Ep. 12 Utopia for Realists by Rutger Bregman

Utopia for Realists is a thought-provoking book that is not only entertaining but also filled with facts and case studies that could otherwise make for a dull read. Rutger Bregman brings to our attention the evidence behind the need for Universal Basic Income, a 15-hour workweek (this one seems like a dream) and open borders. This week we are sharing our thoughts on this great read. Did you know that Richard Nixon almost instituted a Universal Basic Income for all Americans? Me neither.

If the coronavirus hasn’t been evidence enough for Universal Basic Income, then automation and the future idea of “work” should be. Imagine a world where we only work 15 hours a week. Think about all the time you would have for family, hobbies, and creativity. Imagine the music we would make and the art we would create. It could all be possible with automation and Universal Basic Income.

Politicians have to work within the realm of what the voters deem not too extreme. These ideas have to be mainstream. Popular. And part of that is understanding how giving people a Universal Basic Income saves money in the long run, a healthier, happier population. Cost saving in healthcare, policing, administration of inefficient/ bullshit programs, and the criminal justice system. It. Is. Possible.

Cognitive Dissonance. When reality clashes with our deepest held beliefs, we would rather alter the reality rather than our deeply held belief. And how Trump supports can be both evangelical religious and train their own eyes and ears to see and hear only what they want; rather than the glaring red flashing lights of all of lying, cheating, and inhumane stances.

Utopia for Realists Nuggets:

“If all the developed countries would let in just 3% more immigrants, the world’s poor would have $305 billion more to spend, say scientists at the World Bank. That’s the combined total of all development aid- TIMES THREE.”

“The average American thinks their federal government spends more than a quarter of the national budget on foreign aid, but the real figure is less than 1%.”

“In reality, if you correct for income and job status, immigrants take less advantage of public assistance. Overall, the net value of immigrants is wholly positive… Open borders promote immigrants’ return (to their home country)”

“Handing out cash works… As is happens, cash handouts may be the most extensively studied anti-poverty method around… over the long and short-term on both a large and small scale, cash transfers are an extremely successful and efficient tool.”

“In the US, the gap between rich and poor is already wider than it was in ancient Rome- an economy founded on slave labor… Even the World Economic Forum (the wealthy) has described this escalating inequality as the biggest threat facing our global economy.”

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