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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. His April 2017 talk continues to make the provocative case, detailing the idea's 500-year history and even its brief success in a forgotten trial in Manitoba in the 1970s. Nearly a million views later, guaranteed basic income is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the world over. 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 have 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 fifteen-hour workweek, can become a 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.
About the Author
Rutger Bregman is a journalist at The Correspondent, and one of Europe's most prominent young thinkers. He has published four books on history, philosophy, and economics. His History of Progress was awarded the Belgian Liberales prize for best nonfiction book of 2013, and Bregman has twice been nominated for the European Press Prize.