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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.


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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.

30 review for Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-hour Workweek

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Keeten

    ”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 more. He discovered that workers are more 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 more people to afford...cars. 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 more money they pay their workers, the more 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, writers...creative 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 more 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 more 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 more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    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.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mario the lone bookwolf

    If you like progressive, pro welfare state, social security, in a nutshell, the Nordic model praising nonfiction with hard facts and undeniable, logical argumentations, some of them the first time presented to a larger audience, this is your new favorite. After having read Klein, Chomsky, and Ziegler, who are all primarily talking about the problems and showing some ways out of the dilemma, I find this new approach towards less ranting and more solutions very positive. What it differentiates fro If you like progressive, pro welfare state, social security, in a nutshell, the Nordic model praising nonfiction with hard facts and undeniable, logical argumentations, some of them the first time presented to a larger audience, this is your new favorite. After having read Klein, Chomsky, and Ziegler, who are all primarily talking about the problems and showing some ways out of the dilemma, I find this new approach towards less ranting and more solutions very positive. What it differentiates from many left/right, conservative/progressive, capitalist/socialist, etc. writings is that it´s really trying to be neutral, although the author is pro social democracy and Keynesian economics. I´ve read many, mostly left, thinkers, and do you know what happens all the time? Instead of talking about how to find a compromise, solutions, built a better future together, there is mostly bashing of the opponent, no matter who is right or wrong and yes, there are cases where leftist politics can´t immediately be implemented and other solutions have to be found. There is so much faith, belief, conditioning, coincidences who conditions and indoctrinates one to be on one side, that an open discussion gets more and more impossible, but building a brighter future is only possible together with the economy, companies, and conservative parties because, well, they have the cash. One of the most important messages of this book is to leave the comfort zone of the own ideology and try to find interdisciplinary approaches to solve some of the inevitable problems, some of the essential already screaming from the cover. I am really trying to see the immense positive effects on general wealth capitalism brought, before neoliberalism turned it in the creepiest and most destructive creature man ever made, and, older and wiser as I am, see that fixing and optimizing societies to create a more human, sustainable, and fair economic system can only be made possible by cooperation, respect, and willingness to change, not by insults and hate. I mean, look at the world, your country, each comment section on Amazon and Goodreads, that´s are no productive contentions, that´s just hate trolling and sh**storming by people who read nonfiction books. Does one get the irony, reading to get knowledge and behaving like that in comment sections of books one doesn´t like? Back to the topic: Bregman is, as said, pro-human and pro-environment and he has the intention to help the opponents to find a way out of the current dilemmas without losing their reputation and too much money money. You know, breakdown of civilization, pitchforks, and torches, military, and police deserting, all pretty bad for shareholder values, quotations, and stock indexes, possibly even the mansion could get damaged. Bergman uses history and very much data and sources to prove his theses. Some main points: Universal basic income instead of the prison system and mass incarceration. People have secure basic needs satisfied, don´t turn to crime, can have a free education, all the money for prison industry can be used to build the welfare state, less police is needed for that reasons and can fight organized crime and white-collar crime instead, cities are better places to live, ghettos and hoods disappear, no single parent mothers in poverty with kids growing up without fathers,… Social inequality has to be reduced https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_... Best minds get lost, as they go into banking, managing, become shifters of money in the financial sector, brokers,… earning very much, people doing real jobs with their hands or social work, get nothing. Instead the talented could work as doctors, engineers, scientists, etc., but don´t do it, because it would be stupid to go in jobs with more work and less cash. Counterintuitive, but true, if the borders are open, the people go back to their home countries. Take the rich EU, US, etc. where people can freely move around for work, but return home. If, on the other hand, it´s dangerous to deadly to get across a secured border, hardly anyone goes back. If the wealth is isolated behind death strips and not fairly distributed, organized crime, black economy, political extremism, and terrorism have many unnecessary breeding grounds and again, the military and police have to invest money that could be used for the welfare state. Happy people don´t kill other happy people. No bureaucratic disses and shenanigans to get social services, no stigmatization, no coercion to do precarious work to not get homeless or stay hungry. If there are no taxpayers anymore, if there is no redistribution by higher wages, reducing working time, taxation of robots and capital, UBI, the system collapses. The most successful, biggest companies have fewer and fewer workers and will have to keep automating anything to stay global market leaders and everyone will copy their behavior. More and more people, fewer and fewer jobs, that´s a real-life exponential process, looking at you, economics. Raising taxes for the very rich who are already getting immense, hidden amounts of money by public fundings and subsidies in the multi k billion dimension each year, tax reliefs, or just hiding the money in tax havens, while fighting against socialist leftist social politics. Taxes on financial speculation. Richard Nixon was pro universal health and UBI and the democrats successfully fought against it. What will lead to all of it is that robots don´t buy, algorithms don´t consume, and that the immense wealth will be destroyed if it´s not redistributed. Or back to the middle ages and feudalism, then it could be possible for you, honorable god emperors of mammon. Does anyone know an anachronism? When there was slavery, the king said the empire and economy would collapse without them and forced labor. When there was the first talk about democracy, the elites said it would lead to barbary and destruction of the state. What does this say about the current discussion, when UBI, open borders, less working hours, welfare state.. are defined as not possible, mad, dangerous, bad for the kids, communistic, and would lead to the breakdown of society (yet again) and degeneration of humankind (mission already accomplished). I am a layman, but let's say that for just one week all factories on earth would produce useful stuff instead of senseless consumer crap, and it´s equitably distributed to everyone, the basic needs of everyone could be provided, nobody had to suffer, and the 50 to 100 billionaires who own as much as 3,5 billion people possibly wouldn´t starve. Some final pessimism, because I can´t get out of my skin. The funny thing is that there is no hard evidence, just replication crisis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replica... lies, and ultra soft economic and political, so called sciences, that are arguing pro destroying human lives and the planet for totally bonkers, not even real, reasons. Their arguments and attacks are a collection of propaganda methods, not a single thing that would be used in natural sciences, all just institutionalized madness that controls most of our lives. Do you know where else one old, white, not necessarily wise but demagogic, man tells a story and it gets viral and millions believe it and listen to everything and it escalates quickly? Yes, popular TV-talk shows with charismatic hosts. (view spoiler)[No, it´s of course politics. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[No, it´s of course economics. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[No, it´s of course faith. (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[No, it´s of course… Ha, nothing else here, what did you expect, but the clicking was fun, wasn´t it? And great to exhaust oneself to get rid of the anger. (hide spoiler)] What stunned me, once again, is how a short book can contain so much knowledge, solutions, and proofs that all sides of the spectrum together already had and could thus have intentions to reinvent social order in the 21 century, while all mass media is ignoring it and instead repeating mantras of endless exponential growth and fake pseudo statistics and extrapolations. I´ll avoid those topics in the future, everything is said, probably I´ll edit, write, pimp, and post a few dozen reviews of books I´ve already read about the stuff, but read no new ones anymore. If one gets it, it´s fine, one more working for a better future, if not, I won´t feed the trolls and waste my time anymore with adults unable to self-reflection, introspection, and compromises. I see so many intelligent people wasting their time or even having wasted their lives that way, that could instead have used their knowledge and expertise to find connecting factors to moderate thinkers of the other side of the political spectrum for the sake of a consensus, instead of continuing the hardliner vs. hardliner squabble. You know, communism and capitalism, it can both be stupid, just depending on fine-tuning. Capitalism degenerated to neoliberalism, destroying the environment and deferring human development, marxism degenerated to communism, killing more people than any authoritarian government style before. A wiki walk can be as refreshing to the mind as a walk through nature in this completely overrated real life outside books: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_... I´ll set a good example by listing a bit of what is going wrong in the progressive, social democracy, green party, etc. spectrum and no, I am and will always be on the left side and know that this is the only way to realize utopias, by the way, proven by science and the numbers, but to know the weak spots is better than narcissism and megalomania. Arrogance and condescension, doing as if one has all the solutions, looking down jovially at the other party, making it impossible for them to be willing to change. To deter the youth, making them hate politics even more. Being offended when NGOs are more popular and successful, not questioning why Fridays for future has achieved more within months than they did in their whole career? Might it be that all people, no matter if they are conservatives or teenagers, hate it to be treated that way and automatically are against one? Pseudo intellectualism by playing around with unproven humanities, believing to have solutions by waving around theoretical concepts, bashing the other side for exactly the same behavior. A country with a fair, sustainable trade policy will not survive against the other predator states. The state has to use his companies as the weapons of the only possible conflict left between western states, the trade war, and help them in any way possible. Humans are not naturally nice, they are greedy, unicorn icecream lollypop is unrealistic. We all here are profiteers of this system, privileged as we are and there are young economists, entrepreneurs, and businessmen who want to find a solution or have disruptive business ideas and without their expertise, good ideas will be doomed to fail. The opposition is not even trying to take their hand, just as with tech and the ideas of their own youth, they play allmighty super brainer instead. Not investing in own education programs, without system propaganda, and enlightenment, the key element in the Nordic states, instead repeating the same political circle, not even daring to speak out the real problems, instead a bit of superficial environmental protection and pseudo reforms, instead just drops on the hot stone. Still hierarchical, no flat hierarchies, no open conversation, discussion, absolutely no difference to faith and ideology, unable to change opinion, revise, reflect, be open to new ideas. Doing as if all rich and all companies were evil, no differentiating between a Bill Gates with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (yes, he saves a lot of taxes, I know, but he does something) and a Rupert Murdoch with Foxnews. By the way, there is not much difference between Tucker Carlsons´ reaction to Bregman and how many leftists are reacting to conservatives. Not building a free, own press, as the right wingers and conservatives are doing it, although the internet would allow it for free without much money money. Technophobia: Giving nothing on the use of modern technology, not using direct democracy with all the internet options, fighting against genetic engineering and delaying one of the most important key technologies for the sake of humanity and against world hunger. Being unable to cooperate with and get funding by progressive companies that are interested in a change, because they have sustainable business models that are blocked by the current political system. I could tell much more, but it gets boring and yes, I am a true agnostic nihilist and meanwhile at the point where I despise all politicians the same, all part of the problem, not the solution, no matter what party. I, by the way, have a decade long history of activism, interest in politics, and talking to many people and that´s the result, don´t want to waste my time anymore. Try it yourself, it´s refreshing. And depressing. As said, I´m out, the ones in politics who are pretending to fight for these important ideals are incompetent wiseacres that aren´t able to read the 50 to 75 books that would be necessary to be visionary, realistic, and have an open mind although it would be essential for both their job and their so-called bigot hypocritical ideology to educate themselves. Or learn to open the mouth without insulting or belittling anyone and inhibiting a consensus this way. They are even worse than the opponents, because they occupy the important opposition that should normally speak out what´s the problem, a simulated educational political discussion in a classroom is doing more and finding more solutions, making it unable for the young ones to change something, even politicians like Trump are doing more for a positive change, because they mobilize a huge opposition by satirizing themselves and the system. Oh, yes, of course, those pseudo progressive wannabe Marxists are also unable to laugh about themselves. Thank the flying spaghetti monster this trash is finally out of my system. Engage in NGOs, politics is, at the moment, a waste of time and lifeblood, the ones who could change something are mostly anachronistic, anti paradigm shift dinosaurs that reached their position with nodding and following the wise path of the three monkeys of their own ideology, completely ignoring the world around them. For each party: right-wing: without words conservatives: backlashes social democrats: without prospects, no real support for the Nordic model green/liberal/alternative: see above You didn´t expect I would rant against my own ideology, did you? I´ve added some extra information gossip about how I became so deeply cynical in the comments as message Nr. 7, titled BECAUSE THE REVIEW WAS TOO LONG AND I COULDN´T ADD IT:

  4. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    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 – 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Yemi Adesanya

    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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ·Karen·

    Something I hear not infrequently at the moment is a prediction that this crisis is going to really, really make a difference. The world will never be the same again. At that point in the conversation - and there are damned few conversations to be had right now, but nevertheless, at that point I tend to go a bit quiet. Because what I'm thinking is 'BULLSHIT'. (Which I'm too polite to say). 'Cos what I'm thinking is, actually, people have really, really short memories and those who haven't been l Something I hear not infrequently at the moment is a prediction that this crisis is going to really, really make a difference. The world will never be the same again. At that point in the conversation - and there are damned few conversations to be had right now, but nevertheless, at that point I tend to go a bit quiet. Because what I'm thinking is 'BULLSHIT'. (Which I'm too polite to say). 'Cos what I'm thinking is, actually, people have really, really short memories and those who haven't been left unemployed and homeless by the projected economic downturn will go back to Life As They Knew It, and in fact we'll have a sudden surge as everyone tries to catch up with all the holidays they missed and the stuff they didn't buy... Only this morning on German TV there was an idea that the car industry would need a government boost after the corona crisis (Really?!) Subsidies to encourage people to buy cars, and not, as was the case pre-pandemic, to encourage people to buy electric cars, no! The government proposes to use taxpayers' money to pay people to buy ANY kind of car. But then maybe the idea people are expressing is not so much a prediction as a fervent wish. And that is not bullshit, not at all, in fact it's reasonable and sensible, because, as Bregman points out in this dazzling work, a sudden shock CAN be a powerful instrument of change. The thing is though that the ideas for change have to already be flying around, like the famous roast chickens in Cockaigne, ready to be plucked from the air. I suppose the radical New Thinking that was gaining currency just before Covid 19 was Climate Change. And now we can all see that life still goes on with all planes grounded and minimal road traffic and a reduction in industrial manufacturing, and surprise! We get a reduction in CO2. Who'd have thought. But a total lockdown is not a viable model for the long term future, I imagine. So here are some ideas (nothing to do with the climate) to get us started in time for the NEXT crisis: 1. Guaranteed universal basic income. 2. Shorter working hours 3. Open borders If you live in Germany you can make a start here: https://www.change.org/p/finanzminist...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    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 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 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    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 t 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."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    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 more than rich enough to put an end to it once and for all? And why is more than 60% of your income depends on the country where you just happen to ha 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 more than rich enough to put an end to it once and for all? And why is more 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 https://www.theguardian.com/business/... . 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 more 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 more 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 more 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 more books/articles on such important issues. If you have any suggestions/links do let me know. Highly recommended

  10. 4 out of 5

    Adrian Hon

    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 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.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Peter (Pete) Mcloughlin

    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.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cristina

    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 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. (!!!)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Katia N

    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 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    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 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.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    Though its fairly rare for me to read nonfiction--you'll usually find me digesting these books in the audio versions--this book caught my eye during a Kindle sale. I've been trying my best to broaden my understanding of not only the problems facing the world, but reasonable solutions. Utopia for Realists proposes three concepts (universal basic income, a 15-hour work week, and open borders) that often come up during political debates for which I had little opinion prior to reading. Fortunately, I Though its fairly rare for me to read nonfiction--you'll usually find me digesting these books in the audio versions--this book caught my eye during a Kindle sale. I've been trying my best to broaden my understanding of not only the problems facing the world, but reasonable solutions. Utopia for Realists proposes three concepts (universal basic income, a 15-hour work week, and open borders) that often come up during political debates for which I had little opinion prior to reading. Fortunately, I caught a cool talk at a pediatric conference discussing the benefits of eradicating poverty on child health that seemed to agree with a lot of what Bregman is suggesting. It was refreshing to hear material I often find dull spun into a message which I could easily appreciate. Though the main impediment seems to be well-worth ruts of political thought, it's hopeful to read optimistic messages that others openly share. It was also great to read Bregman's well-written and mostly colloquial language for what can quickly become a jargon-filled info dump. On a more personal level, this just isn't the type of thing that I live for. I mean, the concepts, sure, but it is not my favourite reading experience. Science writing, autobiography, and true crime tend to be my nonfiction niches and I found myself easily glazing over during extended reading. Though everything is well explained, I wasn't gripped by the historical fact the way some readers might be. In summary: a short primer that is an occasional snooze.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    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...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    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). Furthermore, 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 more “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 System 2) 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?! (https://youtu.be/O8k0yO-deoA?t=26) ...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 R&D). 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...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Conor Ahern

    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 more 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 more of a yen for something radical and outside the box. Here's hoping more 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    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 more 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.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kamyar malzoom

    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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hari Ramachandran

    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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Utopia for Realists: How we Can Build the Ideal World, by Rutger Bregman, is a fascinating book about the idea of Utopia in a modern, realistic context. Early concepts of Utopia revolved around basic needs; food falling from the sky, safety and health, and so on. Bregman says we are there already. Food is no longer scarce in most countries, and poverty rates and crime is down globally - to the lowest levels in history. Instead, many nations are grappling with other issues - overwork, obesity, la Utopia for Realists: How we Can Build the Ideal World, by Rutger Bregman, is a fascinating book about the idea of Utopia in a modern, realistic context. Early concepts of Utopia revolved around basic needs; food falling from the sky, safety and health, and so on. Bregman says we are there already. Food is no longer scarce in most countries, and poverty rates and crime is down globally - to the lowest levels in history. Instead, many nations are grappling with other issues - overwork, obesity, lack of leisure time, economic inequality that is reaching levels not seen since medieval times... and so on. How is society to tackle these issues? Bregman makes a few strong arguments, chiefly, a guaranteed annual income. This idea has been experimented and trialed before, notably in Canada and the US, with countries like Switzerland and the Netherlands tinkering with the idea of making it national policy. Bregman argues that giving people money with no strings attached in actually more efficient, encourages growth and productivity, and so much more. Bregman notes numerous studies and trials of monetary transfers like this. One notable example is a trial in London, England, where 13 homeless "frequent flyers" - in and out of hospitals, jail etc. - were given 3000 pounds flat out, no strings attached. Before, these 13 had been costing the state around 400000 pounds a year (yes, that much) in legal fees, jail costs, healthcare costs, social services costs, and so on. in comparison, 3000 pounds is a very small percentage of their total yearly cost to the taxpayer. This money made a huge impact on the lives of these 13 - in a small period of time, some had enrolled in courses, some were working, some in rehab, and some in new housing. Numerous other studies are cited within the book, pointing to the benefits of basic income and disproving many of the criticisms. Bregman argues that basic income does not make people lazy, but instead motivates them to go back to school, start small businesses, engage in creative passions, and just enjoy life a bit more. After all, nobody regrets not spending enough time at the office on there death beds. Instead, they regret not spending enough time with family and friends, or not pursuing their passions. Bregman's book is refreshing for a few reasons; first and foremost is the hopeful, upbeat tone. So many political books coming out in modern times are negative. They purport ideas that have little meaning, say almost nothing, and offer no innovation or invention in the field. So many jobs these days - as Bregman quotes, are bullshit. People's lives lack meaning. But this can all be easily changed by opening the door to a few innovative ideas. Basic income. Shorter work weeks. Paying public service workers like nurses, teachers, garbage collectors etc. more money, and paying lobbyists, corporate lawyers and hedge fund managers less. Encouraging banks to hold more assets. And so on. This book is fascinating, simple in conception, and very interesting. It is certainly a recommended read for those looking for a good introduction to the idea (not the quantitative analysis) of basic income. It is also a left leaning book that is not disparaging to the right, and has respect for other fields, ideologies and ideas. A great book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maru Kun

    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 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

  24. 5 out of 5

    Terence M (Temporarily Indisposed)

    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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    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 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. https://twitter.com/search?q=Patagonia www.patagonia.com

  26. 4 out of 5

    Justine

    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 more 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 more 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 more 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!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tuncer Şengöz

    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.

  28. 5 out of 5

    G.

    3.5/5 I 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    David

    A poorly argued book about ideas that I agree with. Light on analysis and critical thinking, heavy on speculation, storytelling and context-free statistics. Could have been an infographic.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amirography

    Very convincing arguments. However not as revolutionarly mindblowing as I expected it to be. I loved his evidence-based method of arguement.

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