Episodes

  • 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 officials have described as a sharp break from where their administration’s policies were. And the Biden administration doesn’t intend on stopping there: It plans to roll out further controls that target China’s biotech and clean energy sectors.

    Meanwhile, Biden has repeatedly voiced such strong declarations of American military support for Taiwan that his own administration has had to walk them back. And, in Congress, China policy is one of the few areas Democrats and Republicans seem willing to work together — almost always in the direction of getting tougher on Beijing.

    Jessica Chen Weiss is a political scientist and China scholar at Cornell. From August 2021 to last July, she was a senior adviser in the Biden State Department. And she emerged from that experience as one of the most outspoken critics of Washington’s more hawkish turn regarding China. “The more combative approach, on both sides, has produced a mirroring dynamic,” Weiss wrote in a 2022 essay called “The China Trap.” She worries that Beijing and Washington are misreading each other’s ambitions, resulting in a “downward spiral” of mutual aggression that will leave both sides — and the world more broadly — less prosperous and secure.

    So I asked Weiss to come on the show to help me understand the state of U.S.-China relations and why she thinks it’s headed in the wrong direction.

    Mentioned:

    “The China Trap” by Jessica Chen Weiss

    “A World Safe for Autocracy?” by Jessica Chen Weiss

    Book Recommendations:

    Seeking Truth and Hiding Facts by Jeremy L. Wallace

    Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng

    See No Stranger by Valarie Kaur

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker and Kristina Samulewski.

  • 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 international order. And a lot is happening in China right now. In November, China experienced what many have called its most significant protests since Tiananmen Square in 1989. In response, Beijing loosened its “zero Covid” policy, demonstrating a level of public responsiveness that shocked many observers of the increasingly authoritarian regime. However, that policy shift also unleashed a huge wave of infections and hospitalizations that puts the country’s immediate future in question.

    Yuen Yuen Ang is a professor of political economy, a China scholar at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “China’s Gilded Age: The Paradox of Economic Boom and Vast Corruption.” Her basic argument is this: In order to understand what’s happening in China today (and what all of it could mean for its future) you need to first understand China’s unique, often misunderstood political system — one that Ang calls “autocracy with democratic characteristics.” Because we in the West are so fixated on how China selects its leaders, she argues, we’ve overlooked a more subtle but far more consequential revolution in how China is governed. That transformation of the Chinese political system is the deeper story behind both the country’s economic success — as well as its current troubles. And it provides an illuminating lens through which to view American politics as well.

    Mentioned:

    “An Era Just Ended in China” by Yuen Yuen Ang

    “The Problem With Zero” by Yuen Yuen Ang

    “The Procedure Fetish” by Nicholas Bagley

    Book Recommendations:

    From The Soil by Fei Xiaotong

    Fei Xiaotong and Sociology in Revolutionary China by R. David Arkush

    The Fractalist by Benoit Mandelbrot

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Carole Sabouraud and Kristina Samulewski.

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  • In recent weeks, America got a preview of how the new Republican House majority would wield its power. In attempting to perform a basic function of government — electing a speaker — a coalition of 20 House members caused Kevin McCarthy to lose 14 rounds of votes, decreasing his power with each compromise and successive vote.

    This is not normal. Party unity ebbs and flows, but the G.O.P. in recent decades has come apart at the seams. Nicole Hemmer is the director of the Carolyn T. and Robert M. Rogers Center for the American Presidency at Vanderbilt University, an associate professor of history and the author of two books about the conservative movement and media ecosystem, “Messengers of the Right: Conservative Media and the Transformation of American Politics” and “Partisans: The Conservative Revolutionaries Who Remade American Politics in the 1990s.” And she says we can’t understand the current G.O.P. without understanding when, where and how these dynamics began.

    We discuss why the Cold War bonded Republicans as a party, how the 1994 Republican congressional victory inaugurated a new era of intraparty fighting, how Rush Limbaugh’s rise created a new market for far-out ideas and new pressures on conservative politicians, why conservative media has had so much more sway than liberal media over grass-roots voters, how the business model of Fox News differs from that of MSNBC and what kinds of political ideas those businesses produce, how the G.O.P. is now caught between the pincers of the donor class and the grass roots, when the chief Republican enemy became the Democratic Party, why more moderate conservatives have become so weak and more.

    Mentioned:

    The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism by Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson

    The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order by Gary Gerstle

    Asymmetric Politics by Matt Grossman and David A. Hopkins

    Realigners by Timothy Shenk

    Book Recommendations:

    Fit Nation by Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

    Dreamland by Carly Goodman

    Freedom’s Dominion by Jefferson Cowie

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker and Kristina Samulewski.

  • It’s hard to think of a more celebrated figure of the 20th century than Martin Luther King Jr.

    He has a national memorial in Washington, D.C. His birthday is one of just 11 federal holidays. And his words and legacy are routinely evoked by politicians of both major parties.

    But the paradox of King’s legacy is that while many revere him, very few actually read him. Most of us can cite a handful of his most famous quotes, but King’s actual teachings span five books, countless speeches and sermons, and years of detailed correspondence.

    There’s perhaps no scholar working today who studies Dr. King’s political philosophy as deeply as Brandon Terry. Terry is the John L. Loeb associate professor of social sciences at Harvard, where he specializes in Black political thought. He is the co-editor of “To Shape a New World: Essays on the Political Philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” the editor of “Fifty Years Since MLK,” and the author of numerous popular and academic articles on King’s political thought. His work is committed to rescuing the nuances of Dr. King’s philosophies and forcing a confrontation with what King actually said and believed, rather than what he’s come to represent.

    In this conversation, we follow the commitment that animates much of Terry’s work: to take King seriously as a philosopher, rather than as purely a political actor. And it turns out that King understood a lot about politics that we’ve lost sight of today. We discuss why a “romantic narrative” of the civil rights era stops us from taking King seriously as a philosopher; the true radicalism of King’s nonviolent philosophy; King’s complex views on the relationship between race and class; how King wrestled with the demands of “respectability politics”; King’s wide-ranging economic views, including the idea that the economy should be subservient to the community (and not the other way around); King’s enthusiasm for tenant unions and welfare rights unions as critical democratic inventions; whether the state should embrace the same nonviolence it often demands of protesters; the roots of King’s opposition to the war in Vietnam; whether we’ve lost the ability to grapple with “virtue” in politics today; and more.

    Mentioned:

    “Imagining the nonviolent state” by Ezra Klein

    “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” by Martin Luther King Jr.

    From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime by Elizabeth Hinton

    “Rethinking the Problem of Alliance: Organized Labor and Black Political Life” by Brandon M. Terry and Jason Lee

    The Truly Disadvantaged by William Julius Wilson

    Book recommendations:

    Where Do We Go From Here by Martin Luther King Jr.

    The Trumpet of Conscience by Martin Luther King Jr.

    The Sword and the Shield by Peniel E. Joseph

    A More Beautiful and Terrible History by Jeanne Theoharis

    Dark Ghettos by Tommie Shelby

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Kate Sinclair, Mary Marge Locker and Rollin Hu. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Sonia Herrero.

  • “Capitalism, it turns out, is more than just the exchange of goods in a market economy,” Katharina Pistor writes. “It is a market economy in which some assets are placed on legal steroids.”

    Pistor is a professor of comparative law at Columbia Law School, the director of the Center on Global Legal Transformation at Columbia University and the author of “The Code of Capital: How the Law Creates Wealth and Inequality.” In the book, Pistor argues that economic value isn’t just captured by markets; it is created by the legal system. An asset like a piece of land or a machine has some intrinsic value. But it is only when you graft legal attributes onto those assets — backed by the coercive power of the state — that they are transformed into wealth-generating capital.

    Pistor’s theory has sweeping implications for some of the most fundamental economic questions of our time: How is wealth actually created? Why does our current economic system produce such huge inequalities? What causes financial crises? In Pistor’s telling, you can’t begin to answer such questions without understanding the legal foundation that our economy is built on.

    This is a conversation that delves into the deepest layer of our economic system — one that shapes all of our lives even as it remains largely invisible. We discuss the four legal attributes that transform an ordinary asset into a wealth-generating device, how the law creates corporations and financial instruments out of thin air, the “feudal calculus” that underpins our modern economy, why focusing solely on wealth redistribution will never be sufficient to solve economic inequality, how private lawyers — operating outside democratic institutions — end up shaping the rules of our economic system, the “law and finance paradox” that explains why financial crises happen, how legal manipulation has eroded the “social contract” of capitalism, whether the law can work as a tool to help fight climate change and more.

    Mentioned:

    “A Legal Theory of Finance” by Katharina Pistor

    Book Recommendations:

    Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty

    Crashed by Adam Tooze

    Ages of American Capitalism by Jonathan Levy

    This episode is guest-hosted by Rogé Karma, the senior editor for “The Ezra Klein Show.” Rogé has been with the show since July 2019, when it was based at Vox. He works closely with Ezra on everything related to the show, from editing to interview prep to guest selection. At Vox, he also wrote and conducted interviews on topics ranging from policing and racial justice to democracy reform and the coronavirus.

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Kristin Lin and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Mary Marge Locker. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.

  • Even if you don’t recognize the advice columnist Dan Savage by name, it’s possible that his ideas have influenced how you think about sex and relationships. For decades now, Savage has been arguing that our expectations for long-term partnerships are way too high; that healthy relationships are about acknowledging our vast spectrum of desires, not repressing them; and that monogamy is not the ideal setup for every partnership. Through over 30 years of writing “Savage Love,” one of the most widely read sex advice columns in the country, and more than 17 years of hosting the podcast “Savage Lovecast,” he has been one of America’s most subtly influential public intellectuals on the topic of how humans conduct our most intimate — and important — relationships.

    In the past half-century or so, America’s culture around sex, dating and relationships has undergone a profound transformation. Women are no longer confined to roles as wives and mothers, same-sex marriage is legal, hookup culture has changed the way young people enter the dating world, and there has been a growing interest in less traditional approaches to relationships, like polyamory and ethical nonmonogamy. These transformations have ushered in a lot of new freedoms but also a lot of new anxieties and frustrations. So I wanted to bring Savage on the show to talk through how we navigate this complicated, messy moment in our relational and sexual lives.

    We discuss how America’s relationship culture has changed in the past 30 years, why the myth of finding “the one” can be so damaging, what dating apps are (and aren’t) good for, how to give more grace to our partners when they do not meet our expectations, why so many feminist writers are re-evaluating the legacy of the sexual revolution, how gay sexual cultures have influenced straight dating life, why we’ve had a “sexual revolution” but not a concomitant “relationship revolution,” what Savage makes of the statistic that 18 percent of people have had sexual experiences outside their primary relationships without their partners’ consent, the advantages and risks of experimenting with nonmonogamy, what better sex education for young people should look like, why marriages between two men seem to end less frequently than heterosexual marriages do and more.

    This episode contains strong language.

    Mentioned:

    YouGov poll on Monogamy and Polyamory

    “Can We Change Our Sexual Desires? Should We?” with Amia Srinivasan on The Ezra Klein Show

    “Let’s Talk About the Anxiety Freedom Can Cause” with Maggie Nelson on The Ezra Klein Show

    “Sex, Abortion and Feminism, as Seen From the Right” with Erika Bachiochi on The Ezra Klein Show

    Dan Savage and Esther Perel on “Love, Marriage & Monogamy”

    Screaming on the Inside by Jessica Grose

    “What Does the ‘Post-Liberal Right’ Actually Want?” with Patrick Deneen on The Ezra Klein Show

    Book Recommendations:

    The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton

    Berlin Diary by William L. Shirer

    A Royal Affair by Stella Tillyard

    Thoughts? Guest suggestions? Email us at [email protected]

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion Audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker.

  • The year 2022 was jam-packed with advances in artificial intelligence, from the release of image generators like DALL-E 2 and text generators like Cicero to a flurry of developments in the self-driving car industry. And then, on November 30, OpenAI released ChatGPT, arguably the smartest, funniest, most humanlike chatbot to date.

    In the weeks since, ChatGPT has become an internet sensation. If you’ve spent any time on social media recently, you’ve probably seen screenshots of it describing Karl Marx’s theory of surplus value in the style of a Taylor Swift song or explaining how to remove a sandwich from a VCR in the style of the King James Bible. There are hundreds of examples like that.

    But amid all the hype, I wanted to give voice to skepticism: What is ChatGPT actually doing? Is this system really as “intelligent” as it can sometimes appear? And what are the implications of unleashing this kind of technology at scale?

    Gary Marcus is an emeritus professor of psychology and neural science at N.Y.U. who has become one of the leading voices of A.I. skepticism. He’s not “anti-A.I.”; in fact, he’s founded multiple A.I. companies himself. But Marcus is deeply worried about the direction current A.I. research is headed, and even calls the release of ChatGPT A.I.’s “Jurassic Park moment.” “Because such systems contain literally no mechanisms for checking the truth of what they say,” Marcus writes, “they can easily be automated to generate misinformation at unprecedented scale.”

    However, Marcus also believes that there’s a better way forward. In the 2019 book “Rebooting A.I.: Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust” Marcus and his co-author Ernest Davis outline a path to A.I. development built on a very different understanding of what intelligence is and the kinds of systems required to develop that intelligence. And so I asked Marcus on the show to unpack his critique of current A.I. systems and what it would look like to develop better ones.

    This episode contains strong language.

    Mentioned:

    “On Bullshit” by Harry Frankfurt

    “AI’s Jurassic Park moment” by Gary Marcus

    “Deep Learning Is Hitting a Wall” by Gary Marcus

    Book Recommendations:

    The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker

    How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil

    The Martian by Andy Weir

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Sonia Herrero. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion audio is Annie-Rose Strasser.

  • Do we know how to truly rest? Who would we be if we did?

    I’ve been wrestling with these questions since I read Abraham Joshua Heschel’s stunning book “The Sabbath” in college. The ancient Jewish ritual of the Sabbath reserves a full day per week for rest. As it’s commonly practiced, that means about 25 hours every week of no work, very little technology and plenty of in-person gathering.

    But the Sabbath is a much more radical approach to rest than a simple respite from work and technology. Implicit in the practice of the Sabbath is a stinging critique of the speed at which we live our lives, the ways we choose to spend our time and how we think about the idea of rest itself. That, at least, is a central argument of Judith Shulevitz’s wonderful book, “The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time.”

    Shulevitz is a longtime culture critic and currently a contributing writer for The Atlantic. Her book isn’t just about the Sabbath itself, it’s about the world the Sabbath tries to create: one with an entirely different conception of time, morality, rest and community. It’s the kind of world that is wholly different from our own, and one whose wisdom is urgently needed.

    So, to kick off the new year, I invited Shulevitz on the show to explore what the Sabbath is, the value system embedded within it and what lessons it holds for our lives. I left the conversation feeling awed by how such an ancient practice can feel simultaneously so radical and yet so incredibly urgent.

    Mentioned:

    The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

    I and Thou by Martin Buber

    Book Recommendations:

    Adam Bede by George Eliot

    The Seven Day Circle by Eviatar Zerubavel

    On the Clock by Emily Guendelsberger

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. The executive producer of New York Times Opinion audio is Annie-Rose Strasser. Special thanks to Pat McCusker.

  • ​​“One of the biggest things about poetry is that it holds all of humanity,” the poet Ada Limón tells me. “It holds the huge and enormous and tumbling sphere of human emotions.”

    At the end of a turbulent year, we thought revisiting this May 2022 conversation with Limón would be fitting. Just months after our conversation, Limón was named U.S. poet laureate.

    Limón’s work is a salve for all that the world faces: her books of poetry are filled with meditations on grief and infertility, as well as striking moments of insight about friendship, lust and our fellowship with animals. Her most recent book, “The Hurting Kind,” explores what it means to share the planet with nonhuman beings like birds and trees. Limón describes the marvels of Kentucky’s rural landscape and the dusky beauty of a New York City bar with equal care. Her writing is highly acclaimed by fellow poets and also delightfully accessible to those who have never before picked up a book of poetry.

    Limón is a lively reader of her own poetry, so to structure this conversation, I asked her to read a varied selection of her work. We use those readings to discuss what poetry gives us that the news doesn’t, the importance of slowing down in a world that demands speed, how the grief of infertility differs from that of losing a loved one, how to be “in community” with ancestors and animals in lonely times, why Limón loves “chatty” and humorous poems as much as serious ones, why we often have our best thoughts in cars and on planes, how Instagram and Twitter affect our relationship to the world, why Limón meditates every day, how our relationship to excitement changes as we age and more.

    Book Recommendations:

    Stones by Kevin Young

    Frank: Sonnets by Diane Seuss

    Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Haylee Millikan; original music by Isaac Jones and Jeff Geld; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Rebecca Elise Foote and Jahan Ramazani.

  • This week, we’re revisiting some of our favorite episodes from the year. For those who make New Year’s resolutions, today’s conversation might plant the seed for a bold one: Running for office.

    Amanda Litman is a co-founder of Run for Something, which recruits and supports young, progressive candidates who want to run for office. We spoke in February 2022, but our conversation remains relevant as ever. It’s about the mechanics of American democracy, the confusions and myths that keep so many of us from participating in them and the practical question of what it means to step off the sidelines and, well, run for something.

    We also talk about why Democrats tend to chase “shiny objects” over real political power, what right-leaning organizations have been up to that liberals should envy, how you probably have more control over issues like abortion and climate change than you think, what it actually takes to run a local campaign, the three questions prospective candidates should be able to answer, and more.

    This is the rare conversation about democracy that left me feeling better, rather than worse, about what’s possible. I think it’ll do the same for you.

    This episode contains strong language.

    Mentioned:

    “Heeding Steve Bannon’s Call, Election Deniers Organize to Seize Control of the GOP — and Reshape America’s Elections” by Isaac Arnsdorf, Doug Bock Clark, Alexandra Berzon and Anjeanette Damon

    What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer

    Find out what elected offices you can run for

    Book recommendations:

    The Heart Principle by Helen Hoang

    Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez

    Let’s Get Physical by Danielle Friedman

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Our executive producer is Irene Noguchi. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

  • This past year, we’ve witnessed considerable progress in the development of artificial intelligence, from the release of the image generators like DALL-E 2 to chat bots like ChatGPT and Cicero to a flurry of self-driving cars. So this week, we’re revisiting some of our favorite conversations about the rise of A.I. and what it means for the world.

    Today’s conversation is with Sam Altman. He’s the C.E.O. of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. When I talked to him in June 2021, ChatGPT was still over a year away from being available to the public for testing. But the A.I. developments since then have only increased the salience of the questions Altman raised in his 2021 essay “Moore’s Law for Everything.”

    Altman’ argument is this: Since the 1970s, computers have gotten exponentially better even as they’re gotten cheaper, a phenomenon known as Moore’s Law. Altman believes that A.I. could get us closer to Moore’s Law for everything: it could make everything better even as it makes it cheaper. Housing, health care, education, you name it.

    But what struck me about his essay is that last clause: “if we as a society manage it responsibly.” Because, as Altman also admits, if he is right then A.I. will generate phenomenal wealth largely by destroying countless jobs — that’s a big part of how everything gets cheaper — and shifting huge amounts of wealth from labor to capital. And whether that world becomes a post-scarcity utopia or a feudal dystopia hinges on how wealth, power and dignity are then distributed — it hinges, in other words, on politics.

    Mentioned:

    “Moore’s Law for Everything” by Sam Altman

    Recommendations:

    Crystal Nights by Greg Egan

    The Last Question by Isaac Asimov

    The Gentle Seduction by Marc Stiegler

    “Meditations on Moloch” by Scott Alexander

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld, audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

  • This past year, we’ve witnessed considerable progress in the development of artificial intelligence, from the release of the image generators like DALL-E 2 to chat bots like ChatGPT and Cicero to a flurry of self-driving cars. So this week, we’re revisiting some of our favorite conversations about the rise of A.I. and what it means for the world.

    Brian Christian’s “The Alignment Problem” is the best book on the key technical and moral questions of A.I. that I’ve read. At its center is the term from which the book gets its name. “Alignment problem” originated in economics as a way to describe the fact that the systems and incentives we create often fail to align with our goals. And that’s a central worry with A.I., too: that we will create something to help us that will instead harm us, in part because we didn’t understand how it really worked or what we had actually asked it to do.

    So this conversation, originally recorded in June 2021 is about the various alignment problems associated with A.I. We discuss what machine learning is and how it works, how governments and corporations are using it right now, what it has taught us about human learning, the ethics of how humans should treat sentient robots, the all-important question of how A.I. developers plan to make profits, what kinds of regulatory structures are possible when we’re dealing with algorithms we don’t really understand, the way A.I. reflects and then supercharges the inequities that exist in our society, the saddest Super Mario Bros. game I’ve ever heard of, why the problem of automation isn’t so much job loss as dignity loss and much more.

    Mentioned:

    “Human-level control through deep reinforcement learning”

    “Some Moral and Technical Consequences of Automation” by Norbert Wiener

    Recommendations:

    "What to Expect When You're Expecting Robots" by Julie Shah and Laura Major

    "Finite and Infinite Games" by James P. Carse

    "How to Do Nothing" by Jenny Odell

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma; fact-checking by Michelle Harris; original music by Isaac Jones; mixing by Jeff Geld; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin.

  • As 2022 comes to a close, we decided to invite listeners to send in questions for an ask-me-anything episode. And boy, did you all deliver. We received hundreds of fantastic questions, and my column editor, Aaron Retica, joined me to ask some of them. Is equality of opportunity preferable to equality of outcomes? What would a better version of Twitter look like? Are Republicans more politically savvy than Democrats? What do recent advances in artificial intelligence mean for the future of our society?

    We also discuss why I think ChatGPT is simultaneously overhyped and deeply unnerving, whether Joe Manchin’s policy obstructionism helped Democrats at the midterms, the death of the expanded child tax credit, why I’m more bullish than ever on eliminating the filibuster, whether Mitch McConnell is actually the strategic mastermind that liberals portray him as, why I’m skeptical of Twitter as a tool for social justice, whether the advent of social media has actually made our lives better in any measurable way and more. And we end with my New Year’s resolution practices and a whole bunch of music and children’s books recommendations.

    Note: “The Ezra Klein Show” will be taking a break during the holidays, but we will be back with new episodes starting on Jan. 3, 2023.

    Mentioned:

    Share your guest suggestions here

    “The case against equality of opportunity” by Dylan Matthews

    “The Senate Has Become a Dadaist Nightmare” by Ezra Klein

    “The Time Tax” by Annie Lowrey

    The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel

    The Sabbath World by Judith Shulevitz

    Music Recommendations:

    Playlist

    Children’s Book Recommendations:

    Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss

    The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

    Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

    The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Guest suggestions? Fill out this form.

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

  • It’s not an exaggeration to say that “clock time” runs our lives. From the moment our alarms go off in the morning, the clock reigns supreme: our meetings, our appointments, even our social plans are often timed down to the minute. We even measure the quality of our lives with reference to time, often lamenting that time seems to “fly by” when we’re having fun and “drags on” when we’re bored or stagnant. We rarely stop to think about time, but that’s precisely because there are few forces more omnipresent in our lives.

    “You are the best time machine that has ever been built,” Dean Buonomano writes in his book “Your Brain Is a Time Machine: The Neuroscience and Physics of Time.” Buonomano is a professor of neurobiology and psychology at U.C.L.A. who studies the relationship between time and the human brain. His book tackles the most profound questions about time that affect all of our lives: Why do we feel it so differently at different points in our lives? What do we miss if we live so rigidly bound to the demands of our clocks and appointments? Why during strange periods like pandemic lockdowns do we feel “lost in time”? And what if — as some physicists believe — the future may already exist, with grave implications for our ability to act meaningfully in the present?

    We discuss what time would be in an empty universe without humans, why humans have not evolved to understand time the way we understand space, how our ability to predict the future differs from animals’, why time during the Covid lockdowns felt so bizarre, why scientists think time “flies” when we’re having fun but slows down when people experience near-death accidents, what humans lost when we invented very precise clocks, why some physicists believe the future is already determined for us and what that would mean for our ethical behavior, why we’re so bad at saving money, what steps we could take to feel as if we’re living longer in time, why it’s so hard — but ultimately possible — to live in the present moment and more.

    Mentioned:
    Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes by Daniel L. Everett

    Book Recommendations:

    Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony and Cass R. Sunstein

    When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut

    The Age of A.I. by Henry A. Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

  • “From the U.S. Federal Reserve’s initial misjudgment that inflation would be ‘transitory’ to the current consensus that a probable U.S. recession will be ‘short and shallow,’ there has been a strong tendency to see economic challenges as both temporary and quickly reversible,” writes the economist Mohamed El-Erian. “But rather than one more turn of the economic wheel, the world may be experiencing major structural and secular changes that will outlast the current business cycle.”

    There are few people who understand financial markets or central banking as deeply as El-Erian. He is the chief economic adviser at Allianz, the president of Queens’ College, Cambridge, and the author of multiple books, including, most recently, “The Only Game in Town: Central Banks, Instability and Recovering From Another Collapse.” Until 2014, he was the C.E.O. of PIMCO — which under his leadership was the largest bond manager in the world.

    In recent years, markets have been roiled by significant shocks — from a global pandemic that snarled supply chains and disrupted labor markets to a Russian invasion of Ukraine that sent global commodities markets into a tailspin. But El-Erian believes we’re also witnessing a deeper structural shift in the very nature of the global economy. Economic policymakers today are trying to bring the economy back to that of 2019, but in El-Erian’s view, there is no going back. We’ve entered a new era that demands a different kind of response.

    So I invited El-Erian on the show to help me understand the economic era he thinks we’re entering and how policymakers can respond. We discuss whether the United States is experiencing a permanent decline in labor force participation, why modern supply chains could continue to experience difficulties well beyond the pandemic, how changing U.S.-China relations could unleash inflationary pressures throughout the world, how the Fed’s efforts to stabilize financial markets may have ironically opened the door to the financial collapse, why El-Erian believes a decade-plus of easy money was a colossal mistake, what lessons developing countries learned from the 2008 financial crisis, the parts of the global financial system most at risk of melting down today, El-Erian’s scathing critique of the Fed’s communication strategy and more.

    Mentioned:

    “Not Just Another Recession” by Mohamed El-Erian

    The Only Game in Town by Mohamed El-Erian

    Book Recommendations:

    Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez

    Bad Blood by John Carreyrou

    The World For Sale by Javier Blas and Jack Farchy

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Mary Marge Locker. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

  • Since 2021, Democrats have controlled the House, the Senate and the presidency, and they’ve used that power to pass consequential legislation, from the American Rescue Plan to the Inflation Reduction Act. That state of affairs was exceptional: In the 50 years between 1970 and 2020, the U.S. House, Senate and presidency were only under unified party control for 14 years. Divided government has become the norm in American politics. And since Republicans won back the House in November, it is about to become the reality once again.

    But that doesn’t mean policymaking is going to stop — far from it. As America’s national politics have become more and more gridlocked in recent decades, many consequential policy decisions have been increasingly pushed down to the state level. The ability to receive a legal abortion or use recreational marijuana; how easy it is to join a union, purchase a firearm or vote in elections; the tax rates we pay and the kind of health insurance we have access to: These decisions are being determined at the state level to an extent not seen since before the civil rights revolution of the mid-twentieth century.

    Jake Grumbach is a political scientist at the University of Washington and the author of the book “Laboratories Against Democracy: How National Parties Transformed State Politics.” In it, Grumbach tracks this shift in policymaking to the states and explores its implications for American politics. Our national mythologies present state government as less polarizing, more accountable to voters and a hedge against anti-democratic forces amassing too much power. But, as Grumbach shows, in an era of national political media, parties and identities, the truth is a lot more complicated.

    So this conversation is a guide to the level of government that we tend to pay the least attention to, even as it shapes our lives more than any other.

    Mentioned:

    Dynamic Democracy by Devin Caughey and Christopher Warshaw

    “Does money have a conservative bias? Estimating the causal impact of Citizens United on state legislative preferences” by Anna Harvey and Taylor Mattia

    State Capture by Alex Hertel-Fernandez

    “From the Bargaining Table to the Ballot Box” by James Feigenbaum, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez and Vanessa Williamson

    Paths Out of Dixie by Robert Mickey

    “Old Money: Campaign Finance and Gerontocracy in the United States” by Adam Bonica and Jake Grumbach

    Book Recommendations:

    Fragmented Democracy by Jamila Michener

    Private Government by Elizabeth Anderson

    Dilla Time by Dan Charnas

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

  • Republicans already hold tremendous power in America. They have appointed six of the nine current Supreme Court justices. They have more state trifectas (control of both legislative houses, as well as the governor’s seat) than Democrats. And come 2023, they will also control the House of Representatives.

    But there’s a hollowness at the core of the modern G.O.P. It’s hard to identify any clear party leader, coherent policy agenda or concerted electoral strategy. The party didn’t bother putting forward a policy platform before the 2020 election or articulating an alternative policy vision in 2022. It has hardly reckoned with its under-performances in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 elections. At this point, it’s unclear whether there’s any real party structure — or substrate of ideas — left at all.

    All of which raises the question: What exactly is the Republican Party at this point? What does it believe? What does it want to achieve? Whose lead does it follow? Those questions will need to be answered somehow over the next two years, as Republican politicians compete for their party’s nomination for the 2024 presidential election and Republican House members wield the power of their new majority.

    Michael Brendan Dougherty is a senior writer at National Review and a nonresident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. We disagree on plenty, but I find him to be one of the sharpest observers of the contemporary Republican Party. So I invited him on the show for an inside-the-tent conversation on the chaotic state of the current G.O.P. and the choices it will have to make over the next two years.

    We discuss how the party is processing the 2022 midterms, why Dougherty thinks Donald Trump has a very good chance of winning the Republican nomination again in 2024, whether the G.O.P. leadership actually understands its own voters, how Ron DeSantis rose to become one of the party’s leading 2024 contenders, whether DeSantis — and the G.O.P. more broadly — actually have an economic agenda at this point, why Trump’s greatest strength in 2024 could be the economy he presided over in 2018 and 2019, why Dougherty doesn’t think Trump’s political appeal is transferable to anyone else in the Republican Party, what kind of House speaker Kevin McCarthy might be, which Republicans — other than Trump and DeSantis — to watch out for, and more.

    Mentioned:

    “The Question for DeSantis” by Michael Brendan Dougherty

    Book Recommendations:

    The German War by Nicholas Stargardt

    The Demon in Democracy by Ryszard Legutko

    The Face of God by Roger Scruton

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld, Rogé Karma and Kristin Lin. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker, and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta.

  • About 50 years ago, beef cost more than $7 a pound in today’s dollars. Today, despite high inflation, beef is down to about $4.80 a pound, and chicken is just around $1.80 a pound. But those low prices hide the true costs of the meat we consume — costs that the meat and poultry industries have quietly offloaded onto not only the animals we consume but us humans, too.

    Animal agriculture is responsible for at least 14.5 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, with some estimates as high as 28 percent. It uses half the earth’s habitable land. Factory farms pose huge threats as potential sources of antibiotic resistance and future pandemics. And the current meat production system loads farmers with often insurmountable levels of debt. Our meat may look cheap at the grocery store, but we are all picking up the tab in ways we’re often starkly unaware of.

    Leah Garcés is the chief executive and president of Mercy for Animals and the author of “Grilled: Turning Adversaries Into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry.” Few animal rights activists have her breadth of experience: For years, she’s been steeped in the experiences of farmers who raise animals, communities that live alongside industrial animal operations and, of course, the farmed animals that live shorter and more miserable lives. So I invited her on the show for a conversation about what meat really costs and how that perspective could help us build a healthier relationship to the animals we eat and the world we inhabit.

    We discuss what it’s like to live next to a hog farm, factory farming’s role in growing antibiotic resistance, how the current system of contract farming saddles individual farmers with debt, the lengths the U.S. government — and taxpayers — goes to to subsidize industrial animal farming, the possibility that the next pandemic will emerge from a crowded factory farm, how high costs — like deforestation in the Amazon — are hidden from consumers at the grocery store, the challenge of helping children make sense of routinized cruelty, whether regenerative agriculture can help undo the damage done by industrial animal farming, the historic animal welfare case currently in front of the Supreme Court and more.

    Mentioned:

    Mercy for Animals

    “Sen. Cory Booker has a plan to stop taxpayer bailouts of Big Meat” by Marina Bolotnikova and Kenny Torrella

    Book Recommendations:

    Wastelands by Corban Addison

    Meatonomics by David Robinson Simon

    Animal Machines by Ruth Harrison

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

    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.

    “The Ezra Klein Show” is produced by Emefa Agawu, Annie Galvin, Jeff Geld and Rogé Karma. Fact-checking by Michelle Harris, Mary Marge Locker and Kate Sinclair. Original music by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Isaac Jones. Mixing by Jeff Geld, Sonia Herrero, and Isaac Jones. Audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Kristina Samulewski, Leah Douglas and Evi Steyer.

  • Every day, we consume a mind-boggling amount of information. We scan online news articles, sift through text messages and emails, scroll through our social-media feeds — and that’s usually before we even get out of bed in the morning. In 2009, a team of researchers found that the average American consumed about 34 gigabytes of information a day. Undoubtedly, that number would be even higher today.

    But what are we actually getting from this huge influx of information? How is it affecting our memories, our attention spans, our ability to think? What might this mean for today’s children, and future generations? And what does it take to read — and think — deeply in a world so flooded with constant input?

    Maryanne Wolf is a researcher and scholar at U.C.L.A.’s School of Education and Information Studies. Her books “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain” and “Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World” explore the relationship between the process of reading and the neuroscience of the brain. And, in Wolfe’s view, our era of information overload represents a historical inflection point where our ability to read — truly, deeply read, not just scan or scroll — hangs in the balance.

    We discuss why reading is a fundamentally “unnatural” act, how scanning and scrolling differ from “deep reading,” why it’s not accurate to say that “reading” is just one thing, how our brains process information differently when we’re reading on a Kindle or a laptop as opposed to a physical book, how exposure to such an abundance of information is rewiring our brains and reshaping our society, how to rediscover the lost art of reading books deeply, what Wolf recommends to those of us who struggle against digital distractions, what parents can do to to protect their children’s attention, how Wolf’s theory of a “biliterate brain” may save our species’ ability to deeply process language and information and more.

    Mentioned:

    The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Hermann Hesse

    How We Read Now by Naomi S. Baron

    The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

    Yiruma

    Book Recommendations:

    The Gilead Novels by Marilynne Robinson

    World and Town by Gish Jen

    Standing by Words by Wendell Berry

    Love’s Mind by John S. Dunne

    Middlemarch by George Eliot

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

    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.

  • The fight against climate change is at a crossroads.

    This past year, the climate movement in the United States achieved significant success. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in emissions reduction in U.S. history. More than a dozen states have taken some form of climate action in 2022 alone. Earlier this year, California — which, if it were a country, would have the fifth largest economy in the world — approved a record $54 billion in climate spending alongside sweeping new restrictions on fossil fuel development. These investments coincide with a wave of technological transformation: Over the past decade, the cost of solar energy has declined around 90 percent and that of onshore wind around 70 percent, making these energy sources economically competitive with fossil fuels for the first time.

    “The new numbers turn the economic logic we’re used to upside down,” writes the climate activist and journalist Bill McKibben. To him, the import of this moment is clear: For the first time, McKibben argues, humanity has at our fingertips the tools needed to end humanity’s millenniums-long dependence on burning things for energy — and to save our climate in the process.

    To those familiar with the climate movement, McKibben is a familiar name. His book “The End of Nature” has been compared to Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” in terms of its impact on the climate movement. He’s founded organizations like Third Act and 350.org, the latter of which is among the largest climate activist organizations in the world today. He was a key leader in the fight to block the Keystone XL pipeline. And he currently writes the influential newsletter “The Crucial Years.” Ask anyone in the climate movement today about their inspirations and McKibben will almost certainly top the list.

    But in McKibben’s telling, the climate movement’s successes in getting us to this point actually require it to change. A movement founded on blocking bad things from happening now needs to turn to building at intensified speed; a movement that has long fought to preserve the natural world now has to help usher in a wholesale transformation of the global landscape; a movement that has long been critical of capitalism and economic growth now has to align itself with those forces in order to achieve its ends.

    Those shifts will require new tactics, new animating ideas, new motivations and new priorities — with the future of the climate hanging in the balance. So I wanted to have McKibben on the show to talk about this dawning era of the climate fight we’re entering, and what changes the movement will have to make to meet this moment.

    Mentioned:

    “The Single Best Guide to Decarbonization I’ve Heard” by The Ezra Klein Show

    Book Recommendations:

    New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

    Orwell’s Roses by Rebecca Solnit

    How It Went by Wendell Berry

    Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] (And if you’re reaching out to recommend a guest, please write “Guest Suggestion” in the subject line.)

    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.