Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Dear Great Book Guru, We are going to a beautiful wedding in a small village two hours outside of Barcelona,  and I would like to have a good book for the plane ride.  I have a few novels on my Kindle but I would like a thought-provoking piece of non-fiction. Any thoughts?   A Very Excited Wedding Guest

Dear Very Excited….Last night I finished a wonderfully challenging book that will make your plane ride fly: UTOPIA FOR REALISTS by Rutger Bregman.  Bregman is a young Dutch philosopher/economist with startling ideas about reconstructing society. He recounts the history of utopia going back to the 13th century where “The Land of Plenty” was described in exquisite detail- plentiful meats and sweets and peace enjoyed by all. He offers an interesting albeit controversial take on how modern society can create a Utopian society in three steps: by instituting a universal basic income, a fifteen hour work week, and opening borders around the world. The United States during the presidency of Richard Nixon came days away from offering a basic $10,000 universal income only to be defeated by spurious data. Probably the most difficult piece to implement would be  the opening of all territorial borders, which Bregman sees as the simplest  way to equalize income.  While many may think his ideas quixotic, he presents them in such a forthright and optimistic manner that he makes  a Utopian world seems very possible- indeed probable. Highly recommended!

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