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The Ezra Klein Show

The Ezra Klein Show

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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.
251 Episodes
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Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is an associate professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University and the author of multiple books, including most recently How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which traces the origins of the term “identity politics” back to its very first use.“Since 1977,” she writes, “that term has been used, abused, and reconfigured into something foreign to its creators.” Taylor’s intellectual history is driven by more than curiosity: it’s part of a larger vision that views racism and our contemporary economic system as inextricably linked.This is a conversation full of tough questions. What constitutes identity politics? When is it inclusive, and when is it exclusive? Is racism a function of capitalism or is it constant across economic systems? How did Barack Obama’s presidency lead to Donald Trump’s? What can stop future Democrats from running into the very same institutional strongholds that plagued Obama?Book recommendations: Black Reconstruction by W.E.B DuBois Selected poems of John Weaners Women, Race and Class by Angela Davis *******************************************************Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.comNews comes at you fast. Join us at the end of your day to understand it. Subscribe to Today, Explained: http://bit.ly/todayexplained
Imagine a society whose rulers suppress free speech, free association, even bathroom breaks. Where the government owns the means of production. Where the leader is self-appointed or hand-selected by a group of wealthy oligarchs. Where exile or emigration can have severe, even life-threatening, consequences.My guest today, University of Michigan Philosopher Elizabeth Anderson, writes that workplaces are “communist dictatorships in our midst.” Her book Private Government: How Employers Rule our Lives (and Why We Don’t Talk About It) draws an extended analogy between firms and tyrannical governments, each of which she believes hold extended, unaccountable power over people’s lives.Anderson is one for the most influential philosophers alive today, and her aim isn’t just to be provocative. It’s to argue that the ideals of representation, rights, and legitimacy that we apply to public governments should extend to private governments, too. And beyond that, it is to pose a question about the lenses through which we peer out at the world: “Why do we not recognize such a pervasive part of our social landscape for what it is?”I don’t agree with Anderson on every point, but she’s offering a gift: another framework for understanding the world in which we live. This is the kind of conversation that sticks with you, that leaves everything looking just a little bit different.Book recommendations: What is Populism? by Jan Werner-Muller Communicating Moral Concern by Elise SpringerThe Racial Contract by Charles MillsWant to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
“The Constitution must be adapted to the problems of each generation,” writes Erwin Chemerisnky, “we are not living in the world of 1787 and should not pretend that the choices for that time can guide ours today.”Does that sentence read to you as obvious or offensive? Either way, it’s at the core of the constitutional debate between the left and the right — a debate the left all too often cedes to the right through disinterest.Chemerinsky is trying to change that. He’s the dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law, a decorated constitutional scholar and lawyer, and the author of We the People: A Progressive Reading of the Constitution for the Twenty-First Century. At the core of Chemerinsky’s vision is the idea that the Constitution must be interpreted through the lens of the preamble: a crucial statement of intent, and one that establishes the US Constitution as one of the most adaptive and glitteringly progressive founding documents in the world.This is a conversation about both direct questions of constitutional interpretation and the meta-questions of constitutional debate in a polarized age. What, for instance, does it mean that so much turned on Mitch McConnell’s blockade against Merrick Garland? Is this just a legal debating club disguising the exercise of raw power? What should progressive constitutionalists make of proposals to expand the Supreme Court? What would be different today if Hillary Clinton had filled Scalia’s seat?Book recommendations: Simple Justice by Richard Kluger (1975)American Constitutional Law by Larry TribeThe Federalist Papers by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John JayThe Boys of Summer by Roger KahnThe Chosen by Chaim PotokWant to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
The Democratic primary has been unexpectedly dominated by a single question: Will you abolish private health insurance?Wrapped in that question are dozens more. Why, if private health insurance is such a mess, do polls show most Americans want to keep it? What lessons should we take from the failure of past efforts at health reform? What does it mean to say “if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it?”Matt Bruenig, the founder of the People’s Policy Project, is firmly in support of true single-payer. No compromise, no chaser. He’s frustrated by those, like me, who try to work around the public’s resistance to disruptive change, who treat past failures and current polls as predictions about the future. And, in turn, I’m often frustrated by Matt’s tendency, mirrored by many on the left, to treat people with similar goals but different theories of reform as villains and shills.In this podcast, Matt and I hash it out. The questions here are deep ones. When are political constraints real, and when are they invented by the people asserting their existence? If you already believe the political system is broken and corrupt, how can you entrust it to take over American health care? Can you cleave policy from politics? What would the ideal health care system look like, and why?Book recommendations:A Theory of Justice  by John RawlsWhat Is Property?  by P. J. Proudhon The Progressive Assault on Laissez Fair   by Barbara H. Fried Ezra’s recommended reading:One Nation, Uninsured  by Jill Quadagno Remedy and Reaction by Paul Starr It's the Institutions, Stupid! by Sven Steinmo, Jon WattsWant to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com 
I don’t ordinarily find myself scrambling to write down article ideas during these conversations, but almost everything Raj Chetty says is worth a feature unto itself. For instance:- Great Kindergarten teachers generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in future earnings for their students- Solving poverty would increase life expectancy by more — far more — than curing cancer- Public investment focused on children often pays for itself- The American dream is more alive in Canada than in America- Maps of American slavery look eerily like maps of American social mobility — but not for the reason you’d thinkChetty is a Harvard economist who has been called “the most influential economist alive today.” He’s considered by his peers to be a shoo-in for the Nobel prize. He specializes in bringing massive amounts of data to bear on the question of social mobility: which communities have it, how they got it, and what we can learn from them.What Chetty says in this conversation could power a decade of American social policy. It probably should.References: Atlantic profile Vox profile Books: Scarcity:The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar ShafirEvicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matt Desmond How to Catch a HeffalumpWant to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com 
Astra Taylor’s new book has the best title I’ve seen in a long time: Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone.I talk a lot about democracy on this show, but not in the way Taylor talks about it. The democracy I discuss is bounded by the assumptions of American politics. This, however, is not a conversation about the filibuster, the Senate, or the Electoral College — it is far more diverse and far more radical.Taylor and I cover a lot of ground in this interview. We discuss how what it would mean to extend democracy to our job and schools, whether animals, future humans, or even nature itself can have political rights, how democracy thinks about noncitizens and children, and what would happen if we selected congress by lottery.Something I appreciate about Taylor’s work is it’s alive to paradoxes, ambiguities, and hard questions that don’t offer easy answers. This conversation is no different.References: The link between support for animal rights and human rightsInterview with Will Wilkinson Book Recommendations: How democratic is the American Constitution? By Robert Dahl  Abolition Democracy by Angela Davis The Two Faces of American Freedom by Aziz Rana *******************************************************Want to contact the show? Reach out at ezrakleinshow@vox.com
Ezra sits down with Jason Del Rey, host of Land of the Giants, a new podcast from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network. Land of the Giants is about the major technology companies that have reshaped our world and explores the ways that they've changed our lives – for better and for worse. The first season is titled The Rise of Amazon. Enjoy this special conversation between Ezra and Jason, followed by a preview of the first episode, Why You’ll Never Quit Amazon Prime. Subscribe to Land of the Giants for free in your favorite podcast app to hear the rest of the episode and to get new episodes automatically.
“How do successful companies create products people can’t put down?”That’s the opening line of the description for Nir Eyal’s bestselling 2014 book Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products. Hooked became a staple in Silicon Valley circles — it was even recommended to me when I started Vox — and Eyal became a celebrity.Today, Silicon Valley’s skill at building habit-forming products is looked on more skeptically, to say the least. So I was interested to see him releasing a second book that seemed a hard reversal: Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life.But Eyal doesn’t think big tech is addictive, and he sees the rhetoric of people who do — like me — as “ridiculous.” He believes the answer to digital distraction lies in individuals learning to exercise forethought and discipline, not demonizing companies that make products people love.Eyal and I disagree quite a bit in this conversation. But it’s a disagreement worth having. Life is the sum total of what we pay attention to. Who is in control of that attention, and how we can wrest it back, is a central question of our age.Book Recommendations: Lost Connections: Why You’re Depressed and How to Find Hope by Johann HariDrive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel PinkMoby Dick by Herman Melville
Generation Climate Change

Generation Climate Change

2019-07-2901:38:359

This is one of those episodes I want to put the hard sell on. It’s one of the most important conversations I’ve had on the show. The fact that it left me feeling better about the world rather than worse — that was shocking.Varshini Prakash is co-founder and executive director of the Sunrise Movement. Sunrise is part of a new generation of youth-led climate-change movements that emerged out of the failure of the global political system to address the climate crisis. They’re the ones who made the Green New Deal a litmus test for 2020. They’re the reason there might be a climate debate. They’re the reason candidates’ climate plans have gotten so much more ambitious.Behind these movements is the experience of coming of age in the era of climate crisis and the new approach to organizing birthed by that trauma. We also talk about Sunrise’s theory of organizing, why it’s a mistake to say you’re saving the planet when you’re saving humanity, Sunrise’s motto “no permanent friends, no permanent enemies,” the joys of organizing in the face of terrible odds, and, unexpectedly, the Tao Te Ching.This is a conversation about climate change and about political organizing, but it’s also about finding agency amid despair. Don’t miss it.Book recommendations:Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by Martin Luther King Jr. This Is an Uprising  by Mark Engler and Paul EnglerTao Te Ching by Laozi *******************************************************The Ezra Klein Show has been nominated for best Society- culture podcast in this year’s People’s Choice Podcast Awards! Cast your vote for The Ezra Klein Show at https://www.podcastawards.com/app/signup before July 31st. One vote per category.Please send guest suggestions for our upcoming series on climate change to ezrakleinshow@vox.com
Some podcasts I do are easy. There’s a problem and, hey look, here’s a great answer! Some are hard. There’s a problem and, well, there may not be a good answer. This is one of those.When Donald Trump tweeted that four new Democratic members of Congress (commonly known as ‘the Squad’) should “go back” to the “corrupt” countries he said they are from, the media went into frenzy. When he said he didn’t worry if the comment was racist, because “many people agree with me,” it got worse. Trump’s racism — and his justification of it — dominated the news.Under the “sunlight disinfects” model of media, that’s a good thing. But, as communications scholar Whitney Phillips argues, sunlight also does something else: it makes things grow. What if, by letting Trump focus the national conversation on his most vile comments at will, we’re nourishing the very ideas we’re trying to bleach?Behind this conversation lurks some of the hardest questions in media. What makes something newsworthy? When do we let Trump set the agenda, and when don’t we? And is the theory under which we give the worst comments the most coverage true, or is it making us part of the problem? Book Recommendations:Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Kimmerer Klu Klux by Elaine Parsons White Racial Framing by Joe Feagin Check out Whitney Phillips’ previous appearance on the show. *******************************************************The Ezra Klein Show has been nominated for best Society- culture podcast in this year’s People’s Choice Podcast Awards! Cast your vote for The Ezra Klein Show at https://www.podcastawards.com/app/signup before July 31st. One vote per category.Please send guest suggestions for our upcoming series on climate change to ezrakleinshow@vox.com
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Comments (42)

Gene

I'm surprised there's no mention of community owned enterprises. If workers can elect their own representatives into the board of the company, the board essentially acts as a quasi parliament that can dictate or overthrow it's executive (CEO).

Aug 19th
Reply

Drew Misner

This is another great interview, but one thing is really lacking, even after listening to it twice. Chetty talks at length about neighborhood but does not define what it is! Are we talking about West Village vs East Village? Manhattan vs Staten Island? Buffalo vs NYC? Ezra mentions the Bay Area - is this considered a neighborhood? Given the talk of integration/diversity - are we talking about non urban vs urban? Chetty used IRS data according to Ezra, so maybe it's by zip code? Without knowing this it makes it extremely difficult to visualize the dynamics discussed in the podcast. Also, it sounds like much of what is discussed is manifest as neighborhood effects or that neighborhood is simply a proxy for things like education, role models, support, etc that could be the target of policy independent of location.

Aug 19th
Reply

Felix Bart

Drew Misner Great interview!

Aug 20th
Reply

Keith Trainor

This one is a fascinating topic, but a tough listen. Maybe there is a better spokesperson out there for Medicare For All, but perhaps there is not. This guest didn't seem to hear 50% of the questions he was asked.

Aug 15th
Reply

Fion Lewis

Keith Trainor Agree...

Aug 16th
Reply

Tom Garundazoo

I think they are miss using 'ambivalent' what I think they really mean is 'uncertainty' or 'nuance' which are totally different

Aug 13th
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Justin M.J. Harris

such a good episode very easy to connect the points he was making to what's going on today

Jul 19th
Reply

Rita Moore

Justin M.J. Harris 😂you may right

Jul 19th
Reply

Vedant Mhatre

She sounds like Nancy Pelosi

Jul 17th
Reply

Nicolas Brylle

Talk about being a snowflake hahaha. And the hypocrisy...

Jul 9th
Reply

Andrew Leoni

its interesting to hear ezra work on his promos

Jul 8th
Reply

Elliott Wallace

This character is a piece of work.

Jul 8th
Reply

Gene

The decline of Christian America is not necessarily an inevitable trend. People are abandoning Christianity because the religion, at the hight of its political power, failed terrifically at addressing society's basic human needs. Instead, Christianity was hijacked by right wing conservatism and weaponised as a crutch for its political goal. While the country shift towards left of centre, Christianity still has a place in progressive politics. It requires leaders within these religious institutions to stop "conserving" and start "progressing."

Jul 8th
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Sharon McKinnon

too bad the mixing is off, sounds like it would have been interesting

Jul 8th
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Eric Hove

This recording got messed up somehow.

Jul 8th
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Eu

Eric Hove the mixing is fucked

Jul 8th
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Nathaniel Stigen

Does the Vox walkout change the way you look at Vox?

Jun 28th
Reply

Tom Garundazoo

it's a common thing but I think it's dumb to reinforce this idea of left and right as these clear unambiguous concepts that can be used continuously without any dissection. it creates a narrow minded unconcious dogmatic paradigm of the possibilities of the world. If you're going to use 'left' and 'right' like in this show I think you should explain how you see the terms. You can be an advocate for free market reforms and concerned about the environment. You can be an authoritarian socialist. You can be concerned about climate change but not care about species extinction, sure people tend to group think/be tribal. but I would have thought a show like this would be about not reinforcing unthinking group think

Jun 23rd
Reply

Facts Don't Care About Your Feelings

Ezra is the worst kind of bad faith political pundit. He is a full blown feminized SJW, and his articles are full of inaccuracies (most likely in the form of intentional lies, but perhaps he is just sloppy when it comes to fact checking). I try to give all viewpoints a chance but I would rather listen to someone who is open-minded. Ezra seems to be the same old tired extremist calling everyone that disagrees with him a racist, sexist, homeophobic Nazi. I am open to suggestions for other podcasters on the left to give a chance however, feel free to share, all I ask is that they be open minded and willing to listen, and have discussions in good faith.

Jun 5th
Reply

Steve Sinkula

What's up Will. Really great to hear your perspective.

Jun 1st
Reply

snsɐuɐ ƃuǝɥɔ

Hi Ezra!!! I am GREAT AT DOING RESEARCHING ON WEIRD/OBSCURE AND AMAZINGLY INTERESTING THINGS Please please contact me :) I worked for www.violetteeditions.com in London where I was an editorial assistant and did this sort of work. I am half Colombian and half Taiwanese: I speak french engoish and spanish and I am THE MOST curious person people who have met me, have ever met! Please contact me chengssna@gmail.com Kind regards, Susana Cheng

May 29th
Reply

Mariana Cml

Great! Love her

May 27th
Reply

Dodo Moon

bad

May 20th
Reply

RICARDO ANDRADE

Dodo Moon hi!

May 20th
Reply

Jesse Hoffner ☭

Brian Stetler? Really?

May 16th
Reply
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