March 14, 2019

Rutger Bregman's Utopia for Realists

The idea of an a universal basic income (UBI) has been around for some time. It's a bold idea that has the potential to fundamentally change the way our society works, and there aren't enough of those. Whether it'd be a positive change is a different question.

The UBI is one of three big ideas historian Rutger Bregman discusses in Utopia for Realists. The other two are open borders and radically shorter work weeks. The essence of the book is interesting and it inspired me to read more about president Nixon, who had a few things going on that were at least as interesting as the Watergate scandal. One of them was he came close to introducing the UBI in the United States.

Unfortunately, it's hard to appreciate the book's tone, which at times feels like it was written with an audience of 12 year old school children in mind. Neither can I recommend it if you're interested in a balanced discussion of the disadvantages as well as the advantages associated with the UBI and the other topics it covers. Bregman is a polemicist more than he is a scholar, as will be obvious if you look for some of his recent media appearances.

Finally, for your enjoyment here is the photo of Rupert Murdoch that first made me aware of the book's existence when I came across it on Twitter:

Her husband choseƂ Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There by Rutger Bregman

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