Utopia for Realists

How We Can Build the Ideal World
Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 6 hrs and 34 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,035 ratings)

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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)

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Doesn't address the real question

This book spends almost all of it's time addressing the case for providing universal income or 'money with no strings attached' to people who are struggling and/or have been struggling for a long time. It goes into great detail about all of the wonderful, inventive, amazing things that those people did with the money to better themselves and their communities. But it never answers the real question - what happens next? If we introduce universal income, what happens to the next generation, the ones who never had to struggle, who don't have the perspective of having nothing in order to appreciate having something? If we give that generation the same 'no strings attached' money, can we really expect them to be so inventive, so appreciative? Or is it more likely they will simply be expectant, entitled, squanderous? That's the question I kept asking throughout, and never got an answer so this entire "study" is very biased, one-sided and incomplete. If you are actually a realist I do not recommend this book.

16 people found this helpful

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Utopia is good but this is liberal propaganda

Although I support and promote the idea of ideal, paradise is the purpose we were created for afterall, this author is just leaning so far left off his soapbox that he cant be taken seriously, he spent most of the time on what to do with money, socialisim, redistribution, taxes, stealing from the rich, when in utopia there in fact, is no money due to AI.

The first chapter was good if the many statistics were accurate, but the rest was embarising and gives paradise builders a bad name. He, like many in the media, focus on the symptoms and like any symptom only doctor, he might make you feel good but kill you with his "miracle money solutions" Rather one should address the roots. Money is a way to move scarce resources. Have you looked up and seen how big stellar objects are and how many? The universe is abundant with resources, focus on moving those instead of money and money will become obsolete through and abundant economy.

Finally even taking his rant seriously for a moment, there are some advancements that are only possible with large concentrations of resources. Take operating systems, screen streaming services, and other tech that takes years to develop and large amounts of awareness marketing to make sustainable. This author doesn't consider the effect stealing will have on progress.

Of course there are radical changes in store when comparing paradise with today's systems. Just one of many examples of radical change; Life will become more precious as life becomes long, the ripple effects of immortality in our reach, will make death unacceptable; cars, abortion, assisted suicide, war, deadly weapons, death penalty, and more will be obsoleted by demand and technology. People today on all sides of politics will be considered savage relative to the maturity to come.

10 people found this helpful

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Brilliant Book

Bregman puts forth, what at first blush, seem like radical, unapproachable objectives. However after careful listening to the material, his proposals are merely pragmatic, steeped in verifiable data obtained through real world testing. His idea for universal income makes complete sense economically, socially, and certainly morally, but politics and prejudice raise their ugly heads and stand in the way of humane progress. I highly recommend this book, common sense in what is very much a senseless time in our history.
Regards,
Sam Thompson

7 people found this helpful

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eye opening

this book really made me think about how the world functions and how it could function without being dogmatic. I think real change will be inspired by this books messages.

7 people found this helpful

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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!

5 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

let's do it!!

I am so excited that these ideas can make us more human and live our full potential!

5 people found this helpful

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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.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Pretty good

Really good for over half of it and then he started the lose me a little. The facts and numbers were solid and as unbiased as could be for a while but alot of clear Cherry picking as he got later into the book.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant

this book is a masterpiece and in my opinion every single person should read it.

1 person found this helpful