Regular price: $28.50

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

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.

©2017 Rutger Bregman (P)2017 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    74
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    63
  • 4 Stars
    10
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    61
  • 4 Stars
    9
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

Intelligent, inspiring and surprising, Bregman has captured the history of ideas and current social and economic dilemmas superbly. His is a radical view and one that needs to be taken seriously if the world and it's populations are to survive.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Well, yeah - but....

I have to admit, this was an enjoyable listen. The narrator was excellent, and the material was interesting and quite compelling. Would that it all be true! I'd surely sign on!

My difficulty with his supposition is that all his proposals depend on government doing something, and there is a trust in government and those who hold sway in it that is naive.

"We" all need to act together, and unite around a vision of the results we want and to this end, the author chooses government as the vehicle. How this can be pulled off when our varied values leave many skeptical about the outcomes envisioned due to doubts about the motives of not only recipients, but about those of those holding power to set policy about who is a recipient and how much others need to give to them.

It may be possible to pull these schemes off with a slight majority in Parliament or Congress - it's not impossible. But the values sitting behind these proposals are so extreme, and the time to pull it off if they have a chance of working so long, that unless elections are put off for a generation there is no way any government can pull it off.

For example, at least with regard to the guaranteed income scheme he proposes, the partial example he gave is matched by other attempts in Canada and elsewhere that were stopped and found to be failures. Were they actually? If they failed, why? Hard to know - he certainly claims that such judgments are biased and that these programs, had they been given the chance to succeed, would have.

By the time I finished, I felt as though I could share a vision of a kumbaya future where we all hold hands and are nice to each other. Even if it's all a sort of self-interested rather than altruistic nicety, I'd sign on if the vision spoken of could be achieved. I seriously doubt it, though - at least regarding the way he proposes it. Ideas like these need to be founded in personal charity, not public charity - and if it can't be sustained there, in my judgment it won't be sustained at the government level either.

Though he doesn't address this in the book, there may be other ways to make it happen as blockchain technologies improve and develop over the next decade or two - it may yet happen that his visions can become reality.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

clearly states difficult topics. With passion.

Provides clear explanations and facts enabling us to communicate the beliefs so many of us hold dear. We appreciate capitalism for where it has brought us but we are ready to move on to the next stage a post-capitalist phase that utilizes the Innovations it has helped create to allow all humans to benefit and lead wonderful lives!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

FINALLY!!!

...Someone else who GETS it!!! The TRUTH & REALITY of the poverty and it's affects. A mandatory listen/read for EVERY single human on the planet.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful