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Future Perfect


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 to create a more perfect future. Produced...Show More
The money in the moon

31:48 | Jul 17th

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 ...Show More
Your PTA vs. equality

27:33 | Jul 10th

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...Show More
A foundation-funded atrocity

32:33 | Jun 5th

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...Show More
Introducing Land of the Giants

13:11 | Jul 31st

Land of the Giants is a new podcast from Recode and the Vox Media Podcast Network about the five major technology companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Google – or “FAANG”) that have reshaped our world. Each season focuses on one of the gi...Show More
Move fast and break schools

29:49 | Jul 3rd

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 Book...Show More
Who's afraid of killer robots?

30:01 | Jun 26th

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 ...Show More
Donors from beyond the grave

33:05 | Jun 19th

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 ...Show More
Sim City, Wisconsin

22:09 | Jun 12th

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 ...Show More
He bought the law

34:51 | May 29th

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...Show More
Gilded Rage

26:11 | May 22nd

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 histor...Show More
Season 2: Philanthropy vs. Democracy

01:14 | May 16th

On the second season of Future Perfect: how philanthropy clashes with democracy. First episode drops Wednesday, May 22nd.Subscribe on your favorite podcast app! 
How to pick a career that counts

22:07 | Nov 28th, 2018

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 th...Show More
How to save a species (if you really want to)

23:45 | Nov 21st, 2018

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’...Show More
How to be a better carnivore

26:10 | Nov 14th, 2018

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...Show More
How to rethink America's borders

25:28 | Nov 7th, 2018

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 pu...Show More
How to cool the planet with a fake volcano

23:58 | Oct 31st, 2018

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 geoengine...Show More
How our drinking water could help prevent suicide

21:45 | Oct 24th, 2018

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 mo...Show More
How to make prisons more humane

26:08 | Oct 17th, 2018

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 bedroo...Show More
How to save a stranger's life

23:54 | Oct 15th, 2018

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 c...Show More
Introducing Future Perfect

01:56 | Oct 12th, 2018

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 Congre...Show More