Vox: The Great Rebuild – Episode One

In partnership with Omidyar Network, Vox reporters dive into reimagining how citizens of the United States can fight against the catastrophic events of Covid-19 and create a sustainable world for everyone. These are their stories. 

The novel coronavirus — and America’s disastrously inept response — has shuttered the economy, leaving factories quiet, businesses closed, workers unable to do their jobs. Pulling out of this hole will require an economic effort unlike anything in recent history. We don’t just need a bit of stimulus. We will need a remobilization. But toward what end?

This is the first episode in a four-part series on The Ezra Klein Show exploring how to rebuild the economy after Covid-19. Future episodes will look at a Green New Deal, a children-centric economy, and a universal basic income. But I wanted to start at the beginning. What can the government do? What is the economy for? Why should we trust politicians, rather than markets, to allocate resources on this scale?

Zach Carter is a senior reporter at HuffPost and the author of a new book, The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes. The book, which has widely been hailed as one of the year’s best, is a remarkable biography animated by a question many of us have forgotten Keynes asked: What values should guide an economy? What are the higher purposes economic policy should serve?

An edited transcript from our conversation follows. The full conversation can be heard on The Ezra Klein Show.

This story is part of The Great Rebuild, a project made possible thanks to support from Omidyar Network, a social impact venture that works to reimagine critical systems and the ideas that govern them, and to build more inclusive and equitable societies. All Great Rebuild coverage is editorially independent and produced by our journalists.

Listen to the full episode and read the transcript here.