13 episodes

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?

The Ezra Klein Sho‪w‬ The New York Times

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.8 • 109 Ratings

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?

    Stop. Breathe. We Can’t Keep Working Like This.

    Stop. Breathe. We Can’t Keep Working Like This.

    We were promised, with the internet, a productivity revolution. We were told that we’d get more done, in less time, with less stress. Instead, we got always-on communication, the dissolution of the boundaries between work and home, the feeling of constantly being behind, lackluster productivity numbers, and, to be fair, reaction GIFs. What went wrong?

    Cal Newport is a computer scientist at Georgetown and the author of books trying to figure that out. At the center of his work is the idea that the technologies billed as offering us more productive, happier, socially rich lives have left us more exhausted, empty and stressed out than ever. He’s doing something not enough people do: questioning whether this was all worth it.

    My critique of Newport’s work has always been that it focuses too much on the individual: Telling someone whose workplace communicates exclusively via Slack and email to be a “digital minimalist” is like telling someone who lives in a candy store to diet. But his new book, “A World Without Email,” is all about systems — specifically, the systems that govern how we work. In it, Newport makes a radical argument: We are living through a massive, rolling failure of markets and firms to rethink work for the digital age. But that can change. We can change it.

    Recommendations:

    Technics and Civilization by Lewis Mumford

    Five Things We Need to Know About Technological Change by Neil Postman

    “A Continuous Shape” (video)

    Andrew Henry's Meadow by Doris Burn




    The Ezra Klein Show is hiring an Associate Producer! Apply to work with us by clicking here or by visiting www.nytco.com/careers.

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 54 min
    What a More Responsible Republican Party Would Look Like

    What a More Responsible Republican Party Would Look Like

    If you watched this past weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, you heard a lot of debunked election conspiracies, dire warnings about “cancel culture” and unwavering fealty to Donald Trump. What you didn’t hear was much in the way of policy ideas to raise wages, improve health care or support families. This is the modern G.O.P.: a post-policy party obsessed with symbolic fights and curiously uninterested in the actual work of governing. But does it have to be that way?

    Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor at National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a Republican wonk who is pushing his party in a more responsible, policy-centric direction. We discuss:

    Why Republicans have lost interest in policy.

    Whether Trump would have won the presidency if Senate Republicans had passed a big stimulus bill before the 2020 election.

    Why Ponnuru thinks the Republican Party’s 2024 hopefuls have learned the wrong lesson from Trump’s 2016 victory.

    The conservative case for a universal child allowance.

    Why so few Republican politicians have openly endorsed the Romney child allowance plan — and what that says about the tensions within the party’s coalition.

    What it would take for Republicans to move away from being a “business owners’” party and toward being a “parents’” party.

    Why Ponnuru thinks Republicans should support limiting, or outright banning, just-in-time scheduling practices.

    Whether there was ever a mass constituency for Paul Ryan’s version of conservatism.

    Who are the most important emerging voices on the political right today.

    And much more.

    Recommendations:

    The Great Debate by Yuval Levin

    The Upside-Down Constitution by Michael S. Greve

    Popular Crime by Bill James

    The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis








    The Ezra Klein Show is hiring an Associate Producer! Apply to work with us by clicking here or by visiting www.nytco.com/careers.

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 58 min
    How the Texas Crisis Could Become Everyone's Crisis

    How the Texas Crisis Could Become Everyone's Crisis

    Last week, freezing temperatures overwhelmed the Texas power grid, setting off rolling blackouts that left millions without power during an intense winter storm. But this story is a lot bigger than Texas: Our world is built around a model of the climate from the 19th and 20th centuries. Global warming is going to crack that model apart, and with it, much of the physical and political infrastructure civilization relies on.

    At the same time, there’s good news on the climate front, too. The Biden administration has rejoined the Paris climate accords, pushed through a blitz of executive orders on the environment, and is planning a multitrillion-dollar climate bill. China has also set newly ambitious targets for decarbonization. Renewable energy is getting cheaper, faster, than almost anyone dared hope. And if you follow climate models, you know the most catastrophic outcomes have become less likely in recent years.

    I wanted to have a conversation about both the emergency in Texas, and the broader picture on climate. Leah Stokes is a political scientist at University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of the excellent book “Short Circuiting Policy,” which, among other things, explores Texas’ surprising history with renewables. David Wallace-Wells is an editor at large at New York magazine and author of “The Uninhabitable Earth,” one of the most sobering, disquieting portraits of our future — though he is, as you’ll hear in this discussion, getting a bit more optimistic.

    We discuss whether the Texas crisis is going to be the new normal worldwide, the harrowing implications of how Texas Republicans have responded, why liberals should be cheering on Elon Musk, the difficulties liberal states are having on climate policy, the obstacles to decarbonization, the horrifying truth of what “adapting” to climate change will actually entail, why air pollution alone is a public health crisis worth solving, whether nuclear energy is the answer, and much more. I learned so much getting to sit in on this conversation. You will, too.

    References

    “Migration towards Bangladesh coastlines projected to increase with sea level rise through 2100” by AR Bell, et al.

    “Inequity in consumption of goods and services adds to racial–ethnic disparities in air pollution exposure” by Christopher W. Tessum, et al.

    “Wildfire Exposure Increases Pro-Environment Voting within Democratic but Not Republican Areas” by Chad Hazlett and Matto Mildenberger

    “Prisoners of the Wrong Dilemma: Why Distributive Conflict, Not Collective Action, Characterizes the Politics of Climate Change” by Michaël Aklin and Matto Mildenberger

    Recommendations:

    Short Circuiting Policy by Leah Stokes

    The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

    Under a White Sky by Elizabeth Kolbert

    The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson





    The Ezra Klein Show is hiring an Associate Producer! Apply to work with us by clicking here or by visiting www.nytco.com/careers.

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    The Ezra Klein Show is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 1 hr 20 min
    A Radical Proposal for True Democracy

    A Radical Proposal for True Democracy

    One thing I want to do on this show is give space to truly radical ideas, to expand the boundaries of our political and moral imaginations. And Hélène Landemore, a political scientist at Yale, has one of those ideas. She calls it “open democracy,” and the premise is simple: What we call democracy is not very democratic.

    The role of the people is confined to elections, to choosing the elites who will represent us. Landemore argues that our political thinking is stuck in “18th-century epistemologies and technologies.” It is not enough.

    We’ve learned much in the last few hundred years about random sampling, about the benefits of cognitively diverse groups, about the ways elections are captured by those with the most social and financial capital. Landemore wants to take what we’ve learned and build a new vision of democracy atop it — one in which we let groups of randomly selected citizens actually deliberate and govern. One in which we trust deliberation and diversity, not elections and political parties, to shape our ideas and to restrain our worst impulses.

    This is a challenging idea. I don’t know that it would work. But it’s a provocation worth wrestling with, particularly at this moment, when our ideas about democracy have so far outpaced the thin, corrupted ways in which we practice it.

    You’ve heard people say, “We’re a republic, not a democracy.” Landemore’s challenge is this: What if we were a democracy? We honor those who came before us for radically reimagining who could govern, and how politics could work. But did they really discover the terminal state of democracy? Or are there bold steps left for us to take?





    Recommendations:

    Liquid Reign by Tim Reutemann

    The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

    The Principles of Representative Government by Bernard Manin

    Mortelle Adèle Book Series



    "The Ezra Klein Show" is hiring an Associate Producer! Apply to work with us by clicking here or by visiting www.nytco.com/careers.

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 44 min
    George Saunders on Kindness, Capitalism and the Human Condition

    George Saunders on Kindness, Capitalism and the Human Condition

    George Saunders is one of America’s greatest living writers. He’s the author of dozens of critically acclaimed short stories, including his 2013 collection, “Tenth of December”; his debut novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” won the 2017 Booker Prize; and his nonfiction work has empathy and insight that leave pieces from more than a decade ago ringing in my head today. His most recent book, “A Swim in A Pond in the Rain,” is a literary master class built around seven Russian short stories, analyzing how they work, and what they reveal about how we work.

    I’ve wanted to interview Saunders for more than 15 years. I first saw him talk when I was in college, and there was a quality of compassion and consideration in every response that was, well, strange. His voice doesn’t sound like his fiction. His fiction is bitingly satirical, manic, often unsettling. His voice is calm, kind, gracious. The dissonance stuck with me.

    Saunders’s central topic, literalized in his famous 2013 commencement speech, is about what it means to be kind in an unkind world. And that’s the organizing question of this conversation, too. We discuss the collisions between capitalism and human relations, the relationship between writing and meditation, Saunders’s personal editing process, the tension between empathizing with others and holding them to account, the promise of re-localizing our politics, the way our minds deceive us, Tolstoy’s unusual theory of personal transformation, and much more.

    What a pleasure this conversation was. So worth the wait.

    Recommendations:

    Red Cavalry by Isaac Babel

    Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi

    Dispatches by Michael Herr

    Patriotic Gore by Edmund Wilson

    In Love with the World by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche

    Loving; Living; Party Going by Henry Green

    Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey by Hayden Carruth

    Tropic of Squalor by Mary Carr

    They Lift Their Wings to Cry by Brooks Haxton

    The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes and Louis Slobodkin

    Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina



    "The Ezra Klein Show" is hiring an Associate Producer! Apply to work with us by clicking here or by visiting www.nytco.com/careers.

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 1 hr 15 min
    The Cost All Americans Pay for Racism

    The Cost All Americans Pay for Racism

    “The American landscape was once graced with resplendent public swimming pools, some big enough to hold thousands of swimmers at a time,” writes Heather McGhee in her new book, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together.” These pools were the pride of their communities, monuments to what public investment could do. But they were, in many places, whites-only. Then came the desegregation orders. The pools would need to be open to everyone. But these communities found a loophole. They could close them for everyone. Drain them. Fill them with concrete. Shutter their parks departments entirely. And so they did.

    It’s a shocking tale. But it’s too easily dismissed as yet one more story of America’s racist past. McGhee shows otherwise. Drained-pool politics are still with us today and shaping issues of far more consequence than pool access. Drained-pool politics — if “they” can also have it, then no one can — helps explain why America still doesn’t have a truly universal health care system, a child care system, a decent social safety net. McGhee, the former president of the think tank Demos, offers a devastating tour of American public policy, and she shows how drained-pool politics have led to less for everyone, not just their intended targets.

    I asked McGhee to join me for a discussion about drained-pool politics, the zero-sum stories at the heart of American policymaking, how people define and understand their political interests, and the path forward. This is, in my view, a hopeful book, and a hopeful conversation. There are so many issues where the trade-offs are real, and binding. But in this space, there are vast “solidarity dividends” just waiting for us, if we are willing to stand with, rather than against, each other.

    Recommendations:

    Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

    The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

    “Good Times” (TV series)

    The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. New episodes every Tuesday and Friday.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Roge Karma and Jeff Geld; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld.

    • 1 hr 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
109 Ratings

109 Ratings

Ontario Canuck ,

go to wash-and-dry

If I want to learn, rethink, dig deeper, give my cognitive cobwebs a shake and maybe even laugh at the same time, Ezra’s my wash-and-dry brain laundromat. Thanks so much for the respectful way you do this for me.

Laura Kine ,

My Favourite Podcast

Ezra Klein has fascinating conversations with knowledgeable guests. He provides real insight and compelling arguments surrounding issues of the political gridlock in the US. And what I really love is that this podcast is not 100% political. The topics discussed range from human behaviour to fantasy fiction and everything in between. Go to VOX conversations for his previous work, you won’t be disappointed in anything Ezra discusses.

Emond1867 ,

M’y Windows into the American Society.

To the risk of sounding condescendant, Ezra Klein is so Young, but so brillant and deep, I listen twice to the podcast to make sure I did not miss anything.

André Emond
Orford, Canada

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