of the almost Shakespearean drama that unfolded during the Trump presidency — in which Republican after Republican bowed to the will of their ascendant party leader.Through his extensive — and often quite colorful — reporting with Trump's inner circle of enablers, Leibovich tries to understand the motivations that fueled Trump's takeover of the G.O.P. But this conversation isn't only important in retrospect. With the Republican Party poised to possibly recapture at least one house of Congress in November, many of Trump's core enablers could soon hold considerable political power. Who are they? What do they believe? How will they act if given power?We discuss why the stakes in 2022 midterms feel higher than ever, why the Republican Party has changed so profoundly since the days of Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor, how the governing structure of the G.O.P. fell apart as Trump rose in influence, the many reasons politicians from Lindsey Graham to Elise Stefanik converted from Trump skeptics to staunch Trump defenders, the political motivations of Kevin McCarthy — who may become the next speaker of the House — and how he might wield power, how the persistence of Trumpism could profoundly alter American democracy, why Leibovich believes figures like J.D. Vance prostrated themselves to a man who insulted them, what options Democrats have for countering election denialism and more.Mentioned:“Donald Trump Is Not Going Anywhere” by Mark LeibovichBook recommendations:Why We Did It by Tim MillerConfidence Man by Maggie HabermanNSFW by Isabel KaplanThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld, Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Have Both Democrats and Republicans Lost Touch With Their Voters?

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2022 72:53


    According to the conventional rules of politics, Democrats should be on track for electoral disaster this November. Joe Biden's approval rating is stuck around 42 percent, inflation is still sky-high and midterms usually swing against the incumbent president's party — a recipe for the kind of political wipeouts we saw in 2018, 2010 and 1994.But that's not what the polls show. Currently, Democrats are on track to hold the Senate and lose narrowly in the House, which raises all kinds of questions: Why are Republicans failing to capitalize on such a favorable set of circumstances? How did Democrats get themselves into this situation — and can they get out of it? And should we even trust the polls giving us this information in the first place?Matt Yglesias is a veteran journalist who writes the newsletter “Slow Boring” and co-hosts the podcast “Bad Takes.” And in recent years he's become an outspoken critic of the Democratic Party's political strategy: how Democrats communicate with the public, what they choose as their governing priorities and whom they ultimately listen to. In Yglesias's view, Democrats have lost touch with the very voters they need to win close elections like this one, and should embrace a very different approach to politics if they want to defeat an increasingly anti-democratic G.O.P.We discuss why Yglesias thinks the 2022 polls are likely biased toward Democrats, how Republicans' bizarre nominee choices are giving Democrats a fighting chance of winning the Senate, why Biden's popular legislative agenda hasn't translated into greater public support, the Biden administration's “grab bag” approach to policymaking, why Yglesias thinks there's been a “regime change” in how Democrats think about elections, how social media has transformed both parties' political incentives, what the Democratic agenda should look like if the party retains both houses of Congress and more.Book recommendations:Famine: A Short History by Cormac Ó GrádaSlouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLongStrangers to Ourselves by Rachel AvivThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Our researcher is Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld, Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    A Legendary World-Builder on Multiverses, Revolution and the ‘Souls' of Cities

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 18, 2022 64:19


    N.K. Jemisin is a fantasy and science-fiction writer who won three consecutive Hugo Awards — considered the highest honor in science-fiction writing — for her “Broken Earth” trilogy; she has since won two more Hugos, as well as other awards. But in imagining wild fictional narratives, the beloved sci-fi and fantasy writer has also cultivated a remarkable view of our all-too-real world. In her fiction, Jemisin crafts worlds that resemble ours but get disrupted by major shocks: ecological disasters, invasions by strange, tentacled creatures and more — all of which operate as thought experiments that can help us think through how human beings could and should respond to similar calamities.Jemisin's latest series, which includes “The City We Became” and “The World We Make,” takes place in a recognizable version of New York City — the texture of its streets, the distinct character of its five boroughs — that's also gripped by strange, magical forces. The series, in addition to being a rollicking read, is essentially a meditation on cities: how they come into being, how their very souls get threatened by forces like systemic racism and astronomical inequality and how their energies and cultures have the power to rescue and save those souls.I invited Jemisin on the show to help me take stock of the political and cultural ferment behind these distressing conditions — and also to remember the magical qualities of cities, systems and human nature. We discuss why multiverse fictions like “Everything Everywhere All at Once” are so popular now, how the culture and politics of New York and San Francisco have homogenized drastically in recent decades, Jemisin's views on why a coalition of Black and Latinx voters elected a former cop as New York's mayor, how gentrification causes change that we may not at first recognize, where to draw the line between imposing order and celebrating the disorder of cities, how Donald Trump kept stealing Jemisin's ideas but is at the root a “badly written character,” whether we should hold people accountable for their choices or acknowledge the way the status quo shapes our decision-making, what excites Jemisin about recent discoveries about outer space, why she thinks we are all “made of exploding stars” and more.Mentioned:N.K. Jemisin interview on Vox's "The Gray Area with Sean Illing"Book recommendations:Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu ArakawaMechanique by Genevieve ValentineWitch King by Martha WellsThe Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane JacobsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Our researcher is Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Mary Marge Locker. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Jesse Bordwin.

    What Rachel Maddow Has Been Thinking About Offscreen

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 14, 2022 83:35


    “The Rachel Maddow Show” debuted in the interregnum between political eras. Before it lay the 9/11 era and the George W. Bush presidency. Days after the show launched in 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed, and a few weeks later Barack Obama was elected president.And then history just kept speeding up. The Tea Party. The debt ceiling debacles. Donald Trump. The coronavirus pandemic. January 6th. The big lie. Maddow covered and tried to make sense of it all. Now, after 14 years, she has taken her show down to one episode a week and is beginning other projects — like “Ultra,” the history podcast we discuss in this episode.But I wanted to talk to Maddow about how American politics and media has changed over the course of her show. We discuss the legacies of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the cycle of economic crises we appear to keep having, Maddow's relationships with Pat Buchanan and Tucker Carlson, where the current G.O.P.'s anti-democracy efforts really started, how Obama's presidency changed politics, how Maddow finds and chooses her stories, the statehouse Republicans who tilled the soil for Trump's big lie and more.Book Recommendations:Hitler in Los Angeles by Steven J. RossNazis of Copley Square by Charles R. GallagherHitler's American Friends by Bradley W. HartThe Oppermanns by Lion Feuchtwanger1940 by Susan DunnDown in New Orleans Billy SothernThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion" in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Our researcher is Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Hard Fork: Elon's Hidden Motives + A Meetup in the Metaverse

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 11, 2022 66:06


    Today we're bringing you an episode from the recently launched New York Times podcast, Hard Fork. Hosted by veteran tech journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton, Hard Fork is a rigorous and fun exploration of Silicon Valley's already-emerging future — and its evolving imprint on the rest of the world.In this episode, Kevin and Casey discuss Elon Musk's on-again-off-again – and recently on-again – interest in Twitter, as the billionaire signals once again that he's buying the social media platform. What might be behind the change of heart? And what will the deal mean for employees and users? Casey and Kevin swap theories and predictions — and also step into the metaverse with the New York Times reporter Kashmir Hill.Hard Fork is produced by Davis Land. Edited by Paula Szuchman and Hanna Ingber. Fact-checking by Caitlin Love. Original music by Dan Powell, Elisheba Ittoop and Marion Lozano. Engineered by Corey Schreppel. Special thanks to Sam Dolnick, Shannon Busta, Julia Simon, Larissa Anderson, Pui-Wing Tam, Kate LoPresti, Nell Gallogly, Mahima Chablani and Jeffrey Miranda.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    How the Fed Is ‘Shaking the Entire System'

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 7, 2022 85:56


    “There are moments when history making creeps up on you,” writes the economic historian Adam Tooze. “This is one of those moments.”Countries across the world are raising interest rates at unprecedented speeds. That global monetary tightening is colliding with spiking food and energy prices, financial market instability, high levels of emerging market debt and economies still struggling to recover from the Covid pandemic. Alone, each of these factors would warrant concern; combined, they could be catastrophic.We're already beginning to see what happens as these dynamics intersect: Britain just experienced a bond market meltdown that threatened one of the most advanced financial systems in the world. Developing countries like Sri Lanka, Argentina and Pakistan are experiencing political and economic crises. The World Bank believes we could be headed for a severe global recession.Tooze is the director of the European Institute at Columbia University and the author of multiple histories of financial crises and near crises and of the excellent Chartbook newsletter. He believes this particular confluence of high inflation, rising interest rates and high levels of debt points to an economic “polycrisis” unlike any the world has seen. And he and others have argued that the U.S. Fed's decision to raise interest rates is a core driver of that crisis.So this is a conversation about the fragile, uncertain future of the global economy at this history-making moment and the Fed's role in it. We discuss what the British financial market meltdown means for the rest of the world, how the interest rate hikes in rich countries export inflation to other countries, the looming possibility of a global recession, why Tooze believes something could break in the global financial system, why countries in South Asia are experiencing a particularly severe form of “polycrisis,” how the Fed should weigh its mandate to bring down inflation against the global consequences of its actions, why he believes analogies to the American inflationary period of the 1970s are misguided and more.Mentioned:“Slouching Towards Utopia by J Bradford DeLong — fuelling America's global dream” by Adam ToozeBook recommendations:The Neapolitan Novels by Elena FerranteYouthquake by Edward PaiceSlouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLongThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Jason Furman, Mike Konczal and Maurice Obstfeld.

    Interrogating the Stories We Tell About Our Minds

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 4, 2022 67:05


    The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly one in five adults in America lives with a mental illness. And we have plenty of evidence — from suicide rates to the percentage of Americans on psychopharmaceuticals — that our collective mental health is getting worse. But beyond mental health diagnoses lies a whole, complicated landscape of difficult, often painful, mental states that all of us experience at some point in our lives.Rachel Aviv is a longtime staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of the new book “Strangers to Ourselves: Unsettled Minds and the Stories That Make Us.” Aviv has done some of the best reporting toward answering questions like: How do people cope with their changing — and sometimes truly disturbing — mental states? What can diagnosis capture, and what does it leave out? Why do treatments succeed or fail for different people? And how do all of us tell stories about ourselves — and our minds — that can either trap us in excruciating thought patterns or liberate us?We discuss why children seeking asylum in Sweden suddenly dropped out mentally and physically from their lives, how mental states like depression and anxiety can be socially contagious, how mental illnesses differ from physical ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure, what Aviv's own experience with childhood anorexia taught her about psychology and diagnosis, how having too much “insight” into our mental states can sometimes hurt us, how social forces like racism and classism can activate psychological distress, the complicated decisions people make around taking medication or refusing it, how hallucinations can be confused with — or might even count as — a form of spiritual connection, what “depressive realism” says about the state of our society, how we can care for one another both within and beyond the medical establishment, and more.This episode contains a brief mention of suicidal ideation. If you are having thoughts of suicide, text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. A list of additional resources is available at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.Mentioned:“It's Not Just You,” a series on mental health in America from New York Times Opinion“The Trauma of Facing Deportation” by Rachel AvivRuth Ozeki on The Ezra Klein Show: “What We Gain by Enchanting the Objects in Our Lives”Thomas Insel on The Ezra Klein Show: “A Top Mental Health Expert on Where America Went Wrong”Judson Brewer on The Ezra Klein Show: “That Anxiety You're Feeling? It's a Habit You Can Unlearn.”Book Recommendations:Madness and Modernism by Louis SassOf Two Minds T.M. Luhrmann“Wants” by Grace PaleyThoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write  “Guest Suggestion" in the subject line.)You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Ethereum's Founder on What Crypto Can — and Can't — Do

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 30, 2022 97:18


    When most people hear “crypto,” the first thing they think of is “currencies.” Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. And they've given rise to an entire ecosystem of financial speculation, get rich quick schemes, and in some cases outright fraud.But there's another side of crypto that gets less attention: the segment of the community that is interested in the way the technology that powers crypto can decentralize decision making, make institutions more transparent and transform the way organizations are governed. That's the side I find far more interesting.There are few individuals as central to that latter segment of crypto as Vitalik Buterin. When he was still just a teenager, Buterin co-founded Ethereum, a decentralized platform whose token Ether is the second most valuable cryptocurrency today, surpassed only by Bitcoin. But the vision behind Ethereum was that the blockchain technology could be used for more than digital money; it could create a sort of digital infrastructure on top of which organizations and companies and applications could be built — ostensibly free of centralizing structures like banks and governments.Over the last decade, Buterin has become arguably the core public intellectual on the nonfinancial side of crypto. His new book, “Proof of Stake,” is a collection of long, thoughtful essays that taken together lay out a vision of crypto as a truly transformative technology — one with the potential to revolutionize everything from city governance to voting systems to online identity.I myself have dueling impulses about Buterin's vision. On the one hand, I believe many of our governing systems and institutions are badly in need of the kind of reimagining he is engaged in. On the other hand, I'm deeply skeptical of whether the issues Buterin and his ilk are focused on are actually technological problems that blockchains can solve. So this is a conversation that sits squarely within that tension.Mentioned:Seeing Like a State by James C. ScottBook recommendations:The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. ShirerHarry Potter and The Methods of Rationality by Eliezer YudkowskyAlgorithmic Game Theory by Noam Nisan, Tim Roughgarden, Eva Tardos and Vijay V. VaziraniThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Will Wilkinson, Alex Tabarrok, Glen Weyl and Nathan Schneider.

    We Know So Little About What Makes Humanity Prosper

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 27, 2022 91:19


    Why do some countries produce far more science Nobel laureates than others? Why did Silicon Valley happen in California rather than Japan or Boston? Why did the Industrial Revolution happen when it did and where it did?These are just some of the questions that have inspired the formation of a new intellectual movement called “progress studies.” The basic idea is this: For hundreds of thousands of years, human history played out without any rapid, marked advance in material living standards. And then, suddenly, in just the past few hundred years, everything changed: Humanity achieved a truly mind-boggling amount of progress in the evolutionary blink of an eye. In the early 21st century, we are all living in the world that progress bequeathed. And yet we understand shockingly little about what drives that progress in the first place.That's important because, at least according to some metrics, progress seems to be slowing down. We spend far more on scientific research but that research results in fewer breakthrough discoveries. Key economic indicators such as productivity growth have slowed. Many have argued that the technologies we've invented in recent decades, while highly impressive, aren't as transformative as the technologies from the last century. All of which means that the questions animating progress studies aren't mere academic exercises; they are central to understanding how we can bring about a better future for all.Patrick Collison is the co-founder and chief executive of the multibillion-dollar payments company Stripe. But for years now, Collison has also been developing and advocating a worldview that has become the intellectual backbone of this new discipline. In 2019, Collison, alongside the economist Tyler Cowen,  called for “a new science of progress.” And since then, an intellectual ecosystem has sprung up around it, full of its own magazines and thinkers and syllabuses and podcasts. And Collison himself is putting its theories into practice through organizations  (like Fast Grants and Arc Institute) that he's founded and funded.This conversation is an attempt to better understand Collison's worldview, and more broadly the worldview of progress studies. The ideas that animate progress studies are worth taking seriously on their own terms. But they are also important because they are becoming increasingly influential among a wealthy elite with the power and resources to shape all of our futures.Mentioned:“Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck” by Patrick Collison and Michael NielsenA Culture of Growth by Joel Mokyr"Kludgeocracy in America" by Steve Teles Book Recommendations:Empire and Revolution by Richard BourkeScene of Change by Warren WeaverA Widening Sphere by Philip N. AlexanderThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Why Russia Is Losing the War in Ukraine

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 23, 2022 77:00


    When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the question most analysts were asking was not whether Russia would win. It was how fast. On almost every quantifiable metric from military strength to economic size Russia has decisive advantages over Ukraine. A swift Russian victory appeared inevitable.Of course, that swift victory didn't happen. And in recent weeks, the direction of the war has begun to tilt in Ukraine's direction. On Sept. 6, the Ukrainian military launched a counteroffensive near Kharkiv in northern Ukraine and regained 3,400 square miles of territory in a week — more territory than Russia had captured in the last five months. Analysts are now saying it's unlikely that Vladimir Putin can accomplish one of his chief aims: annexing the Donbas by force.Andrea Kendall-Taylor is the director of the trans-Atlantic security program at the Center for a New American Security. She's a former intelligence officer who, from 2015 to 2018, led strategic analysis on Russia at the National Intelligence Council. When we spoke, she was recently back from a trip to Ukraine. And she believes that the long-term trends favor a Ukrainian victory.In this conversation, Kendall-Taylor helps me understand this watershed moment in the war. We discuss why Ukraine's recent counteroffensive was so significant; how it and other recent developments have hampered Russian morale, manpower and weapons supply; whether sanctions are really influencing Russia's strategy, and how sanctions might get worse; how this conflict is profoundly changing Europe; whether this recent turn of events signals a possible Ukrainian victory; why “personalist dictators” like Putin can be so dangerous when backed into a corner; how likely it is that we'll see stalemate or settlement negotiations in the near future; how Kendall-Taylor rates the likelihood of various outcomes; what we should expect in the next phase of the war and more.Mentioned:“Ukraine Holds the Future” by Timothy Snyder“The Russia-Ukraine War at Six Months” by Adam ToozeRecommendations:Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen KotkinTwitter Accounts to Follow for Russia-Ukraine War Analysis:Michael KofmanRob LeeMick RyanThe Institute for the Study of WarThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Emma Ashford.

    The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I've Heard

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 101:12


    In August, Joe Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $392 billion towards a new climate budget — the single largest investment in emissions reduction in U.S. history. The CHIPS and Science Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act bring that number up to around $450 billion. All of that spending is designed with one major objective in mind: to put the United States on a path to a decarbonized economy, with the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.Achieving that goal is perhaps the single most important challenge of our age. And so I wanted to dedicate a full episode to it. How big is the task of decarbonizing the U.S. economy? What do we actually need to do to get there? How does the I.R.A. help do that? And what are the biggest obstacles still standing in our way?Jesse Jenkins is an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University and leads the Princeton ZERO Lab. He was a lead author of the Net Zero America report, the most comprehensive attempt to map out the different pathways to decarbonization I've seen. He also leads the REPEAT Project, which has done some of the most in-depth modeling of how the Inflation Reduction Act and other climate policies could affect emissions.As a result, this conversation ended up being the single clearest explanation I've heard of both the path to decarbonizing America and the impact the Biden administration's climate bills could have on that effort. I learned a ton from this one, and I think you will too.Book recommendations:Making Climate Policy Work by Danny Cullenward and David G. Victor“Sequencing to Ratchet Up Climate Policy Stringency” (academic paper) by Michael Pahle, Dallas Burtraw, Christian Flachsland, Nina Kelsey, Eric Biber, Jonas Meckling, Ottmar Edenhofer and John ZysmanHow Solar Energy Became Cheap by Gregory F. NemetThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Now All Biden Has to Do Is Build It

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2022 69:09


    In the past few months, Joe Biden's agenda has gone from a failed promise to real legislation.Taken together, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act (along with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act) have the potential to put America on a path to decarbonization, develop some of the most advanced and crucial supply chains in the world, and build all kinds of next-generation technologies. It's hard to overstate just how transformative these plans could be if they are carried out in the right way.But that's a big “if.” Because Biden's legacy will not be written just in tax code and regulatory law. All of this legislation is about building things in the real world — from wind farms to semiconductor manufacturing plants to electric vehicle charging stations and so much more. Which means the hard work isn't over. It's just beginning.Felicia Wong is the president and chief executive of the Roosevelt Institute and someone who has had an unusually clear read of the Biden administration from the beginning. Wong has been arguing that Biden wants to fundamentally reshape the productive capacity of the economy. And now he's gotten approval of bills that have the potential to do just that. But Wong is also realistic about the obstacles in the way of realizing that project. And so the question at the center of this conversation is: What will it take to turn the Biden agenda from written legislation into lived reality?We also discuss the death of the “care infrastructure” for helping families that was at the heart of the Build Back Better proposal, the challenges of building up the American semiconductor industry, why some progressives view these bills as “corporate welfare,” the conservative argument that government shouldn't be “picking winners and losers,” how these bills could respond to America's deep regional inequalities, how to address the problem of NIMBYism, what participatory budgeting and worker cooperatives can teach us about better ways to represent community voices, why we should want the government to take bigger risks even if that means more government failure, and much moreMentioned:“All Biden Has to Do Now Is Change the Way We Live” by Ezra KleinBook recommendations:The Middle Out by Michael TomaskyElite Capture by Olúfẹ́mi O. TáíwòChords of Change (forthcoming 2023) by Deepak Bhargava and Stephanie LuceThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​ “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    We Build Civilizations on Status. But We Barely Understand It.

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 89:43


    “We see status virtually everywhere in social life, if we think to look for it,” writes Cecilia Ridgeway. “It suffuses everyday possessions, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the food brands we prefer, and the music we listen to.” And that's only a partial list. Status influences the neighborhood we live in, the occupation we pursue, the friends we choose. It attaches itself to our race, gender, class and age. It shapes our interpersonal interactions. And, most of the time, it does all of this without us even realizing what's happening.Ridgeway is a sociologist and professor emerita at Stanford who has spent her career studying what she calls the “deep story” of status. Her 2019 book “Status: Why Is It Everywhere? Why Does It Matter?” is the culmination of decades of research into what status is, how it actually works, and the myriad ways it shapes our world.We typically think of status as social vanity limited to elite institutions or the top percentages of the income ladder. But Ridgeway argues that the truth is closer to the opposite: Status is everywhere. It's the water we all swim in. And the reason it's everywhere is that it's one of humanity's oldest and most powerful social technologies — a technology that has built civilizations, inspired revolutions and spurred countless innovations while also reinforcing some of our world's deepest inequalities and injustices.So this conversation is about making visible an often overlooked force that shapes so much of our world, our lives and even our sense of self. It also explores how status hierarchies emerge from “a fundamental tension in the human condition”; why sports, religion, fashion and meritocracy can all be considered forms of status “games”; how status games simultaneously help explain the advent of modern science and the pervasiveness of racial and gender stereotypes; why scholars increasingly view status as a “fundamental human motive”; why our society allocates higher status to investment bankers than teachers; how public policy can change our status beliefs; how elite-status signaling has shifted from wearing fancy clothes and driving expensive cars to reading The New Yorker and listening to NPR; how the internet has completely transformed our relationships with status; and much more.Mentioned:The Sum of Small Things by Elizabeth Currid-HalkettThe Knowledge Machine by Michael StrevensThe Status Game by Will StorrBook Recommendations:Envy Up, Scorn Down by Susan T. FiskeThe Psychology of Social Status by Joey T. Cheng, Jessica L. Tracy, Cameron AndersonThe Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein VeblenThis episode is guest-hosted by Rogé Karma, the senior editor for “The Ezra Klein Show.” Rogé has been with the show since July 2019, when it was based at Vox. He works closely with Ezra on everything related to the show, from editing to interview prep to guest selection. At Vox, he also wrote articles and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Opinion Roundtable: Behind America's Public School Battles

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 10, 2022 40:20


    Today we're bringing you a special episode from New York Times Opinion: a roundtable, hosted by Lulu Garcia-Navarro, about how parents view the role of school. America's schools have emerged as a battleground for the country's most fervent cultural disagreements, and in many places, parents are finding themselves on the front lines. Three parents of public school students joined Lulu Garcia-Navarro to discuss the big questions underlying the new era of parental activism.Letha Muhammad is a mother of three in Raleigh, N.C., and serves as the executive director of the nonprofit Education Justice Alliance, which works to dismantle the school-to-prison and school-to-deportation pipelines. Tom Chavez of Elmhurst, Ill., is a father of three who co-founded the group Elmhurst Parents for Integrity in Curriculum, which seeks to remove ideological agendas from the classroom. Siva Raj lives in San Francisco with his two sons and co-founded the group SF Guardians, which led the drive to recall three of the city's school board members this year.This episode was produced as part of a special series from New York Times Opinion exploring the purpose of K-12 education. This Times Opinion roundtable was produced by Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Phoebe Lett, Kristin Lin, Derek Arthur and Cassady Rosenblum, with help from Shannon Busta, Olivia Natt, Aaron Retica, Eleanor Barkhorn, Alison Bruzek and Anabel Bacon. Original music and mixing by Isaac Jones. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Michelle Harris.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    The Subtle Art of Appreciating ‘Difficult Beauty'

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2022 74:26


    When is the last time you paused — truly paused the flow of life — to appreciate something beautiful? For as long as we know, humans have sought out beauty, believing deeply that beautiful things and experiences can enhance our lives. But what does beauty really do to us? How can it fundamentally alter our experience of the world?Beauty is always “teaching me something about my own mind,” says the writer and philosopher Chloé Cooper Jones. In her book, “Easy Beauty,” Jones takes readers on a journey across the globe and into her intimate family life to explore what beauty has done for her and what it can potentially do for all of us.At the core of Jones's book — and of this conversation — is a distinction between two radically different kinds of beauty. On the one hand, there's “easy beauty”: a Renaissance painting, a sunset, a deliciously prepared meal. Easy beauty includes the kinds of things we are taught to consider beautiful. But Jones argues there's also a deeper form of beauty — a “difficult beauty,” which can be found in places that may initially strike us as mundane, messy, even ugly. That is, if we clear the space within our own minds long enough to look for it.This conversation also explores how Jones's relationship to her disabled body has changed over time, what it means to appreciate the physical world more fully, how all of us are affected by our society's crushing physical beauty standards, how Jones has created a “neutral room” in her mind to cope with those difficult standards, what attending a Beyoncé concert taught her about “radical presence,” what a celebrity party Peter Dinklage attended revealed about how far we need to go in respecting different bodies, why it is worth it to “make friends” with the idea that we may all become disabled or incapacitated at some point, how children reflect and reveal parts of ourselves we didn't even know existed, what advice she has for those of us who spend very little time considering beauty but could benefit from it as Jones has, and more.Book Recommendations:Staring by Rosemarie Garland-ThomsonH is for Hawk by Helen MacdonaldRomance in Marseille by Claude McKayThis episode is guest-hosted by Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd), a sociologist and writer whose work focuses on higher education policy, race, beauty and more. She is a Times Opinion columnist and the author of “Thick: And Other Essays,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy.”Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Best Of: This Conversation With Richard Powers Is a Gift

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 2, 2022 84:24


    Today we're revisiting one of our favorite conversations from 2021 with the novelist Richard Powers. Enjoy!There are certain conversations I fear trying to fit into a description. There's just more to them than I'm going to be able to convey. This is one of them.Richard Powers is the author of 13 novels, including the 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Overstory.” If you haven't read it, you should. It'll change you. It changed me. I haven't walked through a forest the same way again. And I'm not alone in that. When I interviewed Barack Obama this year, he recommended “The Overstory,” saying, “It changed how I thought about the earth and our place in it.”Powers's new book is “Bewilderment.” You could think of it as 'The Innerstory': It is about how and whether we see the world we inhabit. It's about the nature and limits of our empathy. It's about refusing to die before we're dead and taking seriously the gifts and responsibilities of being alive. It is about how we change our minds and how we change our societies. It is about how we treat delusion as normal and clarity as lunacy. It is enchanting, and it is devastating.It is not just books through which Powers has been exploring these ideas. It is also through radical changes he's made to how he lives his life. That's where we start but far from where we end: This conversation touches on mortality, animism, politics, old-growth forests, extraterrestrial life, Buddhism and beyond.Mentioned:Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne SimardBook recommendations:How to Be Animal by Melanie ChallengerRooted by Lyanda Lynn HauptEver Green by John W. Reid and Thomas E. LovejoyYou can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

    A Grammy-Nominated Singer Performs and Explores Music's Deep Power Over Us

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2022 81:10


    In times of deep sorrow or joy, humans have always turned to music. Archaeologists have found evidence of instruments among very early civilizations. Spiritual communities have centered on music for centuries. We teach our children their ABCs and how to brush their teeth with songs. We dance out our feelings and cry along with sad tunes. What is it about music that enables it to work so powerfully on our bodies, minds and emotions?That is one of the core animating questions of this conversation with Allison Russell. Russell is a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter whose debut album, “Outside Child,” was named one of the best albums of 2021 by critics at NPR and The Times.Russell has played in bands including Birds of Chicago and Our Native Daughters, traversing folk, rock 'n' roll, Celtic music, the blues and other genres. But alongside her powerhouse vocals and gorgeous melodies, Russell infuses a deep scholarly curiosity into her songs — not just about the nature and power of music, but also what it can teach listeners about our world.Digging into archives and family history, she explores themes like generational trauma, our relationships to diaspora and migration and how music can build empathic bridges between us in times of deep division. But above all, her songs testify to the sheer human capacity for resilience: our capacity to transcend our darkest times if we hold on, reach out to one another and seek out art that helps console.In this episode, Russell performs four songs with a full band, so listeners can enjoy her infectious art. And then we use those songs as jumping-off points to explore the deeper ideas embedded in her music: why we fall into melodies so soon after our births; how music moves us differently from how books or speeches do; how sound can help regulate our emotions, slow our breathing and rewire our neural networks; how Russell's melodies and vocal performances come together in her mind; why songs can at times be more persuasive than nonfiction; why our unwillingness to divulge painful secrets goes back to the Victorian era; how generational trauma like the Middle Passage connects to personal trauma in the present; how Russell structures her songs to help people transcend profound pain; what message Russell would send to people who are struggling and much more.This episode contains references to sexual abuse.Mentioned:“The Transmogrification of Trauma into Art” by Allison Russell“Barley” by Birds of Chicago“Real Midnight” by Birds of Chicago“Songs of Our Native Daughters” by Our Native Daughters“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot“Take Em Away” by Old Crow Medicine Show“The Art of Disappearance” by Hanif AbdurraqibMusic and Book Recommendations:The Bone People by Keri HulmeA Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif AbdurraqibBreaking the Thermometer by Leyla McCallaCarry Me Home by Mavis Staples and Levon HelmThis episode was guest hosted by Annie Galvin, the associate producer of “The Ezra Klein Show.” Galvin has covered books and music for almost a decade and hosted a season of “Public Books 101,” a public-scholarship podcast she co-created.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Erika Duffee. Russell's band is Monique Ross, Chauntee Ross and Mandy Fer. Additional thanks to Jeff Gruber of Blue House Productions and Allison's touring engineer, Ross Collier. The songs Russell performs in this episode were written by Allison Russell, Jeremy Thomas Lindsay, Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah, Leyla McCalla and Dirk Powell.

    Best Of: Margaret Atwood on the Bible and the Future

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 26, 2022 68:21


    Today we're revisiting one of our favorite episodes from this year, with the prolific writer Margaret Atwood.A good rule of thumb is that whatever Margaret Atwood is worried about now is likely what the rest of us will be worried about a decade from now. The rise of authoritarianism. A backlash against women's social progress. The seductions and dangers of genetic engineering. Climate change leading to social unrest. Advertising culture permeating more and more of our lives. Atwood — the author of the Booker Prize-winning novels “The Blind Assassin” and “The Testaments,” as well as “The Handmaid's Tale,” “Oryx and Crake” and, most recently, the essay collection “Burning Questions” — was writing about these topics decades ago, forecasting the unsettling world that we inhabit now. Pick up any one of her 17 published novels, and you will likely come across a theme or a quality of the setting that rings eerily true in the present day.This is especially true of Atwood's magnum opus, “The Handmaid's Tale,” which takes place in a future America where climate change, droughts, a decaying economy and falling birthrates lead to the rise of a theocracy in which women called Handmaids are conscripted into childbirth. The repressive regime she created in that novel, Gilead, has been endlessly referred to and reinterpreted over the years because of the wisdom it contains about why people cooperate with — and resist — political movements that destroy the freedom of others. And as recent weeks have shown, we're far from the day when that wisdom becomes irrelevant to present circumstances.We discuss the deep human craving for stories, why Atwood believes we are engaged in “an arm wrestle for the soul of America,” what makes the stories of the Bible so compelling, the dangerous allure of totalitarian movements, how the shift from coal to oil helped to fuel the rise of modern consumerism, why she thinks climate change will cause even more harm by increasing the likelihood of war than it will by increasing the likelihood of extreme weather, how our society lost its capacity to imagine new utopias, why progressives need to incorporate more fun into their politics, why we should “keep our eye on the mushroom,” Atwood's take on recent U.F.O. sightings and more. She even sings a bit of a song from the 1950s about the Iron Curtain.Mentioned:Art & Energy by Barry LordBook recommendations:War by Margaret MacMillanBiased by Jennifer L. EberhardtSecrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza ReidCharlotte's Web by E. B. WhiteLord of the Rings by J. R. R. TolkienThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Coral Ann Howells and Brooks Bouson.

    Why the Evangelical Movement Is in ‘Disarray' After Dobbs

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 64:33


    With Roe now overturned, the evangelical movement has achieved one of its decades-old political priorities. But for many evangelicals, this isn't the moment of celebration and unity it may have first appeared to be. In the wake of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, Russell Moore — a former president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the policy wing of the Southern Baptist Convention — described the state of evangelicalism as one of “disarray.” He argues that surface-level political allegiances paint over much deeper divisions within what has become an increasingly polarized movement. Understanding those divisions and what they portend for evangelicalism is deeply important, in large part because of the movement's immense power in American politics.Moore is the editor in chief of Christianity Today; the author of numerous books, including “Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel”; and one of the most visible leaders in the evangelical movement right now. But he has also voiced some of the most stinging criticism of the movement's current direction. He believes that evangelicals' embrace of Donald Trump was a mistake and that the way many evangelicals are approaching the culture wars — with what Moore calls a “siege mentality” — is toxic for the faith. He encourages his fellow evangelicals to embrace their role as a “moral minority” in America instead of desperately clinging to political and cultural power. “The shaking of American culture is no sign that God has given up on American Christianity,” he writes in “Onward.” “In fact, it may be a sign that God is rescuing American Christianity from itself.”So this is a conversation about how evangelicalism morphed into the political identity we know it as today, why so many evangelicals have come to embrace apocalyptic thinking about politics and where the movement goes next now that Roe has been overturned.Mentioned“The Supreme Court Needs to Be Less Central to American Public Life” by Russell MooreBook RecommendationsThe Weight of Glory by C.S. LewisMere Christianity by C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. WrightThe Gilead Novels by Marilynne RobinsonThis episode was hosted by Jane Coaston, the host of “The Argument.” Previously, she was the senior politics reporter at Vox, with a focus on conservatism and the G.O.P. Her work has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and NPR and in National Review, The Washington Post, The Ringer and ESPN Magazine, among others.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    Best of: A Life-Changing Philosophy of Games

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 19, 2022 72:53


    Today, we're re-airing one of my favorite episodes of all time. It was originally recorded in February of 2022, but I've been unable to stop thinking about it ever since.When we play Monopoly or basketball, we know we are playing a game. The stakes are low. The rules are silly. The point system is arbitrary. But what if life is full of games — ones with much higher stakes — that we don't even realize we're playing?According to the philosopher C. Thi Nguyen, games and gamified systems are everywhere in modern life. Social media applies the lure of a points-based scoring system to the complex act of communication. Fitness apps convert the joy and beauty of physical motion into a set of statistics you can monitor. The grades you received in school flatten the qualitative richness of education into a numerical competition. If you've ever consulted the U.S. News & World Report college rankings database, you've witnessed the leaderboard approach to university admissions.In Nguyen's book, “Games: Agency as Art,” a core insight is that we're not simply playing these games — they are playing us, too. Our desires, motivations and behaviors are constantly being shaped and reshaped by incentives and systems that we aren't even aware of. Whether on the internet or in the vast bureaucracies that structure our lives, we find ourselves stuck playing games over and over again that we may not even want to win — and that we aren't able to easily walk away from.This is one of those conversations that offers a new and surprising lens for understanding the world. We discuss the unique magic of activities like rock climbing and playing board games, how Twitter's system of likes and retweets is polluting modern politics, why governments and bureaucracies love tidy packets of information, how echo chambers like QAnon bring comfort to their “players,” how to make sure we don't get stuck in a game without realizing it, why we should be a little suspicious of things that give us pleasure and how to safeguard our own values in a world that wants us to care about winning the most points.Mentioned:How Twitter Gamifies Communication by C. Thi NguyenTrust in Numbers by Theodore M. PorterSeeing Like a State by James C. Scott“Against Rotten Tomatoes” by Matt Strohl“A Game Designer's Analysis Of QAnon” by Reed BerkowitzThe Great Endarkenment by Elijah MillgramGame recommendations:Modern ArtRootThe Quiet YearThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta.  Special thanks to Kristin Lin.