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Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World

Rutger Bregman

Top 10 Best Quotes

“But the real crisis of our times, of my generation, is not that we don’t have it good, or even that we might be worse off later on. No, the real crisis is that we can’t come up with anything better.”

“You can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps if you have no boots.”

“The correlation between ethnic background and crime, it turns out, is precisely zero. None, nothing, nada. Youth crime, the report stated, has its origins in the neighborhood where kids grow up. In poor communities, kids from Dutch backgrounds are every bit as likely to engage in criminal activity as those from ethnic minorities.”

“Whether it’s the growth of the economy, audience shares, publications – slowly but surely, quality is being replaced by quantity. ... And driving it all is a force sometimes called “liberalism,” an ideology that has been all but hollowed out. ... Freedom may be our highest ideal, but ours has become an empty freedom. Our fear of moralizing in any form has made morality a taboo in the public debate. The public arena should be “neutral,” after all – yet never before has it been so paternalistic. On every street corner we’re baited to booze, binge, borrow, buy, toil, stress, and swindle. Whatever we may tell ourselves about freedom of speech, our values are suspiciously close to those touted by precisely the companies that can pay for prime-time advertising.”

“Borders are the single biggest cause of discrimination in all of world history. Inequality gaps between people living in the same country are nothing in comparison to those between separated global citizenries.”

“True progress begins with something no knowledge economy can produce: wisdom about what it means to live well. We have to do what great thinkers like John Stuart Mill, Bertrand Russell, and John Maynard Keynes were already advocating 100 years ago: to “value ends above means and prefer the good to the useful.” We have to direct our minds to the future. To stop consuming our own discontent through polls and the relentlessly bad news media. To consider alternatives and form new collectives. To transcend this confining zeitgeist and recognize our shared idealism.”

“Not coincidentally, the countries with the shortest workweeks also have the largest number of volunteers and the most social capital.”

“In fact, it has become increasingly profitable not to innovate. Imagine just how much progress we’ve missed out on because thousands of bright minds have frittered away their time dreaming up hyper complex financial products that are ultimately only destructive.”

“Giving away free housing, it turned out, was actually a windfall for the state budget. State economists calculated that a drifter living on the street cost the government $16,670 a year (for social services, police, courts, etc.). An apartment plus professional counseling, by contrast, cost a modest $11,000.30 The numbers are clear. Today, Utah is on course to eliminate chronic homelessness entirely, making it the first state in the U.S. to successfully address this problem. All while saving a fortune.”

“So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living. Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895–1983)”

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Book Keywords:

news-media, freedom-of-thought, liberalism, profound, future, materialism, politics, polls, capitalism, freedom

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