300 episodes

Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

The Ezra Klein Show Vox

    • Philosophy

Ezra Klein brings you far-reaching conversations about hard problems, big ideas, illuminating theories, and cutting-edge research. Want to know how Stacey Abrams feels about identity politics? How Hasan Minhaj is reinventing political comedy? The plans behind Elizabeth Warren’s plans? How Michael Lewis reads minds? This is the podcast for you. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

    Elizabeth Warren has a plan for this, too

    Elizabeth Warren has a plan for this, too

    In January, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was the first presidential candidate to release a plan for combatting coronavirus. In March, she released a second plan. Days later, with the scale of economic damage increasing, she released a third. Warren’s proposals track the spread of the virus: from a problem happening elsewhere and demanding a surge in global health resources to a pandemic happening here, demanding not just a public health response, but an all-out effort to save the US economy.
    Warren’s penchant for planning stands in particular stark contrast to this administration, which still has not released a clear coronavirus plan. There is no document you can download, no web site you can visit, that details our national strategy to slow the disease and rebuild the economy. 
    So I asked Warren to return to the show to explain what the plan should be, given the cold reality we face. We discussed what, specifically, the federal government should do; the roots of the testing debacle; her idea for mobilizing the economy around building affordable housing; why she thinks that this is exactly the right time to cancel student loan debt; why America spends so much money preparing for war and so little defending itself against pandemics and climate change; whether she thinks the Democratic primary focused on the wrong issues; and how this crisis is making a grim mockery of Ronald Reagan’s old saw about “the scariest words in the English language.”

    Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 53 min
    What social solidarity demands of us in a pandemic

    What social solidarity demands of us in a pandemic

    There is no doubt that social distancing is the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But the efficacy of social distancing (or really any other public health measure) relies on something much deeper and harder to measure: social solidarity.
     “Solidarity,” writes Eric Klinenberg, “motivates us to promote public health, not just our own personal security. It keeps us from hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school. It compels us to let a ship of stranded people dock in our safe harbors, to knock on our older neighbor’s door.”
    Klinenberg, a sociologist by trade, is the director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. His first book, Heat Wave, found that social connection was, at times, literally the difference between life and death during Chicago's 1995 heat wave. Since then, he’s spent his career studying trends in American social life, from the rise of adults living alone to the importance of “social infrastructure” in holding together our civic bonds.
     This conversation is about what happens when a country mired in a mythos of individualism collides with a pandemic that demands social solidarity and collective sacrifice. It’s about preventing an epidemic of loneliness and social isolation from overwhelming the most vulnerable among us. We discuss the underlying social trends that predated coronavirus, what kind of leadership it takes to actually bring people together, the irony of asking young people and essential workers to sacrifice for the rest of us, whether there’s an opportunity to build a different kind of society in the aftermath of Covid-19, and much more.

    References 
    Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg 
    Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life by Eric Klinenberg 
    “We Need Social Solidarity, Not Just Social Distancing” by Eric Klinenberg
    “Marriage has become a trophy” by Andrew Cherlin 

    Book recommendations: 
    Infections and Inequalities by Paul Farmer 
    Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild 
    A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit 
    The Division of Labor in Society by Emile Dukheim 

    Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Coronavirus has pushed US-China relations to their worst point since Mao

    Coronavirus has pushed US-China relations to their worst point since Mao

    The COVID-19 pandemic is a grim reminder that the worst really can happen. Tail risk is real risk. Political leaders fumble, miscalculate, and bluster into avoidable disaster. And even as we try to deal with this catastrophe, the seeds of another are sprouting.
    The US-China relationship will define geopolitics in the 21st century. If we collapse into rivalry, conflict, and politically opportunistic nationalism, the results could be hellish. And we are, right now, collapsing into rivalry, conflict, and politically opportunistic nationalism. 
    The Trump administration, and key congressional Republicans, are calling COVID-19 “the Chinese virus,” and trying to gin up tensions to distract from their domestic failures. Chinese government officials, beset by their own domestic problems, are claiming the US military brought the virus to China. The US-China relationship was in a bad way six months ago, but this is a new level of threat.
    Evan Osnos covers the US-China relationship for the New Yorker, and is author of the National Book Award winner, The Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth and Faith in the New China. In this conversation, we discuss the past, present and future of the US-China relationship. What are the chances of armed conflict? What might deescalation look like? And we know what the US wants — what, in truth, does China want?

    Book recommendations:
    Wish Lanterns: Young Lives in New China by Alec Ash
    The Beautiful Country and the Middle Kingdom by John Pomfret

    Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 1 min
    Is the cure worse than the disease?

    Is the cure worse than the disease?

    "We cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself!"
    That was President Donald Trump, this week, explaining why he was thinking about lifting coronavirus guidelines earlier than public-health experts recommended. The "cure," in this case, is social distancing, and the mass economic stoppage it forces. The problem, of course, is COVID-19, and the millions of deaths it could cause.
    This is a debate that needs to be taken seriously. Slowing coronavirus will impose real costs, and immense suffering, on society. Are those costs worth it? This is the most important public policy question right now. And if the discussion isn't had well, then it will be had, as we're already seeing, poorly, and dangerously.
    I wanted to take up this question from two different angles. The first dimension is economic: Are we actually facing a choice between lives and economic growth? If we ceased social distancing, could we sustain a normal economy amidst a raging virus? Jason Furman, professor of the practice of economic policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School and President Obama's former chief economist, joins me for that discussion.
    But the economy isn't everything. What is a moral framework we can us when faced with this kind of question? So, in the second half of this show, I talk to Dr. Ruth Faden, the founder of the Berman Institute for Bioethics at Johns Hopkins.
    And then, at the end, I offer some thoughts on my own on the frightening moment we're living through, and the kind of political and social leadership it demands.
    Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 7 min
    An economic crisis like we’ve never seen

    An economic crisis like we’ve never seen

    “What is happening,” writes Annie Lowrey, “is a shock to the American economy more sudden and severe than anyone alive has ever experienced.”  
    It’s also different from what anyone alive has ever experienced. For many of us, the Great Recession is the closest analogue — but it’s not analogous at all. There, the economy’s potential was unchanged, but financial markets were in crisis. Here, we are purposefully freezing economic activity in order to slow a public health crisis. Early data suggests the economic crisis is going to far exceed any single week or quarter of the financial crisis. Multiple economists have told me that the nearest analogy to what we’re going through is the economy during World War II.
    I have a secret advantage when trying to understand moments of economic upheaval. I’m married to Annie Lowrey. I can give you the bio — staff writer at the Atlantic, author of Give People Money (which is proving particularly prophetic and influential right now) — but suffice to say she’s one of the clearest and most brilliant economic thinkers I know. Her viral piece on the affordability crisis is crucial for understanding what the economy really looked like before Covid-19, and she’s been doing some of the best work on the way Covid-19 will worsen the economic problems we had and create a slew of new ones.
    But this isn’t just a conversation about crisis. It’s also a conversation about how to respond. I wouldn’t call it hopeful — we’re not there yet. But constructive.
    References:
    "The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America" by Annie Lowrey
    If you enjoyed this episode, check out:
    "Fix recessions by giving people money," The Weeds
    Book recommendations:
    Severance by Ling Ma
    Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham
    Crashed by Adam Tooze
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 25 min
    "The virus is more patient than people are"

    "The virus is more patient than people are"

    Ron Klain served as the chief of staff to vice presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. In 2014, President Barack Obama tapped him to lead the administration’s response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. He successfully oversaw a hellishly complex effort preparing domestically for an outbreak and surging health resources onto another continent to contain the disease.
     But Klain is quick to say that the coronavirus is a harder challenge even than Ebola. The economy is in free fall. Entire cities have been told to shelter in place. And there’s no telling how long any of this will last. In this conversation, Klain answers my questions about the disease and how to respond to it, as well as questions many of you submitted. We discuss:

    How to change the virus’s reproduction and fatality rates

    Why you need to work backward from health system capacity

    What it means to “flatten the curve”

    Why social distancing will be with us for a long time to come

    The difference between “social distancing” and “self-quarantine”

    What the Trump administration needed to do earlier, and what they still can do now

    The testing debacle

    The economic policy necessary to make social distancing possible

    Why we need to remember not everyone can work at home

    What it would take to surge health care capacity in the US — and how fast we could potentially do it 

    The strengths and weaknesses of America’s particular health care system in responding to a pandemic like this one

    Whether the coronavirus is showing authoritarian systems perform better than liberal(ish) democracies

    What Joe Biden is like in a crisis 


    And much more. I’ve been covering the coronavirus nonstop, and this is one of the clearest, most useful conversations I’ve had. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, the clarity of Klain’s analysis will help.
     Also: We want to know what kinds of coronavirus conversations you want to hear right now. Email us at ezrakleinshow@vox.com with suggestions for guests, or just angles. This is going to be a hard time, and we want this podcast to be as much a help as possible.
    Book recommendations:
    Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs by Michael Osterholm
    The Great Influenza by John Barry

    Confused about coronavirus? Here’s a list of the articles, papers, and podcasts we’ve found most useful.
    New to the show? Want to check out Ezra’s favorite episodes? Check out the Ezra Klein Show beginner’s guide (http://bit.ly/EKSbeginhere)
    Credits:
    Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
    Researcher - Roge Karma
    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 1 hr 20 min

Customer Reviews

AmpersandPitchfork ,

Rethinking

Ezra has interesting guest but often centers the conversation around himself or his personal hobby horses. It can be painful to listen to him figuring out his ideas/opinions on air. A straightforward interview show might be more enlightening.

kanak shah 1940 ,

Is the cure worse than disease

Thoroughly enjoyed the discussion with both guests. Excellent probing and back and forth
was very helpful in dissecting the dilemmas brought on by the raging devastating Covid 19 pandemic with its huge human and economic costs as well as moral quandaries
Ezra also brings in excellent guests
One suggestion-Paragraph Khanna who has written a book-The Future is Asian
Kanak Shah 1940

lnandyal ,

Guest

Hello EK,
I’m new to your show and really appreciate your clarity.
Let’s also give some focus to the Benefits re the Climate Crisis when we are putting the brakes on the global economy. We cannot go back to business as usual killing the Earth if and when we get past COVID19.
I’m not hearing this perspective anywhere yet with the clamor re the clear and present danger for health and humanity either way!
keep up the great work,
LEN

Top Podcasts In Philosophy

Listeners Also Subscribed To

More by Vox