Are humans fundamentally good? (with Rutger Bregman)
Dutch historian and De Correspondent writer Rutger Bregman got famous for the lashings he gave Tucker Carlson and the assembled plutocrats of Davos. But his work is far more utopian than polemical. The conversation we had on this show almost a year ago on his previous book Utopia for Realists is still one of my favorites.
Bregman's new book, Humankind: A Hopeful History, is even more ambitious: it's an effort to establish that human beings, human nature, is kinder, friendlier, more decent, than we are given credit for. And that a new world could be built atop that understanding.
I'm not convinced by everything in this book, to be honest. But that tension makes this conversation unusually generative. We discuss the deeply social, egalitarian lives of hunter-gatherers, whether the advent of human civilization was a huge mistake, and how our views toward religious faith have changed radically since our early 20s; and we debate whether humans have a nature at all, the implications of the Holocaust, whether we can build a society without CEOs, politicians, and bureaucrats, and more
By the end, I'm still not sure I believe there is one human nature. But, I do think that if we believed Bregman's view of our nature, rather than, say, Donald Trump's view of our nature, maybe we could build something much more beautiful.
Affluence without Abundance by James Suzman
Behind the Shock Machine by Gina Perry
The Lost Boys by Gina Perry
How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog) by Lee Alan Dugatkin and Lyudmila Trut
Want to contact the show? Reach out at email@example.com
Please consider making a contribution to Vox to support this show: bit.ly/givepodcasts Your support will help us keep having ambitious conversations about big ideas.
Producer/Editor - Jeff Geld
Researcher - Roge Karma
Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices