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    The Ezra Klein Show

    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? Listen to this podcast in New York Times Audio, our iOS app for news subscribers. Download now at nytimes.com/audioapp
    enNew York Times Opinion328 Episodes

    Episodes (328)

    The Real Danger Within the Democratic Party of a Fundamental Crack-Up

    The Real Danger Within the Democratic Party of a Fundamental Crack-Up

    It was once a fringe opinion to say President Biden should drop his re-election bid and Democrats should embrace an open convention. That position is fringe no more. But when the conventional wisdom shifts this rapidly, there’s always the danger of overlooking its potential flaws.

    My colleague, the Times Opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie, has been making some of the strongest arguments against Biden dropping out and throwing the nomination contest to a brokered convention. So I invited him on the show to talk through where he and I diverge and how our thinking is changing.

    Book Recommendations:

    Into the Bright Sunshine by Samuel G. Freedman

    Wide Awake by Jon Grinspan

    Illiberal America by Steven Hahn

    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 Elias Isquith. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro and Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu 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. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJuly 09, 2024

    Is Kamala Harris Underrated?

    Is Kamala Harris Underrated?

    If Joe Biden steps aside for the Democratic presidential nomination — still a very big if — the favorite to replace him is Vice President Kamala Harris. In recently leaked post-debate polling from Open Labs, Harris polled better than Biden in matchups against Trump.

    In 2019, Dana Goodyear wrote in The New Yorker, “As a Black, female law-and-order Democrat, Harris creates a kind of cognitive dissonance.” The profile Harris inhabited then would be welcome in an election year where disorder is on voters’ minds and the Republicans are nominating a convicted felon. But Harris hasn’t inhabited that political profile for years. And since becoming Biden’s vice president the conventional wisdom on her has shifted: She’s gone from rising star — many thought her “the next Obama” — to political underachiever.

    So I’ve had a few questions about Harris. What accounted for the fast fall from grace after she took the vice presidency? What happened to the smart-on-crime prosecutor we once saw? What has the White House done — or not done — to build her profile? And are critics of Harris fair, or is she underrated now?

    I’m joined by Elaina Plott Calabro, a staff writer at The Atlantic who traveled with Harris extensively for a major profile last year. I left this conversation with a very different theory of who Harris is, what her politics are and what led to the confusions of her vice presidency.

    Mentioned:

    The Kamala Harris Problem” by Elaina Plott Calabro

    Biden Plunges in Swing States in Leaked Post-Debate Poll” by Peter Hamby

    Smart on Crime by Kamala D. Harris, with Joan O'C. Hamilton ·

    Book Recommendations:

    Southerners by Marshall Frady

    The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles

    The Company She Keeps by Mary McCarthy

    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 Elias Isquith. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Isaac Jones and Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu 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. Special thanks to Carole Sabouraud.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJuly 05, 2024

    How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work

    How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work

    After President Biden’s rough performance at the first presidential debate, the question of an open convention has roared to the front of Democratic politics. But how would an open convention work? What would be its risks? What would be its rewards? 

    In February, after I first made the case for an open Democratic convention, I interviewed Elaine Kamarck to better understand what an open convention would look like. She literally wrote the book on how we choose presidential candidates, “Primary Politics: Everything You Need to Know About How America Nominates Its Presidential Candidates.” But her background here isn’t just theory. She’s worked on four presidential campaigns and on 10 nominating conventions — for both Democrats and Republicans. She’s a member of the Democratic National Committee’s Rules Committee. And her explanation of the mechanics and dynamics of open conventions was, for me, extremely helpful. It’s even more relevant now than it was then. 

    Mentioned:

    The Lincoln Miracle by Ed Achorn

    Book Recommendations:

    All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren

    The Making of the President 1960 by Theodore H. White

    Quiet Revolution by Byron E. Shafer

    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. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Kristin Lin. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu. 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.

    This conversation was recorded in February 2024.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJuly 02, 2024

    What Is the Democratic Party For?

    What Is the Democratic Party For?

    Top Democrats have closed ranks around Joe Biden since the debate. Should they? 

    Mentioned:

    This Isn’t All Joe Biden’s Fault” by Ezra Klein

    Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden” by The Ezra Klein Show

    Here’s How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work” with Elaine Kamarck on The Ezra Klein Show

    The Hollow Parties by Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld

    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 audio essay was produced by Rollin Hu and Kristin Lin. Fact-Checking by Jack McCordick and Michelle Harris. Mixing by Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Elias Isquith and Aman Sahota. 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.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJune 30, 2024

    After That Debate, the Risk of Biden Is Clear

    After That Debate, the Risk of Biden Is Clear

    I joined my Times Opinion colleagues Ross Douthat and Michelle Cottle to discuss the debate — and what Democrats might do next.

    Mentioned:

    The Biden and Trump Weaknesses That Don’t Get Enough Attention” by Ross Douthat

    Trump’s Bold Vision for America: Higher Prices!” with Matthew Yglesias on The Ezra Klein Show

    Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden” on The Ezra Klein Show

    Here’s How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work” with Elaine Kamarck on The Ezra Klein Show

    Gretchen Whitmer on The Interview

    The Republican Party’s Decay Began Long Before Trump” with Sam Rosenfeld and Daniel Schlozman on The Ezra Klein Show

    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.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJune 28, 2024

    Trump’s Bold Vision for America: Higher Prices!

    Trump’s Bold Vision for America: Higher Prices!

    Donald Trump has made inflation a central part of his campaign message. At his rallies, he rails against “the Biden inflation tax” and “crooked Joe’s inflation nightmare,” and promises that in a second Trump term, “inflation will be in full retreat.”

    But if you look at Trump’s actual policies, that wouldn’t be the case at all. Trump has a bold, ambitious agenda to make prices much, much higher. He’s proposing a 10 percent tariff on imported goods, and a 60 percent tariff on products from China. He wants to deport huge numbers of immigrants. And he’s made it clear that he’d like to replace the Federal Reserve chair with someone more willing to take orders from him. It’s almost unimaginable to me that you would run on this agenda at a time when Americans are so mad about high prices. But I don’t think people really know that’s what Trump is vowing to do.

    So to drill into the weeds of Trump’s plans, I decided to call up an old friend. Matt Yglesias is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist and the author of the Slow Boring newsletter, where he’s been writing a lot about Trump’s proposals. We also used to host a policy podcast together, “The Weeds.”

    In this conversation, we discuss what would happen to the economy, especially in terms of inflation, if Trump actually did what he says he wants to do; what we can learn from how Trump managed the economy in his first term; and why more people aren’t sounding the alarm.

    Mentioned:

    Trump’s new economic plan is terrible” by Matthew Yglesias

    Never mind: Wall Street titans shake off qualms and embrace Trump” by Sam Sutton

    How Far Trump Would Go” by Eric Cortellessa

    Book Recommendations:

    Take Back the Game by Linda Flanagan

    1177 B.C. by Eric H. Cline

    The Rise of the G.I. Army, 1940-1941 by Paul Dickson

    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 Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Mixing by Isaac Jones, with 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. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero, Adam Posen and Michael Strain.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJune 21, 2024

    The Biggest Political Divide Is Not Left vs. Right

    The Biggest Political Divide Is Not Left vs. Right

    The biggest divide in our politics isn’t between Democrats and Republicans, or even left and right. It’s between people who follow politics closely, and those who pay almost no attention to it. If you’re in the former camp — and if you’re reading this, you probably are — the latter camp can seem inscrutable. These people hardly ever look at political news. They hate discussing politics. But they do care about issues and candidates, and they often vote.

    As the 2024 election takes shape, this bloc appears crucial to determining who wins the presidency. An NBC News poll from April found that 15 percent of voters don’t follow political news, and Donald Trump was winning them by 26 points.

    Yanna Krupnikov studies exactly this kind of voter. She’s a professor of communication and media at the University of Michigan and an author, with John Barry Ryan, of “The Other Divide: Polarization and Disengagement in American Politics.” The book examines how the chasm between the deeply involved and the less involved shapes politics in America. I’ve found it to be a helpful guide for understanding one of the most crucial dynamics emerging in this year’s election: the swing to Trump from President Biden among disengaged voters.

    In this conversation, we discuss how politically disengaged voters relate to politics; where they get their information about politics and how they form opinions; and whether major news events, like Trump’s recent conviction, might sway them.

    Mentioned:

    The ‘Need for Chaos’ and Motivations to Share Hostile Political Rumors” by Michael Bang Petersen, Mathias Osmundsen and Kevin Arceneaux

    Hooked by Markus Prior

    The Political Influence of Lifestyle Influencers? Examining the Relationship Between Aspirational Social Media Use and Anti-Expert Attitudes and Beliefs” by Ariel Hasell and Sedona Chinn

    One explanation for the 2024 election’s biggest mystery” by Eric Levitz

    Book Recommendations:

    What Goes Without Saying by Taylor N. Carlson and Jaime E. Settle

    Through the Grapevine by Taylor N. Carlson

    Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan

    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 Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro and Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, 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. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJune 18, 2024

    The View From the Israeli Right

    The View From the Israeli Right

    On Tuesday I got back from an eight-day trip to Israel and the West Bank. I happened to be there on the day that Benny Gantz resigned from the war cabinet and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to schedule new elections, breaking the unity government that Israel had had since shortly after Oct. 7.

    There is no viable left wing in Israel right now. There is a coalition that Netanyahu leads stretching from right to far right and a coalition that Gantz leads stretching from center to right. In the early months of the war, Gantz appeared ascendant as support for Netanyahu cratered. But now Netanyahu’s poll numbers are ticking back up.

    So one thing I did in Israel was deepen my reporting on Israel’s right. And there, Amit Segal’s name kept coming up. He’s one of Israel’s most influential political analysts and the author of “The Story of Israeli Politics” is coming out in English.

    Segal and I talked about the political differences between Gantz and Netanyahu, the theory of security that’s emerging on the Israeli right, what happened to the Israeli left, the threat from Iran and Hezbollah and how Netanyahu is trying to use President Biden’s criticism to his political advantage.

    Mentioned:

    Biden May Spur Another Netanyahu Comeback” by Amit Segal

    Book Recommendations:

    The Years of Lyndon Johnson Series by Robert A. Caro

    The World of Yesterday by Stefan Zweig

    The Object of Zionism by Zvi Efrat

    The News from Waterloo by Brian Cathcart

    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 Claire Gordon. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris with 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, Rollin Hu, 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 Ezra Klein Show
    enJune 14, 2024

    The Economic Theory That Explains Why Americans Are So Mad

    The Economic Theory That Explains Why Americans Are So Mad

    There’s something weird happening with the economy. On a personal level, most Americans say they’re doing pretty well right now. And according to the data, that’s true. Wages have gone up faster than inflation. Unemployment is low, the stock market is generally up so far this year, and people are buying more stuff.

    And yet in surveys, people keep saying the economy is bad. A recent Harris poll for The Guardian found that around half of Americans think the S. & P. 500 is down this year, and that unemployment is at a 50-year high. Fifty-six percent think we’re in a recession.

    There are many theories about why this gap exists. Maybe political polarization is warping how people see the economy or it’s a failure of President Biden’s messaging, or there’s just something uniquely painful about inflation. And while there’s truth in all of these, it felt like a piece of the story was missing.

    And for me, that missing piece was an article I read right before the pandemic. An Atlantic story from February 2020 called “The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America.” It described how some of Americans’ biggest-ticket expenses — housing, health care, higher education and child care — which were already pricey, had been getting steadily pricier for decades.

    At the time, prices weren’t the big topic in the economy; the focus was more on jobs and wages. So it was easier for this trend to slip notice, like a frog boiling in water, quietly, putting more and more strain on American budgets. But today, after years of high inflation, prices are the biggest topic in the economy. And I think that explains the anger people feel: They’re noticing the price of things all the time, and getting hammered with the reality of how expensive these things have become.

    The author of that Atlantic piece is Annie Lowrey. She’s an economics reporter, the author of Give People Money, and also my wife. In this conversation, we discuss how the affordability crisis has collided with our post-pandemic inflationary world, the forces that shape our economic perceptions, why people keep spending as if prices aren’t a strain and what this might mean for the presidential election.

    Mentioned:

    It Will Never Be a Good Time to Buy a House” by Annie Lowrey

    Book Recommendations:

    Franchise by Marcia Chatelain

    A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel

    Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

    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. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro and 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 and Aman Sahota. Audience strategy by Kristina Samulewski and Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJune 07, 2024

    The Republican Party’s Decay Began Long Before Trump

    The Republican Party’s Decay Began Long Before Trump

    After Donald Trump was convicted last week in his hush-money trial, Republican leaders wasted no time in rallying behind him. There was no chance the Republican Party was going to replace Trump as their nominee at this point. Trump has essentially taken over the G.O.P.; his daughter-in-law is even co-chair of the Republican National Committee.

    How did the Republican Party get so weak that it could fall victim to a hostile takeover?

    Daniel Schlozman and Sam Rosenfeld are the authors of “The Hollow Parties: The Many Pasts and Disordered Present of American Party Politics,” which traces how both major political parties have been “hollowed out” over the decades, transforming once-powerful gatekeeping institutions into mere vessels for the ideologies of specific candidates. And they argue that this change has been perilous for our democracy.

    In this conversation, we discuss how the power of the parties has been gradually chipped away; why the Republican Party became less ideological and more geared around conflict; the merits of a stronger party system; and more.

    Mentioned:

    Democrats Have a Better Option Than Biden” by The Ezra Klein Show

    Here’s How an Open Democratic Convention Would Work” by The Ezra Klein Show with Elaine Kamarck

    Book Recommendations:

    The Two Faces of American Freedom by Aziz Rana

    Rainbow’s End by Steven P. Erie

    An American Melodrama by Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson, Bruce Page

    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 Elias Isquith. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Mary Marge Locker, Kate Sinclair and Rollin Hu. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin 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. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enJune 04, 2024

    Your Mind Is Being Fracked

    Your Mind Is Being Fracked

    The steady dings of notifications. The 40 tabs that greet you when you open your computer in the morning. The hundreds of unread emails, most of them spam, with subject lines pleading or screaming for you to click. Our attention is under assault these days, and most of us are familiar with the feeling that gives us — fractured, irritated, overwhelmed.

    D. Graham Burnett calls the attention economy an example of “human fracking”: With our attention in shorter and shorter supply, companies are going to even greater lengths to extract this precious resource from us. And he argues that it’s now reached a point that calls for a kind of revolution. “This is creating conditions that are at odds with human flourishing. We know this,” he tells me. “And we need to mount new forms of resistance.”

    Burnett is a professor of the history of science at Princeton University and is working on a book about the laboratory study of attention. He’s also a co-founder of the Strother School of Radical Attention, which is a kind of grass roots, artistic effort to create a curriculum for studying attention.

    In this conversation, we talk about how the 20th-century study of attention laid the groundwork for today’s attention economy, the connection between changing ideas of attention and changing ideas of the self, how we even define attention (this episode is worth listening to for Burnett’s collection of beautiful metaphors alone), whether the concern over our shrinking attention spans is simply a moral panic, what it means to teach attention and more.

    Mentioned:

    Friends of Attention

    The Battle for Attention” by Nathan Heller

    Powerful Forces Are Fracking Our Attention. We Can Fight Back.” by D. Graham Burnett, Alyssa Loh and Peter Schmidt

    Scenes of Attention edited by D. Graham Burnett and Justin E. H. Smith

    Book Recommendations:

    Addiction by Design by Natasha Dow Schüll

    Objectivity by Lorraine Daston and Peter L. Galison

    The Confidence-Man by Herman Melville

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

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enMay 31, 2024

    ‘Artificial Intelligence?’ No, Collective Intelligence.

    ‘Artificial Intelligence?’ No, Collective Intelligence.

    A.I.-generated art has flooded the internet, and a lot of it is derivative, even boring or offensive. But what could it look like for artists to collaborate with A.I. systems in making art that is actually generative, challenging, transcendent?

    Holly Herndon offered one answer with her 2019 album “PROTO.” Along with Mathew Dryhurst and the programmer Jules LaPlace, she built an A.I. called “Spawn” trained on human voices that adds an uncanny yet oddly personal layer to the music. Beyond her music and visual art, Herndon is trying to solve a problem that many creative people are encountering as A.I. becomes more prominent: How do you encourage experimentation without stealing others’ work to train A.I. models? Along with Dryhurst, Jordan Meyer and Patrick Hoepner, she co-founded Spawning, a company figuring out how to allow artists — and all of us creating content on the internet — to “consent” to our work being used as training data.

    In this conversation, we discuss how Herndon collaborated with a human chorus and her “A.I. baby,” Spawn, on “PROTO”; how A.I. voice imitators grew out of electronic music and other musical genres; why Herndon prefers the term “collective intelligence” to “artificial intelligence”; why an “opt-in” model could help us retain more control of our work as A.I. trawls the internet for data; and much more.

    Mentioned:

    Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt” by Holly Herndon

    xhairymutantx” by Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst, for the Whitney Museum of Art

    Fade” by Holly Herndon

    Swim” by Holly Herndon

    Jolene” by Holly Herndon and Holly+

    Movement” by Holly Herndon

    Chorus” by Holly Herndon

    Godmother” by Holly Herndon

    The Precision of Infinity” by Jlin and Philip Glass

    Holly+

    Book Recommendations:

    Intelligence and Spirit by Reza Negarestani

    Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

    Plurality by E. Glen Weyl, Audrey Tang and ⿻ Community

    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 Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. 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 Rollin Hu, 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 and Jack Hamilton.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enMay 24, 2024

    A Conservative Futurist and a Supply-Side Liberal Walk Into a Podcast …

    A Conservative Futurist and a Supply-Side Liberal Walk Into a Podcast …

    “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 Ezra Klein Show
    enMay 21, 2024

    The Disastrous Relationship Between Israel, Palestinians and the U.N.

    The Disastrous Relationship Between Israel, Palestinians and the U.N.

    The international legal system was created to prevent the atrocities of World War II from happening again. The United Nations partitioned historic Palestine to create the states of Israel and Palestine, but also left Palestinians with decades of false promises. The war in Gaza — and countless other conflicts, including those in Syria, Yemen and Ethiopia — shows how little power the U.N. and international law have to protect civilians in wartime. So what is international law actually for?

    Aslı Ü. Bâli is a professor at Yale Law School who specializes in international and comparative law. “The fact that people break the law and sometimes get away with it doesn’t mean the law doesn’t exist and doesn’t have force,” she argues.

    In this conversation, Bâli traces the gap between how international law is written on paper and the realpolitik of how countries decide to follow it, the U.N.’s unique role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from its very beginning, how the laws of war have failed Gazans but may be starting to change the conflict’s course, and more.

    Mentioned:

    With Schools in Ruins, Education in Gaza Will Be Hobbled for Years” by Liam Stack and Bilal Shbair

    Book Recommendations:

    Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law by Antony Anghie

    Justice for Some by Noura Erakat

    Worldmaking After Empire by Adom Getachew

    The Constitutional Bind by Aziz Rana

    The United Nations and the Question of Palestine by Ardi Imseis

    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 Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota and Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, 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. Special thanks to Carole Sabouraud.

    The Ezra Klein Show
    enMay 17, 2024

    This Is a Very Weird Moment in the History of Drug Laws

    This Is a Very Weird Moment in the History of Drug Laws

    Drug policy feels very unsettled right now. The war on drugs was a failure. But so far, the war on the war on drugs hasn’t entirely been a success, either.

    Take Oregon. In 2020, it became the first state in the nation to decriminalize hard drugs. It was a paradigm shift — treating drug-users as patients rather than criminals — and advocates hoped it would be a model for the nation. But then there was a surge in overdoses and public backlash over open-air drug use. And last month, Oregon’s governor signed a law restoring criminal penalties for drug possession, ending that short-lived experiment.

    Other states and cities have also tipped toward backlash. And there are a lot of concerns about how cannabis legalization and commercialization is working out around the country. So what did the supporters of these measures fail to foresee? And where do we go from here?

    Keith Humphreys is a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University who specializes in addiction and its treatment. He also served as a senior policy adviser in the Obama administration. I asked him to walk me through why Oregon’s policy didn’t work out; what policymakers sometimes misunderstand about addiction; the gap between “elite” drug cultures and how drugs are actually consumed by most people; and what better drug policies might look like.

    Mentioned:

    Oregon Health Authority data

    Book Recommendations:

    Drugs and Drug Policy by Mark A.R. Kleiman, Jonathan P. Caulkins and Angela Hawken

    Dopamine Nation by Anna Lembke

    Confessions of an English Opium Eater by Thomas De Quincey

    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 Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, with Kate Sinclair and Mary Marge Locker. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Aman Sahota and Efim Shapiro. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu 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. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

    Watching the Protests From Israel

    Watching the Protests From Israel

    Ultimately, the Gaza war protests sweeping campuses are about influencing Israeli politics. The protesters want to use economic divestment, American pressure and policy, and a broad sense of international outrage to change the decisions being made by Israeli leaders.

    So I wanted to know what it’s like to watch these protests from Israel. What are Israelis seeing? What do they make of them?

    Ari Shavit is an Israeli journalist and the author of “My Promised Land,” the best book I’ve read about Israeli identity and history. “Israelis are seeing a different war than the one that Americans see,” he tells me. “You see one war film, horror film, and we see at home another war film.”

    This is a conversation about trying to push divergent perspectives into relationship with each other: On the protests, on Israel, on Gaza, on Benjamin Netanyahu, on what it means to take societal trauma and fear seriously, on Jewish values, and more.

    Mentioned:

    Building the Palestinian State with Salam Fayyad” by The Ezra Klein Show

    To Save the Jewish Homeland” by Hannah Arendt

    Book Recommendations:

    Truman by David McCullough

    Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch

    Rosalind Franklin by Brenda Maddox

    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 Claire Gordon and Rollin Hu. Fact-checking by Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Kristin Lin. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Efim Shapiro and Aman Sahota. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin and Michelle Harris. 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. Special thanks to Lydia Polgreen, Dalit Shalom and Sonia Herrero.

    Is Green Growth Possible?

    Is Green Growth Possible?

    A decade ago, I was feeling pretty pessimistic about climate change. The politics of mitigating global warming just seemed impossible: asking people to make sacrifices, or countries to slow their development, and delay dreams of better, more prosperous lives.

    But the world today looks different. The costs of solar and wind power have plummeted. Same for electric batteries. And a new politics is starting to take hold: that maybe we can invest and invent and build our way out of this crisis. But some very hard problems remain. Chief among them? Cows.

    Hannah Ritchie is the deputy editor and lead researcher at Our World in Data and the author of “Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet.” She’s pored over the data on this question and has come away more optimistic than many. “It’s just not true that we’ve had these solutions just sitting there ready to build for decades and decades, and we just haven’t done anything,” she told me. “We’re in a fundamentally different position going forward.”

    In this conversation, we discuss whether sustainability without sacrifice is truly possible. How much progress have we made so far? What gives her the most hope? And what are the biggest obstacles?

    Mentioned:

    What was the death toll from Chernobyl and Fukushima?” by Hannah Ritchie

    Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers” by Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek

    Future demand for electricity generation materials under different climate mitigation scenarios” by Seaver Wang, Zeke Hausfather et al.

    Book Recommendations:

    Factfulness by Hans Rosling

    Possible by Chris Goodall

    Range by David Epstein

    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 Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. 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. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

    Salman Rushdie Is Not Who You Think He Is

    Salman Rushdie Is Not Who You Think He Is

    Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel, “The Satanic Verses,” made him the target of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who denounced the book as blasphemous and issued a fatwa calling for his assassination. Rushdie spent years trying to escape the shadow the fatwa cast on him, and for some time, he thought he succeeded. But in 2022, an assailant attacked him onstage at a speaking engagement in western New York and nearly killed him.

    “I think now I’ll never be able to escape it. No matter what I’ve already written or may now write, I’ll always be the guy who got knifed,” he writes in his new memoir, “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder.”

    In this conversation, I asked Rushdie to reflect on his desire to escape the fatwa; the gap between the reputation of his novels and their actual merits; how his “shadow selves” became more real to millions than he was; how many of us in the internet age also have to contend with our many shadow selves; what Rushdie lives for now; and more.

    Mentioned:

    Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

    Book Recommendations:

    Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, translated by Edith Grossman

    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

    The Trial by Franz Kafka

    The Castle by Franz Kafka

    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 Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. 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 and Mrinalini Chakravorty.

    This Conversation Made Me a Sharper Editor

    This Conversation Made Me a Sharper Editor

    In our recent series on artificial intelligence, I kept returning to a thought: This technology might be able to churn out content faster than we can, but we still need a human mind to sift through the dross and figure out what’s good. In other words, A.I. is going to turn more of us into editors.

    But editing is a peculiar skill. It’s hard to test for, or teach, or even describe. But it’s the crucial step in the creative process that takes work that’s decent and can turn it into something great.

    Adam Moss is widely known as one of the great magazine editors of his generation: He remade The New York Times Magazine in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and during his 15 years as editor in chief of New York magazine, shaped that outlet into one of the greatest print and digital publications we have. And he’s now out with a new book, “The Work of Art: How Something Comes From Nothing.” It’s a curation of 43 conversations with artists about the marginalia, doodles, drafts and revisions that lead to great art. It’s a celebration of the hard, human work that goes into the creative act. It’s a book, really, about editing.

    In this conversation, we discuss what musicians, writers, visual artists, sandcastle-builders and others have in common as they create; how editing is an underappreciated and often misunderstood step in the creative process; how creativity morphs in different stages of our lives; and trusting your own “sensibility.”

    Mentioned:

    A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” by Kara Walker

    Miss Gleason” by Amy Sillman

    Ezra Klein Show episode with George Saunders

    Mother and Child on Blue Mat” by Cheryl Pope

    Ezra Klein Show episode with Maryanne Wolf

    Fidenza” by Tyler Hobbs

    In a River” by Rostam

    Book Recommendations:

    Interviews with Francis Bacon by David Sylvester

    Faux Pas by Amy Sillman

    The Sketchbooks Revealed by Richard Diebenkorn

    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 Annie Galvin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld, with additional mixing by Isaac Jones. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Rollin Hu, Kristin Lin and Aman Sahota. 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, Rachel Baker and James Burnett.

    A $1.7 Million Toilet and Liberalism's Failure to Build

    A $1.7 Million Toilet and Liberalism's Failure to Build

    There is so much we need to build right now. The housing crunch has spread across the country; by one estimate, we’re a few million units short. And we also need a huge build-out of renewable energy infrastructure — at a scale some experts compare to the construction of the Interstate highway system.

    And yet, we’re not seeing anything close to the level of building that we need — even in the blue states and cities where housing tends to be more expensive and where politicians and voters purport to care about climate change and affordable housing.

    Jerusalem Demsas is a staff writer at The Atlantic who obsesses over these questions as much as I do. In this conversation, she takes me through some of her reporting on local disputes that block or hinder projects, and what they say about the issues plaguing development in the country at large. We discuss how well-intentioned policies evolved into a Kafka-esque system of legal and bureaucratic hoops and delays; how clashes over development reveal a generational split in the environmental movement; and what it would take to cut decades of red tape.

    Mentioned:

    Colorado’s Ingenious Idea for Solving the Housing Crisis” by Jerusalem Demsas

    The Culture War Tearing American Environmentalism Apart” by Jerusalem Demsas

    Why America Doesn’t Build” by Jerusalem Demsas

    Book Recommendations:

    Don’t Blame Us by Lily Geismer

    The Bulldozer in the Countryside by Adam Rome

    A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders

    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 Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris with Kate Sinclair. Our senior engineer is Jeff Geld. Our senior editor is Claire Gordon. The show’s production team also includes Annie Galvin, Rollin Hu and Aman Sahota. 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. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

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