Future Perfect

Future Perfect

www.vox.com/future-perfect-podcast
Finding the best ways to do good.


A nun on the radical possibilities of Christianity
Aug 5 • 70 min
Co-host Sean Illing talks to Sister Ilia Delio, a Franciscan nun and Catholic theologian, about the power of love and suffering in Christianity. Relevant resources: The Unbearable Wholeness of Being: God, Evolution, and the Power of Love, Ilia Delio…
Why Cornel West is hopeful (but not optimistic)
Jul 29 • 63 min
Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Cornel West, professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard, about Black liberation theology, existentialism, and other philosophies that can help us through these times. Relevant resources: Cornel West and Tricia…
What Camus’s “The Plague” can teach us about this pandemic
Jul 22 • 64 min
Co-host Sean Illing talks to Robert Zaretsky, professor of French history at the University of Houston, about Albert Camus’s novel The Plague. Relevant resources: The Plague, by Albert Camus Simone Weil: An Anthology, by Simone Weil Albert Camus: Elements…
Muslim mystics on the power of pain
Jul 15 • 59 min
Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Omid Safi, professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, about the benefits of solitude and suffering, according to Sufis like Rumi. Relevant resources: Radical Love: Teachings from the Islamic Mystical Tradition, by Omid…
A rabbi explains how to make sense of suffering
Jul 8 • 55 min
Co-host Sean Illing talks to David Wolpe, senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, about God and how to make sense of suffering in human life. Relevant resources: Making Loss Matter : Creating Meaning in Difficult Times by Rabbi David Wolpe Religion…
On Buddhism and Blackness
Jul 1 • 67 min
Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Valerie Brown, a mindfulness teacher with a racial justice lens, about how to use Buddhist spiritual teachings not just to soothe us as individuals, but to tackle broader inequality, especially racial inequality. Relevant…
Introducing Future Perfect: The Way Through
Jun 30 • 1 min
We’re living through challenging times: a pandemic, a historic economic collapse, racial injustice, and social unrest. But it would be a mistake to believe that what we’re experiencing is somehow unique in human experience. People have confronted crises…
The money in the moon
Jul 17, 2019 • 31 min
Fifty years ago this summer, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Now, NASA’s talking about going back. But is it worth it? We talk to lunar geologists about what we’ve already learned from the first Apollo missions, and what’s left to discover. Then, we take a…
Your PTA vs. equality
Jul 10, 2019 • 27 min
Big philanthropists can threaten democracy. But so can small ones, like you and me. One big example? Parent-teacher associations. We examine how rich PTAs can hoard opportunity and deny resources to poor kids. Dana Goldstein on the Malibu-Santa Monica PTA…
Move fast and break schools
Jul 3, 2019 • 29 min
When Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to Newark’s schools, he raised a big question: Who will decide where this money goes? The answer: Not the people of Newark. We examine why the people of Newark turned against a gift that Zuckerberg and Cory Booker…
Who’s afraid of killer robots?
Jun 26, 2019 • 30 min
Most charity is focused on the near term. So what happens when you try to only give to charities that will help humans a long time from now — not just in 100 years, but in a million years? To find out, we talk to Jaan Tallinn, a founding engineer of Skype…
Donors from beyond the grave
Jun 19, 2019 • 33 min
Billions of dollars are donated every year from the fortunes of people who’ve died but are using their wills to influence our world from beyond the grave. Some of these zombie donors left instructions that are racist, classist, or just silly. So how do we…
Sim City, Wisconsin
Jun 12, 2019 • 22 min
Diane Hendricks is the richest self-made woman in America, and she has used her fortune to remake the city of Beloit, Wisconsin. But she’s also used her riches to bankroll former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and to crush unions in the state. In this…
A foundation-funded atrocity
Jun 5, 2019 • 32 min
In the 1950s and ’60s, Western foundations like Ford and Rockefeller pushed hard to control India’s population by sterilizing its people. In 1975, India’s government expanded that disturbing practice into a massive atrocity. How did this happen — and how…
He bought the law
May 29, 2019 • 34 min
John M. Olin isn’t a household name, but his foundation helped create the Federalist Society, turned federal judges against environmental protection and unions, and bankrolled conservative polemicists like Dinesh D’Souza. How did one small foundation do…
Gilded Rage
May 22, 2019 • 26 min
To put our new age of extreme inequality in perspective, we look back at Andrew Carnegie, who gave America a huge number of libraries so they’d forgive him for his brutal steel mills. We ask: Is the same thing happening in 2019?Richard White’s history of…
Season 2: Philanthropy vs. Democracy
May 16, 2019 • 1 min
On the second season of Future Perfect: how philanthropy clashes with democracy. First episode drops Wednesday, May 22nd. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
How to pick a career that counts
Nov 28, 2018 • 22 min
What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to make a lot of money, or follow your bliss, even if it’s not lucrative? The group 80,000 Hours has a different suggestion: Think of your career as a chance to do a ton of good, and try to find the job…
How to save a species (if you really want to)
Nov 21, 2018 • 23 min
The black-footed ferret was thought extinct — until a Wyoming rancher rediscovered it, in 1981. Since then, conservation workers have been doggedly attempting to save the ferret, only to run into big problems like, oh, the literal bubonic plague. We’re…
How to be a better carnivore
Nov 14, 2018 • 26 min
Most fish die by slowly suffocating to death on the deck of a boat, struggling for air. That’s horrendously cruel, but it also makes for acidic, rubbery, smelly fish. There’s another way: ikejime, a Japanese method of fish slaughter where the fish is…
How to rethink America’s borders
Nov 7, 2018 • 25 min
The most reliable, best-documented way to lift someone in a poor country out of poverty? Let them come to the US (or another rich country). That’s the argument of Fabio Rojas, a self-described advocate of open borders. That idea is often used as a…
How to cool the planet with a fake volcano
Oct 31, 2018 • 23 min
When volcanoes erupt, they spray particles into the atmosphere that cool the planet for a bit. As we get closer and closer to truly catastrophic global warming, more and more scientists are wondering whether a similar approach, called solar…
How our drinking water could help prevent suicide
Oct 24, 2018 • 21 min
Lithium is a potent drug used to treat bipolar disorder, but it’s also the third element in the periodic table, and you can find tiny amounts in most drinking water. Scientists have discovered something remarkable: In areas where the tap water has more…
How to make prisons more humane
Oct 17, 2018 • 26 min
Karianne Jackson was working for the North Dakota prison system in 2015 when a trip to Norway changed her life. There, she saw a prison with no bars and no uniformed guards. Instead, prisoners lived in small cottages with common areas, private bedrooms,…
How to save a stranger’s life
Oct 15, 2018 • 23 min
In 2016, Dylan Matthews donated his kidney to a complete stranger. He didn’t think he was doing anything really extreme or remarkable. He was just trying to do the most good he could. Dylan was taking part in a movement called effective altruism, a…
Introducing Future Perfect
Oct 12, 2018 • 1 min
Explore provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Vox’s Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty. Dylan looks at ways that bills in Congress,…