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.”

Rutger Bregman

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

Rutger Bregman

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

Rutger Bregman

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

Rutger Bregman

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

Rutger Bregman

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

Rutger Bregman

“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.”

Rutger Bregman

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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.”

Rutger Bregman
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.'”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

“Boredom may be the wellspring of creativity.”

Rutger Bregman
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.”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
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.”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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“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.”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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“Argue like you’re right and listen like you’re wrong.”

Originals


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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.”

Rutger Bregman
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.”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
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.”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
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.”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
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.”

Rutger Bregman
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.”

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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

Rutger Bregman
Humankind

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“It may be too soon to tell, but extrapolating from current trends indicates that mobility will play an ever more important role in society and economics in the future than today.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution


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