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Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World Hardcover – Illustrated, March 14, 2017
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From the Publisher
"Both a fun read and a breath of fresh air to anyone who lived through the ghastly experience of last year's presidential election season . . . Utopia for Realists argues, with humor and sympathy, that we've all suffered from forgetting how to dream of a better world....What's so interesting about modern America is our hostility to the mere idea of trying to create an easier and happier life. We're a country that was once rich with social experimentation . . . Now we don't really even try, and mostly just scream at each other on the Internet. That doesn't seem like it will get us there. Maybe free money and a three-hour workday won't, either, but it sure seems like it would be more fun to try."
―Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
"Convincing . . . Entertaining and reasoned . . . Bregman's book makes for enjoyable reading, and it is packed with colorful factual asides . . . Utopia for Realists should make for good conversation at the next dinner party."―Benjamin Cunningham, Los Angeles Review of Books
"Utopia for Realists is fantastic. A quick glance turned into hours of riveting reading. Very seldom does a book change the way you think about some of most intractable problems of society, and of life. This one did. Read this book."―Sydney Finkelstein, director of the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and author of Superbosses: How Exceptio
"If you're bored with hackneyed debates and decades-old right-wing and left-wing clichés, you may enjoy the bold thinking, fresh ideas, lively prose, and evidence-based arguments in Utopia for Realists."
―Steven Pinker, New York Times bestselling author of The Blank Slate and The Better Angels of Our Nature
"A spirited and practical manifesto for improving the odds of making a heaven on Earth."
"[Bregman] engagingly examines basic income schemes... entertaining and intriguing.... These are appealing notions, presented here in a breezy, TED talk-like style."
About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Hardcover : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316471895
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316471893
- Product Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.35 x 9.6 inches
- Publisher : Little, Brown and Company; Illustrated Edition (March 14, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #315,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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To appreciate and enjoy Utopia For Realists, you must buy into the initial premise that our problem is we can’t come up with anything better than the way things are now. We have run out of goals. We have run out of ideas. We are all about cutting back, servicing less, and ignoring various elephants in the room, like automation overloading us with leisure time. Western society is so wealthy in historic terms that we don’t realize we have reached Utopia. Even at our worst, we are infinitely better off than our forebears. What we need now is a new Utopia to aim for.
Guaranteed income sounds impossibly expensive, but everywhere it has been tried – dozens of places - it has worked spectacularly. For one thing, every dollar spent saves three in less supervision of beneficiaries (eg. Police and court services, pointless workshops, training sessions and reports on everyone all the time). For another, the poor don’t drink away the income; they hang onto it dearly, measuring it out only as needed for the biggest impact. Poverty is not an attitude; it is a shortage of cash.
Two hundred years ago, we worked 70 hour weeks with no days off. And we were miserable. Today, we can be miserable with 40 hour weeks, two days off and 2-5 weeks’ vacation. Soon, we must face the reality of 15 hour weeks, because artificial intelligence will pick up where automated looms, assembly lines and robots have left off. We can massage it into a Utopia, or let it destroy our fabric. Our choice, but we need to start acting now.
Borders prevent development and trade. Mexicans used to return from the USA at the rate of 85%. Now they have to stay put. Finding new markets or even just work is enlarged with a larger territory. Artificially compartmentalizing everyone is stultifying. Economically, politically, and socially. Passports and visas – a totally artificial construct recently invented, benefitting no one.
Bregman doesn’t get into the self-imposed need for growth, though he does criticize the concepts of GNP/GDP. He says governing by numbers is the last resort of a country that no longer knows what it wants, a country with no vision of utopia.
He ends with sound advice for the Left: stop caving to right wing dogma. You have access to dramatic facts. Use them. There are gigantic, proven solutions waiting to be implemented if only someone would sponsor them. He points out that the accepted issues of the day, like voting by women, same sex marriage and abolition of slavery were outrageously radical and completely unacceptable just a few years ago. So be impossible and have a thick skin.
Here is why you will want to read this book: You admit that things look pretty dark now and our future looks pretty bleak? Well what you need, my friends, is a dose of hope to wipe away that despair. Utopian thought provides that hope and shines a light upon some possible future pathways. At any rate when things fall completely apart we better be ready with some bright ideas about how to make the world whole again. This book is filled with some challenging ideas that are presented with such clarity you are likely to go out and win some brew pub arguments with your new found audacity. It also felt good to read. It was also a fast and easy read - despite how challenging some of the concepts were. I chalk this up to some great writing. And great it must be because this book was originally written in Dutch and survived the translation intact.
Purchase two copies: one for yourself and one for your comrade in arms. Another world in possible!
Top reviews from other countries
Whilst an interesting read it doesn't put forward concrete plans. It feels disjointed. Perhaps because it is a translation.