1h 1m

A Conservative Futurist and a Supply-Side Liberal Walk Into a Podcast ‪…‬ The Ezra Klein Show

    • Sociedad y cultura

“The Jetsons” premiered in 1962. And based on the internal math of the show, George Jetson, the dad, was born in 2022. He’d be a toddler right now. And we are so far away from the world that show imagined. There were a lot of future-trippers in the 1960s, and most of them would be pretty disappointed by how that future turned out.

So what happened? Why didn’t we build that future?

The answer, I think, lies in the 1970s. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying that decade in my work, trying to understand why America is so bad at building today. And James Pethokoukis has also spent a lot of time looking at the 1970s, in his work trying to understand why America is less innovative today than it was in the postwar decades. So Pethokoukis and I are asking similar questions, and circling the same time period, but from very different ideological vantages.

Pethokoukis is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of the book “The Conservative Futurist: How to Create the Sci-Fi World We Were Promised.” He also writes a newsletter called Faster, Please! “The two screamingly obvious things that we stopped doing is we stopped spending on science, research and development the way we did in the 1960s,” he tells me, “and we began to regulate our economy as if regulation would have no impact on innovation.”

In this conversation, we debate why the ’70s were such an inflection point; whether this slowdown phenomenon is just something that happens as countries get wealthier; and what the government’s role should be in supporting and regulating emerging technologies like A.I.

Mentioned:

“U.S. Infrastructure: 1929-2017” by Ray C. Fair

Book Recommendations

Why Information Grows by Cesar Hidalgo

The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey

The American Dream Is Not Dead by Michael R. Strain

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. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Elias Isquith and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

“The Jetsons” premiered in 1962. And based on the internal math of the show, George Jetson, the dad, was born in 2022. He’d be a toddler right now. And we are so far away from the world that show imagined. There were a lot of future-trippers in the 1960s, and most of them would be pretty disappointed by how that future turned out.

So what happened? Why didn’t we build that future?

The answer, I think, lies in the 1970s. I’ve been spending a lot of time studying that decade in my work, trying to understand why America is so bad at building today. And James Pethokoukis has also spent a lot of time looking at the 1970s, in his work trying to understand why America is less innovative today than it was in the postwar decades. So Pethokoukis and I are asking similar questions, and circling the same time period, but from very different ideological vantages.

Pethokoukis is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and author of the book “The Conservative Futurist: How to Create the Sci-Fi World We Were Promised.” He also writes a newsletter called Faster, Please! “The two screamingly obvious things that we stopped doing is we stopped spending on science, research and development the way we did in the 1960s,” he tells me, “and we began to regulate our economy as if regulation would have no impact on innovation.”

In this conversation, we debate why the ’70s were such an inflection point; whether this slowdown phenomenon is just something that happens as countries get wealthier; and what the government’s role should be in supporting and regulating emerging technologies like A.I.

Mentioned:

“U.S. Infrastructure: 1929-2017” by Ray C. Fair

Book Recommendations

Why Information Grows by Cesar Hidalgo

The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey

The American Dream Is Not Dead by Michael R. Strain

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. Book recommendations from all our guests are listed at https://www.nytimes.com/article/ezra-klein-show-book-recs.

This episode of “The Ezra Klein Show” was produced by Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Elias Isquith and Kristin Lin. Original music by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. And special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

1h 1m

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