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A few years later, a conservative government was voted into power in Canada, which pulled the plug on the experiment before the results could be analyzed.

Only recently did a Canadian scientist, Evelyn Forget, gain access to the archives and discover that the experiment had been an unmitigated success. Kids performed better at school, healthcare expenditures plummeted, and people were able to spend more time on things that really mattered.

What's Inside

Gawker: What about the fear that giving free money to all will just cause inflation, rendering that money much less valuable than it was when we started? There are quite a few prominent economists who have advocated doing this now, precisely because inflation is lagging.

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Ultimately, basic income has to be financed from taxes. A much more important consideration, incidentally, is the effect that a universal basic income will have on wages. It would give people who do crucial work but are underpaid — take cleaners, teachers, nurses — a lot more leverage, because they would always have their basic income to fall back on. It is even conceivable that these jobs would eventually pay more than the bullshit jobs in sectors like finance or marketing.

Which is, of course, the point.


  1. Rutger Bregman: ‘We could cut the working week by a third’ | Books | The Guardian.
  2. utopianism?
  3. A roadmap to utopia (with Rutger Bregman) – Pitchfork Economics.

Gawker: You talk in your book about how giving people a measure of freedom from wage slavery can actually open up opportunities for increasing overall wealth— can you explain how this could happen? Bregman: Lots of people earn big bucks for jobs that have virtually no value, and we can all think of important jobs that are underpaid. Universal basic income would give everybody the freedom to do something of value.

How many would-be geniuses are at this moment flipping burgers or driving for Uber?

There were consultants who felt their work was pointless, but the money they earned enabled them to do useful volunteer work. Or the woman who had made a documentary on the harmful effects of advertising on children — and guess how she funded it? By making ads. Then they turn around and use that money to write investigative reports on those very kinds of companies. In modern-day capitalism, in short, we are using bullshit to pay for the things we believe are truly important.


  • Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World.
  • Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman | Bookshop Santa Cruz.
  • CL Rutger Bregman on Utopia and the power of ideas - James Taylor.
  • Basic income would end all that. Gawker: When you look at this issue with political realism, how close do you think the US is to some form of basic income? Digital Innovation Hubs.

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    Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman | Little, Brown and Company

    Account Sign In. Continue searching only in Subject. Advanced Search. View: View results as grid View results as list. Utopia for realists : the case for a universal basic income, open borders, and a hour workweek First edition. Bregman, Rutger, author. Book , Utopia for realists : how we can build the ideal world. Guaranteed income for the unemployed; the story of SUB. Becker, Joseph.

    Statistics of annual earnings in OECD countries. Grubb, D. The welfare state has become too large and we need to cut back on benefits. Immigration is out of control and borders need to be strengthened. The choice seems to be either to accept this new paradigm or risk the likes of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders gaining power. The centre ground is being dragged to the left and right, and collapsing down the middle.

    Rutger Bregman on Utopia for Realists: And How We Can Get There

    Meanwhile progressive politics has returned to its comfort zone, busily opposing everything and offering almost nothing. Where is the vision, the ambition, the belief? Yet into this bleak picture drops a book and an author bristling with hope, optimism and answers. Rutger Bregman is a year-old Dutchman whose book, Utopia for Realists , has taken Holland by storm and could yet revitalise progressive thought around the globe. If that all sounds like fantasy politics, then Bregman has assembled a wealth of empirical evidence to make his case. His house is a few yards from the pretty canal that cuts through the centre of a carefully thought-out town.

    Thin, with a pallid complexion and a wispy rumour of a beard, he looks even younger than 28, but he speaks with impressive authority on his subject. Bregman does something very smart and mature in his book. Instead of just attacking capitalism and post-enlightenment liberalism, at the outset he celebrates its achievements.

    He shows the incredible improvements in life expectancy, health, wealth, education and freedoms that have been achieved in the last couple of centuries.

    Rutger Bregman's 'Utopia for Realists' Shows Us Why We Deserve Universal Basic Income

    As for much derided globalisation, he credits it with lifting million Chinese out of extreme poverty — hugely more than communism ever achieved. But whereas idealists in the 60s extolled Maoism, regardless of the death and destruction it wrought, no one gets too misty eyed about what the international market has done for China.

    Why, I ask, are the progressive-minded so reluctant to acknowledge this remarkable turnaround? You need to have a new vision of where you want to go. Bregman has a vision. But, wait a second. Universal benefit, a hour working week, open borders, really?

    Book Review: Utopia For Realists

    How could that be achieved? Bregman gets a little bit vague at this point. He says that even neoliberal economists such as Milton Friedman were keen on universal basic income UBI , although they tend to call it negative income tax. He acknowledges that a genuinely universal system would involve a massive overhaul of our tax system and that it would require an enormous amount of public and political support. The implications of that are radical.