Utopia realists.jpg

Utopia for Realists

Rutger Bregman

The goal of the future is full unemployment, so we can play.
— Arthur C. Clarke

Rutger Bregman is the guy who became a hero at the Davos conference by calling out all the hypocrisy & avoidance of taxes:

Before his viral moment, Bregman published a really fantastic book that takes a real look at how we might approach progressive policy agendas that, reflexively, seem out of reach.

My favorite thing about this book is how he wrote it. Fresh out of academia, Bregman landed a job as a journalist at De Correspondent. They offered him a dream deal: they paid him a full year’s salary to just disappear, study, and write whatever he wanted.

When he returned from the year, this book was the result. It lucidly engages with paths towards basic income, shorter working weeks, and open borders.

He relays a story from 1968 when five of humanity’s greatest economists all wrote an open letter to congress, asking that every citizen be guaranteed an income no less than the poverty line:

“And thus, in the revolutionary year of 1968, when young demonstrators the world over were taking to the streets, five famous economists - John Kenneth Galbraith, Harold Watts, James Tobin, Paul Samuelson, and Robert Lampman - wrote an open letter to Congress. ‘The country will not have met its responsibility until everyone in the nation is assured an income no less than the officially recognized definition of poverty,’ they said in an article published on the front page of the New York Times. According to the economists, the costs would be ‘substantial, but well within the nation’s economic and fiscal capacity.’”