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The Ezra Klein Show

New York Times

*** 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?


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*** 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?




Trump’s Legal Jeopardy and America’s Political Crossroads

Donald Trump’s legal troubles are mounting. A Manhattan grand jury investigation into the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels could soon make Trump the first former American president ever to be criminally indicted. But the Manhattan case isn’t the only source of legal risk for Trump. In Georgia, the Fulton County district attorney is considering criminal charges for Trump’s efforts to influence the 2020 election, and the Department of Justice is investigating his role in the Jan. 6 riots...


A Radical Way of Thinking About Money

It’s been two weeks since the Silicon Valley Bank run, and we’re still feeling the ripple effects — not just at banks like Signature, First Republic and Credit Suisse, which are definitely taking a beating. Across the industry, too, banks are on edge, and regulators are rushing to keep the system together. Every financial crisis is different. And every financial crisis is the same. Assets that a lot of people thought were safe — mortgage-backed securities in the 2008 crisis and long-term...


Freaked Out? We Really Can Prepare for A.I.

OpenAI last week released its most powerful language model yet: GPT-4, which vastly outperforms its predecessor, GPT-3.5, on a variety of tasks. GPT-4 can pass the bar exam in the 90th percentile, while the previous model struggled around in the 10th percentile. GPT-4 scored in the 88th percentile on the LSAT, up from GPT-3.5’s 40th percentile. And on the advanced sommelier theory test, GPT-4 performed better than 77 percent of test-takers. (It’s predecessor hovered around 46 percent.)...


My View on A.I.

This is something a bit different: Not an interview, but a commentary of my own. We’ve done a lot of shows on A.I. of late, and there are more to come. On Tuesday, GPT-4 was released, and its capabilities are stunning, and in some cases, chilling. More on that in Tuesday’s episode. But I wanted to take a moment to talk through my own views on A.I. and how I’ve arrived at them. I’ve come to believe that we’re in a potentially brief interregnum before the pace of change accelerates to a rate...


Why Silicon Valley Bank Collapsed — And What Comes Next

Last Friday, in the largest bank failure since 2008, Silicon Valley Bank failed. Banks fail all the time. But unless it’s a big or highly-connected bank, most of us don’t pay much attention. That’s because at the average bank, about half of all accounts are F.D.I.C.-insured. That means, if a typical bank fails, the F.D.I.C. will step in and pay every depositor back up to $250,000. But Silicon Valley Bank was not a typical bank. It seems that only around a single digit percentage of...


How China Went From Economic Superstar to Faltering Giant

In just a few years, the narrative on China has almost completely flipped. The dominant sentiments in America had been awe, envy and a kind of fear. China’s growth seemed relentless. Its manufacturing prowess was lapping ours. It weathered the pandemic without the mass death seen in the West. It could build housing and transit and infrastructure at a speed we could no longer even imagine. And then, as 2022 ticked over to 2023, things changed. China’s real estate bubble popped. Its Zero...


The Men — and Boys — Are Not Alright

In 1972, when Congress passed Title IX to tackle gender equity in education, men were 13 percentage points more likely to hold bachelor’s degrees than women; today women are 15 points more likely to do so than men. The median real hourly wage for working men is lower today than it was in the 1970s. And men account for almost three out of four “deaths of despair,” from overdose or suicide. These are just a sample of the array of dizzying statistics that suffuse Richard Reeves’s book “Of Boys...


If You Read the G.O.P.’s Anti-Trans Policies, You’ll See What It Really Wants

In the 2023 legislative session alone, Republican state legislators have introduced more than a hundred bills seeking to restrict transgender people’s freedoms, rights and health care access. To put that in perspective, in the 2018 legislative session, fewer than 20 such bills restricting transgender rights were proposed. Over the weekend, at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the commentator Michael Knowles said that “transgenderism must be eradicated from public life entirely.”...


The Art of Noticing – and Appreciating – Our Dizzying World

“Poetry is the attempt to understand fully what is real, what is present, what is imaginable, what is feelable, and how can I loosen the grip of what I already know to find some new, changed relationship,” the poet Jane Hirshfield tells me. Through poetry, she says, “I know something new and I have been changed.” Hirshfield is the award-winning author of many books of poetry and two illuminating essay collections about what poetry does to us and in the world: “Nine Gates: Entering the Mind...


Our Brains Weren’t Designed for This Kind of Food

Our society’s dominant narrative is that body size is a product of individual willpower. We are skinny or fat because of the choices we make: the kinds of food we buy, the amounts we eat, the exercise regimens we follow. Research has never been kind to this thesis. It’s a folk narrative we use to punish people, not an empirical account of why residents of most rich countries are getting heavier over time. But, then, what account does fit the data? In his 2017 book, “The Hungry Brain,”...


Inside the Minds of Spiders, Octopuses and Artificial Intelligence

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s “Children of Time” is about an advanced civilization built by sentient spiders. A sequel, “Children of Ruin,” is about a society run by superintelligent octopuses. I love these books. They’re remarkably serious about their premises, and by the end, it’s human civilization and our limited sensorium that come to seem strange. But Tchaikovsky’s latest book, “Children of Memory,” ostensibly about crows, read as something very different to me: the best fictional...


This Book Changed My Relationship to Pain

Physical pain is a universal human experience. And for many of us, it’s a constant one. Roughly 20 percent of American adults — some 50 million people — suffer from a form of chronic pain. For some, that means having terrible days from time to time. For others, it means a life of constant suffering. Either way, the depth and scale of pain in our society is a massive problem. But what if much of how we understand pain — and how to treat it — is wrong? Rachel Zoffness is a pain psychologist...


The Inflation Story Has Changed Dramatically. Paul Krugman Breaks It Down.

In recent months, the story of the U.S. economy has changed significantly. The January Consumer Price Index showed that annual inflation slowed for the seventh straight month. That month, the economy also added over half a million jobs, and unemployment reached 3.4 percent, its lowest level since 1969. In light of these trends, comparisons to the 1970s stagflation crisis have weakened, and the possibility of a “soft landing” looks increasingly likely. But that doesn’t mean we’ve achieved...


How the $500 Billion Attention Industry Really Works

For most of us, seeing an advertisement pop up while we’re scrolling on Instagram or reading an article or watching a video is the most banal experience possible. But in the background of those experiences is a $500 billion marketplace where our attention is being bought, packaged and sold at split-second speeds virtually every minute of every day. Online advertising is the economic engine of the internet, and that engine is fueled by our attention. Tim Hwang is the former global public...


The Tao of Rick Rubin

Reading Rick Rubin’s production discography is like taking a tour through the commanding heights of American music over the past few decades. Jay-Z. Run-DMC. Beastie Boys. Slayer. The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Johnny Cash. Kanye West. Neil Diamond. Brandi Carlile. Eminem. Adele. And it’s not just his production credits: Rubin co-founded Def Jam Recordings and was a co-chairman of Columbia Records. What’s allowed him to work with so many different kinds of artists, across such a stunning range...


How Liberals — Yes, Liberals — Are Hobbling Government

In my columns and on this show over the past few years, I’ve argued that to achieve the goals liberals hold most dear, we need a liberalism that builds. A liberalism that builds everything from multifamily housing and mass transit systems to transmission lines and solar farms. And we need a liberalism that can build it all quickly, cheaply and effectively. But even in the places where liberals have governing power, they are often failing to do exactly that. Why? Nicholas Bagley is a law...


Best Of: Why Housing Is So Expensive — Particularly in Blue States

Ezra is out sick, so today, we’re sharing one of our favorite conversations — with Jenny Schuetz, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution whose 2022 book “Fixer Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems,” is perhaps the best, clearest overview of America’s housing problems to date. In this conversation, recorded in July 2022, Schuetz breaks down the politics and policies that have contributed to America’s multiple housing crises — from housing shortages and high...


First Person: How the Left Is Cannibalizing Its Own Power

Ezra is out sick, so today, we're sharing an episode from the New York Times Opinion podcast, “First Person.” Each week, the host Lulu Garcia-Navarro sits down with people living through the headlines for intimate and surprising conversations that help us make sense of our complicated world. This episode features Maurice Mitchell, the head of the Working Families Party. Mitchell has been an organizer for two decades, working in progressive politics and the Movement for Black Lives. In...


Is This How a Cold War With China Begins?

There are few issues on which the dominant consensus in Washington has changed as rapidly in recent years as it has on China. Donald Trump made taking on China a core pillar of his campaign and presidency. And while Joe Biden has toned down the harsh anti-China rhetoric of his predecessor, many of his administration’s policies have gone even further than Trump’s did. In October the Biden administration unveiled sweeping controls on advanced chip exports to China — a move that former Trump...


There’s Been a Revolution in How China Is Governed

There are few stories that are more crucial to the world’s future than what’s happening in China. Take any of the most important issues of our time — climate change, geopolitics, the global economy, advanced technologies — and China is at the center of them. American politics itself has increasingly come to revolve around competition with China. In other words, what happens in China doesn’t stay in China — it reverberates through the global economy, the American political system and the...