Universal basic income. A 15-hour workweek. Open borders. Does it sound too good to be true? One of Europe's leading young thinkers shows how we can build an ideal world today.
After working all day at jobs we often dislike, we buy things we don't need. Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian, reminds us it needn't be this way - and in some places it isn't.
Rutger Bregman's TED Talk about universal basic income seemed impossibly radical when he delivered it in 2014. A quarter of a million views later, the subject of that video is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders all over the world. It's just one of the many utopian ideas that Bregman proves is possible today.
Utopia for Realists is one of those rare books that takes you by surprise and challenges what you think can happen. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty to Richard Nixon's near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history and beyond the traditional left-right divides as he champions ideas whose time has come.
Every progressive milestone of civilization - from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy - was once considered a utopian fantasy. Bregman's book, both challenging and bracing, demonstrates that new utopian ideas, like the elimination of poverty and the creation of the 15-hour workweek, can become reality in our lifetime. Being unrealistic and unreasonable can, in fact, make the impossible inevitable, and it is the only way to build the ideal world.
"Rutger Bregman is part of a new generation of thinkers who are suggesting exciting alternatives to the orthodoxies of the last 40 years. In this surprising, accessible, and often counterintuitive book, Bregman explores some brilliant but simple ideas for making a better world." (Brian Eno)
''It's a wonderful, well-written book, easily the crispest and least dry explanation of the research and history behind basic income as an idea I've seen in print." (Dylan Matthews)
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- Kerrie M James