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When most people hear “crypto,” the first thing they think of is “currencies.” Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in popularity over the past few years. And they’ve given rise to an entire ecosystem of financial speculation, get rich quick schemes, and in some cases outright fraud.But there’s another side of crypto that gets less attention: the segment of the community that is interested in the way the technology that powers crypto can decentralize decision making, make institutions more transparent and transform the way organizations are governed. That’s the side I find far more interesting.There are few individuals as central to that latter segment of crypto as Vitalik Buterin. When he was still just a teenager, Buterin co-founded Ethereum, a decentralized platform whose token Ether is the second most valuable cryptocurrency today, surpassed only by Bitcoin. But the vision behind Ethereum was that the blockchain technology could be used for more than digital money; it could create a sort of digital infrastructure on top of which organizations and companies and applications could be built — ostensibly free of centralizing structures like banks and governments.Over the last decade, Buterin has become arguably the core public intellectual on the nonfinancial side of crypto. His new book, “Proof of Stake,” is a collection of long, thoughtful essays that taken together lay out a vision of crypto as a truly transformative technology — one with the potential to revolutionize everything from city governance to voting systems to online identity.I myself have dueling impulses about Buterin’s vision. On the one hand, I believe many of our governing systems and institutions are badly in need of the kind of reimagining he is engaged in. On the other hand, I’m deeply skeptical of whether the issues Buterin and his ilk are focused on are actually technological problems that blockchains can solve. So this is a conversation that sits squarely within that tension.Mentioned:Seeing Like a State by James C. ScottBook recommendations:The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. ShirerHarry Potter and The Methods of Rationality by Eliezer YudkowskyAlgorithmic Game Theory by Noam Nisan, Tim Roughgarden, Eva Tardos and Vijay V. VaziraniThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Will Wilkinson, Alex Tabarrok, Glen Weyl and Nathan Schneider.
Why do some countries produce far more science Nobel laureates than others? Why did Silicon Valley happen in California rather than Japan or Boston? Why did the Industrial Revolution happen when it did and where it did?These are just some of the questions that have inspired the formation of a new intellectual movement called “progress studies.” The basic idea is this: For hundreds of thousands of years, human history played out without any rapid, marked advance in material living standards. And then, suddenly, in just the past few hundred years, everything changed: Humanity achieved a truly mind-boggling amount of progress in the evolutionary blink of an eye. In the early 21st century, we are all living in the world that progress bequeathed. And yet we understand shockingly little about what drives that progress in the first place.That’s important because, at least according to some metrics, progress seems to be slowing down. We spend far more on scientific research but that research results in fewer breakthrough discoveries. Key economic indicators such as productivity growth have slowed. Many have argued that the technologies we’ve invented in recent decades, while highly impressive, aren’t as transformative as the technologies from the last century. All of which means that the questions animating progress studies aren’t mere academic exercises; they are central to understanding how we can bring about a better future for all.Patrick Collison is the co-founder and chief executive of the multibillion-dollar payments company Stripe. But for years now, Collison has also been developing and advocating a worldview that has become the intellectual backbone of this new discipline. In 2019, Collison, alongside the economist Tyler Cowen,  called for “a new science of progress.” And since then, an intellectual ecosystem has sprung up around it, full of its own magazines and thinkers and syllabuses and podcasts. And Collison himself is putting its theories into practice through organizations  (like Fast Grants and Arc Institute) that he’s founded and funded.This conversation is an attempt to better understand Collison’s worldview, and more broadly the worldview of progress studies. The ideas that animate progress studies are worth taking seriously on their own terms. But they are also important because they are becoming increasingly influential among a wealthy elite with the power and resources to shape all of our futures.Mentioned:“Science Is Getting Less Bang for Its Buck” by Patrick Collison and Michael NielsenA Culture of Growth by Joel Mokyr"Kludgeocracy in America" by Steve Teles Book Recommendations:Empire and Revolution by Richard BourkeScene of Change by Warren WeaverA Widening Sphere by Philip N. AlexanderThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the question most analysts were asking was not whether Russia would win. It was how fast. On almost every quantifiable metric from military strength to economic size Russia has decisive advantages over Ukraine. A swift Russian victory appeared inevitable.Of course, that swift victory didn’t happen. And in recent weeks, the direction of the war has begun to tilt in Ukraine’s direction. On Sept. 6, the Ukrainian military launched a counteroffensive near Kharkiv in northern Ukraine and regained 3,400 square miles of territory in a week — more territory than Russia had captured in the last five months. Analysts are now saying it’s unlikely that Vladimir Putin can accomplish one of his chief aims: annexing the Donbas by force.Andrea Kendall-Taylor is the director of the trans-Atlantic security program at the Center for a New American Security. She’s a former intelligence officer who, from 2015 to 2018, led strategic analysis on Russia at the National Intelligence Council. When we spoke, she was recently back from a trip to Ukraine. And she believes that the long-term trends favor a Ukrainian victory.In this conversation, Kendall-Taylor helps me understand this watershed moment in the war. We discuss why Ukraine’s recent counteroffensive was so significant; how it and other recent developments have hampered Russian morale, manpower and weapons supply; whether sanctions are really influencing Russia’s strategy, and how sanctions might get worse; how this conflict is profoundly changing Europe; whether this recent turn of events signals a possible Ukrainian victory; why “personalist dictators” like Putin can be so dangerous when backed into a corner; how likely it is that we’ll see stalemate or settlement negotiations in the near future; how Kendall-Taylor rates the likelihood of various outcomes; what we should expect in the next phase of the war and more.Mentioned:“Ukraine Holds the Future” by Timothy Snyder“The Russia-Ukraine War at Six Months” by Adam ToozeRecommendations:Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen KotkinTwitter Accounts to Follow for Russia-Ukraine War Analysis:Michael KofmanRob LeeMick RyanThe Institute for the Study of WarThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Emma Ashford.
In August, Joe Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act, which included $392 billion towards a new climate budget — the single largest investment in emissions reduction in U.S. history. The CHIPS and Science Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act bring that number up to around $450 billion. All of that spending is designed with one major objective in mind: to put the United States on a path to a decarbonized economy, with the goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.Achieving that goal is perhaps the single most important challenge of our age. And so I wanted to dedicate a full episode to it. How big is the task of decarbonizing the U.S. economy? What do we actually need to do to get there? How does the I.R.A. help do that? And what are the biggest obstacles still standing in our way?Jesse Jenkins is an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Princeton University and leads the Princeton ZERO Lab. He was a lead author of the Net Zero America report, the most comprehensive attempt to map out the different pathways to decarbonization I’ve seen. He also leads the REPEAT Project, which has done some of the most in-depth modeling of how the Inflation Reduction Act and other climate policies could affect emissions.As a result, this conversation ended up being the single clearest explanation I’ve heard of both the path to decarbonizing America and the impact the Biden administration’s climate bills could have on that effort. I learned a ton from this one, and I think you will too.Book recommendations:Making Climate Policy Work by Danny Cullenward and David G. Victor“Sequencing to Ratchet Up Climate Policy Stringency” (academic paper) by Michael Pahle, Dallas Burtraw, Christian Flachsland, Nina Kelsey, Eric Biber, Jonas Meckling, Ottmar Edenhofer and John ZysmanHow Solar Energy Became Cheap by Gregory F. NemetThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​ “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
“We see status virtually everywhere in social life, if we think to look for it,” writes Cecilia Ridgeway. “It suffuses everyday possessions, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear, the food brands we prefer, and the music we listen to.” And that’s only a partial list. Status influences the neighborhood we live in, the occupation we pursue, the friends we choose. It attaches itself to our race, gender, class and age. It shapes our interpersonal interactions. And, most of the time, it does all of this without us even realizing what’s happening.Ridgeway is a sociologist and professor emerita at Stanford who has spent her career studying what she calls the “deep story” of status. Her 2019 book “Status: Why Is It Everywhere? Why Does It Matter?” is the culmination of decades of research into what status is, how it actually works, and the myriad ways it shapes our world.We typically think of status as social vanity limited to elite institutions or the top percentages of the income ladder. But Ridgeway argues that the truth is closer to the opposite: Status is everywhere. It’s the water we all swim in. And the reason it’s everywhere is that it’s one of humanity’s oldest and most powerful social technologies — a technology that has built civilizations, inspired revolutions and spurred countless innovations while also reinforcing some of our world’s deepest inequalities and injustices.So this conversation is about making visible an often overlooked force that shapes so much of our world, our lives and even our sense of self. It also explores how status hierarchies emerge from “a fundamental tension in the human condition”; why sports, religion, fashion and meritocracy can all be considered forms of status “games”; how status games simultaneously help explain the advent of modern science and the pervasiveness of racial and gender stereotypes; why scholars increasingly view status as a “fundamental human motive”; why our society allocates higher status to investment bankers than teachers; how public policy can change our status beliefs; how elite-status signaling has shifted from wearing fancy clothes and driving expensive cars to reading The New Yorker and listening to NPR; how the internet has completely transformed our relationships with status; and much more.Mentioned:The Sum of Small Things by Elizabeth Currid-HalkettThe Knowledge Machine by Michael StrevensThe Status Game by Will StorrBook Recommendations:Envy Up, Scorn Down by Susan T. FiskeThe Psychology of Social Status by Joey T. Cheng, Jessica L. Tracy, Cameron AndersonThe Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein VeblenThis episode is guest-hosted by Rogé Karma, the senior editor for “The Ezra Klein Show.” Rogé has been with the show since July 2019, when it was based at Vox. He works closely with Ezra on everything related to the show, from editing to interview prep to guest selection. At Vox, he also wrote articles and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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.
When is the last time you paused — truly paused the flow of life — to appreciate something beautiful? For as long as we know, humans have sought out beauty, believing deeply that beautiful things and experiences can enhance our lives. But what does beauty really do to us? How can it fundamentally alter our experience of the world?Beauty is always “teaching me something about my own mind,” says the writer and philosopher Chloé Cooper Jones. In her book, “Easy Beauty,” Jones takes readers on a journey across the globe and into her intimate family life to explore what beauty has done for her and what it can potentially do for all of us.At the core of Jones’s book — and of this conversation — is a distinction between two radically different kinds of beauty. On the one hand, there’s “easy beauty”: a Renaissance painting, a sunset, a deliciously prepared meal. Easy beauty includes the kinds of things we are taught to consider beautiful. But Jones argues there’s also a deeper form of beauty — a “difficult beauty,” which can be found in places that may initially strike us as mundane, messy, even ugly. That is, if we clear the space within our own minds long enough to look for it.This conversation also explores how Jones’s relationship to her disabled body has changed over time, what it means to appreciate the physical world more fully, how all of us are affected by our society’s crushing physical beauty standards, how Jones has created a “neutral room” in her mind to cope with those difficult standards, what attending a Beyoncé concert taught her about “radical presence,” what a celebrity party Peter Dinklage attended revealed about how far we need to go in respecting different bodies, why it is worth it to “make friends” with the idea that we may all become disabled or incapacitated at some point, how children reflect and reveal parts of ourselves we didn’t even know existed, what advice she has for those of us who spend very little time considering beauty but could benefit from it as Jones has, and more.Book Recommendations:Staring by Rosemarie Garland-ThomsonH is for Hawk by Helen MacdonaldRomance in Marseille by Claude McKayThis episode is guest-hosted by Tressie McMillan Cottom (@tressiemcphd), a sociologist and writer whose work focuses on higher education policy, race, beauty and more. She is a Times Opinion columnist and the author of “Thick: And Other Essays,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and “Lower Ed: The Troubling Rise of For-Profit Colleges in the New Economy.”Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
Today we're revisiting one of our favorite conversations from 2021 with the novelist Richard Powers. Enjoy!There are certain conversations I fear trying to fit into a description. There’s just more to them than I’m going to be able to convey. This is one of them.Richard Powers is the author of 13 novels, including the 2019 Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Overstory.” If you haven’t read it, you should. It’ll change you. It changed me. I haven’t walked through a forest the same way again. And I’m not alone in that. When I interviewed Barack Obama this year, he recommended “The Overstory,” saying, “It changed how I thought about the earth and our place in it.”Powers’s new book is “Bewilderment.” You could think of it as 'The Innerstory': It is about how and whether we see the world we inhabit. It’s about the nature and limits of our empathy. It’s about refusing to die before we’re dead and taking seriously the gifts and responsibilities of being alive. It is about how we change our minds and how we change our societies. It is about how we treat delusion as normal and clarity as lunacy. It is enchanting, and it is devastating.It is not just books through which Powers has been exploring these ideas. It is also through radical changes he’s made to how he lives his life. That’s where we start but far from where we end: This conversation touches on mortality, animism, politics, old-growth forests, extraterrestrial life, Buddhism and beyond.Mentioned:Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne SimardBook recommendations:How to Be Animal by Melanie ChallengerRooted by Lyanda Lynn HauptEver Green by John W. Reid and Thomas E. LovejoyYou can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.
In times of deep sorrow or joy, humans have always turned to music. Archaeologists have found evidence of instruments among very early civilizations. Spiritual communities have centered on music for centuries. We teach our children their ABCs and how to brush their teeth with songs. We dance out our feelings and cry along with sad tunes. What is it about music that enables it to work so powerfully on our bodies, minds and emotions?That is one of the core animating questions of this conversation with Allison Russell. Russell is a Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter whose debut album, “Outside Child,” was named one of the best albums of 2021 by critics at NPR and The Times.Russell has played in bands including Birds of Chicago and Our Native Daughters, traversing folk, rock ’n’ roll, Celtic music, the blues and other genres. But alongside her powerhouse vocals and gorgeous melodies, Russell infuses a deep scholarly curiosity into her songs — not just about the nature and power of music, but also what it can teach listeners about our world.Digging into archives and family history, she explores themes like generational trauma, our relationships to diaspora and migration and how music can build empathic bridges between us in times of deep division. But above all, her songs testify to the sheer human capacity for resilience: our capacity to transcend our darkest times if we hold on, reach out to one another and seek out art that helps console.In this episode, Russell performs four songs with a full band, so listeners can enjoy her infectious art. And then we use those songs as jumping-off points to explore the deeper ideas embedded in her music: why we fall into melodies so soon after our births; how music moves us differently from how books or speeches do; how sound can help regulate our emotions, slow our breathing and rewire our neural networks; how Russell’s melodies and vocal performances come together in her mind; why songs can at times be more persuasive than nonfiction; why our unwillingness to divulge painful secrets goes back to the Victorian era; how generational trauma like the Middle Passage connects to personal trauma in the present; how Russell structures her songs to help people transcend profound pain; what message Russell would send to people who are struggling and much more.This episode contains references to sexual abuse.Mentioned:“The Transmogrification of Trauma into Art” by Allison Russell“Barley” by Birds of Chicago“Real Midnight” by Birds of Chicago“Songs of Our Native Daughters” by Our Native Daughters“The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot“Take Em Away” by Old Crow Medicine Show“The Art of Disappearance” by Hanif AbdurraqibMusic and Book Recommendations:The Bone People by Keri HulmeA Fortune for Your Disaster by Hanif AbdurraqibBreaking the Thermometer by Leyla McCallaCarry Me Home by Mavis Staples and Levon HelmThis episode was guest hosted by Annie Galvin, the associate producer of “The Ezra Klein Show.” Galvin has covered books and music for almost a decade and hosted a season of “Public Books 101,” a public-scholarship podcast she co-created.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Carole Sabouraud and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Erika Duffee. Russell’s band is Monique Ross, Chauntee Ross and Mandy Fer. Additional thanks to Jeff Gruber of Blue House Productions and Allison’s touring engineer, Ross Collier. The songs Russell performs in this episode were written by Allison Russell and Jeremy Thomas Lindsay.
Today we're revisiting one of our favorite episodes from this year, with the prolific writer Margaret Atwood.A good rule of thumb is that whatever Margaret Atwood is worried about now is likely what the rest of us will be worried about a decade from now. The rise of authoritarianism. A backlash against women’s social progress. The seductions and dangers of genetic engineering. Climate change leading to social unrest. Advertising culture permeating more and more of our lives. Atwood — the author of the Booker Prize-winning novels “The Blind Assassin” and “The Testaments,” as well as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Oryx and Crake” and, most recently, the essay collection “Burning Questions” — was writing about these topics decades ago, forecasting the unsettling world that we inhabit now. Pick up any one of her 17 published novels, and you will likely come across a theme or a quality of the setting that rings eerily true in the present day.This is especially true of Atwood’s magnum opus, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which takes place in a future America where climate change, droughts, a decaying economy and falling birthrates lead to the rise of a theocracy in which women called Handmaids are conscripted into childbirth. The repressive regime she created in that novel, Gilead, has been endlessly referred to and reinterpreted over the years because of the wisdom it contains about why people cooperate with — and resist — political movements that destroy the freedom of others. And as recent weeks have shown, we’re far from the day when that wisdom becomes irrelevant to present circumstances.We discuss the deep human craving for stories, why Atwood believes we are engaged in “an arm wrestle for the soul of America,” what makes the stories of the Bible so compelling, the dangerous allure of totalitarian movements, how the shift from coal to oil helped to fuel the rise of modern consumerism, why she thinks climate change will cause even more harm by increasing the likelihood of war than it will by increasing the likelihood of extreme weather, how our society lost its capacity to imagine new utopias, why progressives need to incorporate more fun into their politics, why we should “keep our eye on the mushroom,” Atwood’s take on recent U.F.O. sightings and more. She even sings a bit of a song from the 1950s about the Iron Curtain.Mentioned:Art & Energy by Barry LordBook recommendations:War by Margaret MacMillanBiased by Jennifer L. EberhardtSecrets of the Sprakkar by Eliza ReidCharlotte’s Web by E. B. WhiteLord of the Rings by J. R. R. TolkienThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Coral Ann Howells and Brooks Bouson.
With Roe now overturned, the evangelical movement has achieved one of its decades-old political priorities. But for many evangelicals, this isn’t the moment of celebration and unity it may have first appeared to be. In the wake of the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Russell Moore — a former president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the policy wing of the Southern Baptist Convention — described the state of evangelicalism as one of “disarray.” He argues that surface-level political allegiances paint over much deeper divisions within what has become an increasingly polarized movement. Understanding those divisions and what they portend for evangelicalism is deeply important, in large part because of the movement’s immense power in American politics.Moore is the editor in chief of Christianity Today; the author of numerous books, including “Onward: Engaging the Culture Without Losing the Gospel”; and one of the most visible leaders in the evangelical movement right now. But he has also voiced some of the most stinging criticism of the movement’s current direction. He believes that evangelicals’ embrace of Donald Trump was a mistake and that the way many evangelicals are approaching the culture wars — with what Moore calls a “siege mentality” — is toxic for the faith. He encourages his fellow evangelicals to embrace their role as a “moral minority” in America instead of desperately clinging to political and cultural power. “The shaking of American culture is no sign that God has given up on American Christianity,” he writes in “Onward.” “In fact, it may be a sign that God is rescuing American Christianity from itself.”So this is a conversation about how evangelicalism morphed into the political identity we know it as today, why so many evangelicals have come to embrace apocalyptic thinking about politics and where the movement goes next now that Roe has been overturned.Mentioned“The Supreme Court Needs to Be Less Central to American Public Life” by Russell MooreBook RecommendationsThe Weight of Glory by C.S. LewisMere Christianity by C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Resurrection of the Son of God by N.T. WrightThe Gilead Novels by Marilynne RobinsonThis episode was hosted by Jane Coaston, the host of “The Argument.” Previously, she was the senior politics reporter at Vox, with a focus on conservatism and the G.O.P. Her work has appeared on MSNBC, CNN and NPR and in National Review, The Washington Post, The Ringer and ESPN Magazine, among others.Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
Today, we’re re-airing one of my favorite episodes of all time. It was originally recorded in February of 2022, but I've been unable to stop thinking about it ever since.When we play Monopoly or basketball, we know we are playing a game. The stakes are low. The rules are silly. The point system is arbitrary. But what if life is full of games — ones with much higher stakes — that we don’t even realize we’re playing?According to the philosopher C. Thi Nguyen, games and gamified systems are everywhere in modern life. Social media applies the lure of a points-based scoring system to the complex act of communication. Fitness apps convert the joy and beauty of physical motion into a set of statistics you can monitor. The grades you received in school flatten the qualitative richness of education into a numerical competition. If you’ve ever consulted the U.S. News & World Report college rankings database, you’ve witnessed the leaderboard approach to university admissions.In Nguyen’s book, “Games: Agency as Art,” a core insight is that we’re not simply playing these games — they are playing us, too. Our desires, motivations and behaviors are constantly being shaped and reshaped by incentives and systems that we aren’t even aware of. Whether on the internet or in the vast bureaucracies that structure our lives, we find ourselves stuck playing games over and over again that we may not even want to win — and that we aren’t able to easily walk away from.This is one of those conversations that offers a new and surprising lens for understanding the world. We discuss the unique magic of activities like rock climbing and playing board games, how Twitter’s system of likes and retweets is polluting modern politics, why governments and bureaucracies love tidy packets of information, how echo chambers like QAnon bring comfort to their “players,” how to make sure we don’t get stuck in a game without realizing it, why we should be a little suspicious of things that give us pleasure and how to safeguard our own values in a world that wants us to care about winning the most points.Mentioned:How Twitter Gamifies Communication by C. Thi NguyenTrust in Numbers by Theodore M. PorterSeeing Like a State by James C. Scott“Against Rotten Tomatoes” by Matt Strohl“A Game Designer’s Analysis Of QAnon” by Reed BerkowitzThe Great Endarkenment by Elijah MillgramGame recommendations:Modern ArtRootThe Quiet YearThoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta.  Special thanks to Kristin Lin.
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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Nicholas Bloom, Adam Ozimek, Julia Hobsbawm and Sheela Subramanian.
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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.​​“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Sonia Herrero and Isaac Jones; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Rollin Hu.
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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, 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. 
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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.
“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 ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com.You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.“The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris, 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.
Comments (191)

ID21087210

Technology will not save us. Our technology is the problem. Ego is in control.

Sep 20th
Reply

Brent Lidstone

what a terrible discussion. almost nothing of real value was said at all, because the host is bad. She seems unable to discuss a topic any amount of depth or nuance. She keeps changing the subject and doesn't press anybody to go into detail about what they're trying to say. She lets the guests rant about whatever they feel like with no care for continuity or staying on subject. The guests only discuss extremely superficial subjects and come away seeming like they agree on everything, but only because they didn't actually debate anything complex but instead agreed on a handful of very superficial points like "children should indeed learn history, yes." All of this in my opinion is just due to the host being rather incompetent at this. She has no idea how to get the guests to discuss a single topic, indeed she seems to have no idea what they're really discussing, and to top it off she has the demeanor of a kindergarten teacher talking to a room of 4 year olds. Real disappointment of a conversation lead by a very disappointing host.

Sep 12th
Reply

Tim McMinn

This wasn't really a discussion. There wasn't anyone on the pod to make the pro office case - at least no one with their heart in it

Aug 19th
Reply

Tony Francisco

culture????

Aug 18th
Reply (1)

dp

omg. zzzzzzxzzzz

Aug 13th
Reply

Who's on the menu

A beautifully done and thoughtful interview with a fascinating guest. Thank you Ezra.

Aug 12th
Reply

Golden boy

Interesting book. The Right is a complex beast.

Jul 21st
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Golden boy

Interesting book. The Right is a complex beast.

Jul 21st
Reply

Golden boy

Hostility towards the family? Democrats destroyed the black family. Endless attacks on what is a family, gender of children etc

Jul 21st
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Raquel Salustio

wonderful episode, masterly oriented by @Ezraklein you enter into this very fluent conversation with @kimstanleyrobinson and suddenly you are surrounded by high mountains, aware of the deep connection we all have with nature. a very rational, mature and philosophical perspective of the present.

Jul 17th
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Elizabeth Burns

So the law is ambition, not reason.

Jul 10th
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Emily Becker

Ezra is masterful at interviewing this woman. I appreciate his willingness to have conversations across the aisle. I wish more people on the right would support pro-family policies. She was never able to answer how the individual woman is better-off in a society that gives her less choices. Great work, Ezra.

Jun 6th
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Karen Miller

Thankful for Ezra. He’s so poised and respectful. Wish he asked, “Why don’t you just mind your own business?” Listening to this was exhausting.

Jun 1st
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Katelynn Johnson

she is so damn annoying. 🙄 from her idea that everyone should be parents and work towards that, to her feelings that sex should primarily be for baby making, and that the idea of autonomy is anti-family. I'm just seething with annoyance.

Jun 1st
Reply (55)

Mark Saltiel

So many issues not dealt with. Just to take one example...how to the guest's views fit with the kind if MAGA crazies who literally just want to punish women and will not not not agree to funding support services and prefer vigilante laws to prevent abortions.

Jun 1st
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cse

who are these kooks on the show lately?? i can't.

May 31st
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Anh Pham

having a really hard time listening to this. brings home how difficult it may be for others less dedicated to understanding alternative views. ezra continues to shine at being able to pull actual discussable points to counter the shouting.

May 31st
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Jonathan Vedamuthu

The entire right seems to have forgotten Daniel Bell's essential classic The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism. No kidding neoliberalism in its unrestrained capitalist form is corrosive to the virtues and institutions underlying the social order. But this guy misses the forest for the trees.

May 19th
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dp

less than 1 actual maga Trumper would read that book, . or know who Buckley was, or listen to this particular intellectual elite discussion for more than 5 minutes.b

May 17th
Reply (5)

Lawrence Robertson

I have a healthy respect for small C conservatism. The desire, and really responsibility to ask: what effects - long and short term - will certain new policies, technologies, innovations etc... will have on the structure of society and culture. Ezra's guest feints having these concerns in his rhetoric, but is a poorly disguised attempt to create a time machine into a past that never existed. His mentioning of 'George Bailey' and 'Bedford Fall' from 'It's a Wonderful Life' as a contrast for what he does not like about 'Real Life'. A lot of 'Critiques' with no practical solutions.

May 13th
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