171 episodes

*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. ***
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
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

*** Named a best podcast of 2021 by Time, Vulture, Esquire and The Atlantic. ***
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?

    When You Can’t Trust the Stories Your Mind Is Telling

    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 Aviv

    Ruth 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 Sass

    Of Two Minds T.M. Luhrmann

    “Wants” by Grace Paley

    Thoughts? Email us at ezrakleinshow@nytimes.com. (And if you're reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion" in the subject line.)

    You can find transcripts (posted midday) and more episodes of “The Ezra Klein Show” at nytimes.com/ezra-klein-podcast, and you can find Ezra on Twitter @ezraklein. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Sonia Herrero, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ethereum’s Founder on What Crypto Can — and Can’t — Do

    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. Scott

    Book recommendations:

    The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer

    Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky

    Algorithmic Game Theory by Noam Nisan, Tim Roughgarden, Eva Tardos and Vijay V. Vazirani

    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, 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.

    • 1 hr 37 min
    We Know So Little About What Makes Humanity Prosper

    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 Nielsen

    A Culture of Growth by Joel Mokyr

    "Kludgeocracy in America" by Steve Teles

    Book Recommendations:

    Empire and Revolution by Richard Bourke

    Scene of Change by Warren Weaver

    A Widening Sphere by Philip N. Alexander

    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, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin and Kristina Samulewski.

    • 1 hr 31 min
    Why Russia Is Losing the War in Ukraine

    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 Tooze

    Recommendations:Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 by Stephen Kotkin

    Twitter Accounts to Follow for Russia-Ukraine War Analysis:

    Michael Kofman

    Rob Lee

    Mick Ryan

    The Institute for the Study of War

    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, Isaac Jones and Carole Sabouraud. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski and Emma Ashford.

    • 1 hr 17 min
    The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I’ve Heard

    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 Zysman

    How Solar Energy Became Cheap by Gregory F. Nemet

    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 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.

    • 1 hr 41 min
    Now All Biden Has to Do Is Build It

    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 more

    Mentioned:

    “All Biden Has to Do Now Is Change the Way We Live” by Ezra Klein

    Book recommendations:

    The Middle Out by Michael Tomasky (accompanied by new podcast, "How to Save a Country")

    Elite Capture by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò

    Chords of Change (forthcoming 2023) by Deepak Bhargava and Stephanie Luce

    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 and Kristina Samulewski.

    • 1 hr 9 min

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