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The Ezra Klein Show

English, Social, 1 season, 309 episodes, 10 hours, 29 minutes
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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?
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A $1.7 Million Toilet and Liberalism's Failure to Build

There is so much we need to build right now. The housing crunch has spread across the country; by one estimate, we’re a few million units short. And we also need a huge build-out of renewable energy infrastructure — at a scale some experts compare to the construction of the Interstate highway system.And yet, we’re not seeing anything close to the level of building that we need — even in the blue states and cities where housing tends to be more expensive and where politicians and voters purport to care about climate change and affordable housing.Jerusalem Demsas is a staff writer at The Atlantic who obsesses over these questions as much as I do. In this conversation, she takes me through some of her reporting on local disputes that block or hinder projects, and what they say about the issues plaguing development in the country at large. We discuss how well-intentioned policies evolved into a Kafka-esque system of legal and bureaucratic hoops and delays; how clashes over development reveal a generational split in the environmental movement; and what it would take to cut decades of red tape.Mentioned:“Colorado’s Ingenious Idea for Solving the Housing Crisis” by Jerusalem Demsas“The Culture War Tearing American Environmentalism Apart” by Jerusalem Demsas“Why America Doesn’t Build” by Jerusalem DemsasBook Recommendations:Don’t Blame Us by Lily GeismerThe Bulldozer in the Countryside by Adam RomeA Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George SaundersThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris with Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
4/16/202449 minutes, 17 seconds
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What if Dario Amodei Is Right About A.I.?

Back in 2018, Dario Amodei worked at OpenAI. And looking at one of its first A.I. models, he wondered: What would happen as you fed an artificial intelligence more and more data?He and his colleagues decided to study it, and they found that the A.I. didn’t just get better with more data; it got better exponentially. The curve of the A.I.’s capabilities rose slowly at first and then shot up like a hockey stick.Amodei is now the chief executive of his own A.I. company, Anthropic, which recently released Claude 3 — considered by many to be the strongest A.I. model available. And he still believes A.I. is on an exponential growth curve, following principles known as scaling laws. And he thinks we’re on the steep part of the climb right now.When I’ve talked to people who are building A.I., scenarios that feel like far-off science fiction end up on the horizon of about the next two years. So I asked Amodei on the show to share what he sees in the near future. What breakthroughs are around the corner? What worries him the most? And how are societies that struggle to adapt to change and governments that are slow to react to them supposed to prepare for the pace of change he predicts? What does that line on his graph mean for the rest of us?Mentioned:Sam Altman on The Ezra Klein ShowDemis Hassabis on The Ezra Klein ShowOn Bullshit by Harry G. Frankfurt“Measuring the Persuasiveness of Language Models” by AnthropicBook Recommendations:The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard RhodesThe Expanse (series) by James S.A. CoreyThe Guns of August by Barbara W. TuchmanThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
4/12/20241 hour, 32 minutes, 3 seconds
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Will A.I. Break the Internet? Or Save It?

The internet is in decay. Do a Google search, and there are so many websites now filled with slapdash content contorted just to rank highly in the algorithm. Facebook, YouTube, X and TikTok all used to feel more fun and surprising. And all these once-great media companies have been folding or shedding staff members, unable to find a business model that works.And into this weakened internet came the flood of A.I.-generated junk. There’s been a surge of spammy news sites filled with A.I.-generated articles. TikTok videos of A.I.-generated voices reading text pulled from Reddit can be churned out in seconds. And self-published A.I.-authored books are polluting Amazon listings.According to my guest today, Nilay Patel, this isn’t just a blip, as the big platforms figure out how to manage this. He believes that A.I. content will break the internet as we know it.“When you increase the supply of stuff onto those platforms to infinity, that system breaks down completely,” Patel told me “Recommendation algorithms break down completely. Our ability to discern what is real and what is false breaks down completely. And I think, importantly, the business models of the internet break down completely.”Patel is one of the sharpest observers of the internet, and the ways technology has shaped and reshaped it. He’s a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Verge, and the host of the “Decoder” podcast. In this conversation, we talk about why platforms seem so unprepared for the storm of A.I. content; whether an internet filled with cursory A.I. content is better or worse than an internet filled with good A.I. content; and if A.I. might be a kind of cleansing fire for the internet that enables something new and better to emerge.Mentioned:Help us win a Webby Award“Scenes from a dying web” by Casey Newton“The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” by Walter Benjamin“257 CES gadgets in 3 minutes — CES 2015” by The VergeBook Recommendations:The Conquest of Cool by Thomas FrankLiar in a Crowded Theater by Jeff KosseffSubstance by Peter HookEverything I Need I Get From You by Kaitlyn TiffanyExtremely Hardcore by Zoe SchifferBeyond Measure by James VincentThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Claire Gordon. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Isaac Jones and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
4/5/20241 hour, 25 minutes, 32 seconds
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How Should I Be Using A.I. Right Now?

There’s something of a paradox that has defined my experience with artificial intelligence in this particular moment. It’s clear we’re witnessing the advent of a wildly powerful technology, one that could transform the economy and the way we think about art and creativity and the value of human work itself. At the same time, I can’t for the life of me figure out how to use it in my own day-to-day job.So I wanted to understand what I’m missing and get some tips for how I could incorporate A.I. better into my life right now. And Ethan Mollick is the perfect guide: He’s a professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania who’s spent countless hours experimenting with different chatbots, noting his insights in his newsletter One Useful Thing and in a new book, “Co-Intelligence: Living and Working With A.I.”This conversation covers the basics, including which chatbot to choose and techniques for how to get the most useful results. But the conversation goes far beyond that, too — to some of the strange, delightful and slightly unnerving ways that A.I. responds to us, and how you’ll get more out of any chatbot if you think of it as a relationship rather than a tool.Mollick says it’s helpful to understand this moment as one of co-creation, in which we all should be trying to make sense of what this technology is going to mean for us. Because it’s not as if you can call up the big A.I. companies and get the answers. “When I talk to OpenAI or Anthropic, they don’t have a hidden instruction manual,” he told me. “There is no list of how you should use this as a writer or as a marketer or as an educator. They don’t even know what the capabilities of these systems are.”Book Recommendations:The Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert J. GordonThe Knowledge by Lewis DartnellBlindsight by Peter WattsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
4/2/20241 hour, 14 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Rise of ‘Middle-Finger Politics’

Donald Trump can seem like a political anomaly. You sometimes hear people describe his connection with his base in quasi-mystical terms. But really, Trump is an example of an archetype — the right-wing populist showman — that recurs across time and place. There’s Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Boris Johnson in Britain, Javier Milei in Argentina. And there’s a long lineage of this type in the United States too.So why is there this consistent demand for this kind of political figure? And why does this set of qualities — ethnonationalist politics and an entertaining style — repeatedly appear at all?John Ganz is the writer of the newsletter Unpopular Front and the author of the forthcoming book “When the Clock Broke: Con Men, Conspiracists, and How America Cracked Up in the Early 1990s.” In this conversation, we discuss how figures like David Duke and Pat Buchanan were able to galvanize the fringes of the Republican Party; Trump’s specific brand of TV-ready charisma; and what liberals tend to overlook about the appeal of this populist political aesthetic.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:“Right-Wing Populism” by Murray N. Rothbard“The ‘wave’ of right-wing populist sentiment is a myth” by Larry Bartels“How we got here” by Matthew YglesiasBook Recommendations:What Hath God Wrought? by Daniel Walker HoweAfter Nationalism by Samuel GoldmanThe Politics of Cultural Despair by Fritz R. SternThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
3/29/20241 hour, 18 minutes, 29 seconds
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Matter of Opinion: Paul Krugman on Inflation, ‘Bad Vibes’ and 2024

We’ll be back on Friday with a new episode. In the meantime, we wanted to share one of our favorite recent episodes from our sister podcast, “Matter of Opinion.”Why does the economy look so good to economists but feel so bad to voters?The Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman joins the hosts on “Matter of Opinion” to discuss why inflation, interest rates and wages aren’t in line with voters’ perception of the economy. Then, they debate with Paul how big of an influence the economy will be on the 2024 presidential election, and which of the two presumed candidates, Joe Biden and Donald Trump, it could benefit. Plus, Ross Douthat’s lessons on aging, through Michael Caine impressions.Mentioned:“Believing Is Seeing,” from Paul Krugman’s newsletter“The Age of Diminished Expectations,” by Paul Krugman“The Trip” scene: “This Is How Michael Caine Speaks”
3/26/202436 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Deep Conflict Between Our Work and Parenting Ideals

American policy is uniquely hostile to families. Other wealthy countries guarantee paid parental leave and sick days and heavily subsidize early childhood care — to the tune of about $14,000 per year per child, on average. (The United States, by contrast, spends around $500 per child per year.) So it’s no wonder our birthrate has been in decline, with many people saying they’re having fewer children than they would like.Yet if you look closer at those other wealthy countries, that story doesn’t entirely hold. Sweden, for example, has some of the most generous work-family policies in the world, and according to the most recent numbers from Our World in Data, from 2021, their fertility rate is 1.67 children per woman — virtually identical to ours.Caitlyn Collins is a sociology professor at Washington University in St. Louis and the author of “Making Motherhood Work: How Women Manage Careers and Caregiving.” To understand how family policies affect the experience of child-rearing, she interviewed over a hundred middle-class mothers across four countries with different parenting cultures and levels of social support for families: the United States, Sweden, Italy and Germany. And what she finds is that policies can greatly relieve parents’ stress, but cultural norms like “intensive parenting” remain consistent.In this conversation, we discuss how work-family policies in Sweden frame spending time with children as a right rather than a privilege, how these policies have transformed the gender norms around parenting, why family-friendly policies across the globe don’t increase birthrates, how cultural pressures in America to be both an ideal worker and an ideal parent often clash, why many American parents feel it’s impossible to have more than one or two children, how cultural discourse has led younger women to “dread” motherhood and more.Mentioned:“Parenthood and Happiness: Effects of Work-Family Reconciliation Policies in 22 OECD Countries” by Jennifer Glass, Robin W. Simon and Matthew A. Andersson“Is Maternal Guilt a Cross-National Experience?” by Caitlyn CollinsIf you're interested in this topic, we also recommend checking out this series from the New York Times Opinion:“Would You Have Four Kids if It Meant Never Paying Taxes Again?” by Jessica Grose“Are Men the Overlooked Reason for the Fertility Decline?” by Jessica Grose“If We Want More Babies, Our ‘Profoundly Anti-Family’ System Needs an Overhaul” by Jessica GroseBook Recommendations:Competing Devotions by Mary Blair-LoyMothering While Black by Dawn Marie DowHope in the Dark by Rebecca SolnitThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Jessica Grose and Sonia Herrero.
3/22/20241 hour, 6 minutes, 3 seconds
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Birthrates Are Plummeting Worldwide. Why?

For a long time, the story about the world’s population was that it was growing too quickly. There were going to be too many humans, not enough resources, and that spelled disaster. But now the script has flipped. Fertility rates have declined dramatically, from about five children per woman 60 years ago to just over two today. About two-thirds of us now live in a country or area where fertility rates are below replacement level. And that has set off a new round of alarm, especially in certain quarters on the right and in Silicon Valley, that we’re headed toward demographic catastrophe.But when I look at these numbers, I just find it strange. Why, as societies get richer, do their fertility rates plummet?Money makes life easier. We can give our kids better lives than our ancestors could have imagined. We don’t expect to bear the grief of burying a child. For a long time, a big, boisterous family has been associated with a joyful, fulfilled life. So why are most of us now choosing to have small ones?I invited Jennifer D. Sciubba on the show to help me puzzle this out. She’s a demographer, a political scientist and the author of “8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death and Migration Shape Our World.” She walks me through the population trends we’re seeing around the world, the different forces that seem to be driving them and why government policy, despite all kinds of efforts, seems incapable of getting people to have more kids.Book Recommendations:Extra Life by Steven JohnsonThe Bet by Paul SabinReproductive States edited by Rickie Solinger and Mie NakachiThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
3/19/20241 hour, 52 seconds
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What a Second Biden Term Would Look Like

President Biden gave a raucous State of the Union speech last Thursday, offering his pitch for why he should be president for a second term. It’s the clearest picture we have yet of Biden’s campaign message for 2024. But while he listed off all kinds of proposals, it’s not as easy to parse what a second Biden term might actually look like. So I sat down with my editor Aaron Retica, who had a lot of questions for me about the speech itself and what Biden would be likely to accomplish if he got another four years in the job.We discuss how my argument for Biden to step aside holds up after he gave such a deft, high-energy performance; what a second Biden administration would likely do when it comes to abortion rights and foreign policy; the issues that didn’t receive much attention in the speech but would likely play a huge role in a second Biden term; the strongest 2024 campaign message that I’ve heard so far; and whether this is a Locke election or a Hobbes election — and what that means.Book Recommendations:Tip O'Neill and the Democratic Century by John A. FarrellA Nation Without Borders by Steven HahnThe Field of Blood by Joanne B. FreemanThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
3/12/20241 hour, 1 minute, 17 seconds
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How America’s Two Abortion Realities Are Clashing

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, it scrambled the landscape of abortion access in America, including in ways that one might not entirely expect. Many conservative states made the procedure essentially illegal — that part was predictable. But there’s also been this striking backlash in blue states, with many of them making historic efforts to expand abortion access, for both their residents and for women living in abortion-restricted states.And this has created all kinds of new battle lines — between states, and states and the federal government — involving travel, speech, privacy and executive power. It’s an explosion of conflicts and constitutional questions that the legal historian Mary Ziegler says has no parallel in modern times. She’s the author of six books on reproductive rights in America, including “Roe: The History of a National Obsession,” and the Martin Luther King Jr. professor of law at the University of California, Davis. “We’re seeing, from conservative and progressive states, moves to project power outside of their borders in ways we really haven’t seen in a really long time,” she told me.In this conversation, Ziegler explains the bifurcated abortion landscape that has emerged since the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overturned Roe. We discuss the different political and legal strategies conservative and progressive states are using to pursue their opposing goals; why the abortion rate has gone up, even as 14 states have implemented near-total bans on abortion; and how a second Trump administration could try to restrict access to abortion for all Americans, no matter what states they live in.Mentioned:“Harsh Anti-abortion Laws Are Not Empty Threats” by Mary ZieglerBook Recommendations:The Family Roe by Joshua PragerTiny You by Jennifer L. HollandDefenders of the Unborn by Daniel K. Williams“Before Roe v. Wade” by Linda Greenhouse and Reva B. SiegelThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Claire Gordon and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
3/8/202457 minutes, 37 seconds
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Marilynne Robinson on Biblical Beauty, Human Evil and the Idea of Israel

Marilynne Robinson is one of the great living novelists. She has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Humanities Medal, and Barack Obama took time out of his presidency to interview her at length. Her fiction is suffused with a sense of holiness: Mundane images like laundry drying on a line seem to be illuminated by a divine force. Whether she’s telling the story of a pastor confronting his mortality in “Gilead” or two sisters coming of age in small-town Idaho in “Housekeeping,” her novels wrestle with theological questions of what it means to be human, to see the world more deeply, to seek meaning in life.In recent years, Robinson has tightened the links between her literary pursuits and her Christianity, writing essays about Calvinism and other theological traditions. Her forthcoming work of nonfiction is “Reading Genesis,” a close reading of the first book of the Old Testament (or the Torah, as I grew up knowing it). It’s a countercultural reading in many respects — one that understands the God in Genesis as merciful rather than vengeful and humans as flawed but capable of astounding acts of grace. No matter one’s faith, Robinson unearths wisdom in this core text that applies to many questions we wrestle with today.We discuss the virtues evoked in Genesis — beauty, forgiveness and hospitality — and how to cultivate what Robinson calls “a mind that’s schooled toward good attention.” And we end on her reading of the story of Israel, which I found to be challenging, moving and evocative at a time when that nation has been front and center in the news.Book Recommendations:Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by John FoxeThe Vision of Piers Plowman by William LanglandTheologia GermanicaThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Alex Engebretson.
3/5/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Wars in Ukraine and Gaza Have Changed. America’s Policy Hasn’t.

Joe Biden’s presidency has been dominated by two foreign policy crises: the wars in Ukraine and Gaza. The funding the United States has provided in those wars — billions to both Ukraine and Israel — has drawn backlash from both the right and the left. And now, as the conflicts move into new stages with no clear end game, Biden’s policies are increasingly drawing dissent from the center.Richard Haass is an icon of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. He served as the president of the Council on Foreign Relations for 20 years and currently writes the newsletter Home & Away. He’s recently been making the case that our foreign policy is insufficiently independent — that we’ve become captured by allies that have interests that diverge from our own. His view of this moment is a signal of larger shifts that could be coming in the U.S. foreign policy consensus.In this conversation, we discuss why he thinks America’s current strategy on both Ukraine and Israel is untenable, what he thinks the north star for our strategy in both cases should be, the Republican Party’s 180-degree turn from internationalism to isolationism, what America’s biggest national security threat really is and more.Mentioned:“The Two-State Mirage” by Marc Lynch and Shibley TelhamiBook Recommendations:The World That Wasn’t by Benn SteilSparks by Ian JohnsonDiplomats at War by Charles TrueheartThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
3/1/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 8 seconds
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Your Questions on Open Conventions, a Gaza Schism and Biden’s Chances

We received thousands of questions in response to last week’s audio essay arguing that Democrats should consider choosing a candidate at August’s D.N.C. convention. Among them: Is there any chance Joe Biden would actually step down? Would an open convention be undemocratic? Is there another candidate who can bridge the progressive and moderate divide in the party? Doesn’t polling show other candidates losing to Donald Trump by even larger margins? Would a convention process leave Democrats enough time to mount a real general election campaign?In this conversation, I’m joined by our senior editor Claire Gordon to answer these questions and many more.Mentioned:“Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden” by Ezra Klein“Here’s How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work” with Elaine Kamarck on The Ezra Klein ShowThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
2/23/202451 minutes, 23 seconds
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Here’s How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work

Last week on the show, I argued that the Democrats should pick their nominee at the Democratic National Convention in August.It’s an idea that sounds novel but is really old-fashioned. This is how most presidential nominees have been picked in American history. All the machinery to do it is still there; we just stopped using it. But Democrats may need a Plan B this year. And the first step is recognizing they have one.Elaine Kamarck literally wrote the book on how we choose presidential candidates. It’s called “Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know About How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates.” She’s a senior fellow in governance studies and the founding director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution. But her background here isn’t just theory. It’s practice. She has worked on four presidential campaigns and 10 nominating conventions for both Democrats and Republicans. She’s also on the convention’s rules committee and has been a superdelegate at five Democratic conventions.It’s a fascinating conversation, even if you don’t think Democrats should attempt to select their nominee at the convention. The history here is rich, and it is, if nothing else, a reminder that the way we choose candidates now is not the way we have always done it and not the way we must always do it.Book Recommendations:All the King’s Men by Robert Penn WarrenThe Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. WhiteQuiet Revolution by Byron E. ShaferThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Kristin Lin. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
2/21/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 53 seconds
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Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden

Biden is faltering and Democrats have no plan B. There is another path to winning in 2024 — and I think they should take it. But it would require them to embrace an old-fashioned approach to winning a campaign.Mentioned:The Lincoln Miracle by Edward AchornIf you have a question for the AMA, you can call 212-556-7300 and leave a voice message or email [email protected] with the subject line, “2024 AMA."You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This audio essay for “The Ezra Klein Show” was fact-checked by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
2/16/202425 minutes, 12 seconds
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Best Of: Status Games, Polyamory and the Merits of Meritocracy

For years, Agnes Callard has been on a mission to take ethical philosophy out of the ivory tower. She examines everyday human experiences — jockeying for status, navigating jealousy, marriage — with dazzling detail, publishing regularly in mainstream publications. And she tries to live by her philosophy, too, even if it violates social conventions, as many discovered when The New Yorker published a provocative profile of Callard last year. We recorded this conversation in May 2021, before the New Yorker article drew attention to the details of her home life. (She lives with both her husband and her ex-husband.) But after our episode with Rhaina Cohen about imagining relationships more expansively, we thought it would be interesting to revisit Callard, who has spent so much time dissecting the dynamics and ethics of different relationships and their possibilities.Mentioned:“Who Wants to Play the Status Game?” by Agnes Callard, The Point“Against Advice,” by Agnes Callard, The Point“The Other Woman,” by Agnes Callard, The Point“Parenting and Panic,” by Agnes Callard, The Point"Aspiration" by Agnes CallardBook Recommendations:"Tolstoy: A Russian Life" by Rosamund Bartlett"Pessoa: A Biography" by Richard Zenith"Augustine of Hippo" by Peter Brown“Real Death” by Mount EerieThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast. 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” 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.
2/13/20241 hour, 22 minutes, 44 seconds
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Building the Palestinian State With Salam Fayyad

“If only we had a partner for peace.”That’s been the refrain in the Israel-Palestinian conflict for as long as I’ve followed it. But the truth is you don’t need just a partner — you need two partners able to deliver at the same time.So you could see it as a tragedy of history that Salam Fayyad joined the Palestinian Authority in 2002, at the height of the second intifada, just as Israeli society shifted hard to the right.A Western-educated economist, Fayyad is a technocrat at heart. And as the Palestinian Authority’s finance minister, and then as prime minister, he dedicated himself to the spadework of state-building. His theory was that instead of waiting around for the peace process to deliver Palestinian statehood, he would just build a state — institutions, infrastructure, security, sewers and all — and then statehood would follow.And by many measures, he was remarkably successful. The economy boomed, crime plummeted, and in 2011 the United Nations declared the authority ready to run an independent state. But in April 2013, Fayyad resigned. And today, the Palestinian Authority in tatters, widely seen by Palestinians as corrupt and a failure.Fayyad is now a visiting senior scholar at Princeton. And I wanted to have him on the show to talk about his time building a Palestinian state. What did he learn working with the various factions — including Hamas — in Palestinian politics? What did he learn working with Israel? How did we still end up here? And what, given all he’s seen and done, does he think should happen now?Mentioned:Into the Breach: Salam Fayyad and Palestine“A Plan for Peace in Gaza” by Salam FayyadBook Recommendations:Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu and James A. RobinsonThe Arabs by Eugene RoganOn The Trails of Mariam by Nadia HarhashThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
2/9/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 41 seconds
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What Relationships Would You Want, if You Believed They Were Possible?

Around 40 percent of people who marry eventually get a divorce. Almost half of children are born to unmarried women. The number of close friends Americans report having has been on a steep decline since the 1990s, especially among men. Millions of us are growing old alone. We are living out a radical experiment in how we live, love, parent and age — and for many, it’s failing.That’s partial context, I think, for the recent burst of interest and media coverage of polyamory. People want more love in their lives, and opening their relationships is one way to find it. A poll from last year found that one-third of Americans believe their ideal relationship would involve something other than strict monogamy.But polyamory, for all its possibilities, isn’t right for many, and it doesn’t have that much to say about parenting or aging or friendship. As radical as it may sound, it’s not nearly radical enough. It’s not just romance that could be imagined more expansively. It’s everything.“If this is such a significant relationship in my life, why is there no term for it?” wonders NPR’s Rhaina Cohen about a relationship that transcends the language we have available for friendship. Her forthcoming book, “The Other Significant Others: Reimagining Life With Friendship at the Center,” is a window into a world of relational possibilities most of us never even imagined existed. It’s a call to open up what we can conceive of as possible. Some of these models might appeal to you. Others might not. But they all pose a question worth asking: What kinds of relationships would you want in your life, if you felt you could ask for them?Mentioned:“Men’s Social Circles are Shrinking” by Daniel A. CoxThe Two-Parent Privilege by Melissa S. KearneyHow Should a Person Be? by Sheila HetiBook Recommendations:Far From the Tree by Andrew SolomonWe All Want Impossible Things by Catherine NewmanThy Neighbor’s Wife by Gay TaleseThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 X @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. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld with additional mixing from Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
2/6/202459 minutes, 16 seconds
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‘Why Haven’t the Democrats Completely Cleaned the Republicans’ Clock?’

Political analysts used to say that the Democratic Party was riding a demographic wave that would lead to an era of dominance. But that “coalition of the ascendant” never quite jelled. The party did benefit from a rise in nonwhite voters and college-educated professionals, but it has also shed voters without a college degree. All this has made the Democrats’ political math a lot more precarious. And it also poses a kind of spiritual problem for Democrats who see themselves as the party of the working class.Ruy Teixeira is one of the loudest voices calling on the Democratic Party to focus on winning these voters back. He’s a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the politics editor of the newsletter The Liberal Patriot. His 2002 book, “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” written with John B. Judis, was seen as prophetic after Barack Obama won in 2008 with the coalition he’d predicted. But he also warned in that book that Democrats needed to stop hemorrhaging white working-class voters for this majority to hold. And now Teixeira and Judis have a new book, “Where Have All the Democrats Gone?: The Soul of the Party in the Age of Extremes.”In this conversation, I talk to Teixeira about how he defines the working class; the economic, social and cultural forces that he thinks have driven these voters from the Democratic Party; whether Joe Biden’s industrial and pro-worker policies could win some of these voters back, or if economic policies could reverse this trend at all; and how to think through the trade-offs of pursuing bold progressive policies that could push working-class voters even further away.Mentioned:“‘Compensate the Losers?’ Economic Policy and Partisan Realignment in the U.S.”Book Recommendations:Political Cleavages and Social Inequalities, edited by Amory Gethin, Clara Martínez-Toledano, and Thomas PikettyVisions of Inequality by Branko MilanovicThe House of Government by Yuri SlezkineThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
2/1/20241 hour, 9 minutes, 12 seconds
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‘The Strongest Democratic Party That Any of Us Have Ever Seen’

If you’re a Democrat, how worried should you be right now? It’s strangely hard to answer that question. On the one hand, polls suggest Democrats should be very worried. President Biden looks weaker than he did as a candidate in 2020, and in matchups with Donald Trump, the election looks like a coin flip. On the other hand, Democrats staved off an expected red wave in the 2022 midterm elections. Biden has a strong record to run on, and Trump has a lot more baggage than he did in 2020.So, in an effort to put all those pieces together, I had two conversations with two people who have polar opposite perspectives — starting with a more optimistic take for Democrats.Simon Rosenberg is a longtime Democratic political strategist, the author of the newsletter Hopium Chronicles and one of the few people who correctly predicted the Democrats’ strong performance in 2022. He argues that the Democratic Party is in a better position now than it has been for generations. In this conversation, we talk about why he isn’t worried about Biden’s polling numbers, how anti-MAGA sentiments have become a motivating force for many voters, what he thinks about the shifts in working-class support of the Democratic Party, why there’s such a huge gap between Biden’s economic track record and how voters perceive the economy right now, how Biden’s age is affecting the campaign, whether his foreign policy might alienate young voters and more.Mentioned:Columnist Assistant applicationBook Recommendations:A New Deal for the World by Elizabeth BorgwardtOn Tyranny by Timothy SnyderThe Collector by Daniel SilvaThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
1/25/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 33 seconds
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‘I Have No Idea How This Ends. I’ve Never Seen It So Broken.’

It’s been just over 100 days since Hamas’s attack on Israel, and the costs of the war are staggering. In polling from late fall, 64 percent of Gazans reported that a family member had been killed or injured. Nearly two million Gazans — almost the entire population — have been displaced from their homes, and analysis of satellite imagery reveals that about half the buildings in the Gaza Strip have probably been destroyed or damaged.Israel believes that more than 100 hostages are being held captive in Gaza, and polling reveals that Hamas has gained popularity among Palestinians while support for Israel has plummeted around the world. When this war ends, will Israel really be safer? Who will govern Gaza? What will be left of Gaza?Thomas L. Friedman is a New York Times Opinion columnist and the author of “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” among other books. He has covered the Middle East for decades and won a Pulitzer for his reporting from Israel. And so I wanted to ask him: What does he think of where Israel is now, and what does he imagine comes next?Mentioned:Columnist Assistant applicationThomas L. Friedman’s recent columns“‘Joe Biden May Be the Last Pro-Israel Democratic’” by Thomas L. FriedmanBook Recommendations:The Little Drummer Girl by John Le CarréThe Splendid and the Vile by Erik LarsonI’m Your Man by Sylvie SimmonsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
1/19/20241 hour, 8 minutes, 26 seconds
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A Republican Pollster on Trump’s Undimmed Appeal

The fact that Donald Trump is the front-runner for the G.O.P. nomination in 2024 has created a chasm in our politics. In the past, Democrats and Republicans at least understood why members of the other party liked their chosen candidates. Most conservatives weren’t confused why liberals liked Barack Obama, and vice versa for George W. Bush. But for a lot of Democrats, it feels impossible to imagine why anyone would cast a vote for Trump. And as a result, the two parties don’t just feel hostile toward each other; they feel increasingly unknowable.Kristen Soltis Anderson is a veteran Republican pollster, a founding partner of the opinion research firm Echelon Insights and a CNN contributor. She spends her days trying to understand the thinking of Republican voters, including hosting focus groups for New York Times Opinion. So I wanted to get her insights on why Republicans like Trump so much — even after his 2020 electoral loss, the Jan. 6 insurrection and over 90 criminal charges. What really explains Trump’s enduring appeal?Mentioned:Researcher applicationAssociate engineer applicationGallup's Presidential Job Approval CenterBook Recommendations:Subtract by Leidy KlotzParty of the People by Patrick RuffiniWelcome to the O.C. by Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage and Alan SepinwallThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
1/16/202448 minutes, 25 seconds
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Should Trump Be Barred From the Ballot?

There’s this incredible dissonance at the center of our politics right now. On the one hand, all the polling suggests that Donald Trump is about to win Iowa Republican caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. He seems overwhelmingly likely to be his party’s nominee, and so possibly our next president. On the other hand, he could be constitutionally disqualified from taking office.Colorado and Maine concluded as much, and tossed him off their ballots. And now the Supreme Court is poised to take on this unprecedented question of whether a little-known provision of the Constitution, written in the aftermath of the Civil War, can bar Trump from running and scramble the election in 2024.The Times Opinion columnist David French has been on the show before, as both a guest and a guest host, to break down the criminal cases against Trump. This time, I’ve asked David back to make his case for why Trump is constitutionally disqualified. We discuss some of the biggest objections, what the Supreme Court is likely to do, and how the possible options risk destabilizing the country in different ways.Mentioned:Researcher applicationAssociate engineer application“The Sweep and Force of Section Three” by William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen“The Case for Disqualifying Trump Is Strong” by David French“Snakebit” by Nick CatoggioBook Recommendations:Operation Pedestal by Max HastingsInto the Heart of Romans by N. T. WrightManhunt by James L. SwansonThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
1/12/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 7 seconds
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How to Discover Your Own Taste

Being on the internet just doesn’t feel as fun anymore. As more of our digital life is driven by algorithms, it’s become a lot easier to find movies or TV shows or music that fits our preferences pretty well. But it feels harder to find things that are strange and surprising — the kinds of culture that help you, as an individual, develop your own sense of taste.This can be a fuzzy thing to talk about. But Kyle Chayka, a staff writer at The New Yorker, has written a whole book on it, the forthcoming “Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture.” We talk about how today’s internet encourages everything to look more the same and is even dulling our ability to know what we like. And we discuss what we can do to strengthen our sense of personal taste in order to live a richer, more beautiful life.Mentioned:“Quartets: Two: II. Warmth” by Peter GregsonAmbient 1: Music for Airports by Brian EnoBook Recommendations:“In Praise of Shadows” by Junichiro Tanizaki (essay)Seeing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees by Lawrence WeschlerThe Mushroom at the End of the World by Anna Lowenhaupt TsingThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Carole Sabouraud.
1/9/20241 hour, 2 minutes, 26 seconds
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Tired? Distracted? Burned-Out? Listen to This.

I’m convinced that attention is the most important human faculty. Your life, after all, is just the sum total of the things you’ve paid attention to. And we lament our attention issues all the time: how distracted we are, how drained we feel, how hard it is to stay focused or present. And yet, while there’s no shortage of advice on how to improve our sleep hygiene, or spending, or physical fitness, there’s hardly any good information about how to build and replenish our capacity for paying attention.So for the start of the new year, I wanted to have a conversation with Gloria Mark, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, author of the book “Attention Span,” and one of the few people who’s deeply studied the way our attention works, how that’s been changing, and what we can do to stop frittering our attention budgets away.Mentioned:We’re looking for a researcher to join our team. Learn more and apply here.And we’re looking for an associate engineer. Learn more and apply here.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Claire Gordon. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
1/5/202456 minutes, 44 seconds
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Best Of: The Most Amazing — and Dangerous — Technology in the World

“We rarely think about chips, yet they’ve created the modern world,” writes the historian Chris Miller.He’s not exaggerating. Semiconductors power everything from our phones and computers to cars, planes, advanced military equipment, and A.I. systems. Chips are the foundation of modern economic prosperity, military strength and geopolitical power.This conversation with Chris Miller, author of “Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology,” was recorded back in April. But we wanted to re-air it, because what Miller lays out in that book, and in this conversation, is essential to understanding where we are in 2023, and the faultlines that will shape the world ahead. Because semiconductors have  one of the most concentrated supply chains of any technology today. One Taiwanese company, TSMC, produces around 90 percent of the most advanced chips. A single Dutch firm, ASML, produces all of the world’s EUV lithography machines, which are essential to produce leading-edge chips. The entire industry is built like this.That doesn’t just make the chip supply chain vulnerable to external shocks; it also makes it easily weaponizable by the powers that control it. In 2022, the Biden administration banned exports of advanced chips — and the equipment needed to produce those chips — to China, and then further tightened those rules this October. In August 2022, President Biden signed into law the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which includes a $52 billion investment to on-shore U.S. chip manufacturing. China has invested tens of billions of dollars over the past decade to build a domestic semiconductor industry of its own. Chips have become to the geopolitics of the 21st century what oil was to the geopolitics of the 20th.In this conversation, Miller talks me through what semiconductors are, why they matter and how they are shaping everything from U.S.-China relations and the Russia-Ukraine war to the Biden policy agenda and the future of A.I.Mentioned:“The Problem With Everything-Bagel Liberalism” by Ezra KleinBook Recommendations:The World For Sale by Javier Blas and Jack FarchyNexus by Jonathan Reed WinklerPrestige, Manipulation and Coercion by Joseph TorigianThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music 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.
12/26/202358 minutes, 28 seconds
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Best Of: The ‘Quiet Catastrophe’ Brewing in Our Social Lives

The holidays are one of the most social times of the year, filled with parties and family get-togethers. Many of us see friends and loved ones who we barely — or never — saw all year. Maybe we resolve to stay in better touch in the new year. But then somehow, once again, life gets in the way. This is not an accident. More and more people are living lives that feel lonelier and more socially isolated than they want them to be. And that’s largely because of social structures we’ve chosen — wittingly or unwittingly — to build for ourselves.Sheila Liming is an associate professor of communications and creative media at Champlain College and the author of “Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time.” In the book, Liming investigates what she calls the “quiet catastrophe” brewing in our social lives: the devastating fact that we’ve grown much less likely to simply spend time together outside our partnerships, workplaces and family units. What would it look like to reconfigure our world to make social connection easier for all of us?This conversation was recorded in April 2023. But we wanted to re-air it now, at a moment when many of us are spending more time in the company of people we like and love, and remembering how good that feels (at least some of the time). If you feel motivated to have a more social life next year, hopefully this episode provides a clearer sense of the structures that might be standing in the way, what it would look like to knock a couple down, and what you could build instead.Mentioned:“You’d Be Happier Living Closer to Friends. Why Don’t You?” by Anne Helen Petersen“The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake” by David BrooksFull Surrogacy Now by Sophie LewisRegarding the Pain of Others by Susan SontagLetters from Tove by Tove JanssonBook Recommendations:Black Paper by Teju ColeOn the Inconvenience of Other People by Lauren BerlantThe Hare by Melanie FinnThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Annie Galvin, with Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski. 
12/22/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 35 seconds
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How the Israel-Gaza Conversations Have Shaped My Thinking

It’s become something of a tradition on “The Ezra Klein Show” to end the year with an “Ask Me Anything” episode. So as 2023 comes to a close, I sat down with our new senior editor, Claire Gordon, to answer listeners’ questions about everything from the Israel-Hamas war to my thoughts on parenting.We discuss whether the war in Gaza has affected my relationships with family members and friends; what I think about the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement; whether the Democrats should have voted to keep Kevin McCarthy as House speaker; how worried I am about a Trump victory in 2024; whether A.I. can really replace human friendships; how struggling in school as a kid shaped my politics as an adult; and much more.Mentioned:We’re looking for a researcher to join our team. Learn more and apply here.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
12/19/202356 minutes, 13 seconds
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India Is Transforming. But Into What?

India is known as a country of paradoxes, and a new one has recently emerged. At the same time that the country is poised to become a major global player — with a booming economy and a population that recently surpassed China’s — its democracy is showing signs of decay.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his administration have silenced critics and independent institutions. India’s social media discourse has turned increasingly right wing and hostile to Muslims. And Canada and the United States have accused Indian government officials of involvement in assassination plots against Sikh activists.Pratap Bhanu Mehta is an honorary senior fellow at the Center for Policy Research, New Delhi; a professor at Princeton University; and an editor of “The Oxford Handbook to the Indian Constitution.” In this conversation, he walks our guest host Lydia Polgreen through India’s rising illiberalism. “The signs for Indian democracy are looking very ominous,” he says.They discuss the paradox between India’s flourishing economy and culture and signs of weakening democracy, especially at a moment when many Western countries are cheering a rising India as a democratic counterweight to China. They also talk about what makes Modi such a remarkable and effective political leader and what the United States and other countries could or should do in response to a more assertive India that is shattering norms at home.Mentioned:The Discovery of India by Jawaharlal NehruBook Recommendations:The India Trilogy by V.S. NaipaulIndia in Asian Geopolitics by Shivshankar MenonDreamers by Snigdha PoonamThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Efim Shapiro. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
12/12/20231 hour, 57 seconds
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A Different Path Israel Could Have Taken — and Maybe Still Can

Before Oct. 7, Israel appeared to many to be sliding into a “one-state reality,” where it had functional control over Gaza and the West Bank, but the Palestinians who lived there were denied full rights. In 2021, a group of hundreds of former senior defense and diplomatic officials in Israel published a report warning that this was a catastrophe — for Israel’s security, its democratic values, its international standing, and its very soul. And they argued that there was another way, that even without a Palestinian “partner for peace,” there was a huge amount Israel could do on its own to create the conditions for a two-state solution to emerge in the future.Nimrod Novik is a fellow at the Israel Policy Forum and a member of the executive committee of Commanders for Israel’s Security, the group behind the report. He was a senior policy adviser to Shimon Peres when he was prime minister, and was involved in all forms of negotiations with Palestinians and the Arab world.I wanted to talk to Novik about the plan proposed in the Commanders for Israel’s Security report, and how they might have changed in light of Oct. 7 and the war. We also talk through what the “day after” might look like in Gaza, the immense anger of the Israeli public over the intelligence failure that led up to the attacks, the alternative coalitions building against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and much more.Mentioned:“Initiative 2025” by Commanders for Israel’s SecurityBook Recommendations:The Back Channel by William J. BurnsMaster of the Game by Martin IndykThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Efim Shapiro.
12/8/202359 minutes, 26 seconds
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‘This Is How Hamas Is Seeing This’

Here are two thoughts I believe need to be held at once: Hamas’s attack on Oct. 7 was heinous, murderous and unforgivable, and that makes it more, not less, important to try to understand what Hamas is, how it sees itself and how it presents itself to Palestinians.Tareq Baconi is the author of “Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance,” one of the best books on Hamas’s rise and recent history. He’s done extensive work interviewing members of Hamas and mapping the organization’s beliefs and structure.In this conversation, we discuss the foundational disagreement between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization, why Hamas fought the Oslo peace process, the “violent equilibrium” between Hamas and the Israeli right wing, what Hamas’s 2017 charter reveals about its political goals, why the right of return is sacred for many Palestinians (and what it means in practice), how the leadership vacuum is a “core question” for Palestinians, why democratic elections for Palestinians are the first step toward continuing negotiations in the future and more.Book Recommendations:The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine by Rashid KhalidiReturning to Haifa by Ghassan KanafaniLight in Gaza edited by Jehad Abusalim, Jennifer Bing and Mike Merryman-LotzeThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
12/5/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 30 seconds
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A Lot Has Happened in A.I. Let’s Catch Up.

Thursday marked the one-year anniversary of the release of ChatGPT. A lot has happened since. OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT, recently dominated headlines again after the nonprofit board of directors fired C.E.O. Sam Altman, only for him to return several days later.But that drama isn’t actually the most important thing going on in the A.I. world, which hasn’t slowed down over the past year, even as people are still discovering ChatGPT for the first time and reckoning with all of its implications.Tech journalists Kevin Roose and Casey Newton are hosts of the weekly podcast “Hard Fork.” Roose is my colleague at The Times, where he writes a tech column called “The Shift.” Newton is the founder and editor of Platformer, a newsletter about the intersection of technology and democracy. They’ve been closely tracking developments in the field since well before ChatGPT launched. I invited them on the show to catch up on the state of A.I.We discuss: who is — and isn’t — integrating ChatGPT into their daily lives, the ripe market for A.I. social companions, why so many companies are hesitant to dive in, progress in the field of A.I. “interpretability” research, and America’s “fecklessness” that cedes major A.I. benefits to the private sector, and much more.Recommendations:Electrifying America by David E. NyeYour Face Belongs to Us by Kashmir Hill“Intro to Large Language Models” by Andrej Karpathy (video)Import AI by Jack Clark.AI Snake Oil by Arvind Narayanan and Sayash KapoorPragmatic Engineer by Gergely OroszThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
12/1/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 21 seconds
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Best Of: This Is Your Brain on Deep Reading. It’s Pretty Magnificent.

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 Wolf’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.In this conversation, recorded in November 2022, 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.We’ll be back on Friday, Dec. 1, with a new episode.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 [email protected]. (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 episode of “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.
11/28/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 3 seconds
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The Best Primer I’ve Heard on Israeli-Palestinian Peace Efforts

It is too early to talk about a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. With the trauma of Oct. 7 still fresh for the Israeli public and with the ongoing devastation in Gaza, any talk of conflict-ending solutions is cruel fantasy.But it wasn’t always. Peace efforts in the Middle East have been tried over and over again. It is not a history without breakthroughs. There was a time when a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt would have been unthinkable. But that agreement lives alongside a long list of collapsed negotiations. Why?I wanted to have someone on the show who could help me read this checkered history. Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the author of “The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.” Few people have been as intimately involved in the many Middle East peace processes as Miller. He’s a decades-long veteran of the State Department who has touched peace negotiations under the Reagan, the Clinton and both Bush administrations. His book is the best I’ve read on the peace processes and what went wrong.In this conversation, we explore the frustrating, uneven history of Arab-Israeli peace efforts, Miller’s hard-won insights about the reality of peace negotiations and the idiosyncratic personalities who have most influenced the prospects for peace in the Middle East.Book Recommendations:The Peace Puzzle by Daniel C. Kurtzer, Scott B. Lasensky, William B. Quandt, Steven L. Spiegel and Shibley TelhamiArabs and Israelis by Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman and Khalil ShikakiThe Missing Peace by Dennis RossThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Rollin Hu. Mixing by Jeff Geld, with Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero. Archival clips from A.P. Archive, CBS, C-SPAN and NBC.
11/21/20231 hour, 9 minutes, 30 seconds
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The Sermons I Needed to Hear Right Now

This is a conversation about the relationship between Jewishness and the Jewish State. About believing some aspects of Israel have become indefensible and also believing that Israel itself must be defended. About what it means when a religion built on the lessons of exile creates a state that inflicts exile on others. About the ugly, recurrent reality of antisemitism.You know, the easy stuff.In these past few months, I’ve been moved by the sermons of Rabbi Sharon Brous, which have managed to hold these paradoxes with more grace and prophetic wisdom than most. Brous is the founding and senior rabbi of IKAR, a Jewish community based in Los Angeles, and the author of the forthcoming book “The Amen Effect: Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World.” And so I asked her to be on the show to talk about things that are deeply uncomfortable to talk about.We discuss the “great dream” that Israel represents for generations of Jews; Brous’s Yom Kippur sermon reckoning with the moral cost of Israel’s decades-long occupation and its increasingly right-wing government; the “existential loneliness” she and many in her community felt on Oct. 7; the antisemitism she witnessed in the wake of Oct. 7; how experiences of exile throughout history have shaped the Jewish psyche and speak to us now; stories from her visit with residents of the Kfar Aza kibbutz as they mourned their dead; why “bearing sacred witness” is a core spiritual commitment; and more.Mentioned:“This Is the Moral Earthquake” by Rabbi Sharon Brous (sermon delieverd on Sep. 25, 2023)“We’ve Lost So Much. Let’s Not Lose Our Damn Minds” by Rabbi Sharon Brous (sermon delieverd on Oct. 14, 2023)“We Are Hebrews. We Must Act Like It.” by Rabbi Sharon Brous (sermon delivered on Oct. 28, 2023)Book Recommendations:The Prophets by Abraham J. HeschelTo Bless the Space Between Us by John O’DonohueHomegoing by Yaa GyasiThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
11/17/202356 minutes, 59 seconds
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Are Democrats Whistling Past the Graveyard?

A New York Times and Siena College poll released Nov. 5 showed Donald Trump leading Joe Biden in five of the six key swing states, with a notable jump in support among nonwhite and young voters. In response, Democrats freaked out.But then two days later, voters across the country actually went to the polls, and Democrats and Democratic-associated policy did pretty well. In Kentucky, Andy Beshear held the governorship. Democrats took back the House of Delegates in Virginia. And Ohio voted for an amendment protecting abortion rights.I asked Mike Podhorzer, a longtime poll skeptic, to help to help me understand the apparent gap between the polls and the ballot box. Podhorzer was the longtime political director of the A.F.L.-C.I.O. And as the founder of the Analyst Institute, he was the godfather of the data-driven turn in Democratic campaign strategy. He also writes a newsletter on these topics called “Weekend Reading.”We discuss the underlying assumptions behind polling methodologies and what that says about their results; how to square Biden’s unpopularity with the Democrats’ recent wins; why he thinks an anti-MAGA majority is Biden’s best bet to the White House and how that coalition doesn’t always map cleanly onto demographic data; what a newly energized labor movement might means for Biden; and much more.Mentioned:“We Gave Four Good Pollsters the Same Raw Data. They Had Four Different Results.” by Nate CohnBook Recommendations:“Politics and the English Language” by George OrwellTyranny, Inc. by Sohrab AhmariCrashed by Adam ToozeThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Carole Sabouraud.
11/14/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 27 seconds
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What Israelis Fear the World Does Not Understand

Earlier this week, we heard a Palestinian perspective on the conflict. Today, I wanted to have on an Israeli perspective.Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and the author, most recently, of “Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor.”In this episode, we discuss Halevi’s unusual education as an Israeli Defense Forces soldier in Gaza during the first intifada, the “seminal disconnect” between how Israel is viewed from the inside versus from the outside, Halevi’s view that a Palestinian state is both an “existential need” and an “existential threat” for Israel, the failures of the Oslo peace process and how the second intifada hardened Israeli attitudes toward peace, what Oct. 7 meant for the contract between the Israeli people and the state, the lessons and limitations of Sept. 11 analogies and much more.Book Recommendations:A Tale of Love and Darkness by Amos OzWho By Fire by Matti FriedmanThe War of Return by Adi Schwartz and Einat WilfThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Kristin Lin. Engineering by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Jeff Geld and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
11/10/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 40 seconds
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An Intense, Searching Conversation With Amjad Iraqi

Before there can be any kind of stable coexistence of people in Israel and Palestine, there will have to be a stable coexistence of narratives. And that’s what we’ll be attempting this week on the show: to look at both the present and the past through Israeli and Palestinian perspectives. The point is not to choose between them. The point is to really listen to them. Even — especially — when what’s being said is hard for us to hear.Our first episode is with Amjad Iraqi, a senior editor at +972 magazine and a policy analyst at the Al-Shabaka think tank. We discuss the history of Gaza and its role within broader Palestinian politics, the way Hamas and the Israeli government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached a “violent equilibrium,” why Palestinians feel “duped” by the international community, what Hamas thought it could achieve with its attack, whether Israeli security and Palestinian liberty can coexist, Iraqi’s skepticism over peace resolutions that rely on statehood and nationalism, how his own identity as a Palestinian citizen of Israel offers a glimpse at where coexistence can begin and much more.Mentioned:Hamas Contained by Tareq BaconiThe Only Language They Understand by Nathan ThrallBook RecommendationsEast West Street by Philippe SandsOrientalism by Edward SaidThe Fire Next Time by James BaldwinThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
11/7/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 18 seconds
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She Polled Gazans on Oct. 6. Here’s What She Found.

The day before Hamas’s horrific attacks in Israel, the Arab Barometer, one of the leading polling operations in the Arab world, was finishing up a survey of public opinion in Gaza.The result is a remarkable snapshot of how Gazans felt about Hamas and hoped the conflict with Israel would end. And what Gazans were thinking on Oct. 6 matters, now that they’re all living with the brutal consequences of what Hamas did on Oct. 7.So I invited on the show Amaney Jamal, the dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and a co-founder and co-principal investigator of Arab Barometer, so she could walk me through the results.And, it’s a complicated picture. The people of Gaza, like any other population, have diverse beliefs. But one thing is clear: Hamas was not very popular.As Jamal and her co-author write: “The Hamas-led government may be uninterested in peace, but it is empirically wrong for Israeli political leaders to accuse all Gazans of the same.”Mentioned:Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research Public Opinion PollWashington Institute PollBook Recommendations:The One State Reality edited by Michael Barnett, Nathan J. Brown, Marc Lynch and ShibleyArabs and Israelis by Abdel Monem Said Aly, Shai Feldman and Khalil ShikakiA History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Mark TesslerThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
11/3/202345 minutes, 41 seconds
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If Not This, Then What Should Israel Do?

“Two things are true: Israel must do something, and what it’s doing now is indefensible.” So writes Zack Beauchamp, a senior correspondent at Vox.Almost a month has passed since Hamas fighters slaughtered over 1,400 people in Israel and the state mounted its furious response. For weeks, Israel has laid siege to Gaza, cutting off water and electricity to the tiny strip of land and carrying out airstrikes that have reportedly killed over 8,000 Palestinians. On Friday a ground invasion began, and the response across much of the globe has been horror. If Israel continues down this road, the cost in Palestinian lives, and in support for Israel, will be immense.The question that hangs over the criticism is this: What, then, should Israel do? What would be a moral response to Hamas’s savagery and to the very real need Israelis have for security?Beauchamp, who has covered Israel extensively in recent years, set out to answer that question. He spoke with counterterrorism experts, military historians, experts on Hamas, ethicists and more. I found his piece “What Israel Should Do Now” one of the best I’ve read since Oct. 7. So I asked him to join me on the show.Book Recommendations:A High Price by Daniel BymanThe Selected Works of Edward Said, 1966 – 2006 by Edward W. SaidThe Accidental Empire by Gershom GorenbergThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Efim Shapiro.
10/31/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 8 seconds
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The Conflicted Legacy of Mitt Romney

After factional infighting dominated the G.O.P.’s struggle to elect a House speaker, it feels weirdly quaint to revisit Mitt Romney’s career. He’s served as governor, U.S. senator and presidential nominee for a Republican Party now nearly unrecognizable from what it was when he started out. At the end of his time in public office, Romney has found a new clarity in his identity as the consummate institutionalist in an increasingly anti-constitutionalist party. But as a newly published biography of him shows, that wasn’t always the case.McKay Coppins, a staff writer at The Atlantic, interviewed Romney dozens of times over the past several years and had access to his private journals, emails, and text messages. In this resulting biography “Romney: A Reckoning,” Coppins pushes Romney to wrestle with his own role — even complicity — in what his party has become.In this conversation, guest host Carlos Lozada and Coppins examine Romney’s legacy at a time when it may seem increasingly out of place with the mainstream G.O.P. They dive deep into the key decisions and events in Romney’s life; discuss the looming influence Mitt Romney’s father, George, also a Republican presidential candidate, had over his life; how Romney rationalized appeasing figures on the campaign trail he found disdainful, including Tea Party populists and an early 2010s Donald Trump; how he failed to articulate just why he wanted to be president; the many grudges he has against members of his own party who acquiesced or embraced Trump; how Romney will be remembered by history; and much more.This episode was hosted by Carlos Lozada, a columnist for The New York Times Opinion, and the author of “What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era.” Lozada is also a host on “Matter of Opinion,” a weekly podcast from New York Times Opinion.Book Recommendations:The Last Politician by Franklin FoerNumber the Stars by Lois LowryThe Plot by Jean Hanff KorelitzHell of a Book by Jason MottLess by Andrew Sean GreerThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
10/27/20231 hour, 7 minutes, 10 seconds
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The Jewish Left Is Trying to Hold Two Thoughts at Once

Grief moves slowly and war moves quickly. After Hamas assailants killed at least 1,400 Israelis and took hundreds more hostage, Israel dropped more than 6,000 bombs on Gaza in the first week of a conflict that is still ongoing. So far, more than 5,000 Palestinians are reported dead and many more injured. There’s no one way to cover this that reconciles all that is happening and all that needs to be felt.My approach is going to be to try to cover it from many different perspectives, but I wanted to start with the one I’m closest to, which has felt particularly tricky in recent weeks: that of the Jewish left. So I invited Spencer Ackerman and Peter Beinart on to the show.Ackerman is an award-winning columnist for The Nation and the author of “Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump” and the newsletter Forever Wars. Peter Beinart is an editor-at-large of Jewish Currents, the author of the Beinart Notebook newsletter and a professor of journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. And they’ve each taken up angles I think are particularly important right now: the way that Sept. 11 should inform both Israel’s response and the need to empower different kinds of actors and tactics if we want to see a different future for Israelis and Palestinians alike.Together we discuss the goals behind Hamas’s initial attack on Israeli Jewish civilians, how the attack changed the psychology of Jews living in and out of Israel and what Israel is trying to achieve in its military response.Mentioned:“There Is a Jewish Hope for Palestinian Liberation. It Must Survive.” by Peter Beinart“A Deal Signed in Blood” by Spencer AckermanBook Recommendations:The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine by Rashid KhalidiAn Oral History of the Palestinian Nakba edited by Nahla Abdo and Nur MasalhaIsrael’s Secret Wars by Ian BlackThe Question of Palestine by Edward W. SaidStrangers in the House by Raja ShehadehHamas Contained by Tareq BaconiThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
10/24/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 43 seconds
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Israel Is Giving Hamas What It Wants

Oct. 7 was Israel’s Sept. 11. That’s been the refrain. I fear that analogy carries so much more truth than the people making it intend.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 audio essay for “The Ezra Klein Show” was fact-checked by Michelle Harris, with Mary-Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
10/18/202315 minutes, 38 seconds
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We Need Better Narratives About Gender

It’s a time of contrast and contradiction for gender queerness in America: At the same time that about 5 percent of Americans under 30 identify as transgender or nonbinary, over 20 states have passed some sort of restriction on gender-affirming care for children. In 2023 alone, over 550 anti-trans bills have been introduced across the country.The political push and pull can overshadow a broad spectrum of rich questions and possibilities that queer culture opens up — about how we think about identity and social categories, how we structure our communities and support networks, our anxieties about having children who are different from ourselves, how gender norms shape all bodies and how difficult it can be to make big life decisions.Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker who has thought deeply about many of these questions. “Gender is something that happens between me and other people,” they say. In this conversation, the guest host Lydia Polgreen asks Gessen, who identifies as trans and nonbinary, what the social and political shift around gender has looked like to them in the past few decades.They discuss why gender has captured the conservative imagination, how L.G.B.T.Q. activists have fallen into the “regret trap,” what it means to understand gender expression as a choice rather than something biologically determined, why Gessen prefers a liberatory framework focused on protecting freedoms-to rather than freedoms-from when thinking about L.G.B.T.Q. issues, how gender-affirming care is not just for trans people, how the making of the 1999 movie “The Matrix” reflects the rapid social change around trans visibility in the United States, the anti-L.G.B.T.Q. sentiments that made Gessen decide to leave their home in Russia,how gender conformity is social contagion and more.This episode was hosted by Lydia Polgreen, a New York Times Opinion columnist and a co-host on the weekly Opinion podcast “Matter of Opinion.” She previously served as the managing director of Gimlet, a podcast studio at Spotify, and as the editor in chief of HuffPost.Mentioned:The Argonauts by Maggie NelsonBook Recommendations:The Myth of the Wrong Body by Miquel MisseConundrum by Jan MorrisWho’s Afraid of Gender by Judith ButlerThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Annie-Rose Strasser. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Isaac Jones.
10/10/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 49 seconds
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Meet the ‘Angry, Aggrieved’ New Right

The New Right has been associated with everyone from Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri to right-wing influencers and Catholic integralists. The breadth of the term can make it hard to define: Is the New Right a budding ideological movement or a toxic online subculture? What does it mean if it’s both?Stephanie Slade is a senior editor at the magazine Reason, and has covered the New Right extensively. She argues that the New Right subverts the conventional left/right political binary and is better understood as the illiberal backlash to classical liberalism.This conversation is a tour of the New Right. The guest host, David French, talks to Slade about the politicians who have been attached to the ideological movement; why the New Right is critical of Reaganism; her problems with its self-branding as “common good conservatism”; how the Ron DeSantis “Stop Woke Act” signals a diversion from conservative free speech values; why the New Right is so angry; how online factions of the New Right are often in a delicate dance between flirting with bigotry and actually aligning with the provocative beliefs they post; why Catholic integralism matters, even if the average Catholic might have never heard of the ideology; and much more.This episode was hosted by David French, an Opinion columnist at The New York Times. Previously, he was a senior editor and co-founder of The Dispatch and a contributing writer at The Atlantic.Mentioned:More information about Ezra’s lecture at UC Berkeley“The Lost Boys of the American Right” by David French“Both Left and Right Are Converging on Authoritarianism” by Stephanie SladeBook Recommendations:Radicals for Capitalism by Brian DohertyThe Ethics of Authenticity by Charles TaylorWar and Peace by Leo TolstoyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Annie-Rose Strasser. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
10/3/202353 minutes, 6 seconds
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Two Attorneys Rank the Severity of Trump’s Indictments

With four ongoing criminal investigations, Donald Trump is the most indicted president in U.S. history. After years of defying unwritten norms, he will now be subject to a criminal justice system defined by norms and precedents. What does due process look like for a former president?Ken White is a former federal prosecutor, a practicing criminal defense lawyer and a co-host of the podcast “Serious Trouble.” He writes the popular newsletter The Popehat Report, extensively covering the ins and outs of criminal trials. Among the many commentators on Trump’s unprecedented legal troubles, White stands out for his “lawsplainers,” which analyze the gap between what the law says and what it actually does.This conversation walks through each of the four major criminal cases against Trump. Our guest host David French asks White why he loathes the overuse of the RICO statute and whether it was appropriately used in the Georgia election interference indictment. They also discuss the Florida judge whose “functionally lawless” decision halted parts of the Mar-a-Lago investigation, White’s view that prosecutors can get away with much more in state court than in federal court, how the district attorney in the Georgia case is approaching this “circuslike” indictment, why Trump’s legal intent is both more and less complicated than the public discourse suggests and much more.This episode was hosted by David French, a columnist at The New York Times. Previously, he was a senior editor and co-founder of The Dispatch and a contributing writer at The Atlantic.This episode contains strong language.Book Recommendations:Pax by Tom HollandThe Shadow Docket by Stephen VladeckThe Enchanters by James EllroyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Annie-Rose Strasser. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones.
9/26/202355 minutes
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Boundaries, Burnout and the 'Goopification' of Self-Care

Love it or hate it, self-care has transformed from a radical feminist concept into a multibillion-dollar industry. But the wellness boom doesn’t seem to be making a dent in Americans’ stress levels. In 2021, 34 percent of women reported feeling burned out at work, along with 26 percent of men.Dr. Pooja Lakshmin, a psychiatrist, has observed how wellness culture fails her patients, who she says are often burned out because of systemic failures, from the stresses that come with financial precariousness to the lack of paid family leave. In her book “Real Self-Care: A Transformative Program for Redefining Wellness (Crystals, Cleanses, and Bubble Baths Not Included),” she encourages people to look beyond superficial fixes — the latest juice cleanses, yoga workshops, luxury bamboo sheets — to feel better. Instead, she argues that real self-care requires embracing internal work, which she outlines as four practices: setting boundaries, practicing self-compassion, aligning your values and exercising power. Lakshmin argues that when you practice real self-care, you not only take care of yourself, but you can also plant the seeds for change in your community.In this conversation, the guest host, Tressie McMillan Cottom, and Lakshmin discuss how the pandemic opened up a larger conversation about parental burnout; how countries with more robust social safety nets frame care as a right, not a benefit; why it’s fair to understand burnout as a type of societal “betrayal”; how to practice boundary-setting and why it can feel uncomfortable to do so; the convenient allure of “faux self-care”; and more.This episode was hosted by Tressie McMillan Cottom, a columnist for Times Opinion, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and the author of “Thick: And Other Essays.” Cottom also writes a newsletter for Times Opinion that offers a sociologist’s perspective on culture, politics and the economics of our everyday lives.Mentioned:More information about Ezra’s Jefferson Memorial Lecture“We Don’t Need Self-Care; We Need Boundaries” by Pooja Lakshmin“How Society Has Turned Its Back on Mothers” by Pooja Lakshmin“Our Obsession With Wellness Is Hurting Teens — and Adults” by The Ezra Klein Show with Lisa Damour“A Legendary World Builder on Multiverses, Revolution and the ‘Souls’ of Cities” by The Ezra Klein Show with N.K. JemisinBook Recommendations:Living Resistance by Kaitlin B. CurticeThe Emotional Lives of Teenagers by Lisa DamourThe Fifth Season by N.K. JemisinThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. The senior engineer is Jeff Geld. The senior editor is Annie-Rose Strasser. The show’s production team includes Emefa Agawu and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
9/19/202355 minutes, 8 seconds
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America’s Top Librarian on the Rise of Book Bans

Public libraries around the country have become major battlegrounds for today’s culture wars. In 2022, the American Library Association noted a record 1,269 attempts at censorship — almost double the number recorded in 2021. Library events like drag story times and other children’s programming have also attracted protest. How should we understand these efforts to control what stories children can freely access?Emily Drabinski is the president of the American Library Association and an associate professor at the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. She is steering an embattled organization at a moment when libraries — and librarians themselves — are increasingly under fire.[You can listen to this episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” on the NYT Audio App, Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]This conversation unpacks the political and cultural anxieties fueling the attacks on libraries. The guest host Tressie McMillan Cottom discusses with Drabinski how libraries are a bulwark against the increasing class divides of American life, how the “small infrastructure” of the public library differs from big infrastructure like highways and bridges, how library classification systems can entrench the status quo, the parallels between political attacks on the library and the U.S. Postal Service, how censorship attempts fit in the broader landscape of anti-queer and anti-trans legislation and much more.This episode was hosted by Tressie McMillan Cottom, a columnist for Times Opinion, a professor at U.N.C. Chapel Hill and the author of “Thick: And Other Essays.” Cottom also writes a newsletter for Times Opinion that offers a sociologist’s perspective on culture, politics and the economics of our everyday lives.Mentioned:More information about Ezra’s lecture at UC BerkeleyBook Recommendations:The Promise of Access by Daniel GreeneFlamer by Mike CuratoHow Beautiful We Were by Imbolo MbueThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Annie-Rose Strasser. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
9/12/202347 minutes, 15 seconds
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What Have We Learned From a Summer of Climate Reckoning?

This summer has been a parade of broken climate records. June was the hottest June and July was not just the hottest July but the hottest month ever on record. At the same time, it looks like we are at the start of a green revolution: Decarbonization efforts have gone far better than what many had hoped for just a few years ago, and renewable energy is getting cheaper.How should we make sense of these seemingly mixed signals? What does it mean to hold the pessimism of climate disaster and the optimism of climate action together?There are few individuals better suited to navigate these questions than Kate Marvel, a senior climate scientist at Project Drawdown. In a conversation with guest host David Wallace-Wells, Marvel explores whether climate change is “accelerating,” why reducing air pollution will lead to more warming before it leads to less; how the human response to a changing climate can be more unpredictable than the climate itself; how witch burnings increased during the last major change in climate; what the relationship is between hotter weather and social unrest; how decarbonization sets us on track to avoiding the worst-case climate models; why, despite all the challenges ahead, there are still immeasurable benefits to fighting for a cleaner planet and much more.This episode was hosted by David Wallace-Wells, a writer at The New York Times Magazine and the author of “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.” He also writes a newsletter for New York Times Opinion that explores climate change, technology and the future of the planet and how we live on it.Mentioned:Beyond Catastrophe by David Wallace-WellsBook Recommendations:“On Exactitude in Science” by Jorge Luis BorgesMacbeth by William ShakespeareTroubled Waters by Mary Annaïse HeglarThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
9/5/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 11 seconds
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It’s Time to Talk About ‘Pandemic Revisionism’

Should schools have been closed down? Were lockdowns a mistake? Was masking even effective? Was the economic stimulus too big?These are the questions that have defined the national conversation about Covid in recent months. They have been the subject of congressional hearings led by Republicans, of G.O.P. candidate stump speeches and of too many Twitter debates to count.Katelyn Jetelina is an epidemiologist and the author of the popular newsletter Your Local Epidemiologist. She argues that we’ve entered a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic: “pandemic revisionism.” In her telling, the revisionist impulse seduces us into swapping cheap talking points for the thorny, difficult decisions we actually faced — and may face again with the next novel virus.So this conversation centers on the myths — and realities — associated with how we remember the pandemic. It explores what the evidence on the effectiveness of masking says, the fact that the United States was locked down for less than two months, the surprising consensus over social-distancing policy among Democratic and Republican governors early in the pandemic, why the tale of Sweden’s controversial approach to the pandemic is misleading, why the American media paid so much more attention to the first 100,000 U.S. Covid deaths than to the next 900,000, why school closures weren’t as wrongheaded a policy as often portrayed in hindsight, whether Donald Trump gets enough credit for Operation Warp Speed and more.This episode was hosted by David Wallace-Wells, a writer at The New York Times Magazine and the author of “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.” He also writes a newsletter for New York Times Opinion that explores climate change, technology, the future of the planet and how we live on it.Book Recommendations:Lessons from the Covid War by Covid Crisis GroupOpen by Andre AgassiLessons in Chemistry by Bonnie GarmusThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
8/29/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 30 seconds
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When Great Power Conflict and Climate Action Collide

The global decarbonization effort is colliding headfirst with the realities of great power politics. China currently controls more than 75 percent of the world’s electric vehicle battery and solar photovoltaic manufacturing supply chains. It also processes the bulk of the so-called critical minerals, like lithium, cobalt and graphite, that are essential to building out clean energy technologies. There is no clean energy revolution without China.What would happen if China decided to weaponize its clean energy resources in the same way Russia recently weaponized its oil and gas? Is it possible for the U.S. to end its energy dependency on China by investing in clean energy at home? What does this geopolitical reality mean for the prospect of meeting the world’s climate goals?Over the past few years, Jason Bordoff and Meghan O’Sullivan have been at the forefront of mapping out the ways decarbonization will upend the world’s economic and geopolitical order. Bordoff is the founding director of the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University and a former senior director for energy and climate change for the National Security Council under Barack Obama. O’Sullivan is the director of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School and a former deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration.In Bordoff and O’Sullivan’s view, decarbonization won’t just affect what kinds of cars we drive or how we power our homes. It will transform everything from the nature of international markets and trade relations to the global balance of military and diplomatic power. And it will create new economic superpowers, new alliances and new sources of geopolitical conflict in the process.This conversation explores the contours of this transformation and what it will mean for the future of the climate and world politics.Mentioned:“The Age of Energy Insecurity” by Jason Bordoff and Meghan L. O’Sullivan“A Critical Minerals Policy for the United States” by Meghan L. O’Sullivan and Jason Bordoff“Biden’s Historic Climate Bill Needs Smart Foreign Policy” by Jason Bordoff“The Nuances of Energy Transition Investments” by Columbia Energy Exchange, with Larry FinkBook Recommendations:The Prize by Daniel YerginSilent Spring Revolution by Douglas BrinkleyThe Avoidable War by Kevin RuddHow to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill GatesThis 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. At Vox, he also wrote and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus pandemic.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rogé Karma. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
8/22/20231 hour, 24 minutes, 55 seconds
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This Conservative Thinks America’s Institutions ‘Earned’ Their Distrust

You can’t understand the modern Republican Party without understanding the complete collapse of trust in mainstream institutions that has taken place among its voters over the last half-century.In 1964, 73 percent of Republicans said they trusted the federal government to do the right thing always or most of the time. Today, that number is down to 9 percent. And it’s not just government. Pew found that only 35 percent of Republicans trust national news and 61 percent think public schools are having a negative effect on the country. Many of the issues animating the modern right — from fights over school curriculums and learning loss to media bias and Covid vaccines — are connected to this deep distrust.Mary Katharine Ham is a journalist and conservative commentator who has appeared on CNN, Fox News and ABC News. In Katharine Ham’s view, America’s institutions have “earned” her party’s rampant distrust. Across her writings, she has leveled scathing critiques of numerous mainstream institutions, from the media to the C.D.C. and universities, arguing that these institutions have consistently failed to serve ordinary Americans. So this is a conversation that explores Katharine Ham’s critique in order to understand the distrust at the heart of the Republican Party.Mentioned:“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Coalition of the Distrustful” by Michelle GoldbergEnd of Discussion by Mary Katharine Ham and Guy BensonBook Recommendations:Wise Blood by Flannery O’ConnorRules of Civility by Amor TowlesThe Right by Matthew ContinettiThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kristin Lin. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
8/15/202354 minutes, 37 seconds
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A Conservative on How His Party Has Changed Since 2016

The 2024 Republican presidential primary is officially underway, and Donald Trump is dominating the field. But this is a very different contest than it was in 2016. Back then, the Republican Party was the party of foreign policy interventionism, free trade and cutting entitlements, and Trump was the insurgent outsider unafraid to buck the consensus. Today, Trump and his views have become the consensus.The primary, then, raises some important questions: How has Donald Trump changed the Republican Party over the past eight years? Is Trumpism an actual set of policy views or just a political aesthetic? And if Trump does become the nominee again, where does the party go from here?Ben Domenech is a longtime conservative writer who served as a speechwriter in George W. Bush’s administration and co-founded several right-leaning outlets, including RedState and The Federalist. He’s currently a Fox News contributor, an editor at large at The Spectator and the author of the newsletter The Transom. From these different perches, he has closely traced the various ways the Republican Party has and, crucially, has not changed over the past decade.This conversation explores whether Donald Trump really did break open a G.O.P. policy consensus in 2016, the legacy of what Domenech calls “boomer Republicanism,” how to reconcile Trump’s continued dominance with his surprisingly poor electoral record, the rise of “Barstool conservatism” and other new cultural strands on the right, whether conservatives actually want “National Review conservatism policy” with a “Breitbart conservatism attitude,” what Domenech thinks a G.O.P. candidate would need to do to outperform Trump and more.This episode contains strong language.This episode was hosted by Jane Coaston, a staff writer for Times Opinion. Previously, she hosted “The Argument,” a New York Times Opinion podcast. Before that she was the senior politics reporter at Vox, with a focus on conservatism and the G.O.P.Mentioned:The Revolution with Steve KornackiBook Recommendations:The War on the West by Douglas MurrayThe Mandibles by Lionel ShriverRunning the Light by Sam TallentThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
8/8/202356 minutes, 58 seconds
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How Martin Wolf Understands This Global Economic Moment

The world economy has experienced many shocks over the past few years: A pandemic. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Skyrocketing inflation. These are the stories that have dominated headlines — and for good reason.But they’ve also overshadowed a set of deeper, more fundamental shifts — the rise of China as an economic superpower, the fracturing of trade relations, the realities of the climate crisis — that are transforming the global economic order and prompting ambitious policy responses from leaders across the world.Martin Wolf is the chief economics commentator at The Financial Times, a former senior economist at the World Bank and the author, most recently, of “The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. Across his writings, Wolf has developed some of the clearest frameworks for thinking about how the global economy is changing and some of the sharpest critiques of how policymakers are responding to those changes.We discuss how China’s meteoric economic rise has shaken the foundations of the global economy, why globalization has remained far more resilient than so many predicted, why Wolf is skeptical that President Biden’s industrial policy agenda will succeed, the debate between “onshoring” and “friendshoring” that is dividing the Democratic Party, why a recession in the United States is looking far less likely than it did six months ago, the virtues and vices of Biden’s “foreign policy for the middle class,” why China’s recent economic troubles could signal a more foundational decline, why the U.S. economy has remained so much more stronger than most economists anticipated, and more.Mentioned:National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s speech“The I.R.A. Passed a Year Ago. Here’s a Progress Check” by The Ezra Klein Show, with Robinson Meyer“The China Shock: Learning from Labor Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade” by David H. Autor, David Dorn and Gordon H. Hanson“Is the Global Economy Deglobalizing?” by Pinelopi Goldberg and Tristan Reed“Climate Progress and the 117th Congress: The Impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” by REPEAT ProjectBook Recommendations:The Narrow Corridor by Daron Acemoglu and James A. RobinsonPower and Progress by Daron Acemoglu and Simon JohnsonThe Rise and Fall of American Growth by Robert J. GordonThis 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 pandemic.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Kristin Lin. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Efim Shapiro.
8/1/20231 hour, 29 minutes, 27 seconds
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Biden, Psychedelics, Twitter, My New Book — and So Much More

As I head into a three-month book leave, I wanted to take some time to address a wide array of listeners’ questions. My column editor, Aaron Retica, joins me for a conversation that ranges from the content of my forthcoming book and President Biden’s climate record to the simulation hypothesis and legalized psychedelic therapy.We also discuss what the I-95 collapse — and remarkably quick repairs — tell us about government’s ability to build quickly, the problems with everything-bagel liberalism, what it would mean to treat climate change like the emergency that it is, why I dislike analogies between Biden and Franklin Roosevelt, why health care reform has receded from the center of American political debate, whether liberals are being too soft on Hunter Biden, why I am staunchly against term limits for Congress, what kinds of work are most undervalued in American society, why I’ve become less pessimistic about artificial intelligence disinformation, why I left Twitter but have been enjoying Threads, the challenges of keeping a Sabbath practice and more.This episode contains strong language.Note: Starting next week, “The Ezra Klein Show” will be releasing episodes only once per week, every Tuesday, until Ezra returns from his book leave in early November. These episodes will be hosted by a range of guest hosts.Mentioned:“The Problem With Everything-Bagel Liberalism” by Ezra Klein“The Book I Wish Every Policymaker Would Read” by The Ezra Klein Show, with Jennifer Pahlka“Two Theories of What I’m Getting Wrong” by Ezra Klein“The Greens’ Dilemma” by J. B. Ruhl and James E. Salzman“Not Everyone Should Have a Say” by Jerusalem DemsasWe’ve Got You Covered by Liran Einav and Amy Finkelstein“This Is Your Brain on ‘Deep Reading.’ It’s Pretty Magnificent.” by The Ezra Klein Show, with Maryanne Wolf“Elon Musk Got Twitter Because He Gets Twitter” by Ezra Klein“Sabbath and the Art of Rest” by The Ezra Klein Show, with Judith ShulevitzMusic Recommendations:“Orange” by Caroline Shaw and Attacca QuartetFred again..: Tiny Desk Concert on NPR Music“USB” by Fred again..“Midas” by Maribou StateThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact checking by Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
7/25/20231 hour, 15 minutes, 17 seconds
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Barbara Kingsolver Thinks Urban Liberals Have It All Wrong on Appalachia

When Barbara Kingsolver set out to write her latest novel, “Demon Copperhead,” she was already considered one of the most accomplished writers of our time. She had won awards including the Women’s Prize for Fiction and a National Humanities Medal, and had a track record of best-selling books, including “The Poisonwood Bible” and “Unsheltered.” But she felt there was one giant stone left unturned: to write “the great Appalachian novel.”Kingsolver grew up in rural Kentucky and lives in southwestern Virginia. Appalachia is her home. So when national coverage of her region started increasing in the years since 2016, with a focus on the region’s problems — like deep rural poverty and the opioid epidemic — she felt something was missing. She wanted to write a novel about Appalachia from the inside, as someone who is a part of it and who grew up in it. “The story I wanted to tell was not about the big guys, but about the little people,” she told me.And if major awards are any indication, Kingsolver succeeded. “Demon Copperhead” won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and has been widely acclaimed for the nuanced portrait it paints of life in rural America. So I asked Kingsolver to talk about her background and the book, and to explore the often chasmic dissonance between how many of us city-dwellers think about Appalachia and the reality of living there.Mentioned:Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann MasonBook Recommendations:Landings by Arwen DonahueRaising Lazarus by Beth MacyPod by Laline PaullThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
7/21/20231 hour, 1 minute, 1 second
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What We Learned From the Deepest Look at Homelessness in Decades

California has around half of the nation’s unsheltered homeless population. The state’s homelessness crisis has become a talking point for Republicans and a warning sign for Democrats in blue cities and states across the country.Last month, the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at the University of California, San Francisco, released a landmark report about homelessness in the state, drawing from nearly 3,200 questionnaires and 365 in-depth interviews. It is the single deepest study on homelessness in America in decades. And the report is packed with findings that shed new light not only on California’s homelessness problem but also on housing affordability nationwide.Jerusalem Demsas is a staff writer at The Atlantic who has written extensively about the interlocking problems of housing affordability and homelessness in America. So I asked her on the show to walk me through the core findings of the study, what we know about the causes of homelessness, and what solutions exist to address it. We discuss the surprising process by which people end up homeless in the first place, the “scarring” effect that homelessness can have on their future prospects, the importance of thinking of homelessness as a “flow,” not a “stock,” the benefits and limitations of “housing first” approaches to end homelessness, why Republican proposals for being tougher on the homeless can make the problem worse, why neither generous social safety nets nor private equity firms are to blame for homelessness, and more.Mentioned:We're looking for a senior editor for the show. Learn more and apply here.Book Recommendations:Homelessness Is a Housing Problem by Gregg Colburn and Clayton Page AldernChildren of Time by Adrian TchaikovskyStrangers to Ourselves by Rachel AvivListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker. The senior engineer is Jeff Geld. The senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
7/18/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 27 seconds
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What Tom Hanks Thinks of America

There are few actors as widely beloved as Tom Hanks. Hanks has acted in over 75 films in his 46-year career, winning the best actor Academy Award two years in a row, for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump.” And more recently, he’s the author of the short story collection “Uncommon Type” and the novel “The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece.”What is the source of Hanks’s near-universal admiration? In playing roles including Chesley Sullenberger, Mister Rogers and World War II heroes, Hanks reflects back to audiences what we could be at our very best. He’s an uncannily wise interpreter of America: what our country has been, and what it could be if we activated our potential to be kind, compassionate, even heroic toward one another.That’s just one of many topics we traverse in this truly delightful conversation. We also discuss how working on typewriters helps fuel Hanks’s creativity, why there’s such a huge global appetite for superhero stories, why America has become so cynical and how Hanks endeavors to defy that cynicism, how Hanks’s complicated family upbringing influences how he approaches his film roles, what America learned about itself — and didn’t — through Vietnam, Watergate and other historical events, how Hanks understands the complexity of heroic figures he’s played, why he views kindness as an active practice and more.Book Recommendations:Beartown by Fredrik BackmanThe Swerve by Stephen GreenblattTrust by Hernan DiazListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris with Mary Marge Locker. Our senior audio engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Pat McCusker.
7/14/202351 minutes, 11 seconds
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A.I. Could Solve Some of Humanity’s Hardest Problems. It Already Has.

Since the release of ChatGPT, huge amounts of attention and funding have been directed toward chatbots. These A.I. systems are trained on copious amounts of human-generated data and designed to predict the next word in a given sentence. They are hilarious and eerie and at times dangerous.But what if, instead of building A.I. systems that mimic humans, we built those systems to solve some of the most vexing problems facing humanity?In 2020, Google DeepMind unveiled AlphaFold, an A.I. system that uses deep learning to solve one of the most important challenges in all of biology: the so-called protein-folding problem. The ability to predict the shape of proteins is essential for addressing numerous scientific challenges, from vaccine and drug development to curing genetic diseases. But in the 50-plus years since the protein-folding problem had been discovered, scientists had made frustratingly little progress.Enter AlphaFold. By 2022, the system had identified 200 million protein shapes, nearly all the proteins known to humans. And DeepMind is also building similar systems to accelerate efforts at nuclear fusion and has spun off Isomorphic Labs, a company developing A.I. tools for drug discovery.Demis Hassabis is the chief executive of Google DeepMind and the leading architect behind AlphaFold. So I asked him on the show to talk me through how AlphaFold actually works, the kinds of problems similar systems could solve and what an alternative pathway for A.I. development could look like.Mentioned:“The Curse of Recursion” by Ilia Shumailov, Zakhar Shumaylov, Yiren Zhao, Yarin Gal, Nicolas Papernot, Ross Anderson“DeepMind’s CEO Helped Take AI Mainstream. Now He’s Urging Caution” by Billy PerrigoBook Recommendations:The Fabric of Reality by David DeutschPermutation City by Greg EganConsider Phlebas by Iain M. BanksListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rogé Karma. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Fact checking by Michelle Harris with Rollin Hu. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
7/11/20231 hour, 28 minutes, 1 second
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This Taught Me a Lot About How Decarbonization Is Really Going

The Inflation Reduction Act was the largest piece of climate legislation ever passed in the United States, setting aside hundreds of billions of dollars for decarbonizing the economy. But the money was always just a first step. The fate of the act’s goals hinges on whether those investments can build the energy system of the future — everything from transmission lines and wind farms to electric vehicle factories and green hydrogen hubs.It’s now been almost a year since the I.R.A.’s passage. So, how’s it going? Are we on track for a decarbonized economy?Robinson Meyer is a contributing writer to Times Opinion and the founding executive editor of Heatmap, a new publication covering the ins-and-outs of decarbonization in America. We discuss why estimates of the I.R.A.’s investments vary so drastically, whether the Biden administration is being too timid in how it gives out the money, the collision between the investments we need to decarbonize and the laws intended to protect the environment, why permitting has proved to be such a debilitating obstacle, why red states are projected to attract almost double the I.R.A. investments compared to blue states (and how that could pose a thorny political problem for the Biden administration), whether the country can decarbonize while competing with China and much more.Mentioned:“Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Clean Hydrogen” by U.S. Department of Energy“The Greens’ Dilemma: Building Tomorrow’s Climate Infrastructure Today” by J. B. Ruhl and James E. SalzmanBook Recommendations:The Ends of the World by Peter BrannenClimate Shock by Gernot Wagner and Martin L. WeitzmanShorting the Grid by Meredith AngwinListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. The show’s production team includes Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
7/7/20231 hour, 29 minutes, 2 seconds
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Best Of: A Revelatory Tour of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Forgotten Teachings

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. His words and legacy are routinely evoked by politicians of both major parties. I would go as far as to say he should be considered one of America’s founding fathers, which is one reason why I wanted to revisit this episode on Independence Day.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, taped in January, 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’re taping an “Ask Me Anything” episode soon. If you have a question for Ezra, send it to [email protected] with the subject line, “AMA.”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 [email protected] 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” 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.
7/4/20231 hour, 34 minutes, 39 seconds
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What’s Really Going On in Russia?

Last weekend, in the course of about 36 hours, Vladimir Putin faced — and then survived — one of the most serious challenges to his rule in over 20 years. An armed rebellion led by Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of a Russian mercenary group, took control of a southern military town, and then advanced toward Moscow, coming within about 125 miles of the city. Then, as suddenly as the rebellion began, it was over: Prigozhin was quickly exiled to Belarus without facing criminal charges — an outcome that shocked many Russia watchers.Why did Prigozhin stage this rebellion in the first palace? Why did Putin respond the way he did? What are the implications for the future of Putin’s rule — and the broader war in Ukraine?There are few people who understand the Putin regime as deeply as Stephen Kotkin, a pre-eminent scholar of Russian history at Stanford. We discuss Prigozhin’s complex motivations, why Putin didn’t shut down Prigozhin’s critiques before they escalated to the point of armed rebellion, how to interpret reports that members of Putin’s inner circle were aware of the rebellion plot, how Prigozhin’s march created an “unwitting referendum” that could threaten the stability of Putin’s regime, the bizarre cease-fire arranged by Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko, why Putin didn’t kill or jail Prigozhin, how this series of events could impact the outcome of the war in Ukraine and more.(Note: This episode was recorded on Wednesday, June 28. It does not reflect any news developments that have emerged since.)Book Recommendations:Chagall by Jackie WullschlagerInvisible China by Scott Rozelle and Natalie HellClassified by David BernsteinListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Engineering by Jeff Geld and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Rogé Karma. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.
6/30/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 36 seconds
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How ‘Being Animal’ Could Help Us Be Better Humans

One of the oldest human ideas is that we are somehow different from animals, somehow superior to them. That’s a mistake, argues the environmental philosopher Melanie Challenger. “Many of the things we most value — our relationships, the romantic sensations of attraction and love, pregnancy and childbirth, the pleasures of springtime, of eating a meal — are physical, largely unconscious and demonstrably animal,” she writes in her book “How to Be Animal: A New History of What It Means to Be Human.” The consequences of resisting our fellowship with other species, she argues, have been devastating to them and to the planet.Challenger’s arguments are fascinating in their own right, but they also have a particular resonance at this moment of tremendous technological advancement. Humans have long defined ourselves by our cognitive intelligence, yet the machines we’re building are rapidly surpassing our minds. What does it mean to be human in a world where we are no longer superior by the standards we’ve created? Have we set ourselves up for a specieswide existential crisis? And how can embracing our status as animals help us navigate this bizarre future?Book Recommendations:Love’s Work by Gillian RoseSummertime by Danielle CelermajerLighthead by Terrance HayesListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
6/27/202342 minutes, 49 seconds
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Why This Economist Wants to Give Every Poor Child $50,000

“Wealth is the paramount indicator of economic prosperity and well-being,” says the economist Darrick Hamilton. He’s right. Policy analysis tends to focus on income, but it is wealth that often determines whether we can send our kids to college, pay for an illness, quit a job, start a business or make a down payment on a home. Wealth is also the source of some of our deepest social inequalities: The top 10 percent of households in the U.S. own about 70 percent of the nation’s wealth, and the typical Black family has about one-tenth the wealth of the typical white family.Hamilton is an economist at the New School who has spent decades studying the origins of the United States’ wealth disparities and how to close them. His “baby bonds” proposal — which would give poor children up to $50,000 in wealth by the time they become adults — has been put forward as national legislation by politicians like Senator Cory Booker and Representative Ayanna Pressley, and a state-level version of it is about to be established in Connecticut. So I asked him on the show to walk me through the structure of wealth in America today, the policy decisions undergirding that structure and the kinds of policies we could pass to dismantle it.Mentioned:“Can ‘Baby Bonds’ Eliminate the Racial Wealth Gap in Putative Post-Racial America?” by Darrick Hamilton and William Darity, Jr.“A Birthright to Capital” by Darrick Hamilton. Emanuel Nieves, Shira Markoff and David Newville“Hidden in Plain Sight” by The Corporation for Enterprise Development“Umbrellas Don’t Make it Rain” by Darrick Hamilton, William Darity, Jr., Anne E. Price, Vishnu Sridharan and Rebecca TippettBook Recommendations:When Affirmative Action Was White by Ira KatznelsonRacial Conflict and Economic Development by W. Arthur LewisPostcolonial Love Poem by Natalie DiazListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Nate Golden, Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
6/23/202352 minutes, 54 seconds
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What the Heck Is Going on With These U.F.O. Stories?

Earlier this month, a news outlet called The Debrief published a story that included, to put it mildly, some explosive material.The story, reported by Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal, centered on David Grusch, a decorated former combat veteran who has worked in multiple government intelligence agencies and served on the Pentagon’s Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force. In the story, Grusch said he had decided to come forward as a whistle-blower, testifying under oath to Congress that there are longstanding covert programs within the U.S. government that possess crash materials of “nonhuman origin.” His claims are backed by multiple on-the-record sources from the intelligence community.The main reactions to this story have been to either embrace it as definitive truth or dismiss it out of hand. I wanted to approach it differently. What is actually being claimed here? Which claims have evidence, and which don’t? How does this story fit into the broader context of U.F.O. revelations over the past few years? There is a lot to be curious about here. There is also a lot to be skeptical about.Leslie Kean is an independent investigative journalist who has contributed reporting to many of the major U.F.O. stories in recent years, including this most recent one, and she is the author of the 2010 book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.” I asked her on the show so I could get some of my questions answered, and hopefully yours as well.Mentioned:"Intelligence Officials Say U.S. Has Retrieved Craft of Non-Human Origin" by Leslie Kean and Ralph Blumenthal“Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program” by Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean"‘Wow, What Is That?’ Navy Pilots Report Unexplained Flying Objects" by Helene Cooper, Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie Kean"No Longer in Shadows, Pentagon’s U.F.O. Unit Will Make Some Findings Public" by Ralph Blumenthal and Leslie KeanBook Recommendations:The UFO Experience by J. Allen HynekThe UFO Evidence by Richard H. HallAmerican Cosmic by D.W. PasulkaListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 was produced by Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones. The show’s production team also includes Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Garrett Graff and Kristina Samulewski.
6/20/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 23 seconds
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Why Do So Few Democrats Want Biden to Run in 2024?

A recent AP-NORC poll found that just a quarter of voters, including only around half of Democrats, want to see Joe Biden run for president again. Many voters are concerned about his age in particular.That’s a problem for Biden, but it’s not as unusual as it might seem. In 1982, only 37 percent of voters wanted Ronald Reagan, another older president, to run again; he then won the 1984 election in a landslide. And Biden also has a lot going for him: a better-than-expected midterm performance, an impressive record of legislative achievement and a track record of defeating Donald Trump.What are Biden’s chances in 2024? How does he stack up against Republicans like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis? What has his campaign focused on so far, and what should they focus on over the next few years?Jon Favreau served as Barack Obama’s head speechwriter from 2005 to 2013, played a key role in both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and currently co-hosts the podcast “Pod Save America.” So I asked him on the show to talk through the cases for and against Biden in 2024.We cover the concerns over Biden’s age, the strength of Vice President Kamala Harris, the key takeaways from the 2022 midterms, the surprising effectiveness of Biden’s lay-low media strategy, why voters tend to trust Donald Trump’s management of the economy more than Biden’s, how Biden’s bipartisan credentials could help him in 2024 and much more.This episode contains explicit language.Mentioned:“Inside the Complicated Reality of Being America’s Oldest President” by Peter Baker, Michael D. Shear, Katie Rogers and Zolan Kanno-Youngs“These Political Scientists Surveyed 500,000 Voters. Here Are Their Unnerving Conclusions,” with John Sides and Lynn Vavreck on The Ezra Klein ShowBook Recommendations:How to Break Up with Your Phone by Catherine PriceA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganNo One Is Talking About This by Patricia LockwoodListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones. The show’s production team is Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
6/16/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 43 seconds
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What We Learned Reading Ron DeSantis's Books

Although 12 candidates have entered the Republican presidential race so far, only Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida is polling anywhere close to Donald Trump. What does DeSantis actually believe? How has he governed? And what case will he make to Republicans to vote for him over Trump?To answer those questions, I wanted to spend some time reading DeSantis in his own words. So I invited Carlos Lozada — the Pulitzer Prize-winning former book critic for The Washington Post, current Times Opinion columnist and the author of “What Were We Thinking: A Brief Intellectual History of the Trump Era” — to join me. Lozada has read many, many books by and about Republican politicians, including DeSantis’s two books, “Dreams From Our Founding Fathers: First Principles in the Age of Obama” from 2011 and “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival,” released this year.We discuss DeSantis’s striking definition of — and rhetorical assault on — “elites,” why his campaign book makes no effort to showcase bipartisan credentials, DeSantis’s awkward transition from a Tea Party figure to MAGA crusader, what DeSantis has actually done as governor of Florida, why Florida’s Covid record is such a cornerstone of his political appeal, what DeSantis means by “wokeness” and why he’s waging a “war” on it, the surprising absence of major economic ideas from his book, how he is trying to differentiate himself from Trump without alienating Trump voters, whether his aggressive actions toward Disney will backfire and more.Mentioned:"America's Ruling Class" by Angelo CodevillaDreams from Our Founding Fathers by Ron DeSantisThe Courage to Be Free by Ron DeSantisHow To by Randall MunroeBook Recommendations:Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant by Ulysses GrantAn Hour Before Daylight by Jimmy CarterAll the Best, George Bush by George H.W. BushListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Efim Shapiro. The show’s production team is Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero, Edwin Benton, Peter Bergerson, David Wallace-Wells and Kristina Samulewski.
6/13/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 53 seconds
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What Communes and Other Radical Experiments in Living Together Reveal

“Today’s future-positive writers critique our economies while largely seeming to ignore that anything might be amiss in our private lives,” writes Kristen Ghodsee. Even our most ambitious visions of utopia tend to focus on outcomes that can be achieved through public policy — things like abundant clean energy or liberation from employment — while ignoring many of the aspects of our lives that matter to us the most: how we live, raise our children, and tend to our most meaningful relationships.Ghodsee’s new book, “Everyday Utopia: What 2,000 Years of Wild Experiments Can Teach Us About the Good Life,” is an attempt to change that. The book is a tour of radical social experiments from communes and ecovillages to “platonic parenting” and intentional communities. But, on a deeper level, it’s a critique of the way existing structures of family and community life have left so many of us devoid of care and connection, and a vision of what it could mean to organize our lives differently.Mentioned:“The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake” by David BrooksSaving Time by Jenny OdellBook Recommendations:Pirate Enlightenment, or the Real Libertalia by David GraeberThe Dispossessed by Ursula K. LeGuinGender and the Politics of History by Joan Wallach ScottListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 was produced by Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. The show’s production team is Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
6/9/20231 hour, 10 minutes, 19 seconds
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The Book I Wish Every Policymaker Would Read

My pitch for this episode is simple: Jennifer Pahlka has written one of the best policy books I’ve ever read.Pahlka served as deputy chief technology officer in the Obama White House, and she’s the founder and a former executive director of Code for America, a nonprofit that works to enhance government digital services. Over the course of her career, Pahlka has become obsessed with an area of policy that is too often ignored by policymakers: implementation. She was part of the effort to rescue HealthCare.gov in 2013 and was tapped by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020 to help fix California’s unemployment insurance system as it buckled under the weight of the Covid response.It has become a common refrain that the U.S. government is often terrible at delivering even basic services. But Pahlka’s new book — “Recoding America: Why Government Is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better” — puts forward a deeper theory of why government services are so awful, how policy implementation so often goes awry and what it would take to fix those systems so that government could better live up to its promises. It’s an argument that anyone who cares about government in the 21st century needs to take seriously.Book Recommendations:Implementation by Jeffrey L. Pressman and Aaron WildavskyRadical Help by Hilary Cottam“Mandate for Leadership” (chapter 3), edited by Paul Dans and Steven GrovesListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Our production team is Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Isaac Jones and Kristina Samulewski.
6/6/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 8 seconds
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Beyond the ‘Matrix’ Theory of the Mind

Some thoughts on how humans think, how economies grow and why the technologies we think will help so often hurt.Column:“Beyond the ‘Matrix’ Theory of the Mind” by Ezra KleinEpisode Recommendations:Maryanne Wolf on how reading shapes our brainsCal Newport on the problems with the way we workMy A.M.A. on A.I.Gary Marcus on the limits of A.I.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]. 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, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Rollin Hu. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
6/4/202318 minutes
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Fareed Zakaria on Where Russia’s War in Ukraine Stands — and Much More

A lot about the world has changed since February 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine. The war itself has brought a number of surprises, from the tenacity of Ukraine’s resistance to the limits of Western sanctions. Meanwhile, competition between the United States and China has escalated into something resembling a new Cold War, India just surpassed China as the most populous country in the world and countries representing about two-thirds of the world’s population have chosen not to align themselves with the U.S. position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict.Those shifts raise a number of important questions: Where does the Russia-Ukraine war stand today? Are U.S.-China relations headed in the right direction? How will the rise of “nonaligned” countries like India alter the global balance of power? Is America’s longtime global dominance waning?Fareed Zakaria is host of the CNN show “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” a columnist for The Washington Post, and one of the sharpest foreign policy thinkers of our time. We discuss what possible outcomes of the Russia-Ukraine conflict seem likeliest at this moment, why the U.S.-led sanctions on Russia haven’t been nearly as effective as expected, how the Republican Party’s stance on Ukraine could influence the outcome of the war, why tensions between the United States and China have intensified over the last year, the dangerous implications of the Chinese spy balloon debacle, whether the United States should ban TikTok, how America’s hypocrisy about foreign invasions looks to the rest of the world, why so many Global South countries don’t support the West’s sanctions regime on Russia, what India’s rise means for the future global balance of power, what President Biden’s foreign policy should look like moving forward and more.Mentioned:Foreign Affairs’ May/June 2023 issue“The Upside of Rivalry” by Nirupama RaoThe Internationalists by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. ShapiroBook Recommendations:Imagined Communities by Benedict AndersonWealth and Power by Orville Schell and John DeluryThe Idea of India by Sunil KhilnaniListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 was produced by Annie Galvin. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. The show’s production team is Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
6/2/20231 hour, 30 minutes, 26 seconds
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Matter of Opinion: A Look at the 2024 G.O.P. Primary Field

Today we’re bringing you an episode from the latest New York Times Opinion podcast, “Matter of Opinion.” It’s a chat show, hosted by my colleagues Michelle Cottle, Ross Douthat, Carlos Lozada and Lydia Polgreen. Each week, they discuss an issue in the news, the culture or their own work and try to make sense of what is a weird and fascinating time to be alive.In this episode, the hosts take a tour of the 2024 Republican primary field to understand what it takes to survive in the present-day Republican ecosystem — and maybe even beat the Trump in the room. (Note: This episode was recorded on May 18, the week before Ron DeSantis announced his candidacy.)Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioapp“Matter of Opinion” was produced this week by Phoebe Lett, Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Derek Arthur. It was edited by Stephanie Joyce and Annie-Rose Strasser. Mixing by Pat McCusker. Original music by Pat McCusker, Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker. Special thanks to Shannon Busta and Kristina Samulewski.
5/30/202332 minutes, 51 seconds
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If You’re Reading This, You’re Probably ‘WEIRD’

Here’s a little experiment. Take a second to think about how you would fill in the blank in this sentence: “I am _____.”If you’re anything like me, the first descriptors that come to mind are personal attributes (like “curious” or “kind”) or identities (like “a journalist” or “a runner”). And if you answered that way, then I have some news for you: You are weird.I mean that in a very specific way. In social science, WEIRD is an acronym that stands for Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic. Most societies in the world today — and throughout human history — don’t fit that description. And when people from non-WEIRD cultures answer the “I am” statement, they tend to give very different answers, defining themselves with relation-based descriptors like “Moe’s father” or “David’s brother.”That difference is only the tip of the iceberg. Much of what we take for granted as basic elements of human psychology and ethics are actually a peculiar WEIRD way of viewing the world.Joseph Henrich, an anthropologist at Harvard University, believes that this distinction between WEIRD and non-WEIRD psychologies is absolutely central to understanding our modern world. His 2020 book, “The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous,” explores the origins of these differences and argues that the emergence of a distinctly WEIRD psychology was central to the development of everything from the Industrial Revolution and market economies to representative government and human rights.We discuss Henrich’s theory of how “cultural evolution” leads to psychological — even genetic — changes in humans, the difference between societies that experience “shame” as a dominant emotion as opposed to “guilt,” the unique power of religion in driving cultural change, how cultural inventions like reading have literally reshaped human biology, why religious communes tend to outlast secular ones, why Henrich believes there is no static “human nature” aside from our cultural learning abilities, how differences in moral psychology across the United States can predict Donald Trump’s 2016 and 2020 vote share, why higher levels of immigration tend to lead to far more innovation and more.Book recommendations:Why Europe? by Michael MitterauerGuns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Chosen Few by Maristella Botticini and Zvi EcksteinListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Roge Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Our production team is Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Kristina Samulewski.
5/26/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 51 seconds
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The Teen Mental Health Crisis, Part 2

The data is clear: Levels of anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicide have spiked for American teenagers over the last decade. Last Friday’s episode with the psychologist Jean Twenge sifted through that data to uncover both the scale of the crisis and its possible causes. Today’s episode focuses on the experiences behind that data: the individuals who are struggling, and what we can do as friends, parents and a broader society to help them.Lisa Damour is a clinical psychologist, the co-host of the podcast “Ask Lisa” and the author of books including “The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable and Compassionate Adolescents” and “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.” Statistics about teenage mental health are illuminating, but Damour has spent decades working closely with teens, allowing her to fill in some of the gaps in that data and give a nuanced picture of what may be going on. She has emerged from her clinical experience more hopeful about the prospects for helping teens through a life stage — and a moment in history — that poses serious challenges to their well-being.We discuss the neuroscience behind why being a teenager is so emotionally difficult, why Damour doesn’t believe smartphones are primarily to blame for the teen mental health crisis, how overscheduling teens can hurt their social development, why girls experience more anxiety than boys even as they outperform boys in school, which types of smartphone use can be good and bad for young people, the problems with the cultural belief that stress and anxiety should be eliminated at all costs, how to tell the difference between harmful and healthy anxiety, how parents should approach social media use with their children, how all of us can help one another cope with negative emotions and more.Book Recommendations:Psychoanalytic Diagnosis by Nancy McWilliamsTranscendent Kingdom by Yaa GyasiA Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George SaundersListen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact checking by Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Our production team is Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
5/23/20231 hour, 8 minutes, 34 seconds
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The Teen Mental Health Crisis, Part 1

We’re in the midst of a serious teen mental health crisis. The number of teenagers and young adults with clinical depression more than doubled between 2011 and 2021. The suicide rate for teenagers nearly doubled from 2007 to 2019, and tripled for 10- to 14-year- olds in particular. According to the C.D.C., nearly 25 percent of teenage girls made a suicide plan in 2021. What’s going on in the lives of teenagers that has produced such a startling uptick?Jean Twenge, a research psychologist and author of the books “iGen” and “Generations,” has spent years poring over mental health statistics and survey data trying to answer this question. In her view, the story in the data is clear: Our teenage mental health crisis is the direct product of the rise of smartphones and social media.So I wanted to have Twenge on the show to elicit and interrogate her argument. What is the actual evidence for the smartphone thesis? How do we account for the fact that teenage girls and liberals are having far worse outcomes than boys and conservatives? What about alternate explanations for this crisis, like meritocratic pressure, the economy, school shootings and climate change? And if Twenge is right that the culprit is smartphones, then what can we do to address that problem?If you are having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our new iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioappMentioned:“We’re Missing a Key Driver of Teen Anxiety” by Derek Thompson“The Paradox of Wealthy Nations’ Low Adolescent Life Satisfaction” by Robert Rudolf and Dirk Bethmann“Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation” by the U.S. Surgeon General’s AdvisoryBook Recommendations:The Problem With Everything by Meghan DaumWhat’s Our Problem? by Tim UrbanNine Ladies by Heather MollThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Mary Marge Locker. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Our production team is Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Efim Shapiro and Kristina Samulewski.
5/19/20231 hour, 20 minutes, 53 seconds
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A Libertarian and I Debate the Debt Ceiling

On Jan. 19, the United States officially hit its debt limit. In response, the Treasury Department began using accounting maneuvers known as “extraordinary measures” to continue paying the government’s obligations temporarily. But according to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, that money could run out as soon as June 1. If the United States hasn’t raised or suspended its borrowing cap, known as the debt ceiling, by then, America will default on its debt.But Republicans are currently refusing to raise the debt ceiling until their policy demands are met. Negotiations between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the Biden administration are ongoing, but it is very difficult to see a deal that McCarthy’s hard-line members would vote for and Biden would sign. Meanwhile, default — and the accompanying economic calamity — draws ever closer.Veronique de Rugy is an economist at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a nationally syndicated columnist. For years, she’s argued that the United States’ debt levels are far too high and has defended the debt ceiling as a way to rein them in. I disagree. In my view, the debt ceiling is one of the most absurd and dangerous laws on the books. So I invited her on the show to make her case.But I also wanted to talk about the broader fiscal picture on which this entire fight is predicated. America’s debt is currently about 100 percent of the U.S. G.D.P., up from just 35 percent in 2007, and is projected to reach 185 percent by 2052. Meanwhile, Social Security is projected to run out of its cash reserves by 2033, and the trust fund funding Medicare hospital coverage (Medicare Part A) is projected to run out by 2028.What do those numbers actually mean? How worried should we be about them? And what could be done to address our growing debt?Mentioned:“The Debt-Ceiling Fight Is a Symptom of Congress’s Disease” by Veronique de Rugy“The Liquidation of Government Debt” by Carmen M. Reinhart and M. Belen SbranciaBook Recommendations:Range by David EpsteinKindly Inquisitors by Jonathan RauchLet Them In by Jason L. RileyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Roge Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker, and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Our production team is Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Carole Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.
5/16/202356 minutes, 43 seconds
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Best Of: A Weird, Wonderful Conversation with Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the great living science fiction writers and one of the most astute observers of how planets look, feel and work. His Mars Trilogy imagined what it might be like for humans to settle on the red planet. His best-selling novel “The Ministry for the Future” is a masterful effort at envisioning what might happen to Earth in a future of unchecked climate change. Robinson has a rare command of both science and human nature, and his writing crystallizes how the two must work together if we are to rescue our collective planetary future from possible ruin.In his 2022 book, a rare turn to nonfiction called “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” Robinson trains his attention on the planet we inhabit in the here and now, particularly on one of his favorite places on Earth: the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California and Nevada. The new book is part memoir, part guidebook, part meditation on how time, space and even politics take shape in a wondrous geological landscape.In this conversation, recorded in July 2022, we discuss why Robinson decided to start writing outdoors, what it was like to experience the Sierras on psychedelics in his youth, what “actor-network theory” is and how it helps us understand our relationship to the planet and to our own bodies, why we should think of climate change more like we do plane crashes, what hiking backpacks say about American consumerism, how we should change our relationship to technology in order to be happier, why the politics of wanting are so confusing yet important, why Robinson is so excited about ideas like a wage ratio and rewilding schemes, how the “structure of feeling” around climate has changed, why Robinson is feeling more hopeful about Earth’s future these days and more.We’ll be back with new episodes next week.Mentioned:“The Most Important Book I’ve Read This Year” by Vox Conversations“Your Kids Are Not Doomed” by Ezra Klein“Design for the Real World” by Victor Papanek“Thomas Piketty’s Case for ‘Participatory Socialism’” by The Ezra Klein ShowBook Recommendations:A Brief History of Equality by Thomas PikettyThe Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David WengrowThe Echo Maker by Richard PowersThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” 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 Isaac Jones and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Executive produced by Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
5/12/20231 hour, 32 minutes, 2 seconds
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Best Of: Why Adults Lose the ‘Beginner’s Mind’

Here’s a sobering thought: The older we get, the harder it is for us to learn, to question, to reimagine. This isn’t just habit hardening into dogma. It’s encoded into the way our brains change as we age. And it’s worsened by an intellectual and economic culture that prizes efficiency and dismisses play.Alison Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, where she runs the Cognitive Development and Learning Lab; she’s also the author of over 100 papers and half a dozen books, including “The Gardener and the Carpenter” and “The Philosophical Baby.” What I love about her work is she takes the minds of children seriously. The child’s mind is tuned to learn. They are, she writes, the R. & D. departments of the human race. But a mind tuned to learn works differently from a mind trying to exploit what it already knows.So instead of asking what children can learn from us, perhaps we need to reverse the question: What can we learn from them?In this conversation, recorded in April 2021, Gopnik and I discuss the way children think, the cognitive reasons social change so often starts with the young, and the power of play. We talk about why Gopnik thinks children should be considered an entirely different form of Homo sapiens, the crucial difference between “spotlight” consciousness and “lantern” consciousness, why “going for a walk with a 2-year-old is like going for a walk with William Blake,” what A.I. researchers are borrowing from human children, the effects of different types of meditation on the brain and more.Book recommendations:Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakMary Poppins in the Park by P.L. TraversThe Children of Green Knowe by L.M. BostonThoughts? Email us at [email protected]. (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 Roge 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 Kristina Samulewski.
5/9/20231 hour, 1 minute, 29 seconds
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Best Of: How the Fed Is ‘Shaking the Entire System’

On Monday, First Republic Bank folded before being sold by regulators to JPMorgan Chase. At the time, it was the 14th largest bank in the U.S. and it is the second-largest American bank by assets to ever collapse. The story of First Republic’s fall is similar to that of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature before it – the value of the bank’s assets began to plummet as the Fed raised interest rates to fight inflation, causing a crisis of confidence among investors and depositors. This is exactly the kind of situation that the economic historian Adam Tooze warned of when he came on the show in October of 2022. In that conversation, Tooze argued that the Fed’s interest rate hikes were “shaking the entire system” – putting pressure on every level of the global financial system, from regional banks to countries that borrow on the U.S. dollar. It would only be a matter of time, he predicted, before things started breaking. Well, things are certainly breaking now, and it’s very possible there’s more to come. The Fed decided to raise interest rates once again on Wednesday, bringing them above 5 percent for the first time in more than 15 years. So it felt like the right time to revisit our conversation about the fragile, uncertain future of the global economy at this history-making moment and the Fed’s role in it. We also 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 the confluence of high inflation, rising interest rates and high levels of debt points to an economic “polycrisis” unlike any the world has seen, 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.Editor’s note: Due to a technical error, a previous version of this episode featured the wrong audio file. The episode is now updated with the correct audio.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 [email protected] 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” 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.
5/5/20231 hour, 25 minutes, 56 seconds
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The Culture Creating A.I. Is Weird. Here’s Why That Matters.

In recent months, we’ve witnessed the rise of chatbots that can pass law and business school exams, artificial companions who’ve become best friends and lovers and music generators that produce remarkably humanlike songs. It’s hard to know how to process it all. But if there’s one thing that’s certain, it’s this: The future — shaped by technologies like artificial intelligence — is going to be profoundly weird. It’s going to look, feel and function differently from the world we have grown to recognize.How do we learn to navigate — even embrace — the weirdness of the world we’re entering into?Erik Davis is the author of the books “High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica and Visionary Experience in the Seventies” and “TechGnosis: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information” and writes the newsletter “Burning Shore.” For Davis, “weirdness” isn’t just a quality of things that don’t make sense to us, it’s an interpretive framework that helps us better understand the cultures and technologies that will shape our wondrous, wild future.We discuss how Silicon Valley’s particularly weird culture has altered the trajectory of A.I. development, why programs like ChatGPT can profoundly unsettle our sense of reality and our own humanity, how the behaviors of A.I. systems reveal far more about humanity than we like to admit, why we might be in a “sorcerer’s apprentice moment” for artificial intelligence, why we often turn to myth and science fiction to explain technologies whose implications we don’t yet grasp, why A.I. developers are willing to keep designing technologies that they think may destroy humanity and more.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:Pharmako-AI by K Allado-McDowell“AI EEEEEEE!!!” by Erik Davis“The Merge” by Sam Altman“The Weird and the Banal” by Erik Davis“There Is No A.I.” by Jaron LanierBook Recommendations:God, Human, Animal, Machine by Meghan O’GieblynPsychonauts by Mike JayWeird Studies (podcast)Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Efim Shapiro. The show’s production team is Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
5/2/20231 hour, 5 minutes, 12 seconds
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Democrats: Pay Attention to What’s Happening in California

California is a land of contrasts. The state is home to staggering wealth, world-remaking tech companies, and some of the world’s boldest climate policy. It also has immense income inequality, arguably the worst housing crisis in the country, and the highest poverty rate in the nation when you factor in housing costs.The dysfunction of our national politics is often attributed to division and gridlock. But in California, Democrats are at the wheel. No Republican has held statewide office in over a decade. And in many major cities — Los Angeles and San Francisco, for example — Republicans have little or no political power. For that reason, the tensions and difficulties facing the Golden State are often a signal of what is to come for the Democratic Party nationally.If California has long been a bellwether for national liberal politics, Senator Scott Wiener has been something of a bellwether for California politics. Senator Wiener has represented San Francisco in the California Senate since 2016 and, before that, served on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was introducing bill after bill to address the state’s housing affordability crisis long before the term “YIMBY” was a widespread political label. And in recent years, he’s introduced legislation that would decriminalize certain psychedelics, provide access to therapy to all incarcerated Californians, and pilot supervised injection sites.So I wanted to talk to Senator Wiener about the political workings of his weird city and state — a place where traditional labels break down, where abundant resources meet equally abundant problems and where change is actually happening.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:“Yes in Our Backyards” by Bill McKibbenBook Recommendations:And the Band Played On by Randy ShiltsThe House on Mango Street by Sandra CisnerosLast Call by Daniel OkrentWheel of Time seriesThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Emefa Agawu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld. The show’s production team is Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Erik Mebust, Misha Chellam, Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
4/28/20231 hour, 18 minutes, 41 seconds
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Best Of: The War Within the Republican Party

On Monday, Fox News abruptly announced that the network and its star primetime host, Tucker Carlson, “have agreed to part ways” after more than a decade. The announcement came less than a week after Fox agreed to pay $787.5 million in a defamation lawsuit that prominently featured Carlson’s show and its role in spreading misinformation about the 2020 election. The news is just the latest instantiation of a broader story: In recent years, the Republican Party has morphed from a coherent institution into a fractured movement at war with itself. Conservative media, and Fox News in particular, played a central role in that shift. And now those same dynamics are tearing the conservative media ecosystem apart as well. How did we get here? How did the Tucker Carlsons of the world take over the G.O.P? And what comes next as these dynamics continue to play out? There are few scholars who have studied these kinds of questions as closely as Nicole Hemmer. Hemmer is an associate professor of history at Vanderbilt University 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”. We released this conversation a few months ago, in January of this year, but it remains as relevant as ever.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.Book Recommendations:Fit Nation by Natalia Mehlman PetrzelaDreamland by Carly GoodmanFreedom’s Dominion by Jefferson CowieThoughts? Email us at [email protected]. (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 Kristina Samulewski.
4/25/20231 hour, 23 minutes, 20 seconds
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Matthew Desmond On America’s Addiction to Poverty

According to the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, 14.3 percent of Americans — nearly 50 million people — were living in poverty in December. The scale of poverty in the U.S. dwarfs that of most of our peer countries. And it raises the question: Why does so much poverty persist in one of the richest countries in the world?For the Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond, the answer is simple: Poverty is a policy choice. It persists because we allow it to. And we allow it to persist because so many of us — whether we realize it or not — benefit from the exploitation of the poor.Desmond’s 2016 book, the Pulitzer Prize winner “Evicted,” was a powerful ethnographic account of what it means to experience the depths of poverty. But his new book, “Poverty, by America,” is less about the poor than it is about the rest of us. It is about the people who are more comfortable with the perpetuation of poverty than with the changes that would be demanded for its abolition.So this conversation is about why poverty in America persists, the choices we could make to end it and why we as a country are so stubbornly resistant to making those choices. We also discuss the heated debate over how to measure poverty in the first place, why Desmond thinks poverty is primarily a product of “exploitation,” why over $140 billion of government aid ends up never making it into the hands of the people it’s intended to help, Desmond’s view that the U. S. does “more to subsidize affluence than to alleviate poverty,” why the daily cognitive cost of poverty is as severe as losing a night of sleep, how the U. S. passed its most successful anti-poverty policy in decades and then let it expire, why Americans seem more willing to tolerate high poverty than high prices, why Desmond thinks sectoral bargaining and public housing are key pillars of any anti-poverty agenda, what it means to become a “poverty abolitionist” and more.Mentioned:Evicted by Matthew DesmondHomelessness Is a Housing Problem by Gregg Colburn and Clayton Page Aldern“The Time Tax” by Annie LowreyScarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir“What the Rich Don’t Want to Admit About the Poor” by Ezra KleinBook Recommendations:What Then Must We Do? by Leo TolstoyRace for Profit by Keeanga-Yamahtta TaylorRandom Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlancThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Roge Karma, with Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music 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.
4/21/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 4 seconds
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The ‘Quiet Catastrophe’ Brewing in Our Social Lives

It’s impossible to deny that the U.S. has a serious loneliness problem. One 2018 report by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 22 percent of all adults — almost 60 million Americans — said they often or always felt lonely or socially isolated. That was a full two years before the Covid pandemic. And Americans appear to be getting lonelier over time: From 1990 to 2021, there was a 25 percentage point decrease in the number of Americans who reported having five or more close friends. Young people now report feeling lonelier than the elderly.This widespread loneliness is often analogized to a disease, an epidemic. But that label obscures something important: Loneliness in America isn’t merely the result of inevitable or abstract forces, like technological progress; it’s the product of social structures we’ve chosen — wittingly or unwittingly — to build for ourselves.Sheila Liming is an associate professor of communications and creative media at Champlain College and the author of the new book “Hanging Out: The Radical Power of Killing Time.” In the book, Liming investigates what she calls the “quiet catastrophe” brewing in our social lives: the devastating fact that we’ve grown much less likely to simply spend time together outside our partnerships, workplaces and family units. What would it look like to reconfigure our world to make social connection easier for all of us?We discuss how the structures of our lives and physical spaces have made atomization rather than community our society’s default setting, the surprising class differences in how far we live from our families, the social costs of wearing headphones and earbuds in public, how technology has enabled us to avoid the social awkwardness and rejection inherent in building community, the fact that the nuclear family is a historical aberration — and maybe a mistake, how texting and “ghosting” affect the resilience of our core relationships, why shows like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” are entirely built around socializing at the office and what we are losing in an era of increased remote work, why some parents are revolting against their kids having sleepovers and more.Mentioned:“You’d Be Happier Living Closer to Friends. Why Don’t You?” by Anne Helen Petersen“The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake” by David BrooksFull Surrogacy Now by Sophie LewisRegarding the Pain of Others by Susan SontagLetters from Tove by Tove JanssonBook Recommendations:Black Paper by Teju ColeOn the Inconvenience of Other People by Lauren BerlantThe Hare by Melanie FinnThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Annie Galvin, with Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
4/18/20231 hour, 14 minutes, 35 seconds
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This Philosopher Wants Liberals to Take Political Power Seriously

America today faces a crisis of governance. In the face of numerous challenges — from climate change, to housing shortages, to pandemics — our institutions struggle to act quickly and decisively. Democratic processes often get captured by special interests or paralyzed by polarization. And, in response, public faith in government has reached a new low.For the political philosopher Danielle Allen, this crisis requires a complete transformation of our democratic institutions. “Representation as designed cannot work under current conditions,” she writes. “We have no choice but to undertake a significant project of democracy renovation.” Allen’s most recent book — “Justice By Means of Democracy” — puts forth a sweeping vision of what she calls “power-sharing liberalism,” which aims to place political equality, power and participation at the center of liberal thinking.But Allen isn’t just a theorist of liberal governance; she’s actively applying her insights in the real world. As the director of Harvard’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics, she’s convened interdisciplinary groups to tackle a range of challenges from building Covid-19 testing infrastructure to innovating in A.I. governance. She was co-chair of the “Our Common Purpose” commission, which put forward over 30 specific policy recommendations for reinventing American democracy. She even ran for governor of Massachusetts.So this is a conversation about what it would mean to build a better, more responsive and inclusive government — and the numerous challenges standing in the way of doing that. Along the way, we discuss liberals’ failure to take power seriously, Colorado’s experiments with “plural voting,” Seattle’s efforts to publicly finance elections through “democracy bucks,” Taiwan’s groundbreaking innovations in deliberative democracy, whether most citizens actually want deeper participation in government — or just better results from it, what it would mean to democratically govern AI development and much more.Mentioned:“Introducing Power-Sharing Liberalism” by Danielle Allen“Movement vs. Abundance Progressives” by Misha David ChellamHow Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt“Our Common Purpose” Report“How A.I. Fails Us”Book Recommendations:The Darkened Light of Faith by Melvin L. RogersLife 3.0 by Max TegmarkOpen Democracy by Héléne LandemoreThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Kristin Lin, and Roge Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
4/14/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 26 seconds
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What Biden’s Top A.I. Thinker Concluded We Should Do

In October, the White House released a 70-plus-page document called the “Blueprint for an A.I. Bill of Rights.” The document’s ambition was sweeping. It called for the right for individuals to “opt out” from automated systems in favor of human ones, the right to a clear explanation as to why a given A.I. system made the decision it did, and the right for the public to give input on how A.I. systems are developed and deployed.For the most part, the blueprint isn’t enforceable by law. But if it did become law, it would transform how A.I. systems would need to be devised. And, for that reason, it raises an important set of questions: What does a public vision for A.I. actually look like? What do we as a society want from this technology, and how can we design policy to orient it in that direction?There are few people who have thought as deeply about those questions as Alondra Nelson. As deputy director and acting director of the Biden White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, she spearheaded the effort to create the A.I. Bill of Rights blueprint. She is now a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study and a distinguished senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. So I invited her on the show to discuss how the government is thinking about the A.I. policy challenge, what a regulatory framework for A.I. could look like, the possibility of a “public option” for A.I. development and much more.Mentioned:Artificial Intelligence Risk Management FrameworkBlueprint for an A.I. Bill of RightsBook Recommendations:Data Driven by Karen LevyThe Master Switch by Tim WuKindred by Octavia ButlerThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Roge Karma, Kristin Lin and Jeff Geld. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Efim Shapiro. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
4/11/20231 hour, 13 minutes, 14 seconds
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Why A.I. Might Not Take Your Job or Supercharge the Economy

Typically when we put out a call for audience questions, there’s no single topic that dominates. This time was different. The questions we received were overwhelmingly focused on artificial intelligence: Do A.I. systems pose an existential threat to humanity? Will robots take our jobs? How could these machines potentially make our lives — and the lives of our children — better?So I asked the show’s senior editor, Roge Karma, to join me to talk through them. We also discuss my mixed feelings about the calls to “pause” A.I. development, why I’m less worried about rogue A.I. systems than the incentives of the companies and countries developing A.I., the need for a “public vision” for A.I. development, whether A.I. companions can help address widespread loneliness, why I’m skeptical that A.I. advances will lead to skyrocketing economic productivity, the possibility that A.I. advances will lead to a post-work utopia, why I think of A.I. less as a normal technology and more as a “hyper object,” what A.I. systems are unveiling about what it means to be human and more.Mentioned:“Natural Selection Favors AIs over Humans” by Dan Hendrycks“2022 Expert Survey on Progress in AI”God, Human, Animal, Machine by Meghan O’Gieblyn“Resisting dehumanization in the age of A.I.” with Emily Bender“The Moral Economy of High-Tech Modernism” by Henry Farrell and Marion FourcadeRecommendations:“Some of Us Are Brave” by Danielle Ponder“In Memory of a Honeybee” by Felix Rösch“Clouds” by Felix Rösch and Laura Masotto“Driven” by Felix RöschMabe FrattiTrance Frendz by Ólafur Arnalds and Nils FrahmThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Roge Karma, Kristin Lin and Jeff Geld. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero and Kristina Samulewski.
4/7/20231 hour, 3 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Most Amazing — and Dangerous — Technology in the World

“We rarely think about chips, yet they’ve created the modern world,” writes the historian Chris Miller.He’s not exaggerating. Semiconductors don’t just power our phones and computers; they also enable our cars, planes and home appliances to function. They are essential to everything from developing advanced military equipment to training artificial intelligence systems. Chips are the foundation of modern economic prosperity, military strength and geopolitical power.But semiconductors are also part of one of the most concentrated supply chains of any technology today. One Taiwanese company, TSMC, produces 90 percent of the most advanced chips. A single Dutch firm, ASML, produces all of the world’s EUV lithography machines, which are essential to produce leading-edge chips. The entire industry is built like this.That doesn’t just make the chip supply chain vulnerable to external shocks; it also makes it easily weaponizable by the powers that control it. In October, the Biden administration banned exports of advanced chips — and the equipment needed to produce those chips — to China. In August, President Biden signed into law the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, which includes a $52 billion investment to on-shore U.S. chip manufacturing. China has invested tens of billions of dollars over the past decade to build a domestic semiconductor industry of its own. Chips have become to the geopolitics of the 21st century what oil was to the geopolitics of the 20th.There is no better or more timely explanation of the semiconductor industry — and the geopolitics that have formed around them — than Miller’s new book, “Chip War: The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology.” So I asked him on the show to talk me through what semiconductors are, why they matter and how they are shaping everything from U.S.-China relations and the Russia-Ukraine war to the Biden policy agenda and the future of A.I.Mentioned:“The Problem With Everything-Bagel Liberalism” by Ezra KleinBook Recommendations:The World For Sale by Javier Blas and Jack FarchyNexus by Jonathan Reed WinklerPrestige, Manipulation and Coercion by Joseph TorigianThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music 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.
4/4/202357 minutes, 49 seconds
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Best Of: A Powerful Theory of Why the Far Right Is Thriving Across the Globe

In last November's midterm elections, voters placed the Republican Party in charge of the House of Representatives. In 2024, it’s very possible that Republicans will take over the Senate as well and voters will elect Donald Trump — or someone like him — as president. 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 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.In this conversation, taped in November 2022, 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 [email protected]. (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 episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Roge 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.
3/31/20231 hour, 31 minutes, 1 second
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Trump’s Legal Jeopardy and America’s Political Crossroads

Donald Trump’s legal troubles are mounting. A Manhattan grand jury investigation into the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels could soon make Trump the first former American president ever to be criminally indicted.But the Manhattan case isn’t the only source of legal risk for Trump. In Georgia, the Fulton County district attorney is considering criminal charges for Trump’s efforts to influence the 2020 election, and the Department of Justice is investigating his role in the Jan. 6 riots and the removal of classified documents from the White House.This level of legal vulnerability surrounding a former president is unprecedented. It’s also unsurprising — Trump routinely flouts protocols and norms. But even more than his disregard for convention, Trump has a knack for forcing our legal and political systems into predicaments that don’t really have good solutions. How should a political system handle criminal charges against a current political candidate? Is it appropriate for prosecutors to consider the risk of mob violence in weighing charges? And what’s the risk of damage to our institutions of holding Trump accountable — and for failing to do so?[You can listen to this episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music, Google or wherever you get your podcasts.]David French, my colleague at The New York Times, is a lawyer and conservative commentator who has been trying to parse the legal merits of the Trump inquiries and the thorny political questions they raise. In this episode, we explore the investigations into Trump’s misconduct and the interconnected risks that he, his supporters and the Republican Party pose to our political system.We discuss the details of the Stormy Daniels case and why it may not be a slam dunk; the inquiry into Trump’s efforts to overturn election results in Georgia; the appropriateness of weighing the “national interest” when prosecuting a political figure; whether Gerald Ford’s 1974 pardon of Richard Nixon created a precedent that presidents are above the law; why French worries about giving a mob “veto power” over the rule of law; the Department of Justice’s Jan. 6 investigation and why the legal definition of incitement might be hard to clear; French’s belief that moral courage among Republican elites could stopped Trump’s rise to power; why he thinks the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox News was a “tremendous public service”; whether Fox News is really showing “respect” for its viewers, and more.Mentioned:“MAGA, Not Trump, Controls the Movement Now” by David French“The Potential Trump Indictment Is Unwise” by David FrenchBook Recommendations:We the Fallen People by Robert Tracy McKenzieThe Napoleonic Wars by Alexander MikaberidzeRing of Steel by Alexander WatsonThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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” is produced by Annie Galvin, Emefa Agawu, Jeff Geld, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Original music 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.
3/28/202358 minutes, 24 seconds
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A Radical Way of Thinking About Money

It’s been two weeks since the Silicon Valley Bank run, and we’re still feeling the ripple effects — not just at banks like Signature, First Republic and Credit Suisse, which are definitely taking a beating. Across the industry, too, banks are on edge, and regulators are rushing to keep the system together.Every financial crisis is different. And every financial crisis is the same. Assets that a lot of people thought were safe — mortgage-backed securities in the 2008 crisis and long-term Treasury bonds in this latest bank run — end up not being so secure. When assets start failing, people panic. Usually, regulators pick up the pieces with some kind of bailout, and there are calls for more oversight. The theory goes that regulations should focus on keeping a couple of wayward institutions in line, and we’ve gone through this playbook over and over again. We’re going through it now, and it’s time we take a different approach to banking regulation.Morgan Ricks is a law professor at Vanderbilt University who thinks those measures often miss the mark in addressing the problems baked into our banking system. He’s worked both on Wall Street and in the Treasury Department. He wrote the book “The Money Problem,” which reflects on the 2008 financial crisis. But the theory he presents in the book ends up being explanatory today.We discuss what lessons banking regulators missed from the Great Recession; the need to panic-proof the entire financial system, as opposed to developing regulations around a systemic risk that he finds hard to define; why it’s important now to revisit the basics of banking, its relationship to creating money and the tendencies that get banks in trouble; the government’s role in insuring or backstopping deposits; what it would mean for the government to start treating money as a public good for us all; and more.Mentioned:“Scrap the Bank Deposit Insurance Limit” by Lev Menand and Morgan Ricks“FedAccounts: Digital Dollars” by Morgan Ricks, J. Crawford and L. MenandBook Recommendations:Flash Boys by Michael LewisThe Idea Factory by Jon GertnerThe Fed Unbound by Lev MenandThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin, Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin and Jeff Geld. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music by Isaac Jones. 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.
3/24/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 53 seconds
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Freaked Out? We Really Can Prepare for A.I.

OpenAI last week released its most powerful language model yet: GPT-4, which vastly outperforms its predecessor, GPT-3.5, on a variety of tasks.GPT-4 can pass the bar exam in the 90th percentile, while the previous model struggled around in the 10th percentile. GPT-4 scored in the 88th percentile on the LSAT, up from GPT-3.5’s 40th percentile. And on the advanced sommelier theory test, GPT-4 performed better than 77 percent of test-takers. (It’s predecessor hovered around 46 percent.) These are stunning results — not just what the model can do, but the rapid pace of progress. And Open AI’s ChatGPT and other chat bots are just one example of what recent A.I. systems can achieve.Kelsey Piper is a senior writer at Vox, where she’s been ahead of the curve covering advanced A.I., its world-changing possibilities, and the people creating it. Her work is informed by her deep knowledge of the handful of companies that arguably have the most influence over the future of A.I.We discuss whether artificial intelligence has coherent “goals” — and whether that matters; whether the disasters ahead in A.I. will be small enough to learn from or “truly catastrophic”; the challenge of building “social technology” fast enough to withstand malicious uses of A.I.; whether we should focus on slowing down A.I. progress — and the specific oversight and regulation that could help us do it; why Piper is more optimistic this year that regulators can be “on the ball’ with A.I.; how competition between the U.S. and China shapes A.I. policy; and more.This episode contains strong language.Mentioned:“The Man of Your Dreams” by Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz“The Case for Taking A.I. Seriously as a Threat to Humanity” by Kelsey Piper“The Return of the Magicians” by Ross Douthat“Let’s Think About Slowing Down A.I.” by Katja GraceBook Recommendations:The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard RhodesAsterisk MagazineThe Silmarillion by J. R. R. TolkienThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Original music by Isaac Jones. 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.
3/21/20231 hour, 34 minutes, 20 seconds
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My View on A.I.

This is something a bit different: Not an interview, but a commentary of my own. We’ve done a lot of shows on A.I. of late, and there are more to come. On Tuesday, GPT-4 was released, and its capabilities are stunning, and in some cases, chilling. More on that in Tuesday’s episode. But I wanted to take a moment to talk through my own views on A.I. and how I’ve arrived at them. I’ve come to believe that we’re in a potentially brief interregnum before the pace of change accelerates to a rate that is far faster than is safe for society. Here’s why.Column:“This Changes Everything” by Ezra KleinEpisode Recommendations:Sam Altman on the A.I. revolutionBrian Christian on the alignment problemGary Marcus on the case for A.I. skepticismTed Chiang on what humans really fear about A.I.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]. 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, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Rollin Hu. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Original music by Isaac Jones and Pat McCusker. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.
3/19/202316 minutes, 5 seconds
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Why Silicon Valley Bank Collapsed — And What Comes Next

Last Friday, in the largest bank failure since 2008, Silicon Valley Bank failed.Banks fail all the time. But unless it’s a big or highly-connected bank, most of us don’t pay much attention. That’s because at the average bank, about half of all accounts are F.D.I.C.-insured. That means, if a typical bank fails, the F.D.I.C. will step in and pay every depositor back up to $250,000.But Silicon Valley Bank was not a typical bank. It seems that only around a single digit percentage of accounts were under $250,000. And the people who banked at Silicon Valley Bank are among the most powerful in the world. Nearly half of venture finance-backed tech and life-science companies had money in there. When these people start shouting, those in power listen.And so the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department and the F.D.I.C. stepped in forcefully. They retroactively insured all the accounts, and created an emergency system to backstop other struggling banks, too. But that doesn’t mean this is over. Bank runs are narrative phenomena. Rising interest rates are revealing a financial system that had only planned for low interest rates — in perpetuity. And if, in practice, we’re going to make whole any depositor at any bank no matter how much money is in the account, shouldn’t we make that into actual policy, and charge banks for the privilege of full social insurance?Noah Smith is an economist, a former columnist at Bloomberg, and the author of the fantastic Substack Noahpinion, and he’s done some of the clearest writing and coverage of this mess. We talk about the above, as well as what the crypto boosters — many of whom were begging for a bailout here — got wrong about trust and finance, the problem the Fed now faces raising rates to fight inflation, whether this was a “bailout,” how a bank can be “narratively important” no matter its size, and much more.Mentioned:“How the Fed is ‘Shaking the Entire System’” by The Ezra Klein Show“Why the US Backstop After SVB’s Failure Is a Bailout” by Joe WeisenthalNoahpinionBook Recommendations:Chip War by Chris MillerHow Asia Works by Joe StudwellThe Invisible Bridge by Rick PerlsteinThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Mixing by Sonia Herrero and Efim Shapiro. Original music 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.
3/16/202358 minutes, 48 seconds
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How China Went From Economic Superstar to Faltering Giant

In just a few years, the narrative on China has almost completely flipped. The dominant sentiments in America had been awe, envy and a kind of fear. China’s growth seemed relentless. Its manufacturing prowess was lapping ours. It weathered the pandemic without the mass death seen in the West. It could build housing and transit and infrastructure at a speed we could no longer even imagine.And then, as 2022 ticked over to 2023, things changed. China’s real estate bubble popped. Its Zero Covid policies turned pathological. Its leader, Xi Jinping, turned what many saw as a technocracy with autocratic characteristics into something closer to a plain old autocracy. Foreign investors began looking to diversify. Companies that had long relied on China, like Apple, began trying in earnest to build manufacturing chains elsewhere. And under President Biden, American policy toward China began to match Trumpian rhetoric toward China: Slowing China’s rise, and building America’s ability to manufacture crucial goods, became central goals.So what’s true about China right now? Which of these narratives, if any, hold water? Dan Wang is the technology analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics and a visiting scholar at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center. He focuses particularly on the core vector of U.S.-China competition: technological innovation and manufacturing prowess. Each year, his annual letter about what China can do, and how it does it, is eagerly awaited by many in the United States who are trying to understand that nation’s rise. In 2020 and 2021, those letters were profoundly bullish on China. In 2022, his sentiments turned. And so I wanted to explore the various sides of the China story with him.Mentioned:“China’s Hidden Tech Revolution” by Dan Wang2020 Letter by Dan Wang2021 Letter by Dan Wang2022 Letter by Dan WangBook Recommendations:The Jesuits by Markus FriedrichLast and First Men by Olaf StapledonDisturbing the Universe by Freeman DysonThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Efim Shapiro. Original music 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.
3/14/20231 hour, 20 minutes, 16 seconds
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The Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright

In 1972, when Congress passed Title IX to tackle gender equity in education, men were 13 percentage points more likely to hold bachelor’s degrees than women; today women are 15 points more likely to do so than men. The median real hourly wage for working men is lower today than it was in the 1970s. And men account for almost three out of four “deaths of despair,” from overdose or suicide.These are just a sample of the array of dizzying statistics that suffuse Richard Reeves’s book “Of Boys and Men.” We’re used to thinking about gender inequality as a story of insufficient progress for women and girls. There’s a good reason for that: Men have dominated human societies for centuries, and myriad inequalities — from the gender pay gap to the dearth of female politicians and chief executives — persist to this day.But Reeves’s core argument is that there’s no way to fully understand inequality in America today without understanding the ways that men and boys — particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds — are falling behind.So I wanted to have Reeves on the show to take a closer look at the data on how men and boys are struggling and explore what can be done about it. We discuss how the current education system places boys at a disadvantage; why boys raised in poverty are less likely than girls to escape it; the fact that female students are twice as likely to study abroad and serve in the Peace Corps as their male peers; Reeves’s policy proposal to have boys start school a year later than girls; why so few men are entering professions like teaching, nursing and therapy — and what we can do about it; why so many boys look to figures like Jordan Peterson and Andrew Tate for inspiration; what a better social “script” for masculinity might look like and more.Mentioned:"Gender Achievement Gaps in U.S. School Districts" by Sean F. Reardon, Erin M. Fahle, Demetra Kalogrides, Anne Podolsky and Rosalia C. Zarate"Redshirt the Boys" by Richard ReevesBook recommendations:"The Tenuous Attachments of Working-Class Men" by Kathryn Edin, Timothy Nelson, Andrew Cherlin and Robert FrancisCareer and Family by Claudia GoldinThe Life of Dad by Anna MachinThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carol Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.
3/10/20231 hour, 58 minutes, 4 seconds
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If You Read the G.O.P.’s Anti-Trans Policies, You’ll See What It Really Wants

In the 2023 legislative session alone, Republican state legislators have introduced more than a hundred bills seeking to restrict transgender people’s freedoms, rights and health care access. To put that in perspective, in the 2018 legislative session, fewer than 20 such bills restricting transgender rights were proposed.Over the weekend, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the commentator Michael Knowles said that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.” These bills have many different aims and often conflicting rationales, but taken together, they reveal the Republican Party’s ambitions to do nothing less than what Knowles suggested.So what are these policies intended to do to the people they target? And why are there so many of them now?Gillian Branstetter is a communications strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Women’s Rights Project and L.G.B.T.Q. and H.I.V. Project. She’s been tracking and studying this wave of legislation, and she guides me through it here. We discuss the attempt by Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to classify some forms of gender-affirming care as child abuse, why the Republican Party has united around anti-trans policy, how North Carolina’s unsuccessful “bathroom bill” in 2016 transformed the modern right, what gender-affirming care actually is, how Ron DeSantis is trying to build his brand atop this fight, where one might find grounds for hope in trans politics today and much more.Mentioned:“Texas’ Attempt to Tear Parents and Trans Youth Apart, One Year Later” by Brian Klosterboer“What’s so scary about a transgender child?” by Emily St. James“They Paused Puberty, but Is There a Cost?” by Megan Twohey and Christina Jewett“G.O.P. State Lawmakers Push a Growing Wave of Anti-Transgender Bills” by Maggie AstorBook recommendations:Homintern by Gregory WoodsCaliban and the Witch by Silvia FedericiCan the Monster Speak? by Paul B. PreciadoThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Mixing by Efim Shapiro. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Dr. Jason Rafferty, Lisa Black, Carole Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.
3/7/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 24 seconds
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The Art of Noticing – and Appreciating – Our Dizzying World

“Poetry is the attempt to understand fully what is real, what is present, what is imaginable, what is feelable, and how can I loosen the grip of what I already know to find some new, changed relationship,” the poet Jane Hirshfield tells me. Through poetry, she says, “I know something new and I have been changed.”Hirshfield is the award-winning author of many books of poetry and two illuminating essay collections about what poetry does to us and in the world: “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry” and “Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World.” Her book “Ledger” is one I gift to people most often. Hirshfield’s true talent as a poet is her singular ability to imbue the ordinary, the invisible, the forgotten with a sense of majesty and wonder. Her work is littered with lines that force you to stop, to slow down, to notice what you might have missed or overlooked.Hirshfield’s work also raises some profound questions: What does it mean to grapple with our complicity in the climate crisis? Where does the self end and the rest of the world begin? How do we learn to desire what we previously dreaded or despised?This is one of those conversations that is hard to describe in words. But it was truly a delight for me to be a part of. And I think you’ll enjoy it too.Mentioned:The Iliad by HomerThe Odyssey by HomerGilgameshThe Beauty by Jane HirshfieldHow Emotions Are Made by Lisa Feldman BarrettFlow by Mihaly CsikszentmihalyiLiving with a Wild God by Barbara EhrenreichThe Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution by C.P. SnowBook recommendations:Metaphors We Live By by George Lakoff and Mark JohnsonLess Than One by Joseph BrodskyThe Fire Next Time by James BaldwinThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carol Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.
3/3/20231 hour, 20 minutes, 23 seconds
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Our Brains Weren’t Designed for This Kind of Food

Our society’s dominant narrative is that body size is a product of individual willpower. We are skinny or fat because of the choices we make: the kinds of food we buy, the amounts we eat, the exercise regimens we follow.Research has never been kind to this thesis. It’s a folk narrative we use to punish people, not an empirical account of why residents of most rich countries are getting heavier over time. But, then, what account does fit the data?In his 2017 book, “The Hungry Brain,” Stephan Guyenet, a neurobiologist, argues that weight gain is less about willpower than it is the product of an evolutionary mismatch between our brains, our genetics and our environments. Now a new class of weight loss drugs is raising the possibility that we can change our brains to fit this new environment.Paired with diet and exercise, Ozempic and Wegovy caused anywhere from about a 15 percent to 18 percent loss of body weight over the course of just over a year in people classified as obese or overweight. And they do this in a way that aligns exactly with Guyenet’s research: They don’t make our bodies burn more calories, they make our brains crave less food.So I asked Guyenet on the show to talk me through his model of weight gain, the research on these new drugs and the strange implications of living with old brains in a new world.Mentioned:“Relationship between food habituation and reinforcing efficacy of food” by Katelyn A. Carr and Leonard H. Epstein“Dietary obesity in adult rats: Similarities to hypothalamic and human obesity syndromes” by Anthony Sclafani and Deleri Springer“Why Have Americans Become More Obese?” by David M. Cutler, Edward L. Glaeser andJesse M. Shapiro“Persistent metabolic adaptation 6 years after “The Biggest Loser” competition” by Erin Fothergill, Juen Guo, Lilian Howard et al.“The future of weight loss” by Stephan GuyenetUnder a White Sky by Elizabeth KolbertBook recommendations:Burn by Herman PontzerSalt Sugar Fat by Michael MossThe Secret of Our Success by Joseph HenrichThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music 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.
2/28/20231 hour, 26 minutes, 59 seconds
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Inside the Minds of Spiders, Octopuses and Artificial Intelligence

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s “Children of Time” is about an advanced civilization built by sentient spiders. A sequel, “Children of Ruin,” is about a society run by superintelligent octopuses. I love these books. They’re remarkably serious about their premises, and by the end, it’s human civilization and our limited sensorium that come to seem strange.But Tchaikovsky’s latest book, “Children of Memory,” ostensibly about crows, read as something very different to me: the best fictional representation I’ve read of what it is like to interact with, and perhaps even be, an artificial intelligence system like ChatGPT. It was a very strange read at this moment. And it made possible an episode I’ve been wanting to do for months.Long before we have to face the question of whether A.I. is sentient, we will have to face the question of whether it is creative, and that will turn into the question of whether we, truly, are creative. And so Tchaikovsky and I talk about whether there’s a meaningful difference between human creativity and A.I. problem solving, why he believes this is a “profoundly scary time” to be a writer or a designer, what an explosion of A.I.-produced content would mean for human society and the human spirit, whether the advancement of A.I. could exhaust avenues for human originality and much more.Mentioned:"Melancholy Elephants" by Spider RobinsonArrival, directed by Denis VilleneuveBook Recommendations:Soldier of the Mist by Gene WolfAfter Atlas by Emma NewmanBabel by R. F. KuangThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carol Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.
2/24/20231 hour, 2 minutes, 55 seconds
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This Book Changed My Relationship to Pain

Physical pain is a universal human experience. And for many of us, it’s a constant one. Roughly 20 percent of American adults — some 50 million people — suffer from a form of chronic pain. For some, that means having terrible days from time to time. For others, it means a life of constant suffering. Either way, the depth and scale of pain in our society is a massive problem.But what if much of how we understand pain — and how to treat it — is wrong?Rachel Zoffness is a pain psychologist at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine and the author of “The Pain Management Workbook.” We tend to think of pain as a purely biomechanical phenomenon, a physical sensation rooted solely in the body. But her core argument is that pain is also produced by the mind and deeply influenced by social context. It’s a simple-sounding argument with vast implications not only for how we experience pain but also for how we treat it. She points to numerous underused tools — aside from pills and surgeries — that can help lessen our pain.We discuss how pain serves as “the body’s warning signal”; how our mood, stress levels and social environment can amplify or dial down our pain levels; what phantom limb syndrome says about how the brain “makes pain”; how our emotions and trauma influence our pain levels; the crucial difference between “hurt” and “harm”; why studies on back pain have yielded such bewildering results; how to figure out and improve your personal “pain recipe”; the roots of our chronic pain crisis; how our health care system could be better set up to treat chronic pain; why Zoffness says, “If the brain can change, pain can change”; and more.Mentioned:“Sham Surgery in Orthopedics” by Adriaan Louw, Ina Diener, César Fernández-de-las-Peñas and Emilio J. PuenteduraBook Recommendations:Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M. SapolskyThe Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der KolkPain by Patrick WallThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones. Original music by Isaac Jones. 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.
2/21/20231 hour, 4 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Inflation Story Has Changed Dramatically. Paul Krugman Breaks It Down.

In recent months, the story of the U.S. economy has changed significantly. The January Consumer Price Index showed that annual inflation slowed for the seventh straight month. That month, the economy also added over half a million jobs, and unemployment reached 3.4 percent, its lowest level since 1969. In light of these trends, comparisons to the 1970s stagflation crisis have weakened, and the possibility of a “soft landing” looks increasingly likely.But that doesn’t mean we’ve achieved victory. While the headline inflation numbers have looked promising, the devil is in the details. Answers to questions like how fast inflation has actually slowed, whether that slowdown will continue, how likely a future recession is, and how the Fed should act all next come down to which statistics and indicators you are looking at.So I decided to bring on the Times Opinion columnist and Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman to break down the data and what it says about inflation moving forward. We also discuss the debt ceiling crisis, why the Republican Party has failed to embrace a coherent economic agenda, whether the Biden administration’s industrial policy efforts could undermine its climate objectives, the 20th-century economics book that best explains why the United States has gotten so bad at building things, why Krugman — a longtime advocate of free trade — has come around to embrace greater protectionism, why he believes China’s economic ascendence is no longer inevitable, whether A.I. will replace huge numbers of white collar workers and more.Mentioned:“Recession, Inflation or Soft Landing in 2023?”by Free Expression“We’re Going to Miss Greed and Cynicism” by Paul KrugmanThe Rise and Decline of Nations by Mancur OlsonBook Recommendations:Slouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLongHow the War Was Won by Phillips Payson O’BrienNinth House by Leigh BardugoThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music 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.
2/17/20231 hour, 17 minutes, 33 seconds
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How the $500 Billion Attention Industry Really Works

For most of us, seeing an advertisement pop up while we’re scrolling on Instagram or reading an article or watching a video is the most banal experience possible. But in the background of those experiences is a $500 billion marketplace where our attention is being bought, packaged and sold at split-second speeds virtually every minute of every day. Online advertising is the economic engine of the internet, and that engine is fueled by our attention.Tim Hwang is the former global public policy lead for A.I. and machine learning at Google and the author of the book “Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet.” Hwang’s central argument is that everything about the internet — from the emphasis data collection to the use of the “like” button to the fact that services like Google Search and Facebook are free — flows from its core business model. But that business model is also in crisis. The internet is degrading the very resource — our collective attention — on which its financial survival depends. The resulting “subprime attention crisis” threatens upend the internet as we know it.So this conversation is about the economic logic that undergirds our entire experience of the internet, and how that logic is constantly warping, manipulating and shaping the most important resource we have — our attention. But it’s also about whether a very different kind of internet — build on a very different economic logic — is possible.Mentioned:“Does Quora Really Have All the Answers?” by Gary RivlinGoogle report: “5 Factors of Viewability”“Almost Impossible”Book Recommendations:Here Comes Everybody by Clay ShirkyThe Profiteers by Sally DentonJim Ravel’s Theatrical PickpocketingThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Roge Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music 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.
2/14/20231 hour, 6 minutes, 43 seconds
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The Tao of Rick Rubin

Reading Rick Rubin’s production discography is like taking a tour through the commanding heights of American music over the past few decades. Jay-Z. Run-DMC. Beastie Boys. Slayer. The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Johnny Cash. Kanye West. Neil Diamond. Brandi Carlile. Eminem. Adele. And it’s not just his production credits: Rubin co-founded Def Jam Recordings and was a co-chairman of Columbia Records. What’s allowed him to work with so many different kinds of artists, across such a stunning range of genres, so successfully?In his new book, “The Creative Act: A Way of Being,” Rubin turns his philosophy of creativity into a manual for living. It is not, to be honest, the book I was expecting. It is less about music than mind states: awareness, openness, discernment, attunement to nature, nonjudgmental listening, trust in your own taste. It is at once mystical and practical, alive to the tensions of creation but intent on holding them gently. I found it unexpectedly moving.We discuss how Rubin listens to new music, the importance of staying open to the natural world, the difficulty of appreciating art that’s different from what you already like, the rituals that artists like Carlos Santana have when recording, why minimalist composers like Steve Reich are just as “extreme” as heavy metal bands, how Rubin helped Johnny Cash strip down his sound and revive his career, what it takes to level up your taste, the difficulty and gifts of awareness, the relationship between speed and art, how streaming culture is changing our taste, the kind of music that makes Rubin stop and pay attention and oh so much more. This one’s a delight.Mentioned:The Tao Te-Ching by Lao Tzu, translated by Stephen MitchellAmerican Recordings by Johnny Cash"Pulses" by Steve Reich and Erik HallMusic for Wobbling. Music Versus Gravity. by F.S. Blumm and Nils FrahmAlbum Recommendations:Forever Changes by LoveThe Beatles by The BeatlesRamones by RamonesThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Jon Caramanica, Dan Charnas, Jack Hamilton, Felix Grimm, Carole Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.
2/10/20231 hour, 29 minutes, 56 seconds
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How Liberals — Yes, Liberals — Are Hobbling Government

In my columns and on this show over the past few years, I’ve argued that to achieve the goals liberals hold most dear, we need a liberalism that builds. A liberalism that builds everything from multifamily housing and mass transit systems to transmission lines and solar farms. And we need a liberalism that can build it all quickly, cheaply and effectively. But even in the places where liberals have governing power, they are often failing to do exactly that. Why?Nicholas Bagley is a law professor at the University of Michigan, the former chief legal counsel to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the author of a fascinating paper called “The Procedure Fetish.” In it, Bagley argues that liberals — liberal lawyers in particular — have helped hobble the very government they now need to act swiftly and decisively. It’s easy to see how conservatives have strategically used a thicket of procedures and paperwork to slow down government, but what Bagley shows is that liberals too have been complicit in that project — to the detriment of many of the very causes they hope to advance.So this is a conversation about what I’ve come to think of as the divided soul of American liberalism — one that simultaneously demands big government action while also constantly acting to restrain it. We also discuss the importance of the administrative state, what liberals often fail to understand about government legitimacy, how corporate interests end up “capturing” government agencies, why Bagley thinks that American politics broadly and the Democratic Party in particular have a “lawyer problem,” how government paralysis helps fuel the rise of right-wing populists like Donald Trump, what it will take to restore Americans’ trust in government, the problems with the public interest legal movement, how progressives are getting in the way of their own decarbonization agenda and more.Mentioned:“The Procedure Fetish” by Nicholas BagleyPresidents, Populism, and the Crisis of Democracy by William G. Howell and Terry M. Moe"There Has to Be a Better Way to Run the Government" by Ezra KleinBook Recommendations:Public Citizens by Paul SabinThe Fifth Risk by Michael LewisBabel by R.F. KuangThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Mixing by Sonia Herrero. Original music 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.
2/7/20231 hour, 20 minutes, 9 seconds
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Best Of: Why Housing Is So Expensive — Particularly in Blue States

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.
2/3/20231 hour, 16 minutes, 40 seconds
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First Person: How the Left Is Cannibalizing Its Own Power

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.
1/31/202336 minutes, 56 seconds
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Is This How a Cold War With China Begins?

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 [email protected] 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.
1/27/202351 minutes, 25 seconds
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There’s Been a Revolution in How China Is Governed

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 Fei XiaotongFei Xiaotong and Sociology in Revolutionary China by R. David ArkushThe Fractalist by Benoit MandelbrotThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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.
1/24/20231 hour, 19 minutes, 38 seconds
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How Right-Wing Media Ate the Republican Party

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 [email protected] 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.
1/20/20231 hour, 23 minutes, 20 seconds
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A Revelatory Tour of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Forgotten Teachings

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 [email protected] 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.
1/16/20231 hour, 33 minutes, 36 seconds
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A Guide to the ‘Legal Fictions’ That Create Wealth, Inequality and Economic Crises

“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 [email protected] 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.
1/13/20231 hour, 34 minutes, 35 seconds
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Dan Savage on Polyamory, Chosen Family and Better Sex

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 [email protected] 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.
1/10/20231 hour, 24 minutes, 54 seconds
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A Skeptical Take on the A.I. Revolution

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 [email protected]. 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.
1/6/20231 hour, 11 minutes, 30 seconds
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Sabbath and the Art of Rest

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 [email protected]. 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.
1/3/20231 hour, 36 seconds
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Best Of: How America's Poet Laureate Sees Our World

​​“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 [email protected]. 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.
12/30/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 48 seconds
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Best Of: Want to Save Democracy? Run For Office.

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 [email protected]. 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.
12/27/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 51 seconds
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Best Of: Who Wins — and Who Loses — in the A.I. Revolution?

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 [email protected]. 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.
12/23/20221 hour, 12 minutes
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Best Of: Is A.I. the Problem? Or Are We?

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 [email protected]. 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.
12/20/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 23 seconds
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What I'm Thinking About at the End of 2022

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: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 [email protected]. 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.
12/16/20221 hour, 14 minutes, 56 seconds
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Time Is Way Weirder Than You Think

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 [email protected]. (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.
12/13/202253 minutes, 42 seconds
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Three Signals We’ve Entered a New Economic Era

“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 [email protected]. (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.
12/9/20221 hour, 3 minutes, 14 seconds
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There’s Been a Massive Change in Where American Policy Gets Made

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 [email protected]. (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.
12/6/20221 hour, 25 minutes, 35 seconds
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A Conservative’s Take on the Chaotic State of the Republican Party

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 [email protected]. (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.
12/2/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 1 second
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The Hidden Costs of Cheap Meat

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 [email protected]. (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 Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld, Sonia Herrero, and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Leah Douglas and Evi Steyer.
11/29/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 37 seconds
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This Conversation About the 'Reading Mind' Is a Gift

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 [email protected]. (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.
11/22/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 38 seconds
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Bill McKibben on the Power That Could Save the Planet

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:New York 2140 by Kim Stanley RobinsonOrwell’s Roses by Rebecca SolnitHow It Went by Wendell BerryThoughts? Email us at [email protected]. (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.
11/15/20221 hour, 24 minutes, 34 seconds
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I Don’t Quite Buy the DeSantis Narrative, and Other Midterm Thoughts

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 [email protected]. (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.
11/10/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 40 seconds
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George Saunders on the ‘Braindead Megaphone’ That Makes Our Politics So Awful

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 [email protected]. (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.
11/8/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 22 seconds
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Inflation Does More Than Raise Prices. It Destroys Governments.

“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 [email protected]. (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.
11/4/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 40 seconds
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A Powerful Theory of Why the Far Right Is Thriving Across the Globe

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 [email protected]. (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.
11/1/20221 hour, 30 minutes, 26 seconds
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These Political Scientists Surveyed 500,000 Voters. Here Are Their Unnerving Conclusions.

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. The book’s findings are built on top of numerous layers of data and analysis, including a massive survey project that involved interviewing around 500,000 Americans between July 2019 and January 2021.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 [email protected]. (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.
10/28/20221 hour, 33 minutes, 59 seconds
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Trump Enabler

​​“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 [email protected] 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.
10/25/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 55 seconds
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There’s Been a ‘Regime Change’ in How Democrats Think About Elections

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 [email protected] 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.
10/21/20221 hour, 12 minutes, 53 seconds
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A Legendary World-Builder on Multiverses, Revolution and the ‘Souls’ of Cities

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 [email protected] 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.
10/18/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 19 seconds
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What Rachel Maddow Has Been Thinking About Offscreen

“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 [email protected]. (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.
10/14/20221 hour, 23 minutes, 35 seconds
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Hard Fork: Elon’s Hidden Motives + A Meetup in the Metaverse

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.
10/11/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 6 seconds
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How the Fed Is ‘Shaking the Entire System’

“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 [email protected] 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.
10/7/20221 hour, 25 minutes, 56 seconds
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When You Can’t Trust the Stories Your Mind Is Telling

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 [email protected]. (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.
10/4/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 5 seconds
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Ethereum’s Founder on What Crypto Can — and Can’t — Do

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 [email protected] 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.
9/30/20221 hour, 37 minutes, 18 seconds
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We Know So Little About What Makes Humanity Prosper

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 [email protected] 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.
9/27/20221 hour, 31 minutes, 19 seconds
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Why Russia Is Losing the War in Ukraine

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 [email protected] 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.
9/23/20221 hour, 17 minutes
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The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I’ve Heard

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 [email protected] 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.
9/20/20221 hour, 41 minutes, 12 seconds
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Now All Biden Has to Do Is Build It

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 Tomasky (accompanied by new podcast, "How to Save a Country")Elite Capture by Olúfẹ́mi O. TáíwòChords of Change (forthcoming 2023) by Deepak Bhargava and Stephanie LuceThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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.
9/16/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 9 seconds
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We Build Civilizations on Status. But We Barely Understand It.

“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 [email protected] 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.
9/13/20221 hour, 29 minutes, 43 seconds
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Opinion Roundtable: Behind America’s Public School Battles

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.
9/10/202240 minutes, 20 seconds
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The Subtle Art of Appreciating ‘Difficult Beauty’

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 [email protected] 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.
9/6/20221 hour, 14 minutes, 26 seconds
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Best Of: This Conversation With Richard Powers Is a Gift

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 [email protected] 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.
9/2/20221 hour, 24 minutes, 24 seconds
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A Grammy-Nominated Singer Performs and Explores Music's Power

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 [email protected] 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 and Jeremy Thomas Lindsay.
8/30/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 10 seconds
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Best Of: Margaret Atwood on the Bible and the Future

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 [email protected] 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.
8/26/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 21 seconds
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Why the Evangelical Movement Is in ‘Disarray’ After Dobbs

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 [email protected] 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.
8/23/20221 hour, 4 minutes, 33 seconds
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Best of: A Life-Changing Philosophy of Games

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 [email protected] 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.
8/19/20221 hour, 12 minutes, 53 seconds
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The Office is Dying. It’s Time to Rethink How We Work.

Over the past year, many places have returned to something approximating a prepandemic normal. Restaurants are filling up again. Airports and hotels are packed. Even movie theaters have made a comeback. But that hasn’t been the case for the office. Only about a third of office workers are back in the office full time. And that isn’t likely to change dramatically any time soon: Recent surveys asked executives about the share of their workers who would be back in the office five days a week in the future. In 2021 the response was 50 percent; now it’s down to 20 percent.But the alternatives — remote and hybrid work — come with their own problems. In many cases, remote work has become synonymous with meeting fatigue, the collapse of work-life balance, overwhelming amounts of email and Slack messages and awkward attempts at social connection. And hybrid work setups often represent what some have called the worst of both work worlds: long commutes to half-empty offices, just to sit on Zoom calls all day.That leaves office workers in what feels like a work purgatory: The office is dying, but a new, viable model of work has yet to be born. And that liminal space raises all sorts of new questions: What is the office actually for? What will the postoffice future of work look like? And if the future of work means working from home in some capacity, how do we make that future better for everyone involved?Those questions are at the center of Anne Helen Petersen and Charlie Warzel’s book, “Out of Office: The Big Problem and Bigger Promise of Working From Home.” Petersen is a longtime culture writer who writes the newsletter Culture Study; Warzel is a veteran technology reporter who writes the newsletter Galaxy Brain for The Atlantic. In “Out of Office” they argue that the core problem with current remote and hybrid work setups is this: Workers have left the physical office, but they have taken the broken culture of the office with them. The result is widespread dysfunction but also immense opportunity: If we take this moment to rethink not only where we work but also how we work, then the possibilities are endless. Mentioned:“The Case Against Loving Your Job” by The Ezra Klein Show“Stop. Breathe. We Can’t Keep Working Like This” by The Ezra Klein Show“Think Bigger About Remote Work” by Adam Ozimek“I’m Worried About Chicago” by Matthew Yglesias"The Nowhere Office" by Julia HobsbawmBook Recommendations:In the Age of the Smart Machine by Shoshana ZuboffThe Myth of the Paperless Office by Abigail J. Sellen and Richard H. R. HarperLiquidated by Karen HoEssential Labor by Angela GarbesThis 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 [email protected] 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, Kristina Samulewski, Nicholas Bloom, Adam Ozimek, Julia Hobsbawm and Sheela Subramanian.
8/16/20221 hour, 32 minutes, 10 seconds
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How Do We Face Loss With Dignity?

In his latest work, “The Last White Man,” the award-winning writer Mohsin Hamid imagines a world that is very like our own, with one major exception: On various days, white people wake up to discover that their skin is no longer white. It’s a heavy premise, but one of Hamid’s unique talents as a novelist is his ability to take on the most difficult of topics — racism, migration, loss — with a remarkably light touch.“How do you begin to have these conversations in a way that allows everybody a way in?” Hamid asks at one point in our conversation. “How do you talk about these things in a way that’s open to everyone?” What sets Hamid apart is his capacity to do just that — both in his fiction and in our conversation. We discuss:How Hamid experienced what it was like to lose his whiteness after 9/11What happens to a society when suddenly we can’t sort ourselves by raceThe origins of modern humans’ fear of death — and how to overcome itWhy Hamid thinks future humans will look back at the idea of borders with moral horrorWhy Hamid believes that pessimistic realism is a “deeply conservative” worldviewHamid’s process for imagining optimistic futuresWhy Hamid believes that the very notion of the self is a fictionWhy we turn to activities like sex, drugs and meditation when we get overwhelmedHow America’s policies toward immigrants and refugees should challenge our “heroic” sense of national identityWhat Toni Morrison taught Hamid about how to read and writeAnd more.Mentioned:"The Metamorphosis" by Franz KafkaExit West by Mohsin HamidBook Recommendations:Beloved by Toni MorrisonFicciones by Jorge Luis BorgesThe Epic of Gilgamesh, translated by Andrew GeorgeThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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.
8/12/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 57 seconds
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Three Sentences That Could Change the World — and Your Life

Today’s show is built around three simple sentences: “Future people count. There could be a lot of them. And we can make their lives better.” Those sentences form the foundation of an ethical framework known as “longtermism.” They might sound obvious, but to take them seriously is a truly radical endeavor — one with the power to change the world and even your life.That second sentence is where things start to get wild. It’s possible that there could be tens of trillions of future people, that future people could outnumber current people by a ratio of something like a million to one. And if that’s the case, then suddenly most of the things we spend most of our time arguing about shrink in importance compared with the things that will affect humanity’s long-term future.William MacAskill is a professor of philosophy at Oxford University, the director of the Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research and the author of the forthcoming book, “What We Owe the Future,” which is the best distillation of the longtermist worldview I’ve read. So this is a conversation about what it means to take the moral weight of the future seriously and the way that everything — from our political priorities to career choices to definitions of heroism — changes when you do.We also cover the host of questions that longtermism raises: How should we weigh the concerns of future generations against those of living people? What are we doing today that future generations will view in the same way we look back on moral atrocities like slavery? Who are the “moral weirdos” of our time we should be paying more attention to? What are the areas we should focus on, the policies we should push, the careers we should choose if we want to guarantee a better future for our posterity?And much more.Mentioned:"Is A.I. the Problem? Or Are We?" by The Ezra Klein Show "How to Do The Most Good" by The Ezra Klein Show "This Conversation With Richard Powers Is a Gift" by The Ezra Klein ShowBook Recommendations:“Moral Capital” by Christopher Leslie Brown“The Precipice” by Toby Ord“The Scout Mindset” by Julia GalefThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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.
8/9/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 45 seconds
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Gender Is Complicated for All of Us. Let’s Talk About It.

It’s hard to think of anything changing more quickly in our society right now than our understanding of gender. There’s an explosion of young people identifying as gender nonconforming in some way or another, and others are coming out as transgender or nonbinary throughout their lives, from childhood to old age. But this sea change has brought with it an enormous amount of confusion and resistance. As of July, lawmakers in 21 states had introduced bills that focus on restricting gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth, such as hormone blockers, and 29 states had introduced bills banning transgender youth from sports. But we also know that the degree of support a young person receives when coming out — or doesn’t — can have profound consequences for their mental health.How should we process and understand this moment in gender? Kathryn Bond Stockton is a distinguished professor of English focusing on gender studies at the University of Utah and the author of the book “Gender(s).” She is incredibly skilled at explaining the fundamentals — and complexities — of what gender means and how people, including Stockton herself, have wrestled with it. In this conversation, we discuss:Why and how Stockton has always felt out of place as a womanHow her entry to the evangelical church actually advanced her acceptance of her genderWhy gender is “queer” for all of us, regardless of how we identify or how much we think about itThe ways that we perform our genders without even knowing we’re doing itHow the choices parents make concerning things as seemingly banal as clothing and toys shape children’s gender identitiesHow an expanded sense of gender can bring pain as well as pleasure and playfulnessWhat Stockton has learned from discussions about gender roles with Mormon students in her Utah classroomsWhat we would gain — and possibly lose — if we were to loosen social categories of genderWhy Pride celebrations can be so utopianAnd much more.Mentioned:Detransition, Baby by Torrey PetersButch Queens Up in Pumps by Marlon M. BaileyBook Recommendations:Histories of the Transgender Child by Jules Gill-PetersonBrilliant Imperfection by Eli ClareAsegi Stories by Qwo-Li DriskillThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Rollin Hu.
8/5/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 47 seconds
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The Argument: Who Can Write About What?

Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument, about cultural appropriation in creative work. In recent years, book written by white authors like “American Dirt” and “The Help" have been criticized for their portrayals of characters of color. Artists’ job is to imagine and create, but what do we do when they get it wrong?To discuss, Jane Coaston is joined by the Opinion writers Roxane Gay and Jay Caspian Kang. In their work, both have thought deeply about the thorny issues of writing across identities — including what makes work authentic, the pressure of representation for writers of color and the roles social media and the publishing industry play in literary criticism. “I don’t think it’s that complicated,” Roxane says. “It’s not that we divorce identity from the conversation. It’s that we treat it as inherent because we can’t separate out parts of ourselves.”Mentioned:“White Fever Dreams” by Roxane Gay in Gay Magazine“The Pity of the Elites” by Jay Caspian KangThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]. 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, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones and Pat McCusker; mixing by Pat McCusker; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski. 
8/2/202227 minutes, 18 seconds
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Best Of: Ruth Ozeki’s Enchanted Relationship to Minds and Possessions

Today we're taking a short break and re-releasing one of our favorite episodes from 2022, a conversation with the novelist and Buddhist priest Ruth Ozeki. We'll be back with new episodes next week!The world has gotten louder, even when we’re alone. A day spent in isolation can still mean a day buffeted by the voices on social media and the news, on podcasts, in emails and text messages. Objects have also gotten louder: through the advertisements that follow us around the web, the endless scroll of merchandise available on internet shopping sites and in the plentiful aisles of superstores. What happens when you really start listening to all these voices? What happens when you can’t stop hearing them?Ruth Ozeki is a Zen Buddhist priest and the author of novels including “A Tale for the Time Being,” which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and “The Book of Form and Emptiness,” which I read over paternity leave and loved. “The Book of Form and Emptiness” is about Benny, a teenager who starts hearing objects speak to him right after his father’s death, and it’s about his mother, Annabelle, who can’t let go of anything she owns, and can’t seem to help her son or herself. And then it’s about so much more than that: mental illnesses and materialism and consumerism and creative inspiration and information overload and the power of stories and the role of libraries and unshared mental experiences and on and on. It’s a book thick with ideas but written with a deceptively light, gentle pen.Our conversation begins by exploring what it means to hear voices in our minds, and whether it’s really so rare. We talk about how Ozeki’s novels begin she hears a character speaking in her mind, how meditation can teach you to detach from own internal monologue, why Marie Kondo’s almost animist philosophy of tidying became so popular across the globe, whether objects want things, whether practicing Zen has helped her want less and, my personal favorite part, the dilemmas posed by an empty box with the words “empty box” written on it.Mentioned:The Great Shift by James L. KugelBook recommendations:When You Greet Me I Bow by Norman FischerThe Aleph and Other Stories by Jorge Luis BorgesVibrant Matter by Jane BennettThis episode contains a brief mention of suicidal ideation. If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). A list of additional resources is available at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
7/29/202258 minutes, 40 seconds
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The Mid-Century Media Theorists Who Saw What Was Coming

“At the very heart of democracy is a contradiction that cannot be resolved, one that has affected free societies from ancient Greece to contemporary America,” write Zac Gershberg and Sean Illing in their new book, “The Paradox of Democracy.” In order to live up to its name, democracy must be open to free communication and expression; yet that very feature opens democracies up to the forces of chaos, fragmentation and demagoguery that undermine them. Historically, this paradox becomes particularly profound during transitions between different communication technologies. “We see this time and again,” Gershberg and Illing write, “media continually evolve faster than politics, resulting in recurring patterns of democratic instability.”For that reason, Gershberg and Illing refer to media ecology — a field dedicated to studying the complex interplay between media, humans and their broader social environments — as “the master political science.” You can’t understand a society’s politics without understanding the mediums through which its people communicate. Radio and TV and Twitter and TikTok each profoundly shape the way we think, the qualities we look for in our politicians, the way we absorb news, the kind of political discourse we engage in and so much more.Illing’s career, in many ways, represents the intersection of these two worlds: He’s trained as a political theorist but eventually switched careers to become a journalist; he’s currently the interviews writer at Vox, where he hosts the podcast “Vox Conversations” and often writes about the nexus of media and politics. So I invited Illing on the show to talk about his new book alongside some of his other work. We discuss: Why mid-century media theorists like Marshall McLuhan and Neil Postman are essential for understanding our current political momentHow the mediums through which we communicate — TV, social media, print news — shape us even more deeply than the content we absorb from themThe surprising dangers of “Sesame Street”Why Abraham Lincoln probably never would have won the presidency in the TV eraHow revolutions in media technology from the printing press to Facebook have destabilized political systemsHow Twitter reshapes the thinking of those who use itWhy Illing believes that democracy is fundamentally a “communicative culture” and not a set of rules and institutionsWhat Donald Trump understood about our media age that the media itself didn’tWhy Steve Bannon’s “flood the zone” media strategy has been so successfulWhether it’s possible to achieve a healthier version of political discourse given our current technologiesAnd much moreThis episode contains strong language.Mentioned:“‘Flood the zone with shit’: How misinformation overwhelmed our democracy” by Sean Illing“Quantifying partisan news diets in Web and TV audiences” by Daniel Muise, Homa Hosseinmardi, Baird Howland, Markus Mobius, David Rothschild and Duncan J. WattsBook Recommendations:Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil PostmanPublic Opinion by Walter LippmannMediated by Thomas de ZengotitaThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero, Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
7/26/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 39 seconds
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A Top Mental Health Expert on Where America Went Wrong

There’s a paradox that sits at the center of our mental health conversation in America. On the one hand, our treatments for mental illness have gotten better and better in recent decades. Psychopharmaceuticals have improved considerably; new, more effective methods of psychotherapy have been developed; and we’ve reached a better understanding of what kinds of social support are most helpful for those experiencing mental health crises.But at the same time, mental health outcomes have moved in exactly the wrong direction. In the United States, there is a death by suicide about every 11 minutes, and about half of those who die by that method have not received mental health care. Rates of anxiety, depression and eating disorders have skyrocketed among young people in recent years. From 2009 to 2015, rates of emergency room visits for self-harm more than doubled for girls ages 10 to 14.Thomas Insel understands the contours of this disconnect as well as anyone. A psychiatrist and researcher, he was the director of the National Institute of Mental Health for 13 years, and has served as a special adviser on mental health care to California’s governor, Gavin Newsom. But in his new book, “Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health,” he admits that even the herculean efforts made by the mental health community have fallen short. The book explores how badly we’re failing at mental health care, and how much more we could do with what we have already discovered, and what we already know. “Put simply, the mental health problem is medical,” he writes, “but the solutions are not just medical — they are social, environmental, and political.”In this conversation, we discuss why our current medical system is so inadequate at helping people with mental illnesses of all stripes, why psychiatric research and patient outcomes are so wildly out of step, the story of how the U.S. government systematically divested from mental health care in the 1980s, and the fragmented system of care that those decisions created. We also touch on why it’s so difficult to find the right therapist; which treatments we know work really well — and why we so often fail to implement them; why mental health is not just a medical problem, but also an economic and social one; what public policy can, and importantly can’t, do to solve our mental health crisis; the relationship between loneliness and mental illness; how the loosening of family and social ties is impacting our collective mental health and more.Mentions:“Wealth-Care Reform” by Ezra Klein“Together” by Vivek Murthy“Vivek Murthy on America’s Loneliness Epidemic” episode from Vox ConversationsBook Recommendations:Nobody’s Normal by Roy Richard GrinkerAmerican Psychosis by E. Fuller TorreyCrazy by Pete EarleyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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; mixing by Sonia Herrero, Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones; original music by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
7/22/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 34 seconds
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Why Housing Is So Expensive — Particularly in Blue States

America is experiencing a housing crisis — or, more accurately, multiple housing crises. A massive housing shortage in major cities has resulted in skyrocketing rents. Low- and middle-income individuals find themselves priced out of the places with the most opportunity. Homelessness is rampant in cities across the country. Developers often face the steepest obstacles to building in the places where new housing is needed most. And young people are increasingly viewing homeownership, once a vital part of the American dream, as hopelessly out of reach.These outcomes weren’t inevitable. Plenty of other countries supply their populations with high-quality housing at lower prices. And the solutions here are incredibly simple: Build more housing in places where it’s needed, build cheaper forms of housing, build housing alongside public transit, provide more housing vouchers. So why don’t we act on them?Jenny Schuetz is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and the author of the new book “Fixer Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems,” which is perhaps the best, clearest overview of America’s housing problems to date. 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.Mentioned:“The Left-NIMBY canon” by Noah SmithThe Homevoter Hypothesis by William A. FischelThe Paradox of Democracy by Zac Gershberg and Sean IllingRecommendations:Crabgrass Frontier by Kenneth T. JacksonNeighborhood Defenders by Katherine Levine Einstein, David M. Glick and Maxwell PalmerMaid (Netflix series)Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, 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.
7/19/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 21 seconds
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A Weird, Wonderful Conversation With Kim Stanley Robinson

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of the great living science fiction writers and one of the most astute observers of how planets look, feel and work. His Mars Trilogy imagined what it might be like for humans to settle on the red planet. His best-selling novel “The Ministry for the Future” is a masterful effort at envisioning what might happen to Earth in a future of unchecked climate change. Robinson has a rare command of both science and human nature, and his writing crystallizes how the two must work together if we are to rescue our collective planetary future from possible ruin.In his most recent book, a rare turn to nonfiction called “The High Sierra: A Love Story,” Robinson trains his attention on the planet we inhabit in the here and now, particularly on one of his favorite places on Earth: the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California and Nevada. The new book is part memoir, part guidebook, part meditation on how time, space and even politics take shape in a wondrous geological landscape.We discuss why Robinson decided to start writing outdoors, what it was like to experience the Sierras on psychedelics in his youth, what “actor-network theory” is and how it helps us understand our relationship to the planet and to our own bodies, why we should think of climate change more like we do plane crashes, what hiking backpacks say about American consumerism, how we should change our relationship to technology in order to be happier, why the politics of wanting are so confusing yet important, why Robinson is so excited about ideas like a wage ratio and rewilding schemes, how the “structure of feeling” around climate has changed, why Robinson is feeling more hopeful about Earth’s future these days and more.Mentioned:“The Most Important Book I’ve Read This Year” by Vox Conversations“Your Kids Are Not Doomed” by Ezra Klein“Design for the Real World” by Victor Papanek“Thomas Piketty’s Case for ‘Participatory Socialism’” by The Ezra Klein ShowBook Recommendations:A Brief History of Equality by Thomas PikettyThe Dawn of Everything by David Graeber and David WengrowThe Echo Maker by Richard PowersThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Isaac Jones and Sonia Herrero; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
7/15/20221 hour, 32 minutes, 2 seconds
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First Person: To Fight for Ukraine’s Freedom, He Went Back Into the Closet

Today, we're bringing you an episode from the recently launched New York Times Opinion podcast, “First Person,” hosted by Lulu Garcia-Navarro. In each episode, Lulu sits down with people living through the headlines for intimate and surprising conversations that help us make sense of our complicated world. This particular episode is about one gay Ukranian soldier’s experience fighting against Russia. Since the beginning of the war, Ukrainians of all backgrounds have come together to fight their common enemy, Russia. But for some Ukrainians, that enemy holds particular terror. In Russia, gay people are routinely targeted for their identity — arrested without cause and even tortured. That’s what motivated Oleksandr Zhuhan to join the volunteer Territorial Defense Forces, despite experiencing homophobia in Ukraine. In the months since, Zhuhan has been fighting two battles: one for his country and one for his identity.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/column/first-person. “First Person” is produced by Derek Arthur, Christina Djossa, Jason Pagano, Cristal Duhaime, Olivia Natt and Courtney Stein. The show is edited by Kaari Pitkin, Stephanie Joyce and Lisa Tobin. Scoring by Isaac Jones, Pat McCusker and Carole Sabouraud. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta, with editorial support from Kristina Samulewski. The executive producer of Opinion audio is Irene Noguchi, and the director of New York Times audio is Paula Szuchman. Special thanks to Jeffrey Miranda, Kate Sinclair, Patrick Healy and Katie Kingsbury.
7/12/202238 minutes, 22 seconds
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Michelle Goldberg Grapples With Feminism After Roe

“It’s true: We’re in trouble,” writes Michelle Goldberg of the modern feminist movement. “One thing backlashes do is transform a culture’s common sense and horizons of possibility. A backlash isn’t just a political formation. It’s also a new structure of feeling that makes utopian social projects seem ridiculous.”It wouldn’t be fair to blame the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the ensuing wave of draconian abortion laws sweeping the nation on a failure of persuasion, or on a failure of the women’s movement. But signs of anti-feminist backlash are permeating American culture: Girlbosses have become figures of ridicule, Amber Heard’s testimony drew a fire hose of misogyny, and recent polling finds that younger generations — both men and women — are feeling ambivalent about whether feminism has helped or hurt women. A movement that has won so many victories in law, politics and public opinion is now defending its very existence.Goldberg is a columnist for Times Opinion who focuses on gender and politics. In recent weeks, she has written a series of columns grappling with the overturning of Roe v. Wade, but also considering the broader atmosphere that created so much despair on the left. What can feminists — and Democrats more broadly — learn from anti-abortion organizers? How has the women’s movement changed in the half-century since Roe, and where can the movement go after this loss? Has feminism moved too far away from its early focus on organizing and into the turbulent waters of online discourse? Has it become a victim of its own success?We discuss a “flabbergasting” poll about the way young people — both men and women — feel about feminism, why so many young people have become pessimistic about heterosexual relationships, how the widespread embrace of feminism defanged its politics, why the anti-abortion movement is so good at recruiting and retaining activists — and what the left can learn from them, how today’s backlash against women compares to that of the Reagan years, why nonprofits on the left are in such extreme turmoil, why a social movement’s obsession with “cringe” can be its downfall, how “safe spaces” on the left started to feel unsafe, why feminism doesn’t always serve poor women, whether the #MeToo movement was overly dismissive of “due process” and how progressives could improve the way they talk about the family and more.Mentioned:“The Future Isn’t Female Anymore” by Michelle Goldberg“Amber Heard and the Death of #MeToo” by Michelle GoldbergRethinking Sex by Christine EmbaThe Case Against the Sexual Revolution by Louise PerryBad Sex by Nona Willis Aronowitz“Elephant in the Zoom” by Ryan Grim“The Tyranny of Structurelessness” by Jo Freeman“Lessons From the Terrible Triumph of the Anti-Abortion Movement” by Michelle GoldbergThe Making of Pro-Life Activists by Ziad W. MunsonSteered by the Reactionary: What To Do About Feminism by The DriftBook Recommendations:Backlash by Susan FaludiNo More Nice Girls by Ellen WillisStatus and Culture by W. David MarxThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
7/8/20221 hour, 20 minutes
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Liberals Need a Clearer Vision of the Constitution. Here’s What It Could Look Like.

For decades now, the conservative legal movement has been on a mission to remake this nation’s laws from the bench. And it’s working. On Friday we released an episode with the legal scholar Kate Shaw that walked through case after case showing how conservative Supreme Court majorities have lurched this country’s laws to the right on guns, voting, gerrymandering, regulatory authority, unions, campaign finance and more in the past 20 years. And if the Dobbs majority is any indication, this rightward shift is just getting started.But this conservative legal revolution is only half of the story. The other half is just as important: the collapse of liberal constitutional thinking. Liberals have “lost anything that would animate a positive theory of what the Constitution should be,” says the legal scholar Larry Kramer. “And so they’ve been left with a kind of potpourri of leftover things from the periods when liberals were ascendant in the ’60s and ’70s.”Kramer is a former dean of Stanford Law School, the current president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the author of“The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review.” And according to him, it hasn’t always been this way. For most of American history, politicians, from Jefferson to Lincoln to Franklin Roosevelt, believed that constitutional interpretation was inextricable from politics. And they put forward distinct visions of what the Constitution meant and the kind of country it was written to build. But then, in response to the progressive victories of the Warren court, liberals began to embrace the doctrine of judicial supremacy: the view that the final authority on the Constitution rests with the courts. This has resulted in both the conservative legal victories of the past few decades and liberals’ muddled, weak response.So this is a conversation about the collapse of liberal constitutional politics: why it happened, what we can learn from it and what a renewed, progressive vision of the Constitution could look like. We also discuss why the founders weren’t actually originalists at all, whether liberal constitutional thinking has been captured by the legal profession, what a liberal alternative to originalism could consist of, why changing the size of the court (despite its controversies) has been an important tool for staving off constitutional crisis, the case for an “anti-oligarchy Constitution,” the merits of imposing supermajority requirements on court decisions and nominations, why Kramer views Roosevelt’s infamous court-packing effort as a major success and more.Mentioned:Larry Kramer’s testimony at the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States“Judicial Supremacy and the End of Judicial Restraint” by Larry D. Kramer“Marbury and the Retreat from Judicial Supremacy” by Larry D. Kramer“The Judicial Tug of War” by Adam Bonica and Maya SenBook recommendations:The Anti-Oligarchy Constitution by Joseph Fishkin and William E. ForbathThe Second Creation by Jonathan GienappWhen We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamín LabatutWe’re hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/NewsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Kate Sinclair and Irene Noguchi; original music and mixing by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
7/5/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 24 seconds
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A Guide to the Supreme Court's Rightward Shift

In the past few weeks alone, the Supreme Court has delivered a firestorm of conservative legal victories. States now have far less leeway to restrict gun permits. The right to abortion is no longer constitutionally protected. The Environmental Protection Agency has been kneecapped in its ability to regulate carbon emissions, and by extension, all executive branch agencies will see their power significantly diminished.But to focus only on this particular Supreme Court term is to miss the bigger picture: In the past few decades, conservative court majorities have dragged this country’s laws to the right on almost every issue imaginable. Shelby County v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act and opened the door for states to pass restrictive voting laws. Rucho v. Common Cause limited the court’s ability to curb partisan gerrymandering. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission unleashed a torrent of campaign spending. Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 weakened unions. A whole slew of cases, including some decided on the shadow docket during the Covid-19 pandemic, undercut federal agencies’ power to help govern in an era of congressional gridlock. And that’s only a partial list.Kate Shaw is a law professor at Cardozo School of Law, a co-host of the legal podcast Strict Scrutiny and a former clerk for Justice John Paul Stevens. In this episode, she walks me through the most significant Supreme Court cases over the past 20 years, from the court’s decision to hand George W. Bush the presidency in 2000, to the dismantling of the Voting Rights Act, to the assertion of an individual’s right to bear arms.Along the way, we discuss the right’s decades-long effort to transform American law from the bench, how Republican-appointed judges have consistently entrenched Republican political power, the interpretive bankruptcy of constitutional originalism, how the Warren Court radicalized the conservative legal movement, what might happen to decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges now that the court majority seems to be so comfortable throwing out precedent, what cases to watch in the Roberts Court’s next term, and more.Mentioned:“After Citizens United: How Outside Spending Shapes American Democracy” by Nour Abdul-Razzak, Carlo Prato and Stephane Wolton“The Most Important Study in the Abortion Debate” by Annie LowreyBook recommendations:The Turnaway Study by Diana Greene FosterTorn Apart by Dorothy RobertsWho Decides? by Jeffrey S. Sutton51 Imperfect Solutions by Jeffrey S. SuttonThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, David A. Kaplan, Ian Millhiser, Aziz Rana and Kate Redburn.
7/1/20221 hour, 34 minutes, 50 seconds
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The Supreme Court Went Off the Rails Long Before Dobbs

On Friday, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. On Sunday, we released an episode with Dahlia Lithwick that goes through the court’s decision in detail, and we will continue to come out with new episodes on the ruling — and its vast implications — in the days and weeks to come. Today, we’re re-airing an episode that we originally released in February of this year with Columbia Law professor Jamal Greene — a conversation that is even more relevant now than it was when we originally released it. The Dobbs ruling may be the most poignant example of how extreme the U.S. Supreme Court has become in recent years, but it’s certainly not the only one. “Getting race wrong early has led courts to get everything else wrong since,” writes Greene in his book “How Rights Went Wrong.” But he probably doesn’t mean what you think he means.“How Rights Went Wrong” is filled with examples of just how bizarre American Supreme Court outcomes have become. An information processing company claims the right to sell its patients’ data to drug companies — it wins. A group of San Antonio parents whose children attend a school with no air-conditioning, uncertified teachers and a falling apart school building sue for the right to an equal education — they lose. A man from Long Island claims the right to use his homemade nunchucks to teach the “Shafan Ha Lavan” karate style, which he made up, to his children — he wins.Greene’s argument is that in America, for specific reasons rooted in our ugly past, the way we think about rights has gone terribly awry. We don’t do constitutional law the way other countries do it. Rather, we recognize too few rights, and we protect them too strongly. That’s created a race to get everything ruled as a right, because once it’s a right, it’s unassailable. And that’s made the stakes of our constitutional conflicts too high. “If only one side can win, it might as well be mine,” Greene writes. “Conflict over rights can encourage us to take aim at our political opponents instead of speaking to them. And we shoot to kill.”It’s a grim diagnosis. But, for Greene, it’s a hopeful one, too. Because it doesn’t have to be this way. Supreme Court decisions don’t have to feel so existential. Rights like food and shelter and education need not be wholly ignored by the courts. Other countries do things differently, and so can we. We also discuss the reason we have courts in the first place, why Greene thinks Germany’s approach to abortion rights could be a model for America, Greene’s case for appointing nearly 200 justices to the U.S. Supreme Court and much more. Mentioned: “The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just About Abortion. It’s About Power.” by “The Ezra Klein Show”Book Recommendations:Rights Talk by Mary Ann GlendonLaw and Disagreement by Jeremy WaldronCult of the Constitution by Mary Anne Franks We’re hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/NewsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected].“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kristina Samulewski; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
6/28/20221 hour, 6 minutes, 18 seconds
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The Dobbs Decision Isn’t Just About Abortion. It’s About Power.

On Friday, a Supreme Court majority voted to overturn Roe v. Wade. Nearly all abortions are already banned in at least nine states, home to 7.2 million women of reproductive age. And it is likely that other bans and restrictions will follow. As the court’s three liberal justices put it in their dissenting opinion, “One result of today’s decision is certain: the curtailment of women’s rights, and of their status as free and equal citizens.”But this decision doesn’t just represent the end of abortion as a constitutional right; what we’re also witnessing, before our eyes, is a legal regime change — one with striking implications for the future of the court and the country. In their majority opinion on the case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the justices cast aside precedent, the court’s historical norms and evidence-based concerns about how this ruling will disrupt people’s lives. Even Chief Justice John Roberts, a fellow conservative, argued in a concurring opinion that the decision went too far, writing, “The court’s opinion is thoughtful and thorough, but those virtues cannot compensate for the fact that its dramatic and consequential ruling is unnecessary to decide the case before us.”The Dobbs ruling, in other words, isn’t just about abortion; it’s a conservative court majority flexing its newly unrestrained power.Dahlia Lithwick is a reporter covering the Supreme Court for Slate, the host of the podcast “Amicus” and someone I turn to whenever I need to understand the court. We discuss what Roe did and what Dobbs changes; why the rights to abortion, contraception and same-sex marriage have a much firmer constitutional basis than conservatives argue; how the majority opinion implicitly threatens those latter two rights, even while claiming to uphold them; why the most revealing opinion in the case is Roberts’s scathing concurrence; why the majority’s absolute disregard for precedent is so terrifying for defenders of the court; the way Justice Samuel Alito’s constitutional originalism freezes past injustices into present law; what the current composition of the court means for the future of liberal governance in America; and more.Mentioned: “Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization”“There’s a Way to Outmaneuver the Supreme Court, and Maine Has Found It” by Aaron TangBook recommendations:Hope in the Dark by Rebecca SolnitMan’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. FranklYou Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train by Howard ZinnWe’re hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/NewsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; mixing and original music by Isaac Jones; additional engineering by Pat McCusker; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
6/26/20221 hour, 13 minutes, 54 seconds
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The Case for Prosecuting Trump

The Jan. 6 hearings have made it clear that Donald Trump led a concerted, monthslong effort to overturn a democratic election. The extensive interviews — over 1,000 — that the House select committee conducted prove that Trump was told there was no evidence of election fraud, but he pressed his anti-democratic case regardless. And it appears that the hearings may be making an impact on public opinion: An ABC News/Ipsos survey released Sunday found that 58 percent of respondents believe Trump should be charged with a crime for his role in the Jan. 6 attack, up from 52 percent in April.But after all the evidence comes to light, will he actually face legal consequences? If the answer is no, then what might future presidents — including, perhaps, Trump himself — be emboldened to do? And what would that mean for the future of the American political system?Jamelle Bouie is a Times Opinion columnist and co-host of the podcast “Unclear and Present Danger.” Bouie brings a remarkable historical depth to his writing about American politics. His columns about Jan. 6 — and the troubling idiosyncrasies of Trump’s presidency before it — have shown how the former president’s illiberal actions have threatened the constitutional foundation of American government. So I asked him on the show to help me process the Jan. 6 hearings with an eye to America’s past, and also to its uncertain future.We discuss why Jan. 6 may be not just an insurrection but “a kind of revolution or, at least, the very beginning of one”; how the anti-democratic nature of the American Constitution makes our system vulnerable to demagogues like Trump; the most important takeaways from the hearings so far; what could happen in 2024 if Trump is allowed to walk free; what Trump allies are already doing to gain power over elections; why refusing to prosecute Trump would itself be a “radical act”; why Republicans have grown increasingly suspicious of — and hostile to — representative democracy; why Bouie thinks prosecuting Trump would be worth the political fallout it would cause; and more.Mentioned:“Trump Had a Mob. He Also Had a Plan.” by Jamelle Bouie“America Punishes Only a Certain Kind of Rebel” by Jamelle Bouie“Prosecute Trump? Put Yourself in Merrick Garland’s Shoes.” by Jack GoldsmithBook recommendations:Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men by Eric FonerSalmon P. Chase by Walter StahrWhat It Took to Win by Michael KazinWe're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/NewsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Rollin Hu, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; mixing and original music by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
6/24/20221 hour, 10 minutes, 2 seconds
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Two Years Later, We Still Don’t Understand Long Covid. Why?

Depending on the data you look at, between 10 and 40 percent of people who get Covid will still have symptoms months later. For some, those symptoms will be modest. A cough, some fatigue. For others, they’ll be life-altering: Debilitating brain fog. Exhaustion. Cardiovascular problems. Blood clotting.This is what we call long Covid. It’s one term for a vast range of experiences, symptoms, outcomes. It’s one term that may be hiding a vast range of maladies and causes. So what do we actually know about long Covid? What don’t we know? And why don’t we know more than we do?Dr. Lekshmi Santhosh is an assistant professor at UCSF Medical Center, and the founder and medical director of UCSF’s long Covid and post-ICU clinic. Her clinic opened in May 2020 and was one of the first to focus on treating long Covid patients specifically. We discuss the wildly broad range of symptoms that can qualify as long Covid; the confusing overlaps between Covid symptoms and other diseases; whether age, race, sex and pre-existing conditions affect a person’s chances of contracting long Covid; why it’s so difficult to answer a seemingly simple question like, “How many people have gotten long Covid?”; what to make of a recent study that seemingly undermines the biological existence of long Covid; how worried we should be about correlations between Covid and medical disasters like heart attacks, strokes and abnormal blood clotting; and more.Mentioned:“Post–COVID Conditions Among Adult COVID-19 Survivors Aged 18–64 and ≥65 Years — United States, March 2020–November 2021” by Lara Bull-Otterson, Sarah Baca1, Sharon Saydah, Tegan K. Boehmer, Stacey Adjei, Simone Gray and Aaron M. Harris“Long COVID after breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection” by Ziyad Al-Aly, Benjamin Bowe and Yan Xie“A Longitudinal Study of COVID-19 Sequelae and Immunity: Baseline Findings” by Michael C. Sneller, C. Jason Liang, Adriana R. Marques, et al.“Positive Epstein–Barr virus detection in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients” by Ting Chen, Jiayi Song, Hongli Liu, Hongmei Zheng and Changzheng Chen“Risk factors and disease profile of post-vaccination SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK users of the COVID Symptom Study app” by Michela Antonelli, Rose S. Penfold, Jordi Merino, Carole H. Sudre, Erika Molteni, Sarah Berry, et al.“Understanding and Improving Recovery From COVID-19” by Aluko A. Hope“Markers of Immune Activation and Inflammation in Individuals With Postacute Sequelae of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection” by Michael J. Peluso, Scott Lu, Alex F. Tang, Matthew S. Durstenfeld, et al.Book Recommendations:In Shock by Dr. Rana AwdishEvery Deep-Drawn Breath by Wes ElyMountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy KidderWe're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/NewsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and 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, Kristina Samulewski, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly and Lauren Nichols.
6/21/202257 minutes, 17 seconds
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The End of 'The Everything Bubble'

This week, the S&P 500 entered what analysts refer to as a bear market. The index has plunged around 22 percent from its most recent peak in January. Many growth stocks and crypto assets have crashed double or triple that amount.New home sales declined 17 percent in April, causing some analysts to argue that the housing market has peaked. And, in response to rising inflation, the Federal Reserve just approved its largest interest rate increase since 1994, meaning asset prices could dip even lower.To understand what’s happening in the stock market right now, you have to understand the era that preceded it. Rana Foroohar is a columnist at The Financial Times, and the author of several books on the economy including “Makers and Takers” and “Don’t Be Evil.” Her view is that a decade-plus of loose monetary policy has been the economic equivalent of a “sugar high,” which kept the prices of stocks, housing and other assets going up and up and up, even as the fundamentals of the economy have been eroding. This “everything bubble,” as she calls it, was bound to burst — and that’s exactly what she thinks is happening right now.So I wanted to have her on the show to discuss the economic choices — and lack thereof — that led to this point. We also discuss why the increasing power of the financial sector hasn’t resulted a stronger economy, whether the housing market has indeed hit its peak, the massive missed opportunity for public investment while interest rates were low, why policymakers treat asset price inflation so differently from other types of inflation, the true costs of the meat we eat and clothes we wear, why crypto represents the apotheosis of hyper-financialized capitalism, why I’m skeptical of the argument that we’re moving rapidly toward a less globalized world and more.Book recommendations:All That She Carried by Tiya MilesBeautiful Country by Qian Julie WangThe Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order by Gary GerstleWe're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/NewsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Andrea López Cruzado; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
6/17/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 53 seconds
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Is Climate Change a Reason to Avoid Having Children? and Other Listener Questions Answered

It’s that time of year, when we invite listeners to send in questions, and I answer them on the air. And as usual, you delivered. I’m joined by my producer Annie Galvin, who asks me some of the most intriguing questions of the many we received: Is climate change a reason to forgo having kids? What would happen if Trump were allowed to return to Twitter, in the event of an Elon Musk acquisition? Should Biden run again in 2024? Is wokeness killing the Democratic Party?We also discuss the recent congressional hearing about U.F.O. sightings; whether it’s a good thing that so many talented young people are going to work in consulting, finance and corporate law; the worrisome anti-institutional direction of the Republican Party; why government is failing to deliver on liberals’ policies and promises — and how to start fixing that problem; whether Americans’ distrust in institutions is warranted; why I could use some recommendations for a good reading chair; and more.Mentioned:We're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/News“Your Kids Are Not Doomed” by Ezra Klein“Empirically Grounded Technology Forecasts and the Energy Transition” by Rupert Way, Matthew Ives, Penny Mealy and J. Doyne Farmer“Ibram X. Kendi on What Conservatives — and Liberals — Get Wrong About Antiracism” by The Ezra Klein Show“A Different Way of Thinking About Cancel Culture” by Ezra KleinPublic Citizens by Paul Sabin“This Is Why Your Holiday Travel Is Awful” by Marc J. Dunkelman“Are We More Polarized? Or Just Weirder?” by The Ezra Klein Show“Donald Trump Didn’t Hijack the G.O.P. He Understood It.” by The Ezra Klein Show“Robert Sapolsky on the Toxic Intersection of Poverty and Stress” by Vox ConversationsBook Recommendations:Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil PostmanThe Invention of Nature by Andrea WulfBeautiful World, Where Are You by Sally RooneyMusic Recommendations:“Spring 1” by Max RichterChristian LöfflerThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
6/14/20221 hour, 15 minutes, 29 seconds
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Socialism Is Supposed to Be a Working-Class Movement. Why Isn’t It?

American socialists today find themselves in a tenuous position. Over the past decade, the left has become a powerful force in American politics. Bernie Sanders seriously contested two presidential primaries. Democratic socialists have won local, state and congressional races. Organizations like Democratic Socialists of America and socialist publications like Jacobin have become part of the political conversation.But the progressive left’s successes have been largely concentrated in well-educated, heavily blue districts, and the movement that claims to represent the interests of workers consistently fails to make meaningful inroads with working-class voters. As a result, socialists have struggled to build broad, lasting political power at any level of government.“We might feel more confident about the prospects for the left if, rather than a momentary shift leftward in liberal economic priorities or the rhetoric of certain parts of the mainstream media, there had been deeper inroads made among workers,” writes Bhaskar Sunkara. “There have been rare exceptions, but on the whole, it would be delusional to say that our ideological left has made a decade of progress merging with a wider social base.”Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin and the president of The Nation, two of the leading publications on the American left. He recently published an issue of Jacobin titled “The Left in Purgatory,” which attempts to grapple with the left’s failures, interrogate its political strategies and chart a path for American socialists to win over more working-class voters. So I invited him on the show to lay out where the left is now, and where he thinks it needs to go next.We discuss whether the left learned the wrong lessons from the Sanders 2016 campaign, why working-class voters across the world have increasingly abandoned left-wing parties, the fundamental error in Sanders’s theory of the 2020 electorate, why winning over working-class voters is just as much about a candidate’s aesthetic as it is about policy, why Sunkara is pessimistic that the socialists who came after Bernie will be able to match his widespread appeal, the “end of the A.O.C. honeymoon” on the left, what a “supply-side socialism” could look like, the tension between the left’s desire for government to do big things and its skepticism of concentrated power, why it costs so much to build in America, why Sunkara is worried about America’s “thin associative democracy” and more.Mentioned:“Brahmin Left versus Merchant Right: Changing Political Cleavages in 21 Western Democracies, 1948-2020” by Amory Gethin, Clara Martínez-Toledano and Thomas PikettyInfrastructure issue from Jacobin"The End of the A.O.C. Honeymoon" by Natalie ShureBook recommendations:Socialism: Past and Future by Michael HarringtonThe Age of Extremes by Eric HobsbawmThe South by Adolph L. Reed, Jr.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kate Sinclair; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
6/10/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 13 seconds
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Thomas Piketty’s Case For ‘Participatory Socialism’

The French economist Thomas Piketty is arguably the world’s greatest chronicler of economic inequality. For decades now, he has collected huge data sets documenting the share of income and wealth that has flowed to the top 1 percent. And the culmination of much of that work, his 2013 book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” quickly became one of the most widely read and cited economic texts in recent history.Piketty’s new book, “A Brief History of Equality,” is perhaps his most optimistic work. In it, he chronicles the immense social progress that the U.S. and Europe have achieved over the past few centuries in the form of rising educational attainment, life expectancy and incomes. Of course, those societies still contain huge inequalities of wealth. But in Piketty’s view, this outcome isn’t an inevitability; it’s the product of policy choices that we collectively make — and could choose to make differently. And to that end, Piketty proposes a truly radical policy agenda — a universal minimum inheritance of around $150,000 per person, worker control over the boards of corporations and “confiscatory” levels of wealth and income taxation — that he calls “participatory socialism.”So this conversation isn’t just about the current state of inequality; it’s about the kind of policies — and politics — it would take to solve that inequality. We discuss why wealth is a far more accurate indicator of social power than income, the quality of the historical data that Piketty’s work relies on, why Piketty believes the welfare state — not capitalism itself — is the most important driver of human progress, why representative democracy hasn’t led to more economic redistribution, whether equality is really the best metric to measure human progress in the first place, how Piketty would pay for his universal inheritance proposal, whether the levels of taxation he is proposing would stifle innovation and wreck the economy, why he believes it would be better for societies — and economic productivity — for workers to have a much larger say in how companies are governed, how Piketty thinks about the prospect of inflation and more.Mentioned:The Great Leveler by Walter Scheidel“Anne Applebaum on What Liberals Misunderstand About Authoritarianism” by The Ezra Klein ShowBook Recommendations:The Great Demarcation by Rafe BlaufarbThe Emergence of Globalism by Or RosenboimThe Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah ArendtWe're hiring a researcher! You can apply here or by visiting nytimes.wd5.myworkdayjobs.com/NewsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
6/7/20221 hour, 1 minute, 10 seconds
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A Conservative's View on Democrats' Biggest Weakness

“There is definitely a contest for the future of the center right,” says Reihan Salam, the president of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank. In his telling, one side in this contest is “deeply pessimistic about the prospect of a diversifying America, explicitly anti-urban and increasingly willing to embrace redistribution and centralized power,” more so than conservatism before Donald Trump. This populist right has received a lot of attention since Trump’s election, and we’ve done other shows to try to understand it.But Salam is advancing a very different set of ideas with a very different theory of the electorate. He’s identified what he sees as a core fissure between the progressive elites who run the Democratic Party and the working-class voters of color who make up a large part of its base — particularly on issues of race and gender. And he believes that by putting forward an “urban conservative” agenda centered on education, housing and public safety, Republicans can exploit those internal cleavages and begin to win over demographics that have been central to the Democratic coalition.So for the final episode in our “The Rising Right” series, I wanted to use Salam’s thoughts to explore this alternate path for the American right. We discuss why the Republican Party has turned against major cities, whether antiracism is the right framework for addressing racial inequality, why he believes that children of Latino and Asian immigrants could become a core G.O.P. constituency, the difference between antiracism and “antiracialism,” the tactics of the anti-critical-race-theory movement, why he thinks there’s been an “overcorrection” on the right in favor of state power and redistribution, what a supply-side conservatism beyond just tax cuts could look like, why he believes we could be entering an era of “fiscal constraints” that could radically reshape policymaking on both the left and right and more.Mentioned:“The Anti-C.R.T. Movement and a Vision For a New Right Wing” by Jay Caspian Kang“America Needs Anti-Racialism” by Reihan Salam“Ibram X. Kendi on What Conservatives — and Liberals — Get Wrong About Antiracism” by The Ezra Klein Show“Prison-Gang Politics” by Christopher F. RufoBook recommendations:Classified by David E. BernsteinCriminal (In)Justice by Rafael A. MangualSir Vidia’s Shadow by Paul TherouxThe Strategy of Denial by Elbridge A. ColbyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
6/3/20221 hour, 16 minutes, 51 seconds
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Sex, Abortion and Feminism, as Seen From the Right

For decades, the conservative position on abortion has been simple: Appoint justices who will overturn Roe V. Wade. That aspiration is now likely to become reality. The question of abortion rights will re-enter the realm of electoral politics in a way it hasn’t for 50 years. And that means Republicans will need to develop a new politics of abortion — a politics that may appeal not only to their anti-abortion base but to some of the many Americans who believe Roe should stand.One place those Republicans may look for inspiration is to the work of the legal scholar Erika Bachiochi. She is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, director of the Wollstonecraft Project at the Abigail Adams Institute and the author of “The Rights of Women: Reclaiming a Lost Vision,” where she argues for a “dignitarian feminism.” Bachiochi embraces women’s gains in professional and civic life but holds that techno-pharmacological birth control, the sexual revolution and the legalization of abortion have created a sexual and family culture that has ultimately been devastating to women’s well-being.In hopes of improving that status quo, Bachiochi puts forward a policy agenda that could very well become the post-Roe playbook for some Republicans: tighter abortion restrictions combined with a robust slate of family policies — some of which would be even bolder than the Biden administration’s proposals to date. Hers is not an argument I agree with, but it’s one that I imagine will become increasingly salient in a post-Roe America.In the third episode of our series “The Rising Right,” we discuss Bachiochi’s views on why the “gender revolution” has stalled; her belief that market logic has come to dominate our understandings of family, parenting, sex and feminism; her critique of modern “hookup” culture; and her pro-family economic agenda. And we debate whether it’s realistic to encourage the use of natural fertility regulation over hormonal contraception, how abortion relates to single motherhood and poverty, whether stricter abortion laws might benefit or hurt poor women, what role the law should play in teaching moral behavior, whether progressives have become too “Lockean” in their understanding of bodily autonomy, whether the sexual revolution gave people too much choice and more.Mentioned:Defenders of the Unborn by Daniel K. WilliamsGeneration Unbound by Isabel V. Sawhill“Equal Rights, Equal Wrongs” by Christopher KaczorBook recommendations:Rights Talk by Mary Ann GlendonFeminism Without Illusions by Elizabeth Fox-GenovesePublic Man, Private Woman by Jean Bethke ElshtainThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
5/31/20221 hour, 25 minutes, 36 seconds
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Best Of: Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Fight Over U.S. History

What does it mean to reckon with the violence, the tragedy, and the numerous contradictions of America? That is the focus of this conversation – originally aired in July of 2021 – with Nikole Hannah-Jones and Ta- Nehisi Coates. On one level, the conversation is a reflection on the fights over teaching critical race theory and the 1619 Project. But it is really focused on the deeper meaning behind those skirmishes: The ongoing fight over the story we tell about America and why that fight has so gripped our national discourse. What changes when a country’s sense of its own history changes? What changes when who gets to tell that story changes? What are the stakes here, and why now?My guests for this conversation need little introduction. Nikole Hannah-Jones is an investigative journalist for the New York Times Magazine where she led the 1619 Project, and, before that, did incredible work on racial inequality in the American education system. Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of books including “Between the World and Me” and “The Water Dancer,” essays including “The Case for Reparations,” and, for Marvel Comics, “Captain America” and “Black Panther.” Each of them has won more prestigious awards for their work than I could possibly list here, and both will be taking faculty positions at Howard University.We discuss the 1619 Project, whether patriotism can coexist with shame and regret, the political power of American exceptionalism, the cracked foundations of American democracy, how journalism is and should be taught, our relationships to Twitter, what journalists can learn from children and much more. It's a conversation that feels just as relevant today as when it first aired. Nikole Hannah-Jones book recommendations:Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880 by W.E.B Du BoisThe Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel WilkersonTa-Nehisi Coates book recommendations:Postwar by Tony JudtAvengers of the New World by Laurent DuboisYou 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.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected].“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 and Kristina Samulewski.
5/27/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 40 seconds
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A Conversation With Ada Limón, in Six Poems

​​“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.”When the news feels sodden with violence and division, it can be hard to know where to put the difficult emotions it provokes. Poetry may seem an unlikely destination for those emotions, especially to those who don’t read it regularly. But Limón’s poems are unique for the deep attention they pay to both the world’s wounds and its redemptive beauty. In otherwise dark times, they have the power to open us up to the wonder and awe that the world still inspires.Limón’s books of poetry — like her 2018 collection, “The Carrying,” which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, and her 2015 collection, “Bright Dead Things” — 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? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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.
5/24/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 9 seconds
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The Ethics of Abortion

When Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization leaked a few weeks ago, it signaled that Roe v. Wade appears likely to be overturned in a matter of weeks. If Roe falls, questions about the right to abortion will re-enter the realm of electoral politics in a way they haven’t for 50 years. States will be solely in charge of determining whether abortion is permitted, under what conditions it should be permitted, and what the appropriate thresholds are for making those decisions.That means ordinary voters and their representatives will be forced to grapple with the moral — even metaphysical — quandaries at the heart of the abortion debate. What does it mean to belong to the human species, and when does that belonging begin? Is there a bright line at which an egg, a blastula, or a fetus attains the status of “person”? And how do we weigh the competing interests of mothers, families, and fetuses against one another? Those questions are the foundation on top of which abortion law and policy is built.Kate Greasley is a law professor at the University of Oxford in the U.K., where she studies, among other things, the legal and moral philosophy of abortion. She’s the author of “Arguments About Abortion: Personhood, Morality, and Law,” and co-author of “Abortion Rights: For and Against” alongside Christopher Kaczor, a philosopher who opposes abortion. While Greasley ultimately believes in the right to choose, she does a remarkably comprehensive job of carefully and fairly considering all the arguments, contradictions and nuances of this issue.We discuss why both progressives and conservatives should be open to questioning their preconceptions about abortion, what the Bible does — and doesn’t — suggest about abortion, why the status of fetal life is the central question at the heart of abortion ethics, whether life begins at conception or emerges later in fetal development, how the complex, messy moral intuitions that most of us have around questions of life and death don’t lend themselves neatly to either an abortion rights or anti-abortion camp, why late-term abortions pose particularly challenging moral questions, how the pregnant person’s bodily autonomy weighs against the fetus’s and more.Mentioned:“Can Fetuses Feel Pain?” by Stuart DerbyshireBook recommendations:Beyond Roe by David BooninAbortion: Three Perspectives by Michael Tooley, Celia Wolf-Devine, Philip E. Devine and Alison M. JaggarAbout Abortion by Carol SangerThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing and engineering by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
5/20/20221 hour, 12 minutes, 20 seconds
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Anne Applebaum on What Liberals Misunderstand About Authoritarianism

The experience of reading Hannah Arendt’s 1951 classic “The Origins of Totalitarianism” in the year 2022 is a disorienting one. Although Arendt is writing primarily about Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, her descriptions often capture aspects of our present moment more clearly than those of us living through it can ever hope to.Arendt writes of entire populations who “had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true.” She describes “the masses’ escape from reality” as “a verdict against the world in which they are forced to live and in which they cannot exist.” She points out that in societies riddled with elite hypocrisy, “it seemed revolutionary to admit cruelty, disregard of human values, and general amorality, because this at least destroyed the duplicity upon which the existing society seemed to rest.”It’s hard to read statements like these without immediately conjuring up images of Vladimir Putin’s Russia or Donald Trump’s presidency or the QAnon faithful. But that’s exactly the point: The reason Arendt is so relevant today is that her diagnosis doesn’t apply just to the Nazi or Soviet regimes she was writing about. It is more fundamentally about the characteristics of liberal societies that make them vulnerable to distinctly illiberal and authoritarian forces — weaknesses that, in many ways, have only become more pronounced in the 70 years since “The Origins of Totalitarianism” was first released.Anne Applebaum is a staff writer for The Atlantic and a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian. Her writing — including her most recent book, “Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism” — is focused on the resurgence of autocratic movements and governments around the world, and why members of Western societies have abandoned liberal democratic ideals in favor of strongman leaders, conspiratorial movements and authoritarian regimes. And in the introduction she wrote to a new edition of “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” Applebaum argues that Arendt’s insights are more relevant now than ever.So this is a conversation that uses Arendt’s analysis as a window into our present. Applebaum and I discuss how “radical loneliness” lays the groundwork for authoritarianism, what Putin and Trump understand about human nature that most liberals miss, the seductive allure of groups like QAnon, the way that modern propaganda feeds off a combination of gullibility and cynicism, whether liberalism’s own logic is making societies vulnerable to totalitarian impulses, why efforts by populist politicians to upend conventional morality have held such appeal in Western liberal democracies, how the ideology of “economism” blinds Western liberals to their own societies’ deepest vulnerabilities, what liberals need to do differently to counteract the rise of global autocracy and more.Mentioned:“Review of Adolph Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’” by George OrwellBook Recommendations:Cuba by Ada FerrerThe Lincoln Highway by Amor TowlesThe Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah ArendtThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
5/17/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 59 seconds
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What Does the ‘Post-Liberal Right’ Actually Want?

“It begun to dawn on many conservatives that in spite of apparent electoral victories that have occurred regularly since the Reagan years, they have consistently lost, and lost overwhelmingly to progressive forces,” Patrick Deneen writes in a recent essay titled “Abandoning Defensive Crouch Conservatism.” He goes on to argue that conservatives need to reject liberal values like free speech, religious liberty and pluralism, abandon their defensive posturing and use the power of the state to actively fight back against what he calls “liberal totalitarianism.”To progressive ears, these kinds of statements can be baffling; after all, Republicans currently control a majority of state legislatures, governorships and the Supreme Court, and they are poised to make gains in the midterm elections this fall. But even so, there’s a pervasive feeling among conservatives that progressives are using their unprecedented institutional power — in universities, in Hollywood, in the mainstream media, in the C-suites of tech companies — to wage war on traditional ways of life. And many of them have come to believe that the only viable response is to fight back against these advances at all costs. It’s impossible to understand the policies, leaders, rhetoric and tactics of the populist right without first trying to inhabit this worldview.That is why, for this second conversation in our series “The Rising Right,” I wanted to speak with Deneen. He is a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, and his 2018 book, “Why Liberalism Failed,” has become a touchstone within the conservative intelligentsia and was even fairly well received by liberals. But since then, Deneen’s writing has come to express something closer to total political war. And with three other professors, he recently started a Substack newsletter, “The Postliberal Order,” to build the kind of intellectual and political project needed to fight that war.This is a conversation about what Deneen’s “postliberal” political project looks like — and the tensions and contradictions it reveals about the modern populist right. We discuss (and debate) Deneen’s view that conservatives keep losing, why he believes the left is hostile to the family, whether America needs stricter divorce laws, what the post-liberal right would actually do with power, the virtues and vices of policy analysis, whether post-liberals have built their core arguments around an invented straw man liberalism, Joe Biden’s agenda for families and much more.Mentioned:“A Good That Is Common” by Patrick Deneen“Replace the Elite” by Patrick Deneen“Abandoning Defensive Crouch Conservatism” by Patrick DeneenBook recommendations:The New Class War by Michael LindDominion by Tom HollandThe Art of Loading Brush by Wendell BerryThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Rollin Hu; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
5/13/20221 hour, 37 minutes, 25 seconds
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Sway: 'Fear and Panic Are Bedfellows' in Ukraine

Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at Sway about the war in Ukraine and the challenges of conflict-zone reporting. Clarissa Ward has had, as she puts it, a “long and very complicated relationship” with Russia. The chief international correspondent for CNN, she has had stints in Moscow since the beginning of her career, and has struggled to get a Russian visa since she investigated the 2020 poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.But that hasn’t stopped her from reporting on the region, and in particular on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Yet after months of war, it can be an uphill battle to keep the viewers’ attention on the front line. “Our job is to keep finding ways to make sure that we don’t become numb and desensitized to the horrors of war, because that is exactly how wars continue and grind on,” Ward says.In this conversation, taped last week, Kara talks to Ward about her time reporting in Ukraine, what it’s like to “let fear sit in the passenger seat” when reporting from the front and how the hangover of war can leave correspondents detached from the “bourgeois and banal” normalcy of home.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more information for all episodes at nytimes.com/sway, and you can find Kara on Twitter @karaswisher.“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 and Kristina Samulewski.
5/10/202242 minutes, 51 seconds
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Donald Trump Didn’t Hijack the G.O.P. He Understood It.

Right now, Republicans of all stripes — Ron DeSantis, J.D. Vance, Mike Pence, Glenn Youngkin — are trying to figure out how to channel the populist energies of Donald Trump into a winning political message. The struggle to achieve such a synthesis is the defining project on the American right today. Its outcome will determine the future of the Republican Party — and American politics.To understand what the post-Trump future of the G.O.P. will look like, it helps to have a clearer understanding of the party’s past — particularly the chapters that many conservatives prefer to forget. Traditional histories of American conservatism view Donald Trump’s election as an aberration in the lineage of the American right — an unprecedented populist rejection of the conservatism of Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley Jr.But Matthew Continetti’s new book “The Right: The Hundred-Year War for American Conservatism” flips that conventional history on its head. In Continetti’s view, the “populist” energies that Trump harnessed in 2016 aren’t anything new for the American right — they have always been central to it. The American right has always been defined by a back-and-forth struggle — and at times a synthesis — between its populist grass roots and its elites.I wanted to bring Continetti on the show because this history is crucial to understanding where the Republican Party could go next. And also because this is the first episode in a new series we are producing called “The Rising Right.” Over the next few weeks, “The Ezra Klein Show” will feature conversations with conservative writers, scholars and thinkers who are trying to harness the forces that Trump unleashed and build a superstructure of ideas, institutions and policy around them. But to see where that movement is going, you have to take seriously where it came from.Mentioned:“Can Reaganism Rise Again?” by Ross DouthatBook Recommendations:Let Us Talk of Many Things by William F. Buckley Jr.Making It by Norman PodhoretzThe Prince of Darkness by Robert D. NovakThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Mary Marge Locker and Jenny Casas; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
5/6/20221 hour, 22 minutes, 39 seconds
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The Argument: Why the G.O.P. Can't Stop Saying 'Gay'

Today we're bringing you an episode from our friends at The Argument about Florida's “Don't Say Gay” bill and the broader wave of anti-L.G.B.T.Q. legislation, spurred by the political right, that is spreading across the country. According to the Human Rights Campaign, this year alone, more than 300 anti-L.G.B.T.Q. bills have been introduced in state legislatures. Why has this issue become a major focus of the Republican Party? And how is the way society treats individuals who identify as L.G.B.T.Q. changing? Jane Coaston speaks to her Times Opinion colleagues Ross Douthat and Michelle Goldberg about these questions and brings a deeply personal perspective to the table.Mentioned:“How to Make Sense of the New L.G.B.T.Q. Culture War” by Ross Douthat in The New York Times“Gender Unicorn” from Trans Student Educational ResourcesThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
5/3/202239 minutes, 4 seconds
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Elon Musk Might Break Twitter. Maybe That's a Good Thing.

If Elon Musk’s bid to purchase Twitter comes to fruition, the world’s richest person will own one of its most important communications platforms. Twitter might have a smaller user base than Facebook, Instagram and even Snapchat, but it shapes the dominant narratives in key industries like politics, media, finance and technology more than any other platform. Attention — particularly that of elite leaders in these industries — is a valuable resource, one that Twitter manages and trades in.Musk understands Twitter’s attention economy better than anyone. On numerous occasions, his tweets have sent a company’s stock or a cryptocurrency’s value skyrocketing (or plummeting). So what would it mean for Musk to own Twitter? How would that change the platform? How might he use Twitter to change, well, everything else?Felix Salmon is the chief economics correspondent at Axios, a co-host of the Slate Money podcast and someone who has spent a lot of time thinking about the economics of attention, the way modern financial markets work and how money impacts the technologies we use. We discuss Musk’s possible motivations for owning Twitter, how Musk’s distinct brand of tweeting has reaped financial windfalls, what Musk understands about finance and attention that many others don’t, why Twitter is so powerful as a storytelling machine, why journalists are turning away from it, what a decentralized Twitter might look like, how Web3 resembles the 1960s “back to the land” movement, how Musk could break Twitter — but why that might end up saving Twitter — and more.Mentioned:“Elon Musk Got Twitter Because He Gets Twitter” by Ezra Klein"A Crypto Optimist Meets a Crypto Skeptic” on The Ezra Klein Show“A Viral Case Against Crypto, Explored” on The Ezra Klein Show“The Way the Senate Melted Down Over Crypto Is Very Revealing” by Ezra KleinBook Recommendations:The Bond King by Mary ChildsTypeset in the Future by Dave AddeyThe Surprise of Cremona by Edith TempletonThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Jenny Casas, Michelle Harris, Rollin Hu and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
4/29/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 27 seconds
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Putin May Not Like How He’s Changed Europe

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has transformed Europe within a matter of weeks. A continent once fractured by the refugee crisis is now taking in millions of refugees. Countries such as Germany have made considerable pledges to increase military spending. The European Union said it would cut off Russian oil and gas “well before 2030” — a once unthinkable prospect. The European project seems more confident in itself than at any other time in recent history.But some European countries are also seeing trends in the opposite direction. This month in Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s nationalist government won re-election easily. The far-right leader Marine Le Pen lost this past weekend’s French presidential election to the incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, but secured a significant 41.5 percent of the vote, up from 33.9 percent in 2017. And nationalist movements — Brexit in Britain, the Five Star Movement in Italy and others — have become potent political forces in recent years.So what’s next for Europe? Will Putin’s invasion reinvigorate the collective European project? Or will the continent revert to its preinvasion path of fracture, division and nationalism?Ivan Krastev is the chairman of the Center for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria and the author of numerous books, including “After Europe” and, with Stephen Holmes, “The Light That Failed: Why the West Is Losing the Fight for Democracy.” He’s also one of my favorite people to talk to on the subject of Europe, liberalism, democracy and the tensions therein.We discuss how European identity went from revolving around war to being centered on economic trade, why Europe has treated the Ukrainian refugee crisis so differently from previous refugee crises, how the West’s overly economic understanding of human motivation blinded it to Putin’s plans, what the relative success of politicians like Le Pen and Orban means for the future of Europe, how fears of demographic change can help explain phenomena as different as Putin’s invasion and Donald Trump’s election, whether Putin’s invasion can reawaken an exhausted European liberalism and much more.Mentioned:“The End of History?” by Francis FukuyamaThe End of History and the Last Man by Francis Fukuyama“We Are All Living in Vladimir Putin’s World Now” by Ivan Krastev“The Crisis of American Power: How Europeans See Biden’s America” by Ivan Krastev“The Power of the Past: How Nostalgia Shapes European Public Opinion” by Catherine E. de Vries and Isabell Hoffmann from Bertelsmann StiftungBook Recommendations:Free by Lea YpiThe Age of Unpeace by Mark LeonardTime Shelter by Georgi GospodinovThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
4/26/20221 hour, 9 minutes, 37 seconds
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Emily St. John Mandel on Time Travel, Parenting and the Apocalypse

“Station Eleven” by Emily St. John Mandel was published in 2014. That book imagined the world after a pandemic had wiped out, well, almost everyone. It’s a gorgeous novel with a particular emotional power: it helps you grieve a life you still have. But then came a real pandemic, not as lethal as the one Mandel imagined, but a shock nonetheless. And “Station Eleven” — already a beloved international best seller — found a second life. Mandel became known as a pandemic prophet. “Station Eleven” became an acclaimed HBO Max series.“Sea of Tranquility” by Mandel is written from within the hothouse of that strange kind of celebrity. The author put a version of herself in there, struggling with fame and parenthood and quarantine and too much travel. But there are also moon colonies, and time travel, and hints that we live in a computer simulation. If “Station Eleven” explores how calamity could change the world, “Sea of Tranquility” wonders what happens if it doesn’t.This conversation begins in the weirdness of the simulation hypothesis, but winds its way to much more fundamental questions of being human right now. There is so much we could lose, so much we already have lost; why is it so hard to live with the gratitude our lives should inspire, or the seriousness the moment demands?Mentioned:“The Power of Patience” by Jennifer L. RobertsThis Time Tomorrow by Emma Straub“Are We Living in a Computer Simulation?” by Nick BostromBook recommendations:Scary Monsters by Michelle de KretserIll Will by Dan ChaonSuite Française by Irène NémirovskyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
4/22/202259 minutes, 36 seconds
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Can Democrats Turn Their 2022 Around?

With the midterms just over six months away, the electoral prospects for Democrats are looking bleak. President Biden’s approval rating is at 42 percent, around where Donald Trump’s was at this point in his presidency. Recent polls asking whether Americans want Republicans or Democrats in Congress found that Republicans are leading by about 2 percentage points. And with inflation spiking to its highest point in decades, Covid cases rising and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continuing to send economic and humanitarian shock waves across the globe, things don’t look as if they are going to get better anytime soon.What will it take for Democrats to turn things around? What fights should they be picking with Republicans, and how should they be making the case that they deserve another chance at leading the country?Sean McElwee is a co-founder and the executive director of Data for Progress, a research organization that gathers polling data to strategize on behalf of progressive causes and policies. Anat Shenker-Osorio is a principal at ASO Communications, a political communications firm that conducts analytic and empirical research to help progressive political campaigns. She also hosts the “Words to Win By” podcast. McElwee and Shenker-Osorio have deeply influenced my thinking on how words work in American politics: how campaigns can meaningfully address what voters want and how they can persuade swing voters and motivate the party’s base.In this conversation, McElwee and Shenker-Osorio help me understand where Democrats stand with the electorate and what, if anything, they can do to improve their chances in 2022. We discuss why Biden’s approval rating is so low, given the popularity of his policies, why governing parties so often lose midterm elections, whether Democrats should focus more on persuading swing voters or on mobilizing their base, why it’s important for Democrats to get their base to sing from the same songbook, what Democrats can learn from Trump about winning voters’ attention, how Republicans are running politics on easy mode, whether it was wise politically for Biden to double down on the message to fund the police, what political fights Democrats should pick in the lead-up to the midterms, how the party should handle spiking inflation and more.Mentioned:"Democrats, Here's How to Lose in 2022. And Deserve It." by Ezra KleinBook recommendations:Anat Shenker-OsorioA Theory of System Justification by John T. JostMemorial by Bryan WashingtonThese Precious Days by Ann PatchettSean McElweeThe Course by Ed MillerThe Precipice by Toby OrdThe Climate War by Eric PooleyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kate Sinclair; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
4/19/20221 hour, 7 minutes, 42 seconds
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Best Of: This Conversation Will Change How You Think About Trauma

“Trauma is much more than a story about something that happened long ago,” writes Dr. Bessel van der Kolk. “The emotions and physical sensations that were imprinted during the trauma are experienced not as memories but as disruptive physical reactions in the present.”Van der Kolk, a psychiatrist by training, has been a pioneer in trauma research for decades now and leads the Trauma Research Foundation. His 2014 book “The Body Keeps the Score,” quickly became a touchstone on the topic. And although the book was first released over seven years ago, it now sits at No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, a testament to the state of our national psyche.The core argument of the book is that traumatic experiences — everything from sexual assault and incest to emotional and physical abuse — become embedded in the older, more primal parts of our brain that don’t have access to conscious awareness. And that means two things simultaneously. First, that trauma lodges in the body. We carry a physical imprint of our psychic wounds. The body keeps the score. But — and I found this more revelatory — the mind hides the score. It obscures the memories, or convinces us our victimization was our fault, or covers the event in shame so we don’t discuss it.There’s a lot in this conversation. We discuss the lived experience of trauma, the relationship between the mind and the body, the differences between our “experiencing” and “autobiographical” selves, why van der Kolk believes human language is both a “miracle” and a “tyranny,” unconventional treatments for trauma from E.M.D.R. and yoga to psychedelics and theater, how societies can manage collective trauma like 9/11 and Covid-19, the shortcomings of America’s “post-alcoholic” approach to dealing with psychic suffering, how to navigate the often complex relationships with the traumatized people we know and love, and much more.Mentioned: “The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study” by Vince Felitti et al.Study on efficacy of EMDR“REBUS and the Anarchic Brain: Toward a Unified Model of the Brain Action of Psychedelics” by Robin Carhart-Harris et al. Book Recommendations:The Apology by V Love in Goon Park by Deborah BlumThe Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan 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.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected].“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 and engineering by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski
4/15/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 28 seconds
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A Ukrainian Philosopher on What Putin Never Understood About Ukraine

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is only getting more brutal: We’ve seen the bodies of civilians strewn in the streets in Bucha, the city of Mariupol almost leveled and, just a few days ago, a Russian missile attack on a crowded train station in Kramatorsk killing at least 50 people. The United Nations has confirmed 1,793 civilian deaths in Ukraine, though the actual number is thought to be far higher.Russia’s viciousness in this campaign makes Ukraine’s resilience all the more remarkable. Ukrainians have defied expectations in staving off Russia’s far larger army and holding cities like Kyiv that some believed might fall within days of an invasion. Much of the commentary in recent weeks has revolved around what this war has revealed about Russia: its myths, its military, its leadership, its threat. What’s no less important, though, is what this war has revealed about Ukraine.Ukrainians have modeled a deep commitment to self-determination and shown how far they would go to protect it. The Ukrainian philosopher and editor Volodymyr Yermolenko has written that “freedom is the key trait of Ukraine’s identity as a political nation,” and Ukraine’s resistance testifies to how deep that trait runs.Yermolenko is a philosopher, the editor in chief of UkraineWorld and the editor of the essay collection “Ukraine in Histories and Stories.” I invited Yermolenko onto the show to help me understand how Ukraine has defined itself in relation to the political behemoths to its east and west: Russia and Europe. Our conversation also explores what it has felt like to be in Kyiv as Russian troops have shelled the city, how definitions of time and home change during war, what has — and hasn’t — surprised Yermolenko about the Ukrainian resistance, what people in the West may not understand about the cultural differences between Ukraine and Russia, why Ukraine’s political structure makes it so difficult to conquer, how Ukraine is reminding the West why its republican and humanistic values matter, what Yermolenko would say to President Biden if he could and more.Mentioned:“Volodymyr Yermolenko, a Ukrainian philosopher, considers his national identity” by Volodymyr Yermolenko“Dreams of Europe” by Volodymyr YermolenkoBook Recommendations:“Ukraine in Histories and Stories” by Volodymyr Yermolenko“The Gates of Europe” by Serhii Plokhy“Lost Kingdom” by Serhii Plokhy“Chernobyl” by Serhii Plokhy“Blood of Others” by Rory FinninThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
4/12/202247 minutes, 55 seconds
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Fiona Hill on Whether Ukraine Can Win — and What Happens if Russia Loses

The Russia-Ukraine war has changed considerably in recent weeks. Vladimir Putin is no longer talking explicitly about regime change in Ukraine. The Russian military has shifted its focus away from taking Kyiv and toward making territorial gains in Ukraine’s east. The prospect of an outright Ukrainian victory is no longer out of the question. And negotiations between the parties over a possible settlement appear to be making some progress.There’s been a darker turn as well: Over the weekend, images surfaced of atrocities committed by the Russian military against Ukrainian civilians. And Western leaders are considering expanding military aid to Ukraine, initiating war crimes investigations and placing harsher sanctions on Russia in response.Fiona Hill served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council under Donald Trump and as a national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasia under Barack Obama and George W. Bush. I had her on the show a few weeks ago to help me make sense of the Russia-Ukraine conflict as it was developing at the time, and it was one of the most illuminating perspectives I’d heard on the topic. So I invited her back to discuss how the situation has changed, where we are now and what the conflict could look like.We discuss why Hill has become pessimistic about the possibility of a peace deal, how the carnage in Bucha could alter the course of the conflict, why Russia has been so much weaker on the battlefield than expected, whether Ukraine can achieve an outright victory, why this war is making Putin more popular in Russia (not less), what else the West could be doing to support Ukraine, why Hill thinks we’re entering a “much darker” phase of the conflict, what role China could play in bringing about a negotiated settlement, what a renewed framework for European security could look like and more.Book Recommendations:The Art of War by Sun TzuThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
4/8/202247 minutes, 31 seconds
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The Most Thorough Case Against Crypto I've Heard

The hype around cryptocurrencies has reached a fever pitch. There are Super Bowl ads for crypto companies featuring celebrities like Matt Damon and Larry David. The Staples Center in Los Angeles is now the Crypto.com Arena. And behind that hype is a distinct vision: a more decentralized economy where individuals have more autonomy over their finances, a grass-roots internet free of the not-so-invisible hand of Big Tech, and a cultural ecosystem where artists and musicians can fairly monetize their work.But what if that vision is deeply flawed? What if the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies isn’t what it’s cracked up to be? Or what if the technology does work, yet the world it creates isn’t a decentralized utopia but a hyper-financialized dystopia?Dan Olson is the creator of a two-hour-YouTube video, “Line Goes Up,” that has now been viewed nearly seven million times. “Line Goes Up” is the single most comprehensive critique of crypto that I’ve ever heard. And that’s because Olson isn’t just focused on cryptocurrencies as a technology or an asset class, but on the crypto universe as a distinct culture underpinned by a powerful ideology. It’s easy to think about the lingo, the acronyms and the myths associated with the crypto world as incidental to the value of cryptocurrencies and NFTs as assets. But for Olson, the culture and the currency are inextricably linked. And once you’ve made that connection, suddenly a lot of the problems, warning signs and potential dangers of crypto become visible in a new way.Mentioned:“A Crypto Optimist Meets a Crypto Skeptic” from “The Ezra Klein Show”“How NFTs Create Value” by Steve Kaczynski and Scott Duke KominersYou Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier“Web3 Is Going Just Great” by Molly WhiteThe Gift by Lewis HydeBook recommendations:The Power Broker by Robert A. CaroThe Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le GuinPersuasive Games by Ian BogostThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
4/5/20221 hour, 21 minutes, 57 seconds
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Sanctioning Russia Is a Form of War. We Need to Treat It Like One.

The Russian political scientist Ilya Matveev recently described the impact of the West’s sanctions on his country as “30 years of economic development thrown into the bin.” He’s not exaggerating. Economists expect the Russian economy to contract by at least 15 percent of G.D.P. this year. Inflation is spiking. An exodus of Russian professionals is underway. Stories of shortages and long lines for basic consumer goods abound.The U.S. and its allies have turned to sanctions as a way of taking action against Russia’s atrocities without direct military intervention. But to describe these sanctions as anything short of all-out economic warfare is euphemistic. Measures like these might be cloaked in the technocratic language of finance and economics, but the immiseration they cause is anything but abstract.Nicholas Mulder is a historian at Cornell University and the author of the terrifyingly relevant new book “The Economic Weapon: The Rise of Sanctions as a Tool of Modern War.” In it, Mulder focuses on the last time economic warfare was waged at the scale we’re witnessing today, the period between World War I and World War II. And the book’s central lesson is this: We ultimately don’t know what’s going to happen when sanctions of this magnitude collide with the ideologies, myths and political dynamics of a given country. They could persuade the targeted country to back down. But they could also make it so desperate that it becomes more aggressive or lashes out — as Germany and Japan did on the eve of World War II.So this is a discussion about what kind of weapon sanctions are, whether they actually achieve their goals and how they might shape the future of the Russia-Ukraine conflict — and the world. We also explore how sanctions “weaponize inflation,” whether they could lead to Vladimir Putin’s downfall in Russia, the toll they have taken on the Russian economy, how the West can leverage its sanctions to help bring about an end to the war in Ukraine, whether a European energy embargo could backfire, how this economic war is destabilizing countries around the world, the humanitarian crisis U.S. sanctions are helping create in Afghanistan, and what a foreign policy that didn’t rely so heavily on sanctions could look like.This episode is guest hosted by Rogé Karma, the staff 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.Mentioned:“The Inflation Weapon: How American Sanctions Harm Iranian Households” by Esfandyar Batmanghelidj “Iran, Sanctions and Inflation as a Weapon of Mass Destruction” by Spencer Ackerman Oligarchy by Jeffrey A. Winters“If Joe Biden Doesn’t Change Course, This Will Be His Worst Failure” by Ezra Klein Book recommendations:Collapse by Vladislav M. ZubokThe Perfect Fascist by Victoria de GraziaMy Century by Aleksander WatThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
4/1/20221 hour, 20 minutes, 6 seconds
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I Keep Hoping Larry Summers Is Wrong. What if He’s Not?

“There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation,” wrote Larry Summers in February 2021. A year later, the debate still rages over the first part of that sentence — the extent to which the American Rescue Plan is responsible for rising prices. But the rest of it is no longer in question: We’re currently experiencing the worst inflationary crisis in decades.Annual inflation was already at its highest rate in decades in January of this year. But there was still a hopeful story you could tell about 2022: As the Covid pandemic eased, spending patterns would normalize, supply chains would strengthen, the labor market would stabilize, and inflation would ease. Then the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent global commodity markets into a tailspin and energy prices to record highs. An Omicron wave hit China, leading to huge lockdowns affecting global supply chains. And while the Fed has responded with the first of many planned interest rate hikes, it looks as though the inflation picture is only going to get worse in the immediate future.For over a year now, Summers — a former U.S. Treasury secretary and current Harvard economist — has been warning about the economy that we appear to be entering. So I invited him to the show to make his case and paint a picture of what he thinks comes next. We discuss why he thinks we’re almost certainly headed toward a recession, why he believes the Fed is engaged in “wishful and delusional thinking,” whether corporations are using this inflationary period as an excuse to goose profit margins, how to avoid a 1970s-style stagflation crisis, whether interest rates are the right tool to be addressing inflation in the first place, why he thinks much more immigration is one of the best tools we have to bring down prices in the long term and much more.Mentioned:Larry Summers’s Mar. 17 Op-Ed in The Washington PostBook Recommendations:The Best and The Brightest by David HalberstamThe Price of Peace by Zachary D. CarterSlouching Towards Utopia by J. Bradford DeLongThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Andrea López-Cruzado; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
3/29/20221 hour, 17 minutes, 38 seconds
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Margaret Atwood on Stories, Deception and the Bible

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 [email protected] 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, 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.
3/25/20221 hour, 8 minutes, 21 seconds
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How Energy Markets Are Shaping Putin’s Invasion — and the World

Nearly every dimension of the Ukraine-Russia conflict has been shaped by energy markets.Russia’s oil and gas exports have long been the foundation of its economy and geopolitical strength. Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine — like his annexation of Crimea in 2014 — coincided with high energy prices. While Western sanctions have dealt a major blow to Russia’s financial system, European carve-outs for Russian oil and gas have kept hundreds of millions of dollars flowing to Moscow every day.As a result, energy policy has become foreign policy. European countries are doubling down on their commitments to decarbonize in order to reduce their dependence on Russian energy as quickly as possible. The United States has banned Russian oil and gas imports, and in the wake of spiking gasoline prices, the Biden administration is looking for any opportunity to increase the world’s oil supply, including the possibility of normalizing trade relations with previously blacklisted countries like Venezuela and Iran.But the intersection of energy and geopolitics extends far beyond this conflict. Energy is the bedrock of nations’ economic prosperity, military strength and geopolitical power. Which means energy markets are constantly shaping and reshaping global dynamics. You can’t understand the way the world operates today if you don’t understand the global flow of energy.There are few people who have studied energy markets as closely as Daniel Yergin has. He is an economic historian and writer who has been called “America’s most influential energy pundit” in The New York Times. And he’s the author of numerous books on the intersection of energy and geopolitics, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power” and, most recently, the best-selling “The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations.”We discuss how Putin’s invasion halfway across the world caused gasoline prices to rise in California; what would happen to European economies if they decided to cut off Russian gas; how the U.S. shale revolution has transformed the global political landscape; why, when it comes to China and Russia, Yergin believes that “a relationship that was once based on Marx and Lenin is now grounded in oil and gas”; whether Donald Trump was right to be skeptical of Nord Stream 2; why decarbonization is not only beneficial for the climate but also crucial for national security; whether the Biden administration’s response to spiking energy prices is putting its climate agenda in jeopardy; why Yergin thinks hydrogen power could become central to combating climate change; and much more.Book recommendations:Putin’s World by Angela StentThe Power of Law by Sebastian MallabyThe Cloud Revolution by Mark P. MillsThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 Andrea López-Cruzado; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
3/22/20221 hour, 2 minutes, 52 seconds
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A Realist Take on How the Russia-Ukraine War Could End

As we enter the fourth week of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, many of the possible pathways this conflict could take are terrifying. A military quagmire that leads to protracted death and suffering. A Russian takeover of Kyiv and installation of a puppet government. An accidental strike on Polish or Romanian territory that draws America and the rest of NATO into war. Or, perhaps worst of all, a series of escalations that culminates in nuclear exchange.But one possibility carries a glimmer of hope. This week, Ukrainian and Russian negotiators began talks on a tentative peace plan — one that would involve Ukraine abandoning its attempts to join NATO and promising not to host foreign military bases or weaponry, in exchange for Western security guarantees and a Russian troop withdrawal. We’re still far from any kind of definitive settlement — and there are legitimate concerns over whether Putin would accept any kind of deal at this point — but it’s a start.Emma Ashford is a senior fellow with the New American Engagement Initiative at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, and a member of the school of foreign policy thinking known as “realism.” Realists view international relations as a contest between states for power and security; they tend to focus less on the psychologies and ideologies of individual leaders and more on the strategic self-interest of the parties involved. It’s an imperfect framework but a useful one — especially when it comes to analyzing what it would take to achieve a successful negotiation or settlement.So I invited Ashford on the show to help me think through the different trajectories the conflict could take — and what the West can do to make de-escalation more likely. We also discuss John Mearsheimer’s argument that the West’s effort to expand NATO bears responsibility for Putin’s invasion, why Ashford isn’t particularly worried about the possibility of Russian cyberattacks on the West, how Western sanctions blur the line between war and peace, whether NATO’s efforts to supply Ukraine with weapons might backfire, why sanctions might not hurt Russian elites as much as Western leaders hope and how this conflict is changing the geopolitical calculus of countries like Germany, China and India.Book recommendations:The Economic Weapon by Nicholas MulderNot One Inch by M.E. SarotteThe Sleepwalkers by Christopher ClarkThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
3/18/20221 hour, 14 minutes, 50 seconds
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Timothy Snyder on the Myths That Blinded the West to Putin’s Plans

“Americans and Europeans were guided through the new century by a tale about ‘the end of history,’ by what I will call the politics of inevitability, a sense that the future is just more of the present, that the laws of progress are known, that there are no alternatives, and therefore nothing really to be done,” writes the Yale historian Timothy Snyder in his 2018 book, “The Road to Unfreedom.”The central thesis of “The Road to Unfreedom” is that different understandings of the past, its myths, histories and memories create radically different politics. Snyder wrote the book as a way of understanding Vladimir Putin’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and the West’s response, but its argument has become only more salient in recent weeks. You can’t understand Putin’s recent invasion of Ukraine without understanding his metaphysical attachment to the era of empire, his mythological telling of Russian-Ukrainian history, and his semi-mystical construction of what constitutes the Russian nation.But Snyder’s more radical argument is that the West is also operating under its own mythological understanding of time — one that is so deeply ingrained in our collective psyche that it masquerades as common sense. And that understanding the influence of the “politics of inevitability” is essential to make sense of everything from the West’s misreading of Putin’s motivations to the internal fracturing of the European Union to the decline of liberal democracy across the globe.So that’s where we start: with the central myths at the heart of the modern Western project — and the blind spots they have created. But Snyder is also a renowned historian of European great-power conflict who has written six books entirely or partly about Ukraine. So we also discuss the chasm between the radicalness of European integration and the tedium of European governance, why Snyder thinks Putin’s invasion is fundamentally the product of a Russian identity crisis, Ukraine’s unique history as a battleground for a great-power war, how Ukrainian identity transcends ethnicity and language, why Western leaders and analysts consistently fail to decipher Putin’s intentions, the huge difference between a Russian nation premised on myth and a Ukrainian nation forged by collective action, how Ukrainian resistance could inspire a Western vision for the future and more.Mentioned:Bloodlands by Timothy Snyder"On the History Unity of Russians and Ukrainians” by Vladimir PutinBook recommendations:Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible by Peter PomerantsevThe Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah ArendtThe Gates of Europe by Serhii PlokhyThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
3/15/20221 hour, 11 minutes, 37 seconds
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Masha Gessen on Putin’s 'Profoundly Anti-Modern’ Worldview

For Western audiences, the past few weeks have been a torrent of information about what’s happening in Russia and Ukraine. Daily updates of Russian military advances. Horrifying videos of buildings exploding and innocent civilians being killed. Announcements of increasingly severe economic sanctions and major corporate pullouts. Charts showing the collapse of the ruble. Story after story about the hardships facing the Russian economy.Most Russians, however, are living in an alternate reality. This week, the Russian government made it a crime for journalists to spread what it considers false information about the “special military operation” in Ukraine — information that would include calling the war a war. As a result, many Western news organizations, including The Times, have pulled their employees out of Russia. The Kremlin has made it nearly impossible for people in Russia to access independent or international news sources. Russian state media coverage of the conflict has been, in the words of my guest today, “bland and bloodless.”That raises some important questions: What do ordinary Russians know about the war being waged by their government? How are they interpreting the collapse of their currency and impending financial crisis? What are they being told to believe? And is the propaganda machine working?Masha Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the author of many books on Russian history, politics and culture, including “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin” and the National Book Award-winning “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.” And, perhaps most important, Gessen has been on the ground in Russia in recent weeks trying to understand how ordinary Russians are seeing and interpreting the world around them.This is a conversation that starts in Moscow, as Gessen describes what it was like to be there during the first days of the invasion. We talk about the eerie sense of normalcy in the city as the ruble crashed and the odd sense of calm in Pushkin Square as policemen in combat gear dragged protesters into a police bus. We then take a wider view on how Russians responded to economic sanctions in the past, how totalitarian societies make it impossible for people to form opinions, where Putin sees himself in a lineage of “brutal, expansionist dictators” like Ivan the Terrible and Joseph Stalin, why Putin governs Russia as if it were a 19th-century empire, what we learn when we listen closely to Putin’s speeches and how this latest act of aggression is likely to play out.Disclaimer: This episode contains explicit language.Mentioned:The Origins of Totalitarianism by Hannah Arendt“How Putin Wants Russians to See the War in Ukraine” by Masha Gessen in The New YorkerThe Future Is History by Masha GessenFirst Person by Vladimir Putin, Nataliya Gevorkyan, Natalya Timakova, and Andrei KolesnikovBook recommendations:The Last Empire by Serhii PlokhyManual for Survival by Kate BrownBabi Yar by Anatoly KuznetsovThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music and mixing by Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Joanna Szostek.
3/11/20221 hour, 1 minute, 13 seconds
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Fiona Hill on the War Putin Is Really Fighting

Vladimir Putin was looking for a swift invasion that would halt Ukraine’s drift toward the West, reveal NATO’s fractures and weaknesses and solidify Russia as a global power. In response, the West threatened moderate sanctions, but ultimately showed little interest in stepping between Russia and Ukraine.Then came the war, and everything changed. Russia’s invasion met with valiant Ukrainian resistance. President Volodymyr Zelensky became an international hero. NATO countries unified behind a truly punishing sanctions regime and significant military support. Russia’s attack strengthened Ukraine’s national identity — and its desire to join the European Union. A conflict that the U.S. and Europe were treating as purely strategic is now a conflict about the West’s most fundamental values.Much of this has felt hopeful, even inspiring, to those watching from the comfort of home. But it has the potential to unleash a truly terrifying spiral of escalation. Putin, feeling backed into a corner, has raised the stakes. Last week, he called the West’s sanctions akin to an act of war and has put Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert. And the global wave of support for Ukraine has made it increasingly difficult for Western leaders to de-escalate. In the fog of war, it isn’t hard to imagine an accident or miscommunication that triggers a World War III-like scenario.So what does a settlement here look like? What does Putin want? What would Zelensky accept? What will Europe and the U.S. sign onto? Is there any deal that could work for all the players?There are few people better positioned to answer those questions than Fiona Hill. Hill is a senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. She served as deputy assistant to the president and senior director for European and Russian affairs on the National Security Council under Donald Trump and as a national intelligence officer for Russia and Eurasian affairs under Barack Obama and George W. Bush. And she is the co-author of the influential Putin biography “Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin.”We discuss how Putin’s motivations and ambitions have changed dramatically in the last decade, why Ukrainian identity is absolutely central to understanding this conflict, whether NATO expansionism is responsible for the current conflict, the different pathways the war could take, how political incentives have created a spiral of escalation for Russia, Ukraine and the West, whether the economic pain of the sanctions can incentivize regime change in Moscow, the possibility of China playing a mediating role in resolving the conflict, the dangers of backing Putin into a corner, whether Putin is willing to use nuclear weapons, what de-escalation could look like at this point, and much more.Book recommendations: Bloodlands by Timothy SnyderNot One Inch by M.E. SarotteThe Limits of Partnership by Angela StentPutin’s World by Angela StentRussia Under the Old Regime by Richard PipesThe Formation of the Soviet Union by Richard PipesThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
3/8/202258 minutes, 36 seconds
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Fareed Zakaria Has a Better Way to Handle Russia — and China

“Russia’s utterly unprovoked, unjustifiable, immoral invasion of Ukraine would seem to mark the end of an era,” writes Fareed Zakaria, “one that began with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.”Many of us, myself included, grew up in that era. We came of age in a unipolar world, dominated by a single country whose military, economic, even cultural, hegemony remained largely uncontested. That world was by no means free of violence. But the great power conflict that had defined the lived experiences of previous generations seemed like an ancient relic.Recently, it’s the post-Cold War era of the last 30 years that has begun to feel outdated. China has become an economic and military powerhouse — its economy is now larger than the third, fourth, fifth and sixth biggest world economies combined. Russia has become geopolitically assertive, annexing Crimea in 2014, undermining U.S. elections , and now invading Ukraine.Over the past few weeks, questions that once came off as alarmist have become urgent: Are we witnessing the return of great power conflict? And if so, what does that mean for America — and the rest of the world?Fareed Zakaria is the host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” a columnist for The Washington Post and one of the most brilliant analysts of this emerging era. His 2003 book “The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad” and his 2008 book “The Post American World” were well ahead of their times. And his more recent work on Russia’s aggression, China’s rise and the crucial distinctions between those nations is crucial for understanding this moment.We discuss the decline of the so-called “Pax-Americana,” why Zakaria believes Russia poses a much more existential threat to the liberal world order than China, what the West would be doing if it wanted to seriously punish Russia for its actions, whether Putin’s attempt to break the liberal world order has actually reinvigorated it, why Zakaria thinks it’s a mistake to think of the world as divided into “democratic” and “neo-authoritarian” blocs, how America’s expansionism and hypocrisy undermines its reputation abroad, whether Donald Trump was ultimately right about the need for greater European defense spending, what a diplomatic solution to the current Russia-Ukraine war could look like, how America’s thinking about the world needs to radically change in a global great power competition and more. Disclaimer: this episode contains explicit language. Mentioned:“The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World” by Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. ShapiroFareed Zakaria GPS episode, “Fareed’s take: Putin’s War on Liberal Democracy.” (CNN)“The Return to Great-Power Rivalry Was Inevitable” by Thomas Wright (The Atlantic)“Why Ukrainians Believe They Can Win” by Michelle Goldberg in The New York Times.Book recommendations:Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis by Kenneth N. WaltzA World Safe for Democracy by G. John IkenberryMemoirs 1925-1950 by George F. KennanThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.
3/4/20221 hour, 5 minutes, 33 seconds
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Can the West Stop Russia by Strangling its Economy?

There’s the Russia-Ukraine war that’s easy to follow in the news right now. We can watch Russian bombs falling on Ukraine, see Russian tanks smoking on the side of the road, hear from Ukrainian resistance fighters livestreaming their desperate defense.But there’s another theater to this war that’s harder to see, but may well decide the outcome: the economic war that West is waging on Russia. Europe and the United States initially responded with a limited set of sanctions but then expanded them into a counterattack capable of crushing the Russian economy. Vladimir Putin, for one, understands the danger: As the force of the West’s measures multiplied, he readied his nuclear forces in a bid to warn Europe and the United States off. This is terrifying territory.So I asked Adam Tooze — a brilliant economic historian, the director of the European Institute at Columbia, and the author of the indispensable “Chartbook” newsletter — to explain how the war in the financial markets is shaping the war in streets of Ukraine. What he gave me was a whole new way to see how Putin had readied his country for conflict, the leverage that Russia’s energy exports gave it, how the dreams of the globalizers had cracked, and what the West both was and wasn’t doing in response.But this is two conversations, not one. On Friday, Tooze and I recorded just as the war began. That was a conversation about the economics of the war as both Russia and the West understood it when the bombing began. But on Monday, we spoke again, because so much had changed. Rather than splice the two discussions into an artificial omniscience, I’ve linked them, because I think they reveal more in sequence: They show how fast this war is reshaping the politics around it, how quickly the escalation is coming, how rapidly the plans are crumbling.So we discuss the sanctions that the West has deployed against Russia, how Europe’s dependence on Russian energy exports undermined the West’s response, what Putin understood about the dark side of economic interdependence, how Ukraine’s remarkable resistance — and the remarkable leadership of its president, Volodymyr Zelensky — reshaped the politics and policies in the West, how this war could alter the geopolitical calculus of China and Taiwan, the new economic order that is emerging, and more.Mentioned:“Putin’s Challenge to Western hegemony - the 2022 edition” by Adam Tooze (Chartbook)“The economic consequences of the war in Ukraine” (The Economist)Book Recommendations:The Economic Weapon by Nicholas MulderThe End of the End of History by Alex Hochuli, George Hoare and Philip CunliffeThe Future of Money by Eswar S. PrasadThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected] 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 and Kristina Samulewski.