Rutger Bregman Quotes

Who is Rutger Bregman?

Rutger C. Bregman is a Dutch historian known for his books 'Humankind: A Hopeful History' and 'Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World' in which he supports the proposal for a Universal Basic Income.

Born April 26, 1988

Books by Rutger Bregman


Best 49 Quotes by Rutger Bregman | Page 1 of 2

“I don’t want to live in a society where we are dependent on the charity of one guy and his wife.”

“I think the state should think like an anarchist.”

“I’m advocating open borders for everyone, which is obviously the most utopian idea of my book.”

“It feels like I’m at a firefighters conference and no one’s allowed to speak about water.”

“New ideas start on the fringes and they move toward the center.”

“Philanthropy is not a substitute for democracy or proper taxation or a good welfare state.”

“You’ve got all these people who earned their money through exploitation, rent-seeking, you name it, and then they do a little bit of philanthropy to distract from all of that.”

Humankind Quotes

“A major study among 230,000 people across 142 countries revealed that a mere 13 per cent actually feel ‘engaged’ at work. Thirteen per cent. When you wrap your brain around these kinds of figures, you realise how much ambition and energy are going to waste.”

Humankind

“Also taboo among hunter-gatherers was stockpiling and hoarding. For most of our history we didn’t collect things, but friendships. This never failed to amaze European explorers, who expressed incredulity at the generosity of the peoples they encountered. ‘When you ask for something they have, they never say no,’ Columbus wrote in his log. ‘To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone.'”

Humankind

“Any time we crossed paths with a stranger we could stop to chat and that person was a stranger no more.”

Humankind

“Boredom may be the wellspring of creativity.”

Humankind

“Civilisation has become synonymous with peace and progress, and wilderness with war and decline. In reality, for most of human existence, it was the other way around.”

Humankind

“Cynicism is a theory of everything. The cynic is always right.”

Humankind

“Dictators and despots, governors and generals – they all to often resort to brute force to prevent scenarios that exist only in their own heads, on the assumption that the average Joe is ruled by self-interest, just like them.”

Humankind

Products by Rutger Bregman

“Do you think capitalism’s ascent in the eighteenth century was a natural development? Hardly. It wasn’t the invisible hand of the market that gently shepherded peasants from their farms into factories, but the ruthless hand of the state, bayonet at the ready.”

Humankind

“Historians point out that if the Enlightenment gave us equality, it also invented racism.”

Humankind

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“The history of the distribution of wealth has always been deeply political, and it cannot be reduced to purely economic mechanisms.”

Capital in the Twenty-First Century


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“If you’re an avid follower of the news, it’s easy to get trapped by hopelessness. What’s the point of recycling, paying taxes and donating to charities when others shirk their duty? If you’re tempted by such thoughts, remember that cynicism is just another word for laziness. It’s an excuse not to take responsibility. Because if you believe most people are rotten, you don’t need to get worked up about injustice. The world is going to hell either way.”

Humankind

“Imagine for a moment that a new drug comes on the market. It’s super-addictive, and in no time everyone’s hooked. Scientists investigate and soon conclude that the drug causes, I quote, ‘a misperception of risk, anxiety, lower mood levels, learned helplessness, contempt and hostility towards others, and desensitization'.

That drug is the news.”

Humankind

“In practice the people are not in power at all. Instead we’re allowed to decide who holds power over us.”

Humankind

“It is easy to make things hard, but hard to make them easy.”

Humankind

“It's when crisis hits – when the bombs fall or the floodwaters rise – that we humans become our best selves.”

Humankind

“It’s hard not to ask: why? Why did we ever think it would be a good idea to settle in one place?”

Humankind

“It’s no coincidence that Norway boasts the lowest recidivism rate in the world. By contrast, the American prison system has among the highest. In the US, 60 per cent of inmates are back in the slammer after two years, compared to 20 per cent in Norway.”

Humankind

“Last and best of all, we’ve entered the most peaceful age ever.”

Humankind

“News is to the mind what sugar is to the body.”

Humankind

“Newspapers like the Daily Mail once spread stories about bloodthirsty Huns, now they report invasions of thieving foreigners, murderous immigrants and raping refugees who are – remarkably – both stealing jobs and too lazy to work, while managing to run roughshod over time-honoured traditions and values in their spare time.”

Humankind

“On average, we spend one hour a day getting our news fix. Added up over a lifetime, that’s three years.”

Humankind

“One of the biggest sources of distance these days is the news. Watching the evening news may leave you feeling more attuned to reality, but the truth is that it skews your view of the world. The news tends to generalise people into groups like politicians, elites, racists and refugees. Worse, the news zooms in on the bad apples.”

Humankind

Products by Rutger Bregman

“One thing is certain: a better world doesn’t start with more empathy. If anything, empathy makes us less forgiving, because the more we identify with victims, the more we generalise about our enemies.”

Humankind

“People are social animals, but we have a fatal flaw: we feel more affinity for those who are most like us.”

Humankind

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“Shit jobs tend to be blue collar and pay by the hour, whereas bullsh*t jobs tend to be white collar and salaried.”

Bullshit Jobs


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