San Francisco, California

Utopia for Realists

Imagine a future made perfect. What would you fix? Think of all the ways our society could be made better, kinder. Well, I think the problem with all these wondrous futures and more perfect worlds is that they often make for not-so-lovely-books. Take Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, for example. Everyone reveres that book (and in San Francisco especially as it was the only book anyone read for a year at the very least). Ultimately, I agree with Jeremy’s notes though.

But I find this to be true of almost any book in this genre; non-fiction books that outline a future for us all. A book of prophesy. A book with all the answers neatly summarized. I’m not sure what it is about reaching the bend of 30 years old that I find answers to be so very boring and incomplete. I find them all dreary and yawn-inducing, if not downright miserable. Nothing is inspiring, nothing hopeful. Or if they are hopeful then they’re in the camp of “give peace a chance” which, sure, but that’s just a lot of nothing.

This is why it was so shocking to me when I not only found myself enjoying Rutger Bregman’s Utopia for Realists, but adoring it entirely. It's a book that challenged me, pushed my ideas around, and really made me think about a future that is kinder. And what that word kindness means; not just a future for myself, but a future for everyone and in equal measure.

I won’t quote anything from the book because it’s worth reading it in its entirely but the point that Rutger makes over and over again is this: being poor is not a moral failure, but purely a lack of cash. And we can fix that; today poverty only exists in this world because we let it.