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Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World By Rutger Bregman,

  • Title: Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World
  • Author: Rutger Bregman
  • ISBN: 15014984790115643285601332856013148606398132856013200328560130316471895139780316471893142017328560133285601314860639813285601347532856013475332856013882713630607270334084304732856013332856013
  • Page: 386
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • From a universal basic income to a 15 hour workweek, from a world without borders to a world without poverty it s time to return to utopian thinking.Rutger Bregman takes us on a journey through history, beyond the traditional left right divides, as he introduces ideas whose time has come Utopia for Realists is one of those rare books that takes you by surprise and chall From a universal basic income to a 15 hour workweek, from a world without borders to a world without poverty it s time to return to utopian thinking.Rutger Bregman takes us on a journey through history, beyond the traditional left right divides, as he introduces ideas whose time has come Utopia for Realists is one of those rare books that takes you by surprise and challenges what you think you know In the words of leading social theorist Zygmunt Bauman, it is brilliant, truly enlightening, and eminently readable This original Dutch bestseller sparked a national movement for basic income experiments that soon made international headlines Get A Copy Online StoresAudibleBarnes NobleWalmart eBooksGoogle PlayAbebooksBook DepositoryAlibrisBetter World BooksIndieBoundLibraries Kindle Edition, 262 pages Published March 14th 2017 by Little, Brown and Company first published September 14th 2014 More Details Original Title Gratis geld voor iedereen over het basisinkomen, de 15 urige werkweek en een wereld zonder grenzen ASIN B01MXDBTWM Edition Language English Other Editions 64 All Editions Add a New Edition Combine Less Detail Edit Details Friend Reviews To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up Reader QA To ask other readers questions about Utopia for Realists, please sign up Popular Answered Questions Has any economists read this book Id like to hear your thoughts because from the title this things seems like garbage 6 likeslike 2 years ago See all 8 answers Thomas The science in this book makes good sense, but it remains quite abstract So working out some of the theories he lays down in practice would take some The science in this book makes good sense, but it remains quite abstract So working out some of the theories he lays down in practice would take some translation and it wouldn t happen overnight It s all in the title, though He lays out a number of utopian ideals, things we could strive towards as society if we wanted to These are ideals that may seem far fetched now, but just as people used to think the idea of women s suffrage, the abolition of slavery, and the welfare state were far fetched before they happened less flag Are there two versions of this book with the chapters and even subsections reordered 20 likeslike 2 years ago Add your answer Rutger Actually, yes This has everything to do with the history of the book The first version was published in 2014, in Dutch In 2016, my very small Actually, yes This has everything to do with the history of the book The first version was published in 2014, in Dutch In 2016, my very small Dutch publisher decided to translate it into English This meant I had the chance to update the book so I included a new chapter the one on bankers and garbage collectors and removed another one Then my Dutch publisher put the English edition on Create Space We sold a few thousand copies, but the book wasn t a big success I had already lost hope that the book would reach readers, until my Dutch publisher proposed to contact a literary agent This was the week before the Frankfurt Book Fair 2016 Everything happened pretty quickly two weeks later my book was sold to 10 countries Now it s sold to 30 So obviously, I had another chance to update the book I included a new epilogue and on the advice of my brilliant American and British editors changed the order of the chapters, and added a few paragraphs here and there So there s the answer to your question there are actually 3 versions of this book, and I much prefer the last one less flag See all 5 questions about Utopia for Realists Lists with This Book Civilization Transition 33 books 9 voters Best Books About the State of Education 122 books 10 voters More lists with this book Community Reviews Showing 1 30 4.24 Rating details 9,314 ratings 1,077 reviews All LanguagesCatal 1 Dansk 1 Deutsch 5 English 928 Espa ol 25 Fran ais 7 Italiano 6 Nederlands 53 Norsk 2 Polski 3 Portugu s 15 P 1 Shqip 1 Sloven ina 1 Suomi 6 Svenska 3 T rk e 2 esky, e tina 3 1 1 More filters Sort order Mar 10, 2019 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves politics, the dutch, nonfiction A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail Progress is the realization of Utopias Oscar Wilde.Rutger Bregman, the Dutch historian, first came to my attention when recently he got into a tiff with Tucker Carlson The footage and audio was leaked, and though I wasn t surprised to hear Carlson get upset A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail Progress is the realization of Utopias Oscar Wilde.Rutger Bregman, the Dutch historian, first came to my attention when recently he got into a tiff with Tucker Carlson The footage and audio was leaked, and though I wasn t surprised to hear Carlson get upset with a guest, I was shocked to listen to the vehemence and the frankly crazed level of his response I came away thinking, this Bregman really knows how to get under people s skin Of course, any time you even hint at a redistribution of wealth to a obscenely wealthy conservative, they get prickly and defensive There never seems to be enough money for these type of people They want it all As prickly as they are about having to share their fortune with others, the stark truth is they took that wealth away from the rest of us in a variety of different ways 62 people, at this very moment, are richer than 3.5 billion other people put together Now really, it is laughable to consider Why would anyone need that much wealth Isn t it a burden just to decide what to do with all of it But I digress The thing you will find as you read this book is that there will be frequent digressions I ended up reading many parts of it out loud to my wife, and that led to looping, long discussions that really helped reshape some of our world views about what a real utopia would consist of Bregman discusses three main points that will make a lot of sphincters tighten, including my own Universal basic income, fifteen hour work week, and a world without borders Bregman is concerned about homelessness, as we all should be, but as I read about him talking about universal basic income, my first thought was for our overcrowded and expensive prison system If those men have a basic income that will allow them to truly get on their feet, how much money will we save every year giving them the money directly instead of paying to keep them locked up Now the first thought that most people will have is that something like this won t work because why would people work The studies that have been conducted on this concept show that people who don t have to worry about where they are going to sleep or where their next meal is coming from start to think about educating themselves and finding worthwhile work Of course, there are going to be failures, but as long as we are talking about the majority of participants showing a desire for achieving a better life, then we would be rehabilitating people instead of incarcerating them Studies also found that, if they gave the money directly to the disadvantaged people, instead of putting it through the welfare department with all the red tape and hoops to jump through, the positive results skyrocketed I m all for eliminating the need for social services You will hear people say that the disadvantaged are poor because they are lazy, and I think that those people really want to believe that, and no preponderance of evidence will change their minds, but for people with an open mind, this is pretty heady stuff to consider Anybody want a 15 hour work week I m going to quote our friend Oscar Wilde again Work is the refuge of people who have nothing better to do I understand that there are people who really enjoy their jobs, and they should work as many hours at those jobs as they want to, but for most of us, our jobs are dehumanizing, boring, and meaningless We have Henry Ford to thank for being an instigator of the 40 hour work week, or all us would still be working 60 or 70 hours or He discovered that workers are efficient working fewer hours He also understood that, if people have leisure time to go do things, they will buy cars They will go spend money on activities, which boosts the economy, which makes it easier for people to affordcars So in other words, he discovered it was in his best interest to allow his workers to have a life beyond just working When you look at a company like Walmart who treats and pays their workers horribly, they obviously don t understand that, the money they pay their workers, the money those workers are going to spend in their store The really annoying thing about a company like Walmart is they pay so poorly that a large percentage of their workers are on food stamps or government assistance, so all of us are supporting Walmart to make billions in profit See what I mean about digressing When I was a kid and watching The Jetsons, like most other American kids, I really thought the future was going to be an amazing place with flying cars, underwater cities, and short work weeks I thought we would be a world of scholars, painters, writerscreative people It never occured to me that the advances in technology, like cell phones, a plentiful food supply, and robots, would actually lead to us working longer hours Does that make any sense Why do so few benefit from the natural resources of the planet or from the technological advancements How did I get cut out of the pie One of the points that Bregman makes, that really hit home for me, is what he calls shifter jobs These are careers devoted to moving money, but not actually creating wealth The perfect example is a stockbroker or even a banker They take money and shift it around Bregman will convince you that we really don t need any of these people So why do those shifters make extraordinarily large salaries, and the real wealth creators, such as teachers, police officers, and nurses, get paid on the lower end of the scale Our society is upside down The other loss to all of society is that our best minds, instead of going into science, teaching, and medicine, become stock brokers, lawyers, advertising agents, and bankers They become shifters instead of creators We have seen how destructive those shifters have been to our financial markets throughout history, but also very recently in 2008 We can solve that We can encourage those shifters to become contributors to society by raising taxes on those fabulously wealthy incentive packages they receive I ve known stock brokers Some of them were actually great people caught in a vortex of greed almost every one of them will tell you that they wished they were doing something meaningful I wasn t a stock broker, but I held down a very meaningless job for twenty years One of those jobs that is hard to explain to my kids what exactly I do It was lucrative I made twice what my wife made as a teacher The contribution that I was making to society paled to what my wife did on a daily basis I ve been asked hundreds of times by people, who are familiar with my voracious reading and philosophizing, why I wasn t a teacher My reply Because I couldn t afford the pay cut Brainwashing cuts deeps The open borders question is an ongoing political battle in the United States The way WE THE PEOPLE resolve this will have an influence all over the world Whether it is a good idea or not, the U.S still is a heavy influencer on the rest of the world This applies to all things, not just border walls, so all the points that Bregman is discussing in this book is aimed at the U.S for that very reason I thought this quote summarized the escalating wall issue very well They will never go back This brings us to a fascinating paradox Open borders promote immigrants return Take the border between Mexico and the US In the 1960s, seventy million Mexicans crossed it, but in time 85% returned home Since the 1980s, and especially since 9 11, the US side of the border has been heavily militarized, with a 2,000 mile wall secured by cameras, sensors, drones, and 20,000 border patrol agents Nowadays, only 7% of illegal Mexican immigrants ever go back We want them to go back, but we trap them here Who would want to deal with those border control agents Who would trust any outcome with our court system that is so biased against Mexican immigration I live in a city where 60% of the population is Hispanic ICE is a frequent visitor to town, and it isn t just the illegal aliens who disappear when they show up in town Bregman certainly gave me a lot to ponder He has given me intelligent talking points that will help bolster my own arguments with conservatives about these progressive ideas that are actually based on conservative principles Remember, Richard Nixon wanted to put through universal health care and a universal basic income The Democrats actually killed both measures for different reasons They wanted money for the basic income, and Teddy Kennedy wanted health care passed under his presidential administration , but the fact that Nixon, of all people, put forth these concepts to me shows that, if we can smudge out the D and R behind politician s names and really discuss these concepts, maybe progressive ideas actually can be seen as the most sane route to creating a better society History will prove us right If you wish to see of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at flag 175 likesLike see review View all 40 comments Jan 31, 2017 Mark rated it it was amazing review of another edition What a painful book to read during the first week of Trump s administration I swear every time I finished a chapter, a new policy would be announced that completely moved the needle of social progress in the other direction Solving poverty with a universal basic income Nope, here s a Secretary of Labor who thinks the minimum wage is already too high Reform the banking system so it s not one of the largest drivers of the economy Let me introduce you to the newest Goldman Sachs exec to run a What a painful book to read during the first week of Trump s administration I swear every time I finished a chapter, a new policy would be announced that completely moved the needle of social progress in the other direction Solving poverty with a universal basic income Nope, here s a Secretary of Labor who thinks the minimum wage is already too high Reform the banking system so it s not one of the largest drivers of the economy Let me introduce you to the newest Goldman Sachs exec to run a department in Washington Open our borders up to reduce both US and worldwide inequality Don t even get me started on that one.Note to self After civilization inevitably collapses, come back and re read this for ideas on how to rebuild society While some of Bregman s ideas seemed not fully fleshed out and some are even contradictory to each other, I think that s part of the point A utopian future is unknown, and open to experimentation and trial He does a good job presenting some of these potential scenarios and backs his ideas up with solid historical examples and current data flag 145 likesLike see review View all 22 comments Mar 08, 2017 Adam McPhee rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves politics, essays, the left, economics, utopias Capitalist or communist, it all boils down to a pointless distinction between two types of poor, and to a major misconception that we almost managed to dispel some 40 years ago the fallacy that a life without poverty is a privilege you have to work for, rather than a right we all deserve.A breezy read with ideas that are backed up by genuinely interesting statistics and anecdotes.Argues that we can better society and move towards utopia by implementing three ideas a 15 hour workweek, a univer Capitalist or communist, it all boils down to a pointless distinction between two types of poor, and to a major misconception that we almost managed to dispel some 40 years ago the fallacy that a life without poverty is a privilege you have to work for, rather than a right we all deserve.A breezy read with ideas that are backed up by genuinely interesting statistics and anecdotes.Argues that we can better society and move towards utopia by implementing three ideas a 15 hour workweek, a universal basic income UBI and open borders.The problem isn t the programs he s advocating, it s the neoliberal lens he s viewing them from he grotesquely spends the last chapter blowing Hayek and Friedman The 15 hour workweek, for example, sounds fantastic the way he lays it out time to play, to dedicate to art, to spend with family and enjoy life but there s already plenty of people in the retail sector working a 15 hour workweek Their lives aren t idyllic, they re struggling against poverty It s called precarity and politicians can t come up with any way to soften its sting Of course, a genuine labour movement along the lines of the one that brought us the forty hour workweek could go a long way to making the 15 hour week desirable But the author doesn t even acknowledge it s a problem The UBI is the same thing It s easy to imagine how it would improve my own life, and very tempting to see it as a solves all for poverty But if a heartless ghoul like Dick Cheney and his neolizard pal Rumsfeld advocated for it, then it s just not that simple I don t think a UBI can work unless we have a universal right to education, healthcare and housing Those are the three things that everyone in our society needs but no one can realistically be expected to pay for them upfront What good is a UBI if we re all bogged down in student loads, health insurance bills and rent payments Of course, that s exactly why conservatives are tripping all over their dicks for a ubi, so they can gut and privatize everything else and bring us all back to feudalism.His case for open borders is so vague I don t know what to make of it If he just means accepting immigrants, sure, I m all for it My own country, Canada, needs them Immigrants contribute to society and to the economy in countless ways Refugees, too If nothing else there was a boost of civic morale when we started taking in large numbers of Syrian refugees though I suspect that s going to bite Trudeau in the ass now that s he trying to backpedal away from it all But what Bregman is advocating seems to go beyond even the current Eurozone, which really does seem like a disaster I mean, it ended the beggar thy neighbour trade policies that used to result in war, but it also created a new caste of democratically unaccountable elites who are uninterested in a proletariat that gets to choose between a life on welfare benefits or immigration away from home just to make a basic living He points out that in Africa, money is lost to tax evasion than is received in aid, but I don t see how open, checkpoint free borders are going to change that Africa doesn t need any Luxembourgs There s nothing wrong with the mechanisms he s proposing They can all work to make our lives better It s the ideology free ideology of neoliberalism that s at issue With the managerial mindset, it s hard to see how life could improve It d be a brand new world at implementation and then back to managed decline On the other hand, if these were road markers of a truly progressive, leftist campaign, backed up by a collective will for a better world well then maybe they re ideas worth investigating after all Highlights Like KSR and Sanders he advocates for a tax on socially useless financial speculation to pay for social programs, which I d be all for view spoiler The upshot is that we ve all gotten poorer For every dollar a bank earns, an estimated equivalent of 60 cents is destroyed elsewhere in the economic chain Conversely, for every dollar a researcher earns, a value of at least 5 and often much is pumped back into the economy Higher taxes for top earners would serve, in Harvard science speak, to reallocate talented individuals from professions that cause negative externalities to those that cause positive externalities hide spoiler Somehow I actually don t own a cellphone view spoiler By the year 2013, six billion of the globe s seven billion inhabitants owned a cell phone By way of comparison, just 4.5 billion had a toilet And between 1994 and 2014, the number of people with Internet access worldwide leaped from 0.4% to 40.4% hide spoiler I agree with this 100%, but it s the only time he mentions it and he glosses over what such a politics would look like view spoiler Lest there be any misunderstanding It is capitalism that opened the gates to the Land of Plenty, but capitalism alone cannot sustain it Progress has become synonymous with economic prosperity, but the 21st century will challenge us to find other ways of boosting our quality of life And while young people in the West have largely come of age in an era of apolitical technocracy, we will have to return to politics again to find a new utopia hide spoiler His case for a ubi view spoiler The great milestones of civilization always have the whiff of utopia about them at first According to renowned sociologist Albert Hirschman, utopias are initially attacked on three grounds futility it s not possible , danger the risks are too great , and perversity it will degenerate into dystopia But Hirschman also wrote that almost as soon as a utopia becomes a reality, it often comes to be seen as utterly commonplace.Not so very long ago, democracy still seemed a glorious utopia Many a great mind, from the philosopher Plato 427 347 B.C to the statesman Edmund Burke 1729 1779 , warned that democracy was futile the masses were too foolish to handle it , dangerous majority rule would be akin to playing with fire , and perverse the general interest would soon be corrupted by the interests of some crafty general or other Compare this with the arguments against basic income It s supposedly futile because we can t pay for it, dangerous because people would quit working, and perverse because ultimately a minority would end up having to toil harder to support the majority.But hold on a minute.Futile For the first time in history, we are actually rich enough to finance a sizable basic income We can get rid of the whole bureaucratic rigamarole designed to force assistance recipients into low productivity jobs at any cost, and we can help finance the new simplified system by chucking the maze of tax credits and deductions, too Any further necessary funds can be raised by taxing assets, waste, raw materials, and consumption hide spoiler On inequality view spoiler By now, inequality is ballooning in almost every developed country In the U.S the gap between rich and poor is already wider than it was in ancient Rome an economy founded on slave labor.12 In Europe, too, there s a growing divide between the haves and the have nots Granted, it all happened very fast Whereas in 1964 each of the four largest American companies still had an average workforce of about 430,000 people, by 2011 they employed only a quarter that number, despite being worth twice as much.14 Or take the tragic fate of Kodak, inventor of the digital camera and a company that in the late 1980s had 145,000 people on its payroll In 2012, it filed for bankruptcy, while Instagram the free online mobile photo service staffed by 13 people at the time was sold to Face book for 1 billion.The reality is that it takes fewer and fewer people to create a successful business, meaning that when a business succeeds, fewer and fewer people benefit hide spoiler Obviously we need massive redistribution of wealth, but how is that ever going to happen Bregman remains mum view spoiler The scenario of radical inequality that is taking shape in the U.S is not our only option The alternative is that at some point during this century, we reject the dogma that you have to work for a living The richer we as a society become, the less effectively the labor market will be at distributing prosperity If we want to hold onto the blessings of technology, ultimately there s only one choice left, and that s redistribution Massive redistribution.Redistribution of money basic income , time a shorter working week , taxation on capital instead of labor , and, of course, of robots As far back as the 19th century, Oscar Wilde looked forward to the day when everybody would benefit from intelligent machines that were the property of all However, technological progress may make a society prosperous in aggregate, but there s no economic law that says everyone will benefit.Not long ago, the French economist Thomas Piketty had people up in arms with his contention that if we continue down our current path we ll soon find ourselves back in the rentier society of the Gilded Age People who owned capital stocks, houses, machines enjoyed a much higher standard of living than folks who merely worked hard For hundreds of years the return on capital was 4 5%, while annual economic growth lagged behind at under 2% Barring a resurgence of strong, inclusive growth rather unlikely , high taxation on capital equally improbable , or World War III let s hope not , inequality could develop to frightening proportions once again.All the standard options schooling, regulation, austerity will be a drop in the bucket In the end, the only solution is a worldwide, progressive tax on wealth, says Professor Piketty, though he acknowledges this is merely a useful utopia And yet, the future is not carved in stone All throughout history, the march toward equality has always been steeped in politics If a law of common progress fails to manifest itself of its own accord, there is nothing to stop us from enacting it ourselves Indeed, the absence of such a law may well imperil the free market itself We have to save capitalism from the capitalists, Piketty concludes hide spoiler view spoiler This paradox is neatly summed up by an anecdote from the 1960s When Henry Ford s grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company s new, automated factory, he jokingly asked, Walter, how are you going to get those robots to pay your union dues Without missing a beat, Reuther answered, Henry, how are you going to get them to buy your cars hide spoiler He doesn t have a solution for what to replace GDP with, but I can t fault him for that Inevitably you end up in the Tony Blair trap of measuring everything, and getting nothing done, like in that Adam Curtis doc view spoiler A great idea, admittedly There s no denying that GDP came in very handy during wartime, when the enemy was at the gates and a country s very existence hinged on production, on churning out as many tanks, planes, bombs, and grenades as possible During wartime, it s perfectly reasonable to borrow from the future During wartime, it makes sense to pollute the environment and go into debt It can even be preferable to neglect your family, put your children to work on a production line, sacrifice your free time, and forget everything that makes life worth living.Indeed, during wartime, there s no metric quite as useful as the GDP The point, of course, is that the war is over Our standard of progress was conceived for a different era with different problems Our statistics no longer capture the shape of our economy And this has consequences Every era needs its own figures In the 18th century, they concerned the size of the harvest In the 19th century, the radius of the rail network, the number of factories, and the volume of coal mining And in the 20th, industrial mass production within the boundaries of the nation state.But today it s no longer possible to express our prosperity in simple dollars, pounds, or euros From healthcare to education, from journalism to finance, we re all still fixated on efficiency and gains, as though society were nothing but one big production line But it s precisely in a service based economy that simple quantitative targets fail The gross national product measures everything except that which makes life worthwhile, said Robert Kennedy hide spoiler On how to change people s minds and promote new ideas view spoiler James Kuklinski, a political scientist at the University of Illinois, discovered that people are most likely to change their opinions if you confront them with new and disagreeable facts as directly as possible If it is true that that ideas don t change things gradually but in fits and starts in shocks then the basic premise of our democracy, our journalism, and our education is all wrong It would mean, in essence, that the Enlightenment model of how people change their opinions through information gathering and reasoned deliberation is really a buttress for the status quo It would mean that those who swear by rationality, nuance, and compromise fail to grasp how ideas govern the world hide spoiler There s also a great history of Nixon s UBI plan and how the misunderstanding of the Speenhamland case 150 years prior coupled with Ayn Rand to kill it flag 88 likesLike see review View all 6 comments Oct 01, 2016 Yemi Adesanya rated it it was amazing review of another edition Radical ideas, at first glance, but all put forward in this book aren t unreasonable, neither are they unrealistic They are logically presented and supported with facts and tons of research and history It is an enlightening read, and I wish politicians and policy makers would read books like this If only to widen their imagination and deepen thoughts and debates on possible courses of action on the problem plaguing the world.Highly recommended flag 47 likesLike see review Mar 03, 2017 Pamela rated it really liked it review of another edition I respond to utopian thinking the way any other moderately informed liberal does Well, wouldn t that be nice o_O But the I read of Bregman s book, the my resistance melted away Why aren t we setting our sights higher than adding a dollar to the minimum wage and opposing Trump s wall Hell, you wanna address unemployment as a result of automation Why not support a universal basic income and a shorter work week You d also take a couple of steps towards gender equality to boot By t I respond to utopian thinking the way any other moderately informed liberal does Well, wouldn t that be nice o_O But the I read of Bregman s book, the my resistance melted away Why aren t we setting our sights higher than adding a dollar to the minimum wage and opposing Trump s wall Hell, you wanna address unemployment as a result of automation Why not support a universal basic income and a shorter work week You d also take a couple of steps towards gender equality to boot By the time I finished Bregman s rousing epilogue about moving the Overton window, I turned to my husband and whispered, I think I m a socialist now flag 25 likesLike see review View 1 comment Apr 19, 2016 Peter rated it it was ok review of another edition Really wanted to like this I m a big fan of The Correspondent s journalism, and believe that basic income is an important idea whose time might have come It was certainly interesting to learn about the history, and the few studies that have been undertaken Also fascinating to learn about the history and failings of GDP as a measure.However the attempts to persuade seemed full of holes and contradictions One minute the author is complaining about how technological progress has slowe Really wanted to like this I m a big fan of The Correspondent s journalism, and believe that basic income is an important idea whose time might have come It was certainly interesting to learn about the history, and the few studies that have been undertaken Also fascinating to learn about the history and failings of GDP as a measure.However the attempts to persuade seemed full of holes and contradictions One minute the author is complaining about how technological progress has slowed to slightly improved iterations of the same phone we bought a couple of years ago The next he is championing how the average African with a cell phone has access to information than President Clinton did in the 1990s and this fails to be reflected in GDP On one page he s railing against bullshit jobs like HR managers , then just a few pages later he s advocating a reformation of the education system to create jobs for artists and philosophers It s frustrating, especially when he s trying to sell such big and worthy ideas Maybe I would have agreed with him on this at one point, but if the past year or so has taught me anything it s that HR people are fucking important flag 18 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Apr 02, 2019 Bianca rated it it was amazing Shelves 2019, non fiction The modern creed or worse, the belief that there s nothing left to believe in makes us blind to the shortsightedness and injustice that still surround us every day To give a few examples Why have we been working harder and harder since the 1980s despite being richer than ever Why are millions of people still living in poverty when we are than rich enough to put an end to it once and for all And why is than 60% of your income depends on the country where you just happen to have The modern creed or worse, the belief that there s nothing left to believe in makes us blind to the shortsightedness and injustice that still surround us every day To give a few examples Why have we been working harder and harder since the 1980s despite being richer than ever Why are millions of people still living in poverty when we are than rich enough to put an end to it once and for all And why is than 60% of your income depends on the country where you just happen to have been born 24 Utopias offer no ready made answers, let alone solutions But they do ask the right questions I ve had this on my TBR since 2017 Upon watching the viral video of Bregman at Davos berating the billionaires for not paying their fair share of taxes, I felt I had to read his book For those of you who haven t seen that short speech here it is.As you can tell from my rating, I m very happy I read this book It was riveting, informative, and most importantly, it challenged and changed some of my ideas I love when this happens.Bregman is starting to be known as the universal basic income guy I don t know about you, in the past year or so I ve come across some articles about this notion, half dismissing it as undoable Upon reading this book, I ve changed my mind It sounds like a far fetched idea until you read about it.In the past, the economists and other people in the know were predicting the working week will be around 15 hrs by 2030 Obviously, it didn t happen, and it s unlikely to, if anything, the opposite is true, especially for certain countries in the developed world, especially the USA, Japan, South Korea etc But many of the enlightened European countries are moving towards shorter and shorter weekly hours, the Netherlands is at the top with an average of 27.5 hrs week followed very closely by Germany Another thing that Bregman discusses in depth is poverty, homelessness and foreign aid to poor countries I m a proud and loud lefty, and even I have, better said, had, some misconceptions about poor people and poverty, and I was far from being one of those people who go on and on about why don t they just get a job and why do they keep having so many kids well, I still think that about everyone because of overpopulation and they should stop drinking and smoking I dislike drinking and smoking in everyone etc The big reason poor people are poor is because they don t have enough money, notes economist Charles Kenny, and it shouldn t come as a huge surprise that giving them money is a great way to reduce that problem Those sceptical will probably huff and puff at all these utopian ideals, but guess what, most good things we take for granted today, such as democracy, women s right to vote, birth control, you name it, they were all considered undoable , unnecessary in the beginning Somebody, usually on the fringes, had an idea, a vision Look, I can go on and on about this book It s by no means perfect, but it gave me food for thought and it whetted my appetite to read books articles on such important issues If you have any suggestions links do let me know.Highly recommended flag 17 likesLike see review View all 19 comments Aug 25, 2017 Peter Mcloughlin rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves 00000good things, european history, intellectual history, 1990 to 2019, american history, economics, philosophy, politics, education, general history One of a spate of books to come out on the Basic Income idea to eliminate poverty and mitigate the coming automation economic crisis I like the idea myself and the author marshalls studies to back up that a basic income would go a long way to reduce poverty I am not sure that problem of a sense of purpose will be easier to tackle when robots start taking away large sectors of the labor force but it is better than letting people starve and the economy going to crap the author also tackles the One of a spate of books to come out on the Basic Income idea to eliminate poverty and mitigate the coming automation economic crisis I like the idea myself and the author marshalls studies to back up that a basic income would go a long way to reduce poverty I am not sure that problem of a sense of purpose will be easier to tackle when robots start taking away large sectors of the labor force but it is better than letting people starve and the economy going to crap the author also tackles the very large downsides to huge inequality in modern societies that lead to numerous pathologies Definitely a good guide to the future of this argument flag 17 likesLike see review View 1 comment Jan 19, 2018 Cristina rated it it was amazing review of another edition Loved it I m going to share some of the excerpts I liked.1 Whether you look at the incidents of depression, burnout, drug abuse, high dropout rates, obesity, unhappy childhoods, low election turnout or social and political distrusts, the evidence points to the same culprit every time inequality But hold on what should it matter if some people are filthy rich if even those who are very poor are better off than the kings of centuries ago A lot Because it s all about relative poverty How Loved it I m going to share some of the excerpts I liked.1 Whether you look at the incidents of depression, burnout, drug abuse, high dropout rates, obesity, unhappy childhoods, low election turnout or social and political distrusts, the evidence points to the same culprit every time inequality But hold on what should it matter if some people are filthy rich if even those who are very poor are better off than the kings of centuries ago A lot Because it s all about relative poverty However wealthy a country gets, inequality always rains on the parade Being poor in a rich country is a whole different story to being poor a couple centuries ago, when almost everybody, everywhere was a pauper Take bullying Countries with big disparities in wealth also have bullying behavior because there are bigger status differences the psychosocial consequences are such that people living in unequal societies spend time worrying about how others see them This undercuts the quality of relationships, manifested in a distrust of strangers and status anxiety, for example The resulting stress, in turn, is a major determinant of illness and chronic health problems But shouldn t we be concerned with equal opportunities than with equal wealth The fact is that they both matter These two forms of inequality are inextricable Just look at the global rankings when inequality goes up, social mobility goes down There s almost no country on earth where the American dream is less likely than come true than in the US of A Anybody eager to work their way out from rags to riches is better off trying their luck in Sweden, where people born into poverty can still hold out hope of a brighter future 2 Imagine this A welfare mother has her income cut because she hasn t developed sufficient job skills The government saves a couple thousand bucks but the hidden costs of children who will consequently grow up poor, eat poor food, get poor grades at school, and be likely to have a run in with the law are many times greater In fact, conservative criticism of the old nanny state hits the nail on the head The current tangle of red tape keeps people trapped in poverty, it actually produces dependence Whereas employees are expected to demonstrate their strengths, social services expect claimants to prove over and over that an illness is sufficiently debilitating and that chances at getting higher are sufficiently slim.3 Only Denmark has ever tried to quantify the value of breastfeeding in its GDP In the US, the production of breastmilk has been estimated at an incredible 110 billion year About the size of China s military budget The GDP also does a poor job of calculating advances in knowledge If you were the GDP, your ideal citizen would be a drug addict who has cancer, goes through a divorce and pops fistfuls of Prozac and goes bezerk on Black Friday Mental illness, pollution, crime in terms of the GDP the , the better That s also why one of the countries with the highest per capita GDPs, the United States, also leads in social problems By the standard of the GDP, the worst families in America are those that actually function as families, that cook their own meals, take walks after dinner, and talk together, instead of just farming the kids out to the commercial culture We live in a world where the vital your occupation cleaning, nursing, teaching the lower you rate in the GDP 4 In overworked countries like Japan or the United States, people watch an absurd amount of television up to 5 hours a day in the US, WHICH ADDS UP TO 9 YEARS IN A LIFETIME American children spend half time in front of the TV as they do at school True leisure, however, is neither a luxury nor a vice It is as vital to our brains as vitamin C is to our bodies There s not a person in the world who on their deathbed thinks had I only put in a few hours at the office or sat in front of the Tube some 5 Bullshit jobs The economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that we d all be working just 15 hours a week by 2030 That our prosperity would shoot through the roof and we d exchange a sizeable chunk of our wealth for leisure time In reality, that s not at all what has happened We re plenty prosperous, but we re not exactly swimming in a sea of free time quite the reverse We re all working harder than ever In the previous chapter, I described how we sacrificed our free time on the altar of consumerism Keynes certainly didn t see that coming But there s still one puzzle piece that still doesn t fit Most people play no part in the production of iPhone cases, in their panoply of colors, exotic shampoos containing botanical extracts, or mocker cookie crumble frappuccinos Our addiction to consumption is enabled mostly by robots and third world wage slaves And although agricultural and manufacturing production capacity have grown exponentially over the past decades, employment in these industries has dropped So is it really true that our overworked lifestyle all comes down to out of control consumerism David Graeber wrote a fascinating piece that pinned the blame not on the stuff we buy but on the work we do It s titled aptly on the phenomenon of bullshit jobs In Graber s analysis, innumerable people spend their entire working life doing jobs they consider to be pointless Jobs like telemarketer, HR manager, social media strategist, PR advisor, and a whole host of administrative positions at hospitals, universities and government offices Bullshit jobs, Graeber calls them They re the jobs that even the people doing them admit are, in essence, superfluous 6 A mere 62 people are richer than 3.5 billion people in the world flag 16 likesLike see review View all 4 comments May 28, 2017 Adrian Hon rated it liked it review of another edition A reasonably good summary of the history of universal basic income and the drive to a shorter working week, although if you ve read a few long essays on those topics it s unlikely you ll learn much Unfortunately the book is spoiled by a few things Firstly, while I get that it has a point of view that it s conveying one that I agree with , I could ve done with opposing arguments, if only to arm myself in future.Secondly, one of the arguments is for open borders, which the author suggests A reasonably good summary of the history of universal basic income and the drive to a shorter working week, although if you ve read a few long essays on those topics it s unlikely you ll learn much Unfortunately the book is spoiled by a few things Firstly, while I get that it has a point of view that it s conveying one that I agree with , I could ve done with opposing arguments, if only to arm myself in future.Secondly, one of the arguments is for open borders, which the author suggests would have next to no ill effects not even in the short term True, he suggests phasing it them slowly, but it seems to be that there would be problems for some people, and to just say redistribution is not an answer Finally, he goes off on a bizarre rant at the end against identity politics and the left wallowing in moral superiority to which I say, FUCK THAT NOISE Racism and sexism are no small things and it s good that people are upset about them And why can t the left walk and chew gum at the same time Striving towards utopia requires true equality and it s a real black eye that this book ends in such a childish manner flag 15 likesLike see review View 2 comments Mar 18, 2017 Nancy rated it really liked it review of another edition We have lost our vision, Rutger Bregman writes, mired in old paradigms and blind to the possibilities we should be imagining We could be realizing the world predicted by 20th c thinkers.Subtitled How We Can Build The Ideal World, Utopia for Realists is an international best seller, first published in the Netherlands where it ignited a debate and inspired a movement.Bregman begins by reminding us of how recently life was a vale of tears, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short, as philoso We have lost our vision, Rutger Bregman writes, mired in old paradigms and blind to the possibilities we should be imagining We could be realizing the world predicted by 20th c thinkers.Subtitled How We Can Build The Ideal World, Utopia for Realists is an international best seller, first published in the Netherlands where it ignited a debate and inspired a movement.Bregman begins by reminding us of how recently life was a vale of tears, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short, as philosophers wrote in the 16th c With the explosion of new technology and prosperity over the last two hundred years, humanity has achieved a standard of living that Medieval folk would consider Utopia indoor heat and cooling, flush toilets and clean water alone would make them marvel So would obesity from an overabundance of easily obtained food, the magical ability to protect ourselves from smallpox and polio, and paved roads we travel at 70 mph without fear of highwaymen robberies.Have we reached Utopia Or is there something we can do to make life even better How can we solve the problems that remain fearfulness, unemployment, quality of life, poverty The welfare state from a bygone era doesn t work today Globalization and the cost of higher education have impacted the stability of the Middle Class Upward mobility for the poor no longer happens.Bregman wants to fling open the windows of our minds to discover a new lodestar He presents studies and experiments about how we treat the homeless and the poor and challenges our traditional mindset that people are to be blamed for their own poverty they just have to work hard and save We have created welfare programs for those in need, which are costly and do not solve the basic problem What happened to the expectation of the 15 hour workweek Why are we spending time working, impacting our health and our families Bregman wants us to dream new dreams and embrace ideas that can change the world for the better Thinking outside the box has made a difference abolition, universal voting rights, and same sex marriage, he reminds, were all once considered impossible All it takes is a single opposing voice.The basis of Bregman s new Utopia is a guaranteed basic income He presents studies that demonstrate the success of such programs In 1967 universal basic income was supported by 80% of Americans and President Nixon submitted a bill to eradicate poverty.Other changes he offers include shorter work hours, proven to increase productivity, reconsidering the importance of the Gross Domestic Product as our economic standard of success, improving quality of life, open borders, taxing capital instead of labor, and adjusting salary to a job s societal value At a time when productivity is a record levels, there are fewer jobs and lower salaries We have to devise a system to ensure that everybody benefits, he writes.There is an old saying Insanity is doing the same thing over and expecting different results Instead of holding tightly to the old ways we need to envision innovation Perhaps books like this will spur discussions and reevaluations.One can only hope.I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review flag 11 likesLike see review Dec 05, 2017 Katia N rated it it was ok review of another edition I was probably misguided as I thought this book would deal predominantly with the idea of a basic income Specifically, i was intrested in the arguments pro and against it and, preferably, an analysis how it is possible to implement, the impact of automation and which steps might be taken right now But this book is much broader in scope, and at the same time, pretty shallow The book is about the current state of the world with inequality, too much work for some and no for the others, the I was probably misguided as I thought this book would deal predominantly with the idea of a basic income Specifically, i was intrested in the arguments pro and against it and, preferably, an analysis how it is possible to implement, the impact of automation and which steps might be taken right now But this book is much broader in scope, and at the same time, pretty shallow The book is about the current state of the world with inequality, too much work for some and no for the others, the climate change etc It states that we need to have some new ideology to tackle these challenges But it does not go far enough to define this ideology It proposes 3 broad areas which hypothetically might improve the current state of the world basic income shorter work hours open borders I am very sympathetic with all three of them That was partly the reason why I ve picked up this book But though it provides the reader with some historic anecdotes, it does not go far enough to specify where are we specifically in terms of those 3 areas and what has to be done to get us where we want to be There are some interesting observations and facts For example, there is a story how president Nixon was on the verge of introducing the basic income in the US but was stopped by another story of the nineteenth century English Speenhamland plan There is also information about the experiments in the 70s Canada and Seattle But what about current situation not much The main illustration is 13 homeless people in London in 2009 9 of them apparently has reformed their ways not sure what happened with another 6 There is no information about Swiss referendum on basic income overwhelming rejected with 77% against or the Finland experiment which is currently underway They ve just briefly mentioned at the end of the book These discussions would be much useful going forward than Nixon s fiasco It is not even totally clear whether the author proposes to replace all welfare state wth a regular lump sum payment quite radical libertarian view or he wants to give people money on the top of everything else.On the shorter work hours, quite a bit of a narrative is focused on criticising bullshit jobs bankers of course, but also the lawyers hopefully only the corporate ones , consultants, marketers etc journalists as well vs very useful jobs of the NY cleaners I am sure NY cleaners job satisfaction is great and they are all happy as ever But would this very useful and fantastic job satisfy a bright young person on the basis of bringing the huge public value I know that the bright kids should all start doing research how to solve the global problems instead of doing bullshit jobs But the main question is how and who would pay for it I did not find the answer in the book.The question of open borders is very close to my heart as i seriously believe in it He is a bit constructive He defines 7 perceptive myths about the emigrants And this discussion is a bit concrete But unfortunately, I did not find all of his debunking arguments very convincing And in this case i cannot see how he can convince someone who is really against this idea For example, he debunks the misconception that all immigrants are criminals Specially, he talks about the youth crime of the second generation Maroccans in the Netherlands Apparently, there is no correlation between the ethnicity and the levels of the criminal activity But that was not the question The question was is there a correlation between the status second generation immigrant and the criminal activity It is not the same is it I hope the answer is no as well But such confusion undermines the whole credibility of the debate And after all debunking , he is appeared to be not really very ambitions at all Opening our borders is not something we can do overnight, of course not should it be Unchecked migration would certainly corrode social cohesion in the Land of Plenty That is after a few pages ago he debunked the misconception that the immigrants are undermining the social cohesion So he is thinking just making a crack in the door increase it on 3% annually or something like that.I do not want to continue listing what i found unsatisfying about this book you ve got the picture There are a lot of pathos and good rhetorics, but that is about it Apart from a few interesting anecdotes and observations, it was useless for me It definitely would not make you any wiser if you are interested to find out about the current theory and practice in the area of basic income And there are much better books on the state of the world Even the latest Friedman s endeavour is better Thank You for Being Late An Optimist s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations flag 10 likesLike see review View all 5 comments Mar 07, 2019 Kevin rated it liked it Shelves econ reform development How far can a Western Social Democrat go This book reaches runs into its limits The Good Top marks for accessibility engaging writing style especially for Western audiences, like that of David Graeber and Matt Taibbi Dutch historian Bregman joins Development economist Ha Joon Chang as leading Social Democrats highlights from this book 1 UBI, automation, reducing work, and bullshit jobs the core of the book, with engaging historical narrative and case studies Also, useful chapter br How far can a Western Social Democrat go This book reaches runs into its limits The Good Top marks for accessibility engaging writing style especially for Western audiences, like that of David Graeber and Matt Taibbi Dutch historian Bregman joins Development economist Ha Joon Chang as leading Social Democrats highlights from this book 1 UBI, automation, reducing work, and bullshit jobs the core of the book, with engaging historical narrative and case studies Also, useful chapter breaking down GDP origins in war production capacity Speaking of jobs, Green New Deal is missing here 2 Open borders this was the brightest highlight for me, as imperialism is my top critique of Social Democrats Bregman had me convinced he would spiral down the imperialist path by starting the chapter with foreign aid Yes, within the framework of foreign aid, the process of using randomized controlled trials instead of intuition that Bregman details is transformative But anyone who takes a step back and considers the big picture magnitude of the world s political economy, who considers imperialism a word omitted by Social Democrats , understands that foreign aid is trivial compared to the systemic unequal exchange in the global division of labor Some Social Dems engage with unequal exchange, like Ha Joon Chang Bad Samaritans The Myth of Free Trade and the Secret History of Capitalism Further, challenges to unequal exchange are frequently met with starvation economic sanctions and bloodshed funding terrorism, military interventions Foreign aid has no place in a book on utopia Thus, Bregman suddenly changing gears by saying foreign aid is actually low on the economic food chain and supporting open borders was most unexpected I wish he used the entire chapter to fully unpack open borders , particularly its economic myths Still, Bregman tops my Social Dems list for this 3 How do ideas change the world Learn from the bad guys Bregman uses the example of neoliberal think tank Mont Pelerin Society Hayek, Friedman first setting the ideological groundwork, then the OPEC stagflation crisis allowing Thatcher Reagan regimes to implement these ideas slick way to tie this book together No underdog socialism , utopia is about dreaming big and winning The Bad Missing Social Democrats believe in the contradiction of democracy one person one vote and capitalism one dollar one vote How does someone pushing utopia still cling onto capitalism so fervently Here, I will try an alternate approach to the Marxist surplus value exploitation argument let us break down the key components of the economy, and you tell me how much capitalism belongs in utopia 1 Banking this is where economics begins, going into debt to secure the capital required Bregman lambastes bankers as parasitic on numerous occasions, but only offers regulations in response That requires States powerful enough and willing to side with the public over private bankers How does he not bring up public banking Why is credit not treated as a public utility Why do we continue to give a cartel of private bankers the privilege to create money out of nothing credit , lend feverishly until the bubble bursts, and get bailed out by taxpayers People already distrust bankers you do not need to shatter the heroic private profit seeker fantasy with them To explore The Public Bank Solution From Austerity to Prosperity Where Does Money Come From A Guide To The Uk Monetary And Banking System2 Monopolies cartels for natural monopolies like natural resources utilities and many large scale industries, these are already centrally planned they should be made public and operated democratically worker cooperatives If machines become so vital to the society, why continue to keep them in so few private hands and rely on States powerful enough to regulate this Information technology further erodes private ownership Postcapitalism A Guide to Our Future Worker co ops further democracy into the workplace, a step towards economic democracy participatory economics, instead of restricting democracy to political theater spectatorship vote If we stop here, the economy can no longer be described with the single word capitalism Debate small businesses elsewhere, the productivity of the modern economy is built on banks and cartels of multinational corporations Overall avoidance of power relations imperialism class analysis leads to illusory reliance on State redistribution of private accumulation and extremely concentrated at that Similarly, war is described as extremely costly and wasteful But, as Michael Parenti reminds us to ask, cui bono These wars preserve capitalist profits, protecting the layers of power politics that unequal exchange resides on Once again the proposed solution is State regulation, in this case taxing harmful externalities Keep chasing the tail, keep faith in the gospel of private innovation even Social Dems can point out innovation from public sector RD Social production but private accumulation has no place in utopia Lingering tone of Eurocentric history, progress a Dutch historian, can you believe it The extraordinary Amiya Kumar Bagchi dives into such illusions in Perilous Passage Mankind and the Global Ascendancy of Capital flag 8 likesLike see review View all 4 comments Feb 20, 2019 Maru Kun marked it as to read Great clip here where Rutger Bregman points out that Fox New s Tucker Carlson is a millionaire funded by billionaires and as a result gets called a moron and told to f k off by Carlson simply for stating the obvious Very entertaining and well worth a watch Strangely Fox News decided not to broadcast the clip but it was leaked anyway.Historian who confronted Davos billionaires leaks Tucker Carlson rant flag 8 likesLike see review Jul 16, 2017 Hari Ramachandran rated it it was amazing review of another edition I loved this book for many reasons but the one thing that stood out was the fact that it made me alter my world view from pessimistic to hopeful, if not completely optimistic The author has proposed some radical ideas but has also provided a lot past research and evidence to support these ideas flag 8 likesLike see review View 1 comment May 05, 2019 Terence M marked it as to read review of another edition Shelves dnf did not finish, non fiction, audible audiobook I am yet to listen to this audiobook It has such an ugly cover I nearly didn t buy it, but it was an Audible Daily Deal for just 2.99 and I was particularly motivated by Jeffrey Keeten s review flag 8 likesLike see review Nov 17, 2017 Adam rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves nonfiction2017, riverinalibrary, favorites, 4stars, nonfiction The book of our times, a must read A few counterintuitive examples which I like and enjoy that changed the way I think about work and finance n.b if you take one thing from this book or review let it be this Read the Epilogue It s good In an ideal world we d have this utopia obviously but due to the narrowmindedness of low information voters and their politicians whom they think are looking out for them Ha it s highly doubtful we ll see UBI succeed, let alone implemented If it w The book of our times, a must read A few counterintuitive examples which I like and enjoy that changed the way I think about work and finance n.b if you take one thing from this book or review let it be this Read the Epilogue It s good In an ideal world we d have this utopia obviously but due to the narrowmindedness of low information voters and their politicians whom they think are looking out for them Ha it s highly doubtful we ll see UBI succeed, let alone implemented If it wasn t for the Koch style Dark Money from the ridiculous Citizens United SC decision which maybe before 2030 will be overturned and the nutty idealogues I might be hopeful and optimistic Unfortunately the damage is done and will take a long time to undo and recover Nothing changed after the Panama Papers and now the Paradise Papers on tax havens, some entities let s stop calling them humans or people, they re not like us are just evil and let s start just using the simple definition which is stopping the flow of good and in that evil there is selfishness and greed of which magnitudes we ve not seen in modern history OK well the Gilded Age of the 1920s was a different time and inequality today is greater by most standards given that women can vote and work today It s cringey seeing people that are outraged at inequality and yet are spending their hard earned money on products that go to funding and furthering tax cheats and inequality The average person lacks insight, their ego is supreme I just laugh at people that use Apple and Nike products, especially when they claim to be woke One day or some day I just pity them I have given up gently pointing out how their market choices affect everyone and there are ethical options out there, perhaps I should just ignore it or find other ways It s long past time caring or getting upset about it The things change, the they stay the same as the saying goes Lots of good sources and an index Well perhaps there is some small way buy Patagonia items, or at least learn about ethical manufacturing and spending choices patagonia flag 7 likesLike see review Mar 19, 2019 Conor rated it really liked it Shelves economics, audiobook, non fiction, poverty, trump, politics I ended up really liking this book It explores a lot of ideas that we reflexively reject, likely because they go against common sense Ideas like just give poor people cash seem not only politically infeasible, but unwise And sadly, our politics is dictated by soundbites and conventional wisdom, and we wonder why we only dig ourselves deeper into wealth inequality and dissatisfaction with government at all levels.This book explores concepts like universal basic income, open borders, and cash I ended up really liking this book It explores a lot of ideas that we reflexively reject, likely because they go against common sense Ideas like just give poor people cash seem not only politically infeasible, but unwise And sadly, our politics is dictated by soundbites and conventional wisdom, and we wonder why we only dig ourselves deeper into wealth inequality and dissatisfaction with government at all levels.This book explores concepts like universal basic income, open borders, and cash substitutes for our current forms of welfare charity, in a way that makes me hopeful they might one day be implemented on a large scale, or at least experimented with Not that ideas that make all the sense in the world for our peer countries have ever really prodded the United States into action see, e.g universal healthcare and noninterventionist military policy but I might be able to dust off that Irish passport and decamp for one of the enlightened countries once this one starts to really tear itself apart.Lest I leave it on that unsavory note, I wonder whether the silver lining from this Trump administration might just be that we are so screwed up or have such a political mandate that trying these things out becomes palatable, if not necessary I just wonder why when one political party is trying to drag us backward and the other one, overly proud of its respectability, insists on keeping us in stasis there isn t of a yen for something radical and outside the box Here s hoping of the 2020 candidates trade on the yen for something different and begin exploring these things through their platforms Even if they don t implement them, this book correctly notes that the Overton Window would be shifted thereby flag 7 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Jun 17, 2019 Ray rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves nonfic, politics Is it hyperbolic to say that this book may change the world If you ve already read about Universal Basic Income UBI , or really anything by a good myth busting economist which challenges our current era of capitalism, then Utopia for Realists may not teach you too much that you don t already know Overall Rutger Bregman s way is just to summarize some main big ideas into a readable paperback, and yet that is the whole point There are plenty of graphs which will convince the reader that incom Is it hyperbolic to say that this book may change the world If you ve already read about Universal Basic Income UBI , or really anything by a good myth busting economist which challenges our current era of capitalism, then Utopia for Realists may not teach you too much that you don t already know Overall Rutger Bregman s way is just to summarize some main big ideas into a readable paperback, and yet that is the whole point There are plenty of graphs which will convince the reader that income inequality is a leading social problem, and even some surprising historical examples of how realistic giving away free money to alleviate poverty would be The now famous Nixon example And Speenhamland, what an unfortuante misinterpretation Bregman is primarily a historian after all So read up to learn why value shouldn t actually be measured by a nation s GDP, and about how arbitrary it is that neoliberalism won out in the end because it could have gone so many other ways Yet most of all, take this hopefully important book as a manifesto A call to stop accepting that the way it is now is the way it has to be, and instead embrace these valid possibilities for new utopias That is ultimately the point The world has changed for the better before, and it can change for the better again In bigger ways than we think This in essence is what s being called for, to inspire leaders and citizens to have ambition and actually improve everyone s lives Really, if we can t think harder about how to make life better then what s the point of civilization I truly hope this book fulfils such potential and does have that big an impact, I really do Therefore, of course, very recommended for everyone in the world to read flag 6 likesLike see review View 2 comments Aug 03, 2019 G rated it liked it review of another edition 3.5 5I thought it could be a bit less abstract, but it s definitely a book that leaves a lot of food for thought If you re not familiar with Bregman, just look up his taxes taxes taxes the rest is bullshit Davos moment on youtube flag 6 likesLike see review Mar 24, 2019 Justine rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves cultural or social non fiction, essays, practical nonfiction selfhelf, favorites This book blew me AWAY And I m really not joking here It changed my way of thinking I didn t even know I was thinking this way until Rutger Bregman put his finger on the problem and showed me the way okay, it sounds preachy told like this, but it s not I wanted to read this book because I wanted to believe there is to this world than just the actual situation I live in France, and it s not that glorious, be it personal or national When I stumbled upon Utopia for Realists, I told my This book blew me AWAY And I m really not joking here It changed my way of thinking I didn t even know I was thinking this way until Rutger Bregman put his finger on the problem and showed me the way okay, it sounds preachy told like this, but it s not I wanted to read this book because I wanted to believe there is to this world than just the actual situation I live in France, and it s not that glorious, be it personal or national When I stumbled upon Utopia for Realists, I told myself Well, why not It can t harm me after all Well, it could Because this book is both depressing and motivating First, depressing because the state of the world can t be but depressing, be it considering the situation in occidental countries or the one in African ones We could have ended the poverty long ago, and even if we are far wealthier than in ancient times , we are not happier We are stuck in this that we can t go back to our former values, to what really matters in life, because we don t know how, or if we re allowed to But, it s also super motivating, because, after finishing this book, I wanted to make things work like never before I saw warning, it s get dramatic the light at the end of the tunnel We can go out of this situation We can make things better It s in our hands Otherwise, it is well written and fluid, the author explains things really well and he gives ALL his sources There is nothing he says without quoting a book, an article, a study, and giving the reference for the reader to check, or to learn about the topic so, I obviously added some other books to my TBR Sometimes, it is quite light, which is refreshing considering the topic Honestly, I really think everyone should read this book we could really do something all together and it would clearly be a win win situation for everyone I really feel like I waited for a book like Utopia for Realists all my life flag 6 likesLike see review Dec 12, 2016 Kamyar malzoom rated it did not like it review of another edition Shelves ready to read I m getting my masters in finance and going to get my Ph.D in finance too, so not an economist, but I know a great deal about economics studied tons of materials both in academic settings and for fun This book is NOT realistic AT ALL, the numbers just simply don t add up If you know anything about macroeconomics and theory of markets, the alternative proposed in this book is just laughable This guy is a journalist and historian although not really a historian so it s acceptable that he I m getting my masters in finance and going to get my Ph.D in finance too, so not an economist, but I know a great deal about economics studied tons of materials both in academic settings and for fun This book is NOT realistic AT ALL, the numbers just simply don t add up If you know anything about macroeconomics and theory of markets, the alternative proposed in this book is just laughable This guy is a journalist and historian although not really a historian so it s acceptable that he doesn t know anything about economics Problem arouses when someone with no credentials and education starts writing about the topic This is sadly prevalent in most humanities topics Although economics is a science, but it get s lumped up with humanities Take physics for example, you simply CAN NOT write anything on the topic if you don t have the credentials, first of all, no one will publish it and then even if it s published, people will bash it to oblivion But somehow it s okay if it s economics You can right the most idealistic, unscientific, batshit insane things and there will be people who eat it up This is just sad At the end, I have to tell everyone that economics is a science, and a hard one at that It s not up to interpretation Don t read books like this Don t feed the troll flag 6 likesLike see review View all 3 comments Aug 17, 2018 Pequete rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves bookcrossing A good read full of not that much utopian ideas I had heard about universal income before and found it a bizarre idea, but Bregman provides information on several practical experiments that had me rethinking the whole thing A shorter work week and changing the way we look at, and compensate different kinds of work are other ideas discussed in the book that already resonated with me before The book seems well researched, with a long list of references that can be looked up by those who want A good read full of not that much utopian ideas I had heard about universal income before and found it a bizarre idea, but Bregman provides information on several practical experiments that had me rethinking the whole thing A shorter work week and changing the way we look at, and compensate different kinds of work are other ideas discussed in the book that already resonated with me before The book seems well researched, with a long list of references that can be looked up by those who want details, although I found the outcome of some of the studies quite doubtful The book is packed with information and yet, it is written in a colloquial and interesting way that turns reading it into a real pleasure flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment Apr 07, 2017 A rated it really liked it review of another edition I m always interested in alternative political and economic theories due to my overwhelming unhappiness with the current state of the world and my own life.I really felt like this book put forth a lot of ideas in a coherent and meaningful way You would think that the eradication of poverty is something people can all agree on, but unfortunately that is not the case I found it interesting how often the book discussed the US even though the author is not American Reading this was so pleasant wh I m always interested in alternative political and economic theories due to my overwhelming unhappiness with the current state of the world and my own life.I really felt like this book put forth a lot of ideas in a coherent and meaningful way You would think that the eradication of poverty is something people can all agree on, but unfortunately that is not the case I found it interesting how often the book discussed the US even though the author is not American Reading this was so pleasant what with its talk of UBI, open borders, 15 hour work weeks, and the eradication of poverty, but then of course I had to go back to the real world and the clusterfuck we call the current political situation bombs, war, border walls, eradication of human rights, elimination of healthcare, deportations, growing inequality and I just can t understand why anyone would think this mess is the best we can do flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment Jun 08, 2017 Radiantflux rated it liked it review of another edition Shelves economics, politics 33rd book for 2017.With an engaging writing style, Bregman puts forward arguments for three big ideas to guide progressive politics into the future A basic wage less, meaningful work overall and open borders I found the arguments for a basic wage most compelling, with some interesting history who ever knew that Nixon would have got a basic wage passed in 1968 if not for the damn Democrats One has to wonder what would have happened to the US and the rise of Trump had he been successfu 33rd book for 2017.With an engaging writing style, Bregman puts forward arguments for three big ideas to guide progressive politics into the future A basic wage less, meaningful work overall and open borders I found the arguments for a basic wage most compelling, with some interesting history who ever knew that Nixon would have got a basic wage passed in 1968 if not for the damn Democrats One has to wonder what would have happened to the US and the rise of Trump had he been successful Three stars as the book seemed to petered out at the end, with none of the ideas put forward in enough depth to really make the arguments fundamentally convincing esp relating to open borders But definitely worth reading by progressives to have their thoughts on the possible challenged and stretched flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment Apr 14, 2017 Madamedupin rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves non fiction politics An easy read yet provocative and forceful in its arguments my reactions ranged from Are you sure, That sounds too simple, to Hell yes The chapter on homelessness and Universal Basic Income is the one to have gained the most press attention But I found the section on world developments, immigration and open borders the strongest I particularly liked the citing of theBook of Daniel as the first written record of a test with a control group Full of fascinating stories and strong ideas, with l An easy read yet provocative and forceful in its arguments my reactions ranged from Are you sure, That sounds too simple, to Hell yes The chapter on homelessness and Universal Basic Income is the one to have gained the most press attention But I found the section on world developments, immigration and open borders the strongest I particularly liked the citing of theBook of Daniel as the first written record of a test with a control group Full of fascinating stories and strong ideas, with lots of notes to follow up Also very prescient that he calls current socialists dull as a doorknob with no story to tell which is partly how Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump flag 5 likesLike see review Apr 27, 2018 Tuncer eng z rated it it was amazing review of another edition Shelves politics Stunning book on basic income, lesser working hours and leisure , poverty and a world with no borders I underlines this paragraph Sadly, the underdog socialist has forgotten that the story of the left ought to be a narrative of hope and progress The greatest sin of the academic left is that it has become fundamentally aristocratic, writing in bizarre jargon that makes simple matters dizzyingly complex If you can t explain your ideal to a fairly intelligent twelve year old, after all, it Stunning book on basic income, lesser working hours and leisure , poverty and a world with no borders I underlines this paragraph Sadly, the underdog socialist has forgotten that the story of the left ought to be a narrative of hope and progress The greatest sin of the academic left is that it has become fundamentally aristocratic, writing in bizarre jargon that makes simple matters dizzyingly complex If you can t explain your ideal to a fairly intelligent twelve year old, after all, it s probably your own fault What we need is a narrative that speaks to millions of ordinary people I added this book to my favorites flag 5 likesLike see review Jan 19, 2018 Mehrsa rated it really liked it review of another edition Makes a solid case for universal basic income using some recent studies as well as some misunderstood older studies I think I would recommend Graeber or even Doughnut economics for the theory behind some of the concepts in here, but this is a quick read and a great primer on why we have too many bullshit jobs and why poverty is not a moral failing I d say read the others first and then come here, but this is a nice start too Others to read Scarcity, David Graeber, Picketty, etc flag 5 likesLike see review Mar 28, 2019 Daniel Sevitt rated it really liked it review of another edition Shelves non fiction After seeing Bregman at Davos, I ordered the book After watching him take on Tucker Carlson, I bumped it up my list and started reading it Packed full of fascinating ideas, some of which came with data, some with anecdata and a couple which were just a little fanciful I don t think it s quite rigorous enough to change minds, but there was plenty of eye opening material and I am starting to understand the concept of a universal basic wage flag 5 likesLike see review Mar 24, 2018 Martin Fixman rated it did not like it review of another edition Absolute garbage The book doesn t show a single shred of actual research and has as much merit as a random Reddit comment rambling about flying cars in the future flag 5 likesLike see review View 1 comment previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next new topicDiscuss This Book topics posts views last activity Librari Please merge or combine 3 202 Nov 21, 2016 07 43AM More topics Share Recommend It Stats Recent Status Updates Readers also enjoyed Rutger Bregman is a Dutch historian, author and journalist He studied at Utrecht University and the University of California, Los Angeles and is known for popularizing topics related to social and economic innovation measures and their history through, among others, universal basic income and shorter work weeks.Rutger Bregman is a journalist at The Correspondent, and one of Europe s most prominent young thinkers He has published four books on history, philosophy, and economics Rutger Bregman studeerde aan de universiteit van Utrecht en Los Angeles, en doceerde aan de Universiteit van Utrecht Hij schrijft voor nrcxt, Het Parool, de Volkskrant, Trouw en De Groene Amsterdammer Books by Rutger Bregman More Trivia About Utopia for Realis No trivia or quizzes yet Add some now Quotes from Utopia for Realis The great milestones of civilization always have the whiff of utopia about them at first According to renowned sociologist Albert Hirschman, utopias are initially attacked on three grounds futility it s not possible , danger the risks are too great , and perversity it will degenerate into dystopia But Hirschman also wrote that almost as soon as a utopia becomes a reality, it often comes to be seen as utterly commonplace Not so very long ago, democracy still seemed a glorious utopia Many a great mind, from the philosopher Plato 427 347 B.C to the statesman Edmund Burke 1729 97 , warned that democracy was futile the masses were too foolish to handle it , dangerous majority rule would be akin to playing with fire , and perverse the general interest would soon be corrupted by the interests of some crafty general or other Compare this with the arguments against basic income It s supposedly futile because we can t pay for it, dangerous because people would quit working, and perverse because ultimately a minority would end up having to toil harder to support the majority 19 likes Poverty is fundamentally about a lack of cash It s not about stupidity, stresses 19 likes More quotes renderRatingGraph 4121, 3681, 1234, 213, 65 if rating_details rating_detailssert top rating_graph Company About us Careers Terms Privacy Help Work with us Authors Advertise Authors ads blog API Connect 2019 , Inc Mobile version

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    Utopia for Realists How We Can Build the Ideal World From a universal basic income to a hour workweek from a world without borders to a world without poverty it s time to return to utopian thinking Rutger Bregman takes us on a journey through histor

    One thought on “Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World”

    1. A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and, seeing a better country, sets sail Progress is the realization of Utopias Oscar Wilde.Rutger Bregman, the Dutch historian, first came to my attention when recently he got into a tiff with Tucker Carlson The footage and audio was leaked, and though I wasn t surprised to hear Carlson get upset A map of [...]

    2. What a painful book to read during the first week of Trump s administration I swear every time I finished a chapter, a new policy would be announced that completely moved the needle of social progress in the other direction Solving poverty with a universal basic income Nope, here s a Secretary of Labor who thinks the minimum wage is already too high Reform the banking system so it s not one of the largest drivers of the economy Let me introduce you to the newest Goldman Sachs exec to run a What [...]

    3. Capitalist or communist, it all boils down to a pointless distinction between two types of poor, and to a major misconception that we almost managed to dispel some 40 years ago the fallacy that a life without poverty is a privilege you have to work for, rather than a right we all deserve.A breezy read with ideas that are backed up by genuinely interesting statistics and anecdotes.Argues that we can better society and move towards utopia by implementing three ideas a 15 hour workweek, a u [...]

    4. Radical ideas, at first glance, but all put forward in this book aren t unreasonable, neither are they unrealistic They are logically presented and supported with facts and tons of research and history It is an enlightening read, and I wish politicians and policy makers would read books like this If only to widen their imagination and deepen thoughts and debates on possible courses of action on the problem plaguing the world.Highly recommended.

    5. I respond to utopian thinking the way any other moderately informed liberal does Well, wouldn t that be nice o_O But the I read of Bregman s book, the my resistance melted away Why aren t we setting our sights higher than adding a dollar to the minimum wage and opposing Trump s wall Hell, you wanna address unemployment as a result of automation Why not support a universal basic income and a shorter work week You d also take a couple of steps towards gender equality to boot By t I respond [...]

    6. Really wanted to like this I m a big fan of The Correspondent s journalism, and believe that basic income is an important idea whose time might have come It was certainly interesting to learn about the history, and the few studies that have been undertaken Also fascinating to learn about the history and failings of GDP as a measure.However the attempts to persuade seemed full of holes and contradictions One minute the author is complaining about how technological progress has slowe Really wanted [...]

    7. The modern creed or worse, the belief that there s nothing left to believe in makes us blind to the shortsightedness and injustice that still surround us every day To give a few examples Why have we been working harder and harder since the 1980s despite being richer than ever Why are millions of people still living in poverty when we are than rich enough to put an end to it once and for all And why is than 60% of your income depends on the country where you just happen to have The m [...]

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