Utopia For Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World

I loved the ideas behind this book. I’m not fully convinced that if we (as Americans) went out on a ledge to try something this different that it would be successful. The chapter on open borders was excellent and all the more relevant given the issues currently facing Europe and GB. He has a good way of making fairly complicated economic functions understandable, and I particularly enjoyed his views on GDP as an indicator of how well a society is functioning for its citizens.  In no way would I say this book is written as a balanced treatise. It’s more of a manifesto. I’m certainly not opposed to dreaming big and we do need to think outside the box to solve the worldwide pervasive problem of poverty. I think a basic income system is worth a good long look and possibly a pilot program. Before reading this book I had no idea that Nixon had already tried it. What I know from experience is that people are trapped in their circumstances in a way that only money can fix. I also enjoyed the foray into the world of The Jetson’s, a world I felt that I had been promised and have yet to receive. George Jetson had a nine-hour workweek which seems legit in a society where robots are doing most of the manual labor. Mr. Bregman suggests a 15-hour workweek that I feel is a pipe dream at this point in American history.We would need to reverse the current incentives. Right now it’s cheaper for employers to have one person work overtime than to hire 2 part time mostly because health care benefits are paid per employee instead of per hour. Basically, he says that either collective action by companies or countries would have to take place. I would be a fan of both the shorter work week and the basic income. At this point we need to make huge sweeping changes, I’m just not sure enough people understand that. Despite my misgivings about some of the conclusions that the author draws I do recommend this book. It’s out of the box thinking and if nothing else can supply readers with plenty to discuss and debate.

I read a DRC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World

Hardcover – March 14, 2017

by Rutger Bregman