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Universal basic income. A 15-hour workweek. Open borders. Does it sound too good to be true? One of Europe's leading young thinkers shows how we can build an ideal world today. After working all day at jobs we often dislike, we buy things we don't need. Rutger Bregman, a Dutch historian, reminds us it needn't be this way-and in some places it isn't. Rutger Bregman's TED Talk about universal basic income seemed impossibly radical when he delivered it in 2014. His April 2017 talk continues to make the provocative case, detailing the idea's 500-year history and even its brief success in a forgotten trial in Manitoba in the 1970s. Nearly a million views later, guaranteed basic income is being seriously considered by leading economists and government leaders the world over. It's just one of the many utopian ideas that Bregman proves is possible today. Utopia for Realists is one of those rare books that takes you by surprise and challenges what you think can happen. From a Canadian city that once completely eradicated poverty, to Richard Nixon's near implementation of a basic income for millions of Americans, Bregman takes us on a journey through history, and beyond the traditional left-right divides, as he champions ideas whose time have come. Every progressive milestone of civilization-from the end of slavery to the beginning of democracy-was once considered a utopian fantasy. Bregman's book, both challenging and bracing, demonstrates that new utopian ideas, like the elimination of poverty and the creation of the fifteen-hour workweek, can become a reality in our lifetime. Being unrealistic and unreasonable can in fact make the impossible inevitable, and it is the only way to build the ideal world.
Fascinating, enlightening, and epic in scope, Black Mass looks at the historic and modern faces of Utopian ideology: Society’s Holy Grail, but at what price? During the last century global politics was shaped by Utopian projects. Pursuing a dream of a world without evil, powerful states waged war and practised terror on an unprecedented scale. From Germany to Russia to China to Afghanistan, entire societies were destroyed. Utopian ideologies rejected traditional faiths and claimed to be based in science. They were actually secular versions of the myth of Apocalypse–the belief in a world-changing event that brings history, with all its conflicts, to an end. The war in Iraq was the last of these attempts at creating a secular Utopia, promising a new era of democracy and producing blood-soaked anarchy and an emerging theocracy instead. John Gray’s powerful and frightening new book argues that the death of Utopia does not mean peace. Instead it portends the resurgence of ancient myths, now in openly fundamentalist forms. Obscurely mixed with geo-political struggles for the control of natural resources, apocalyptic religion has returned as a major force in global conflict. From the Hardcover edition.
Advances in technology are creating the next economy and enabling us to make things/do things/connect with others in smarter, cheaper, faster, more effective ways. But the price of this progress has been a decoupling of the engine of prosperity from jobs that have been the means by which people have ascended to (and stayed in) the middle class. Andy Stern, the former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent four years traveling the country and asking economists, futurists, labor leaders, CEOs, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, and political leaders to help picture the U.S. economy 25 to 30 years from now. He vividly reports on people who are analyzing and creating this new economy--such as investment banker Steve Berkenfeld; David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell International; Andy Grove of Intel; Carl Camden, the CEO of Kelly Services; and Geoffrey Canada of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Through these stories, we come to a stark and deeper understanding of the toll technological progress will continue to take on jobs and income and its inevitable effect on tens of millions of people. But there is hope for our economy and future. The foundation of economic prosperity for all Americans, Stern believes, is a universal basic income. The idea of a universal basic income for all Americans is controversial but American attitudes are shifting. Stern has been a game changer throughout his career, and his next goal is to create a movement that will force the political establishment to take action against something that many on both the right and the left believe is inevitable. Stern’s plan is bold, idealistic, and challenging--and its time has come.
"Affluenza is that strange desire we feel to spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t know . . . A truly modern affliction, affluenza is endemic in Western societies, encouraged by those who profit from a culture of exploitation and waste. So how do we cure ourselves? In this sparkling book of ideas, Richard Denniss shows we must distinguish between consumerism, the love of buying things, which is undeniably harmful to us and the planet, and materialism, the love of things, which can in fact be beneficial. We should cherish the things we own – preserve them, repair them, and then gift or sell them when we no longer need them. We must foster new ways of thinking and acting that do not squander limited resources, and which support the things we value most: vibrant communities and rich experiences. At once a lucid explanation of a critical global issue and a stirring call to action, Curing Affluenza will change the way you think about your place in the world. With special contributions from Bob Brown • Kumi Naidoo • Marilyn Waring • John Quiggin • Leanne Minshull • Jim Stanford • Bill McKibben • Craig Bennett"
From the author of the international bestseller Debt: The First 5,000 Years comes a revelatory account of the way bureaucracy rules our lives Where does the desire for endless rules, regulations, and bureaucracy come from? How did we come to spend so much of our time filling out forms? And is it really a cipher for state violence? To answer these questions, the anthropologist David Graeber—one of our most important and provocative thinkers—traces the peculiar and unexpected ways we relate to bureaucracy today, and reveals how it shapes our lives in ways we may not even notice…though he also suggests that there may be something perversely appealing—even romantic—about bureaucracy. Leaping from the ascendance of right-wing economics to the hidden meanings behind Sherlock Holmes and Batman, The Utopia of Rules is at once a powerful work of social theory in the tradition of Foucault and Marx, and an entertaining reckoning with popular culture that calls to mind Slavoj Zizek at his most accessible. An essential book for our times, The Utopia of Rules is sure to start a million conversations about the institutions that rule over us—and the better, freer world we should, perhaps, begin to imagine for ourselves.
Radical political thought of the 20th century was dominated by utopia, but the failure of communism in Eastern Europe and its disavowal in China has brought on the need for a new model of utopian thought. This book thus seeks to redefine the concept of utopia and bring it to bear on today's politics. The original essays, contributed by key thinkers such as Gianni Vattimo and Jean-Luc Nancy, highlight the connection between utopian theory and practice. The book reassesses the legacy of utopia and conceptualizes alternatives to the neo-liberal, technocratic regimes prevalent in today's world. It argues that only utopia in its existential sense, grounded in the lived time and space of politics, can distance itself from mainstream ideology and not be at the service of technocratic regimes, while paying attention to the material conditions of human life. Existential Utopia offers a new and exciting interpretation of utopia in contemporary culture and a much-needed intervention into the philosophical and political discussion of utopian thinking that is both accessible to students and comprehensive.

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