Read Utopia for Realists: Why Making the World a Better Place Isn't a Fantasy and How We Can Do It by Rutger Bregman Online


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 chaFrom 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....

Title : Utopia for Realists: Why Making the World a Better Place Isn't a Fantasy and How We Can Do It
Author :
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ISBN : 9781408890271
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 326 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Utopia for Realists: Why Making the World a Better Place Isn't a Fantasy and How We Can Do It Reviews

  • Mark
    2018-11-10 06:47

    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.

  • AdamMcPhee
    2018-11-06 03:32

    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 – more 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 more 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, more 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 more – 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 more 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 – more 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.

  • Yemi Adesanya
    2018-10-25 08:48

    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.

  • Pamela
    2018-10-28 06:57

    I respond to utopian thinking the way any other moderately-informed liberal does: "Well, wouldn't that be nice o_O" But the more I read of Bregman's book, the more 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."

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    2018-10-26 07:59

    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.

  • Peter
    2018-10-29 08:53

    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 more about the history, and the few studies that have been undertaken. Also fascinating to learn more 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 more 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 more 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.

  • Nancy
    2018-11-15 04:48

    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 more 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 more 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.

  • Cristina
    2018-11-15 03:48

    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 more bullying behavior because there are bigger status differences. (...) the psychosocial consequences are such that people living in unequal societies spend more 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 more 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 more 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 more, 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 more 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 more 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 more hours at the office…’ or ‘sat in front of the Tube some more’. 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 more 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. (!!!)

  • Adrian Hon
    2018-10-27 07:44

    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 more 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.

  • Anni
    2018-10-29 03:31

    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.

  • Rick Kastelein
    2018-11-15 11:51

    Zoals veel anderen die de artikellen van Bregman regelmatig lezen, is dit boek helaas een tegenvaller. Dit boek is gewoon een uitgeprinte versie van zijn artikellen. Met grafieken erbij, een mooie inleiding, dat wel, en dan nog wat kleine stukjes die iets meer over het onderwerp zeggen dan de orginele artikellen. Helaas heb ik een groot control copie control paste gevoel bij dit boek, wat ik liever van te voren had willen weten, want Ik had andere verwachtingen van het boek.Nietemin is wat er geschreven is wel gewoon goed. Ik ben erg geinteresseerd in de utopie, als iets dat ons aan het denken zet over hoe we nu als mens bezig zijn. En Bregmans ideeen sluiten mooi op enkele van mijn ideeën. Schoolsysteem met een andere visie dan de arbeidsmarkt. Iedereen werk doen dat hij leuk vind en nuttig is, daadwerkelijk een bijdrage leveren. Mooie dingen.Een aanrader voor degene die nog niets van Bregman gelezen hebben en dit graag op papier willen doen! :)

  • Bart
    2018-11-14 11:32

    Dit was een tegenvaller. Met regelmaat las ik Bregman's artikelen in De Correspondent. Gezien zijn ideeën me aanspraken en dit De Correspondents eerste uitgave was las ik dit boek. Bregman vertelt wederom 'zijn verhaal'. Weer dezelfde voorbeelden, weer dezelfde 'ideeën'. Dat is niet erg maar in een boek verwacht ik een diverser geluid. Weerleg tegenargumenten om je standpunten kracht bij te zetten. Overtuig me met diepgang. Helaas blijft het boek vaak oppervlakkig, weinig doorgrondend en is het te veel Jip-en-Janneke taal. Ook stoorde ik me mateloos aan het aantal personen dat als 'Nobel-winnaar' aangedragen werd, als bewijs voor hun onherroepelijke gelijk.

  • Katia N
    2018-10-30 05:33

    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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more constructive. He defines 7 perceptive myths about the emigrants. And this discussion is a bit more 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 more 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.

  • Apemaskin
    2018-11-08 04:54

    Excellent read on Utopian thinking, and Basic Income with nice historical context.The end quote sums up much of the thought, before an inspiring epilogue.“Utopia lies at the horizon.When I draw nearer by two steps,it retreats two steps.If I proceed ten steps forward, itswiftly slips ten steps ahead.No matter how far I go, I can never reach it.What, then, is the purpose of utopia?It is to cause us to advance.”― Eduardo Galeano

  • Ton Nguyen
    2018-11-18 04:40

    Een toegankelijk boek dat een goede introductie is op het basisinkomen. De historische voorbeelden zijn interessant en de aangedragen ideeën prikkelend, maar het hele verhaal is erg eenzijdig. Ik mis een vergelijking tussen verschillende oplossingen en vraag me af welke zwakke plekken een econoom kan vinden in het verhaal.

  • Hari Ramachandran
    2018-11-18 07:54

    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.

  • Stefania
    2018-11-20 06:29

    Bregman elabora en este libro una argumentación a favor de la renta básica universal, la semana laboral de quince horas y la caída de las fronteras internacionales. A primera vista, estos tres enunciados probablemente espantarán a unos cuantos -en algún momento a mí también me generaron un poco más que suspicacia-, sin embargo, cuando se comienza a ahondar en el tema, siempre haciendo el esfuerzo de dejar los prejuicios de lado, muchos de los argumentos cobran sentido.El mayor desafío que plantea esta lectura es abrir la cabeza. El mismo autor comenta que «cuando la realidad choca con nuestras convicciones más profundas, preferimos recalibrar la realidad que corregir nuestra visión del mundo.» (Ver disonancia cognitiva). Si reflexionamos un poco, podríamos concluir que esto ha hecho que el verdadero debate quedara relegado. Hoy se da por sentado que el trabajo dignifica, que las personas deben ganarse la vida, que las desigualdades son necesarias para el progreso de la sociedad, y un sinfín de etcéteras que lo único que hacen es consolidar el sistema tal cual lo heredamos*. ¿Y si esto no fuera así?Hacia 1930, Russell publicó su Elogio de la ociosidad, ensayo en el que desarrolla la reveladora idea de que tal vez un mundo mejor sería posible si las personas que lo habitaran fueran seres humanos realizados. Y ningún ser humano se realiza trabajando diez, doce, catorce horas al día por un salario mínimo. Las relaciones interpersonales, el tiempo libre, las artes son los que dotan de belleza a la vida, por no decir que le dan un sentido. Es lógica, entonces, su apología del ocio. Porque en el ocio el ser humano despliega todas sus posibilidades sin miedo a fracasar, porque sabe que su vida y la de su familia no dependen de ello. ¿Qué sucedería entonces si esa posibilidad no estuviera reservada a unos pocos privilegiados, sino que, de hecho, nos alcanzara a todos? Parafraseando a Bregman, en su lecho de muerte las personas no suelen arrepentirse de no haber prestado atención a una presentación de Power Point en el trabajo, sino de no haber sido fieles a sí mismas y de haber vivido según las reglas impuestas por otros. Creo que es válido como mínimo preguntarse si existe una alternativa al estado actual de las cosas.No estoy diciendo que en estas pocas páginas yace la solución a todos los problemas de la humanidad, ni mucho menos, pero, en mi opinión, las medidas propuestas tienen el grandísimo mérito de ser novedosas (o relativamente, la RBU es una idea tomada de la Utopía de Moro y Keynes habló de la reducción significativa de la jornada laboral). Entonces, si sabemos que todo lo anterior no ha dado resultado, ¿no sería hora de implementar algo nuevo?Yo me quedo con esa pregunta.* Puede, incluso, que este sea uno de los problemas más grandes que enfrenta la política actual: la falta de ideas, la reformulación y aplicación de medidas que antes no dieron resultado, los discursos repetitivos y faltos de contenido, siempre orbitando dentro del marco prestablecido que algunos han convenido que es el mejor.

  • Moriartyandherbooks
    2018-11-09 04:33

    This was so good!! Interesting, educational, well-written, and not too long! It had all the elements of what makes nonfiction so enjoyable. I would definitely recommend!

  • Allison
    2018-11-16 08:49

    I've felt so disillusioned looking at the current state of politics in this country and the world, but unsure what alternatives existed. For anyone who needs a pick-me-up on this front: this book proposes several possibilities, in a fresh and upbeat way. I'm dying to discuss this with friends. Some of these ideas blew my mind; I'm a newbie when it comes to political theory/economics. It's left me curious and optimistic about the future. I also think it's a fascinating companion to A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink.

  • Radiantflux
    2018-11-08 03:57

    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, more 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.

  • Madamedupin
    2018-10-26 05:55

    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.

  • Eve Dangerfield
    2018-10-26 09:48

    Thought provoking and hopeful. The perfect antidote to my end of year blues. Not to mention another book for the list of 'Everyone Should Read This. Wake Up Sheeple! Wake The Hell Up!'That's getting to be a long-ass list. Thank you, Rutger Bregman. It was a very interesting experience.

  • Adam
    2018-11-08 11:34

    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 more 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 more things change, the more 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.

  • Ibrahim Niftiyev
    2018-11-14 08:33

    ENG: This book really changed a lot of things in me. By starting to read this book I read about a lot of facts and concepts which were directly related to the economy and social life that were not obvious to me before. The style and format of the book are perfect. If you want to read this book, prepare yourself to face a vast number of relevant statistics. ---------AZE: Amerikalıların üçdə ikisi 2 həftəlik məzuniyyəti əlavə 2 həftənin məvacibindən üstün tuturlar. Eləcə də biznes mütəxəssislərin böyük əksəriyyəti vəzifələrinin bir o qədər də əhəmiyyətli olmadığını düşünür. Biz acığımız gələn iş yerlərində bütün günü işlədikdən sonra bizə lazım olmayan şeyləri almağa başlayırıq. "Realistlər üçün utopiya"da holland tarixçi və jurnalist Rutqer Breqman, bunların heç də belə olmamalı olduğunu qeyd edir. Beynəlminəllik və praqmatizm manifesti kimi Breqmanın kitabı əsas 3 ideya ətrafında formalaşıb: 15 saatlıq iş həftəsi, "universal minimal gəlir" və sərhədlərin olmadığı dünya. Bu iddialara dəstək məqsədi ilə kitabda ötən əsrin 70-ci illərində icra edilən "Mincome" təcrübəsi, evsizlərə verilən qarşılıqsız pul təcrübələri və müxtəlif çoxsayılı statistik faktlar yer alıb. Bəlkə də bu iddialar heç də qeyri-real deyil. Nəinki qeyri-real, cəsarətli olsaq, bəlkə də zəruridir deyə bilərik, çünki daha az saatlı iş həftəsi daha az iş xətası, ətraf-mühitə vurulan zərər, daha az stress, qəza və iqtisadi qeyri-bərabərlikdir. Breqman vurğulayır ki, dəyişiklik ideyalarla başlayır. Nə vaxtsa bizim bu günümüz keçmişdə yaşayan insanların utopiyası idi. Ona görə də ifrat istehsal və istehlak kimi problemlərin öhdəsindən gəlmək üçün gərək ilk növbədə qurduğumuz sistemlərə olan yanaşmamızı dəyişək. "Realistlər üçün utopiya" kitabı bizə cari iqtisadiyyatların qeyri-reallığını, ideal və ya utopik hesab edilən iqtisadi sistemlərin isə reallığını çox möhtəşəm və axıcı dil ilə izah edir. Məncə, kitabı oxuduqdan sonra heç kim bir daha düşündüyü ənənəvi fikirlərini və ya doqmaları yada salmayacaq. Kitabı axtarıb-tapıb oxumağıma əsas səbəb Rutqer Breqmanın öz kitabı haqqında The Economist-ə verdiyi müsahibəni dinləməyim olmuşdu (müsahibəni dinləmək üçün keçid: Bir iqtisadçı kimi mənə maraqlı gəlmişdi ki, görəsən yuxarı abzasda qeyd edilən məqamlar haqqında özünə belə inamla və güvənlə danışan şəxs nə dərəcədə ciddidir və nə dərəcədə real və yaxşı bilgilərin toplandığı kitab yaza bilib. Doqmalarımızı qıran ideyalar həmişə cəlbedici olur. Qısa müddət ərzində kitabı elektron olaraq tapdım və 1 ay ərzində yavaş-yavaş oxudum. Sonunda isə əsl düşüncə yenilənməsi yaşadım. "Realistlər üçün utopiya" kitabını sadəcə bəyənmək deyil, həm də onun faktuallığını nəzərə alıb qiymətləndirmək lazımdır. Son dövrlərin aktual məsələlərinə toxunan, müəyyən həll yolları göstərən və ən əsası fərziyələrlə deyil, real analitik yöntəmlərlə izahat aparan kitabı oxumağıma çox şad oldum. Sitat: "Bəşəriyyətin möhtəşəm ölçü daşları olan utopiyalarla əlaqədar hər zaman şübhələr olub. Tanınmış sosioloq Albert Hirşmana görə, utopiyalar 3 səviyyədə hücuma məruz qalıblar: axırsızlıq (bu mümkün deyil), təhlükə (risklər çox böyükdür) və qüsurluluq (bu distopiyaya səbəb olacaq degenerasiyadır), amma Hirşman həm də yazır ki, necə ki utopiyalar gerçəkləşir, adi bir şey kimi qəbul olunmağa başlanılır" (Breqman, Realistlər üçün utopiya, 2016) Kitab çox güclü kontrastlar üzərində qurulub. Bu o deməkdir ki, mövzular keçmiş dövrün gələcəyə olan yanaşmalarından hərəkətə gələrək, bu günümüzü də öz növbəsində hansısa gələcək zamanın keçmişi kimi qəbul edib, müxtəlif iqtisadi göstəriciləri ortaq məxrəcə gətirməyə çalışır. Məsələn, kitab ilk səhifələrində aydınlaşdırır ki, hələ Keynes 20-ci əsrin ilk rübündə daha az saata malik iş həftəsini iqtisadi cəhətdən məntiqli və düzgün hesab edirdi. Bundan əlavə, kasıb ölkələrin cəmiyyətlərin niyə görə kasıb olduqları ilə əlaqədar bir çox maraqlı təcrübə və məlumatlara əsasən səbəblər üzərində dayanılır. Qeyd edilir ki, kasıb ölkələr ona görə kasıbdır ki, onlarda sadəcə oalraq yetərincə nağd pul ehtiyatları yoxdur. Halbuki, həm media, həm də populist siyasətçilər kasıb cəmiyyətləri demokratiyanın olmamasında, insanların savadsızlığında və ya digər hansısa ictimai göstəricilərdə olduğunu deyirlər. Təbii ki, onların müəyyən əhəmiyyəti var, amma aparılan real təcrübələr və sahə araşdırmaları sübut edib ki, isanlara ilkin investisiyanı təmin edəndə, özləri həmin investisiyanı artırmağın yollarını axtarıb-tapırlar. Sitat: "19-cu əsrdə bərabərsizlik sosial sinif məsələsi ilə əlaqədar idi. Bu günlərdə isə bu məkan ilə əlaqədardır. "Bütün ölkələrin proletarları birləşin!" uzun müddət müxtəlif yerlərin kasıb insanlarının əzabkeşliyini birləşdirən ideya olub. Bu gün isə, Dünya Bankının aparıcı iqtisadçısı Branko Milanoviç qeyd edir ki, "Proletariat həmrəyliyi artıq ölüb, çünki artıq qlobal proletariat deyə bir şey qalmayıb.""(Breqman, Realistlər üçün utopiya, 2016) İnsan özü özlüyündə çox qəribə canlıdır, çünki o xəyal edə bilir. Kitabın ilk səhifələrindən müəllif göstərir ki, bütün bu fiosoflar, yazıçılar və alimlər utopiyaların vasitəsi ilə bəşəriyyətin inkişafa və firavanlığa nail ola biləcəyini qeyd edirmişlər. Onlardan bəziləri isə artıq reallaşıb, bəziləri reallşmaq üzərədir, digərlərinin reallaşması üçün isə az qalıb. Utopiya anlayışının özü əslində inkişaflar üçün mühüm zəmindir. İnsan təxəyyülündə özünə varlıq qazanan istənilən ideya, hətta utopiyalar belə nə vaxtsa gerçəkləşəcəklər, sadəcə o istiqamətdə kiçik addımlar irəliləmək yetərlidir. Sitat: "Abstrakt ideallardan fərqli olaraq, çertyojlar nifaqa tolerantlıq göstərməyən dəyişməz qayda-qanunlardan ibarət olurlar. İtalyan şair Tomasso Kampanellanın "Günəşin şəhəri (1602)" çox yaxşı nümunə təklif edir. Bu utopiyada və ya distopiyada, fərdi mülkiyyət ciddi olaraq qadağan olunub, hamı bir-birini sevməyə məcbur edilib və dava-dalaş ölümlə cəzalandırılır. Özəl həyat, intim məqamlar da daxil olmaqla dövlət tərəfindən idarə olunur. Məsələn, ağıllı insanlar ancaq axmaq insanlarla yatağa girə bilər, kök insanlar isə arıqlarla. Hər bir təklif arzuolunan ortalamaya nail olmaq üçün tənzimlənir. Ən əsası isə, hər bir insan inanılmaz dərəcə çoxsayılı informatorlar vasitəsi ilə nəzarət altındadır. Əgər bir kimsə qanunları pozarsa, özünün könüllü surətdə pis vətəndaş olduğunu qəbul edəcək və başqaları tərəfindən daşlanacağına razı olacağı həddədək qorxudulurdu" (Breqman, Realistlər üçün utopiya, 2016) Kitabı oxumaq qərarını verən şəxs bol rəqəmlərə və nümunələrə hazır olmalıdır. Belə kitabların mütaliəsi paradiqmadəyişdirici xarakterə malikdir və çox faydalı ola bilər. Rutqer Breqmanın "Realistlər üçün utopiya" kitabı birmənalı olaraq oxumağa dəyərlidir. Kitabı internetdə elektron versiyada axtarıb-tapmaq kifayət qədər çətin oldu. Əgər kitabı oxumaq istəsəniz, zəhmət olmasa aşağdakı keçidi istifadə edin. Keçiddə həm, pdf, həm də mobi versiyada kitabı yerləşdirmişəm.

  • Otto Lehto
    2018-10-25 09:43

    Let us be unreasonable and impossible, the author exhorts. But his book, short and sweet, is far from either. The idea of basic income fits into the paradigm of a realistic utopia, according to Rutger Bregman, whose penchant for popularizing penmanship and knack for narration keep the book interesting and informative, if not all that original. The book is best understood as an attempt to bring a whole bundle of progressive ideas into the mainstream, borrowing heavily from other classics. But what the book lacks in originality it makes up for in holistic vision.One of the most refreshing parts of the book is that the author does not demonize his political opponents, such as conservatives. And indeed, most of his strident criticisms are directed at his fellow leftists ("underdog socialists") whom he accuses of wallowing in reactionary pessimism. As someone who is more libertarian economically, I found his criticism of the banking and the financial sectors to be embarrassingly misguided, although not any more so than your average left liberal economist. (He confuses corporatist kleptocracy with free markets.) And his implicit call for more regulation of the labour markets relies on a notion of collectivistic economic planning that confuses ideal theory with the predictable failure of public policy - thus betraying his own allegiance to REALISTIC utopias. Furthermore, Bregman's utopia seems too static and degrowth to really feel alive in the way that realistic utopians must live and grow.But overall I enjoyed his vision. The future belongs to those who can envision alternative possibilities and find the institutional means to bring them account. Universal Basic Income is a way to marry progressive and libertarian politics, and "Utopia for Realists" does a good job of showing the kind of vision that it inspires - even if there is still room for more realism in the mix.

  • João Eduardo
    2018-11-15 11:43

    O livro é muito bem escrito, e ganha pontos pelas provocações que expõe - concorde com elas ou não.

  • Mehrsa
    2018-11-20 11:46

    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...

  • Pieter Serrien
    2018-11-03 06:46

    Uiterst interessant en belangrijk boek van de briljante historicus die ik al enkele jaren volg. Zijn ideeën over de kortere werkweek, basisinkomen en open grenzen samen. Het einde maakt het nog beter, met een stevige oproep aan links (ipv het verwachte rechts) om te stoppen met het 'verliezerssocialisme' en volop te gaan voor een eigen ideaal.

  • Tom
    2018-11-14 09:44

    The book came out in an interesting time of a paradigm shift in political perspectives. The general population is increasingly disillusioned by the trickle-down economics in the Reagan era, and pushed into the ideal of equality. While the book presented many great statistics, evidences, and insights (compiled from many different sources), it presented a few weak arguments. And through the weak argument is where the author's intellectual elitism wafts out of the writing. The author considers himself to be an arbiter of value, despite being minimally trained in economics. Somehow careers such as financial services that involves studying efficient capital allocation or corporate councils who protect the legal integrity are pointed out as bullshit jobs, all the while artists, philosophers and social study group champions are the true creators of wealth and drivers of economy. I'm not against the idea of wealth redistribution, but discounting the drive and ambition of educated professionals, and forcefully assigning high economic value to liberal disciplines, shows that not only does the author have a very limited understanding of economics, but also the left-wings' resistance of something as basic as free market.

  • Mary Lou
    2018-11-07 06:30

    So good I am probably gonna need to buy a copy (I got it from the library to begin with)! Bregman talks about the fact that on the one hand, we already live in what many in the past would have considered a utopia, with more food, safety, health, and material luxury than could have been imagined a few centuries ago--and on the other hand, we have now largely ceased to imagine ways we can make the world radically better from this point. He lays out the evidence demonstrating that measures like universal basic income, a 15-hour workweek, and open borders--all of which could benefit all of us in strictly economic, as well as making the world a better, happier place. And for those who say that these are impossible dreams--he points out that sensible people once said the same about democracy, abolition, and women's suffrage. Every utopia is impossible until it's realized, and then it becomes inevitable. But first we have to be thinking about and planning for those impossible dreams.