'Capitalism will always create bullshit jobs' | Owen Jones meets Rutger Bregman



so no you're a bit depressed at the moment so I thought what's true at all let's do an interview with her a nice cheery optimist this guy what's good Bregman utopia for really so it's about how can we build a much better world than the one we currently have he's got some great ideas basic income that's one short of working week Kitching come on everyone this is fantastic stuff so he's going to go into detail about these ideas about how we could build maybe just maybe a utopia some people think utopianism is inherently quite dangerous idea if you have this view of history of natural constant progress where you create this you get this perfect society that's been tried a few times and it's led to huge amounts of bloodshed tyranny totalitarianism all used to justify an utopian idea that's partly true I mean I was born in 1988 it was a year before the fall of the Berlin Wall really oh and what what what what I was taught at university is that you shouldn't thinking utopian terms anywhere because it's dangerous you know we've all tried that communism faces and we're still cut into corpses right but I always have this nagging sense that we had lost something I mean democracy was it so keen once as well there are a few ideas which may seem utopian now but may become reality in the future the problem nowadays especially on the left is that it knows very well what it's against but it doesn't really have an idea what it's for so it's basically against everything against austerity against the establishment against homophobia against races racism and I'm not saying I'm not against all those things but you also need to be for something and that's a vision of where you want to go the point I'd often make is the left and you look in a very defensive posture why have we ended up so defensive and lacking in imagination of an alternative moments of crisis are really really important that those are the moments that you can get new ideas into the bloodstream of thought you know the problem was that in 2008 with the financial crash is that this was another moment of crisis where there should have been new ideas on the shelves but they weren't there my hope is that with 2016 with brexit and Trump is that we've done more of our homework a lot of people watching this video if I was to sum up their views I think it's fair to say they would think everything's kind of going to pop you kind of challenge that they're you well the big lesson of history that is that in the past everything was worse we're still living in a period in history where we are incredibly wealthy healthy very safe and we should be grateful for that the second thing is that there are really exciting ideas out there right now that are gaining in popularity I think the best example is the idea of a universal basic income to just completely eradicate poverty and it's taking off just talk about the history come to basic income because as you point out it was that well-known lefty Richard Nixon who experiments with the idea in a moment it rather than actually necessarily being something which just comes to the left of politics it was Milton Friedman he framed it more MIT maybe was a negative income tax but the facts are very very simple basically the same people from the left to the right all the great economist they all thought that this was going to happen so not only Milton Friedman believed that Biddle – also Martin Luther King Nixon didn't think of it himself he just wanted to make history he thought oh this is this is an idea that everyone's buying into right now let's do it so his proposal for a modest basic income got through Congress twice and it was only shot down in the Senate because Democrats thought that his proposal wasn't high enough a lot of critics of basic income being Devils I forget here they'll go just make everyone lazy well what I found is that when you ask people what would you deal with the basic income about 98 percent of people say you know I've got dreams I'm gonna do something useful with it don't worry I'm gonna quit my bullshit job and it's gonna be great but if you don't ask them what would other people do with a basic income about 90% of all people say I know other people they'll probably wasted on drugs and alcohol etc and that's why I think you need to look at the evidence there's one famous experiment that was done in Canada in the 1970s it went on for four years they didn't have money left to analyze the results because a new Conservative government had come into power and they said what kind of crazy experiment is this stop it and then 25 years later a Canadian professor found the records did the analysis and discover that it had been hugely successful people didn't massively quit their jobs that the hospitalization rate decreased by 8.5% crime went down kids performed better at school that's the thing we keep forgetting all the time poverty is hugely expensive in terms of higher health care more crime you name it is one of the main justifications for a tinkle in gum technological change one study suggests in Britain 11 million jobs could go not just low-skill semi-skilled jobs like before but middle-class professional jobs so is it now the case do you think that work is going to become more more precarious and that a basic income gives more stability and security to a more insecure workforce is that one of the yes definitely but I think that we underestimated capitalism's extraordinary ability to come up with new bullshit jobs there's one poll that was done in 2014 by YouGov that found that 37% of all British workers think they have a job that doesn't even need to exist now I'm not talking about I'm talking about care workers or the garbage men or the teachers here wait just bullshittin jobs you want to get rid of it's really interesting that it's especially the people who have brilliant resumes earn very decent salaries have great jobs the only problem is that at the end of the day you give them one beer or maybe two and they'll start confessing my job is completely useless I think that is one of the biggest taboos of our time there's there's one thing though that you can always use to see if the job is useless or actually quite useful you can just go and strike and see what happens so in the book I've got one example of a strike that happened in 1968 with garbage man big city like New York and survived the strike of garbageman for about a week and then you know the emergency state has to be the claret and it's complete disaster so those are very useful jobs and then I just wondered has it ever happened at one point in history that the bankers went on strike and I see I found only one example in all world history so for the vows of years there was only one time it actually happened and there was Ireland 1970 all the experts predicted disaster economists were saying this is this is a heart attack for the economy and then nothing happened you proposed a 50-hour week in 1930 see I think it was John Maynard Keynes predicted that by now I think was it a 14-hour week anyway we'd be it was fifteen exactly he did predicts 15 how did he get it so wrong well here again he wasn't the only one so Keynes prediction may seem completely crazy or ludicrous but it was just mainstream back then but it didn't quite happen in the 60s and in the 70s the work we kept shrinking and shrinking but then around 1980 especially in the US but also in the UK and other European countries people started working more and more so the first explanation is consumerism we keep buying stuff we don't need to impress people we don't like that's that's the the the most common explanation I'm personally more in favor of the of the other explanation by david graver since then in the 1980s we seen a huge amount of new jobs that don't really need to exist and as long as you stick to the ideology that you have to work for your money if we keep using that 19th century mindset then you know at some point old jobs will be useless but we still have jobs we need to rethink what work actually is because there's so much work that's unpaid but incredibly valuable volunteers were caring for our kids caring for elderly it doesn't have to GDP but go on strike and it's if all these yeah why is it bad for me why is it good to spend more time everyone in the 1930s and 40s believed that the big challenge of the future was going to be boredom nowadays it's stress just think about the waste and the costs we know for example is that people who work longer work weeks they're not more productive Henry Ford already discovered that in the 1920s but you should also think about not only the cost of stress but also the cost of poverty we have some frame our argument in terms of fairness or caring for for other people and I think that's I mean that's entirely right but you could also use right-wing rhetoric to defend leftist ideas for example poverty is usually expensive cost of child poverty in the u.s. are estimated 500 billion dollars each year there's a higher health care spending higher dropout rates more crime incredible waste of human potential it would cost just 175 billion a quarter of the country's military budget to eradicate poverty to get all the poor above the poverty line if you really go directly at the root of the problem try to eradicate it that's an investment we need to talk much more about these issues in terms of investments with really good returns your so-called sensitive social justice which is should be ironically named but it was set up by Iain Duncan Smith and they argue that child poverty is often not about money and it's about parents and their bad choices cigarettes alcohol family breakdowns and he's right is he yeah he's actually right yeah well there's a lot of data that shows that four people make many poor decisions it's just that the reason is completely different than what politicians like him think it's ourselves with an experiment that was done in India they went to India and did an experiment with sugar cane farmers and you should know that these farmers collect about 60% of their annual income all at once right after the harvest and they didn't a cutest before and after the harvest the farmers score much worse than the IQ test before the harvest the effects of living in poverty correspond to losing about fourteen points of IQ so yeah it's true the poor make many poor decisions because not not because they're dumped or something because but because anyone would make dumb decisions in the same situation poverty actually impinges on your mind it's like a tunnel vision you only can think about the next day or maybe the day after that but you don't have a long-term vision so what you need to do is just get people up above the poverty line and you will not only get an explosion of ambition and energy but people also be a lot smarter one of the other kids make in the in the book is certainly bold which is open borders I would say that's probably in the current climate will the most unassailable ideas I can think of how on earth are you gonna sell such an idea and what's the basis right we know from so many studies that global inequality is huge much bigger than national inequality and the most powerful instrument we have in the fight against global poverty is immigration and there's so much nonsense going around about it the migrants will take our jobs that they'll be lazy at the same time I mean I agree with you that this is this is a very difficult subject especially for them in their future but that doesn't mean I think we should completely surrender it but isn't the problem there I mean the science of it research you off it is very very compelling now the RAI often speak in terms of stories left often results of facts or statistics but they have an emotional case they go through here ok for you it should be about nationalism actually nowadays we we associate nationalism with inward-looking this and protecting what you've already got in the 19's in the Netherlands there was this ideology of the Netherlands being a guide country being like the most tolerant country on earth you can be I think feel patriotic about quite progressive ideas we're going to be the first economy that's entirely sustainable we're going to be the first or like think of Merkel reshuffled us we're strong country the Germans can do this that's framing tolerance and being welcome to migrants in terms of patriotism but wouldn't every country on earth have to basically abolish coolers at the same time if just one country abolished their borders which is well again I mean this is circles that said let me say this is a utopian idea but let's say we're in the Year 2300 and let's look back up on our time what is the biggest injustice of our time its borders I mean it's the biggest source of discrimination we have right now did you say I mean so the average American earns me three times as much for the same work as a Bolivian yeah even when they are the same skill of a lady and sex with a comparable Nigerian the difference as a fact of eight and a half that's adjusted yeah I mean we're talking about discrimination between black and white or men and women all the time and that's that's really important but it peels just in comparison with the differences between between borders and people living in other countries why do you think it's become so prevalent in both a countries to use escape go migrants refugees people in other countries for all the problems that exist in our societies the right and especially the populist right understands much better the way politics work that it's all about developing consistent narrative repeating it all the time pushing and the boundaries of what's politically acceptable and then just shifting it get builders is the Donald Trump if you like we've seen this tidal wave of right-wing populism and xenophobia populism sweeping over the Western world is the Netherlands the next domino to fall well was the first actually when Donald Trump started shocking everyone we're in we in the Netherlands were like we've all seen this before so years ago he was already saying crazy thing it was referring to mosques as I hate palaces escapees yes now he's saying that we need to close down all mosques banned the Koran etc in the in the 90s the Netherlands had arrived at the end of history politics was just all matter of technocracy all management then came the fog the Twin Towers then came in for time than Kim Garrett Willis and now everything is open again when it's about culture that's the big dividing line right now but the interesting thing is that economically speaking we're still living in a technocracy we still have the same policies still the same idea still the same people saying the same things based on the same outdated ideas so Garrett will ders he's the most successful utopian thinker in our country he's saying completely outrageous things all the time that for example Muslim women should pay to wear a head tax with a head rec tax he calls it it's most awful things but people get adjusted to it so that I think that's how it works can you see the echoes of the 1930s in terms of what we're going through at the moment definitely does that not disturb you yes each of this well it does actually yeah so there are a few differences the first one is that we're not as used to violence as we were in the 1930s also the global institutions are much stronger than they were in the in the 1930s but there are other like very scary similarities Trump is a huge narcissist if you if you read biographies of Mussolini or Hitler you just they should be struck how how could the they compare I think we should all really be afraid when when violence starts when we start getting to get used to that we haven't seen that yet in the in the u.s. unfeelingly in a way isn't this totally the wrong the wrong way around in terms of what our approach should be you should be realism Fiat opions in the sense that are you thinking myself is a pragmatist you know I don't think it makes it's for utilities and services like the railways to be ruined by private properties and naturally I think it's utopian to have a society which is not based on people's needs it is instead based on profits a very ideological model to have a very topia model you know with the pragmatists they're the extremists all the utopians that's what I try a little times just to show that universal basic income for example it's not a crazy idea there's a lot of scientific evidence that shows that it works we can afford it we've got the research we got the evidence we can do it tomorrow politically it might not be feasible to do to it tomorrow technically we can do you think it will happen in our lifetime UVI we've got no idea I'm not I'm not an optimist I'm not a pessimist I'm the possiblest I think that things can be different there's nothing natural by the way we've structured our society about the way we've structured our economy can all be different wow that was fascinating stuff I'm sure the bits people disagree with but I think I want to get a debate going around this leave some comments what do you think about these proposals do you have your own proposals what sort of world would you like to build what sort of policies would you like to pursue bring it on let's build this world below the comments and YouTube easily done we've got loads of other entities to come loads of interviews probably up here if Adams put them there otherwise I'm just waving in the air as ever leave your comment subscribe I'll see you next time




Comments
  1. Bregman mentioned Americans are not accepting violence. Perhaps, it's the result of conversation, and I've misunderstood how Bregman intended the statement to be understood. I think America's inability to prevent mass shootings, as they increase over recent decades, speaks volumes about our ability to tolerate violence. A tolerance for violence against our own children, committed by extremists our current President refuses to condemn. I'm disgusted by our inability to protect, effectively educate, feed and house all children. Change is desperately, obviously needed in many of our broken institutions and systems. I wonder how much will it cost, before the painful breaking down, and rebuilding for the better will commence…if ever.

  2. Is Owen growing up?! He seems a bit more balanced and a bit less "ranty student Marxist". I broadly have faith in the capitalist system as the most fair economic system but I totally agree with Rutger Bregman about the benefits of the 4 day week and the cost to society of poverty. We can't build a caring society when citizens have no time to look after children and the elderly or to simply be creative or educate themselves. I also totally buy into what he says about poverty impinging on your ability to make good decisions.

  3. If people naturally buy things they don't need to impress people they don't like, why wouldn't a basic income exacerbate that?
    Where are the ambitious trust fund children, who by this theory should be busily creating art and achieving their dreams?
    Why do we need open borders? Why can't we simply let the other countries adopt our clearly superior ways for their own?
    How would you deal with the pre-medieval views on women, minorities, homosexuals, etc. held by many parts of the rest of the world?

  4. open borders is a great idea!
    it would catalyse development and end these empty ventures and dead aid, if countries/organisations like the IMF are suddenly afraid that entire sections of the globe will up and move, they can no longer hide behind the guise of meaningless aid or dishing out sinister loans and placing growth targets to be achieved at any cost, and rather overhaul our entire approach to development, take it seriously and nurture development in the world

  5. I doubt Owen Jones 'works' more than 15 hours a week, little Champagne socialist maggot that he is.

  6. 1.) UBI is a good idea 2.) Open borders won’t work unless we improve the majority of countries so that we don’t have ppl all concentrated in a few wealthy ones or abolish the idea of „country“ altogether and have a one world government 3.) I‘m always skeptical of studies which deal with somewhat abstract concepts such as „IQ“, though I agree that poverty does negatively affect brain function (obviously)

  7. funny how the left thinks they are the side of the facts, and that the right embraces emotions; while at the same time the right thinks the same about the left.

  8. I think people are afraid of not being busy because they might get time to face their own souls. It’s also a good excuse for not living your dreams.

  9. Those lazy migrants will take my job! Loved how Rutger Bregman put the smack down on the elites at davos

  10. So True. There is a lack of mid-level jobs (especially STEM) and complete overemphasis on elementary learning and adaptability (IQ-ish type abilities) and no emphasis on cultivation of experience/intuition.

  11. Who will be taxed to pay everyone to sit around? The reality is the working class will be working and paying more taxes to support a larger underclass. We already have a huge welfare state. Merkel is hated now. End the central banking system, its the only thing that matters, all these other ideas will only bring slavery or genocide.

  12. "The trouble with Utopia is that the bloody People always let you down" UBI is the right idea. Yet poverty has a tendency toward infinity, like humility. We should experiment with it. Germany invited the million because they need to fuel their low wage economy, their factories. It may be backfiring & resurrecting brutal right factions.

  13. UBI would disincentivize working in low-quality jobs. You could decide just not do that job. So, bad jobs would have to be paid at higher rates. This would impinge corporate profits, as now their workers would be acting as free markets imagine they act (my labour is a fair trade for your money) as opposed to how they actually act (I must labour under any conditions as I need a comparitively small amount of money to survive). This would improve the efficiency of the economy. That is why it is opposed – the current system funnels money up and that is good for big business and the lobbyists they employ.

  14. As highly educated, non-smoker/drinker, never done drugs, not a lazy person who is living in poverty due to chronic illness, I totally agree that because you worry sooo much about every cent you spend or save or waste, you become less 'intelligent', less 'practical' and less 'proactive' the longer you live in poverty. Your humanity gets robbed off of you; you lose your ego, now the egocentric side, but the side that allows you to keep your head up high. You feel shame, you feel guilt, you feel hopeless. Universal income would solve so many problems, it would bring humanity and equality for all.

  15. Outstanding , but I would like to say possibly instead of UBI . Have resources being standard for all. A home , basic Food , School , Health care. If needs are giving as basics then it automatically lifts people above the poverty line.
    Just another thought I always believed as rights for All.

  16. Communism won't make any viable jobs or upward movement (you will be assigned a position for the sake of efficiency). The Canadian study was done in a small city that had a culture which was VERY different than any American city. There is no "utopia", only a dystopia that controls the populace using healthcare while removing the people's ability to defend themselves. Most leaders in history have gone to extreme measures to defend themselves when the people attack them for making mistakes and EVERYONE eventually makes mistakes. Giving all of the power to one group of Socialist/Communist technocrats and politicians just before A.I. and robotics takes over is IDIOTIC as is this video.

  17. The Grammy-nominated rapper Nipsey Hussle was shot dead in South LA. He was set to meet with the LAPD chief "to talk about ways he could help stop gang violence and help us help kids"

  18. The left knows what it wants. Rutger is wrong we do not come out against oir enemies strong enough.

  19. I'm not an economist in the slightest, and I'm open to the idea of universal basic income, but I have one problem with it. If you give money to everyone under a certain income to get them above the poverty line, won't inflation just increase up to a point where those people are under the poverty line again? When everyone has enough money to spend, landlords might be tempted to increase rent, and companies will increase their prices.

  20. Buckminster Fuller “We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery…. He must justify his right to exist.” (1970)

  21. “The big lesson of history is that in the past everything was worse.”

    Eh, what? That may be true if your idea of history starts either today or only at some point within the last 200-300 years, meaning that in the vast historical time span, things have tended to move through phases of ups and downs.

    I don’t disagree that at this very moment, it’s hard to find an earlier era in which the average Westerner or those in many “middle income” and several developing states had it better, but that’s not a great, immovable, bedrock piece of historical evidence that we/they are going to be even better off tomorrow or a generation down the road.

  22. I find it quite interesting that this 29 year old (at the time) Marxist, but I repeat myself fails to site the Canada study or the professor who did the research. He also fail to understand what Milton Freedman was proposing. Due to eloquence it often comes as no surprise that elitists such as this guy who's followers assume is pact with intelligence, can live many more decades and still fail to glean any more wisdom from their life experience.

  23. We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them – Albert Einstein

    2008 was when we needed new ideas but instead let the destroyers of the global economy off the hook for the damage they did. And then rewarded them for it.

    2011 was when the Occupy Movement happened and tried to get political and economic change but was continually discounted for "having no leader and no workable plans". Actually there were many good ideas but the people in power didn't want to listen.

    It's now 2019 and there is still resistance to ideas that will restore economic and political power to a broader spectrum of society and the power structure is fighting it tooth and nail so they can maintain the status quo. As Mr. Bregman said, there are many good, workable ideas out there. We just need the political will to make the change. The midterm elections in the USA has given me hope that the political will can be summoned.

  24. How can you (Bregman) say we have not seen the violence in America? Laughable… seriously a mass shooting everyday. Yeah do not call yourself a pessimist or optimist. How about a realist? Just stop trying to not scare people. The time is now and there is a massive violent narrative your helping normalise this is a disservice.

  25. I lived without power, in a shack for 7 years. I grew up in a ghetto. When I see Americans complain, I really have to laugh.
    Go anywhere in the world other than America, and you will see, where capitalism is, people thrive.
    You live in a perfect bubble, if you think capitalism is evil. 
    People are evil. Some have good intentions, but end up doing way more harm than good.
    You want to help with the climate?
    Do what I did! Live without power. Use a bicycle! Recycle.
    7 years. no power, no internet, no iPhone. Do it!!!!
    You Americans gotta make a choice. Your comfort, or massive starvation, in the name of the environment. You can't have both.
    Actions speak louder than words. Government isn't stopping you from doing all these things, now! We don't need government force. So, do it!

  26. thoroughly research the financially insolvent and financially insecure and financially troubled u.S. military veteran Max Rafael Waller who is still employable at 07:27 am hours Pacific Standard Time on Monday, 25 March 2019

  27. The world is filled with critical thinkers. They are shunned, called names, and not allowed in the club by those whose agenda is to promote thoughtless drones to do their bidding.

  28. I completely agree with this. Sometimes it seems society is just wasting money to keep people poor. It's as if the people on top need economic equality in order to remain on top, and feel it's worth an investment to keep a struggling class of poor people. Basic Income and better, more affordable education are investments that will give tremendous returns.

  29. I agree; Ayn Rand had it backwards in her 'Atlas Shrugged' — if her experiment were tried in the real world with the wealthy elite leaving the rest of society to try building their own new society, it would be a comedy of errors as those elite try to build a working infrastructure with their soft manicured hands and their lack of mechanical aptitude or know how.

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