|Audio read by||Peter Noble|
|Original title||Gratis geld voor iedereen|
Utopia for Realists: The Case for a Universal Basic Income, Open Borders, and a 15-hour Workweek(alternatively subtitled And How We Can Get There and How We Can Build the Ideal World) is a book by Dutch popular historian Rutger Bregman. It was originally written as articles in Dutch for a virtual journal, De Correspondent and was since compiled and published, and translated into several languages. It offers a critical proposal that it claims is a practical approach to reconstructing modern society to promote a more productive and equitable life based on three core ideas:
- a universal and unconditional basic income paid to everybody
- a short working week of fifteen-hours
- open borders worldwide with the free movement of citizens between all states
As a result of the advance of international trade and economic science in recent decades, globalization has radically transformed the traditional social and economic order from smaller, connected nations to a new world economy which, while already demonstrably capable of rescuing millions of people from poverty, could be extended to the entire human race.
However, the new global system unfairly compensates a few rich countries, and, with the progressive substitution of human capital with automation and robotics, has also generated an increase in inequality, both between the investment community and its workforce within the G20 states as well as between developed countries and their developing neighbours.
Each idea is supported by multiple academic studies and anecdotal evidence including numerous success stories. For example, it quotes
- Richard Nixon‘s 1968 plan for a basic income for Americans
- The Mincome project in the Canadian city of Dauphin, Manitoba which “eliminated poverty” and reduced hospitalisation rates
- The perceived success of the Schengen Agreement
Bregman points out that many imperatives of modern law were once highly controversial proposals, perhaps even abhorrent innovations:
The author finally tries to provide a critical balance between socialist ideals of caring and sharing, the conservative impetus of directive leadership, and liberal concepts of equality and freedom. He claims there are proven solutions waiting to be implemented, lacking only political courage and financial backing.