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Utopia

By rsach Apr 16, 2014 1468 Words
More, the author, describes Utopia as a community or society possessing highly desirable or near perfect qualities. However, this fictional society would not work especially in today’s day and age, because the description of the cities and farms hinges upon a general fact of Utopian life: homogeneity. Everything in Utopia is as similar as it possibly can be. According to Hythloday the cities are almost indistinguishable from each other. They have virtually the same populations, architecture, layouts, and customs. In homogeneity, More visualizes an end to injustice and inequality. Further, More imagines a homoegenous community as being a rational community. Such a concept necessarily assumes that all rational thought leads in the same direction, toward the same eternal truths. Also, it posits that in matters of social theory there are single, definite truths to be found, which we know not to be the case. The utopia they believe in violates natural laws, and is inconsistent with itself - "Nobody has to work, unless he wants to," can not happen, because if nobody has to work, then nobody will work. No work will actually be done and without work, not enough food is produced to feed the people. With the laws of today, no one can be forced to work against their will, much less be told what kind of work to perform or do. "There is an abundant supply of everything," is not possible, because - Where does this abundant supply come from, if nobody is working? The products cannot make themselves. Also, in a world with ever increasing population, the reverse is actually true. There is a shortage of most commodities and resources with fierce competition amonst the populace for these ever dwindling resources. "There is no money, and everything is free," can not happen, because - If some people do work to make some products, they will want to be paid. They will not work for nothing. How can they be paid without money? If they are paid in products, how could they trade them, if nobody else works? In today’s capitalistic society, money is much required as the currency for trade. The other assumptions in Utopia, such as “All money is divided evenly among all people," is not feasible because what happens after people have spent the money they are allocated. As is, there is a general misconception about the available money per capita in the world. For instance, if all the money available in the world was to be divided equally amongst all the people, it would work out to be about $2,500 per person, which is barely enough to last a month in most developed countries. "All goods are divided equally among all people," can not happen, because - the consumable goods would be used up very quickly. How does the supply of these goods gets replenished, if nobody works? Also, how does one divide capital goods, such as Automobiles and Television sets. Other suppositions such as"People have as much time to pursue studies and arts as they want," are faulty, because what if everyone is idly pursuing knowledge and the arts, who is doing the work? How are they making enough money to subsist? If nobody is working, where do the supplies for these pursuits come from? While artists want this utopia, so they can pursue their art without having to work at another job, it is not viable unless they have means to support their daily needs. "Government spends so much that the economy runs off the government spending," is not possible, as governments generate income from taxing their citizens. Governments can't create wealth, as simply printing money doesn't create any wealth in it. Only work creates wealth. Similarly, “Government takes care of everybody," is not plausible, as it takes wealth to be able to take care of people. Government can not create any wealth, because only work can do that. The government has no power to take care of anyone without wealth to do so with. In order to gain wealth, the government must tax the population. In order for the population to be able to pay taxes, the population must work for pay. There are other fallacies in the Utopian model such as "All people are exactly equal," is not true, at least not in the economic sense, since people are different. They have different characteristics and different abilities. Some people waste their resources. Other people conserve theirs. Some work harder than others and have more skills and want to be paid for these skills. "People can do whatever they want to do," is not a good idea, as one person’s actions may infringe upon another person’s rights. Many things that people want to do may be harmful to others. Utopia also touches upon religion - "All religions have been abolished," can not happen in today’s world because Religion is a very important part of the lives of most people. Also, as opposed to one major there are many major religions in the world. Any attempt to ban religion will its followers very angry, even violent. The passion for religion borders on fanaticism on the part of many, and any attempt to ban religion or even enforce a similar religion will be viewed as partisanship. One reason a utopia wouldn't work in the real world is because of the human factor. For one, no single human or even a committee of humans is capable enough to make up the rules that would govern an entire planet. Secondly, humans can think for themselves and have their own desires and wishes. How do you stop humans from thinking or wanting? We humans by nature are greedy and fickle minded. We want something one instant and something else the next, or we want it all. Imagine a society where everyone wants everything, but is not prepared to work for it or deal with the consequences of their actions. So I think utopias would fail because human beings are not omniscient, inconsistent, emotional, selfish and greedy. The rules that human beings devise for self-governance are always flawed and need constant tweaking to tackle new issues in an ever-changing world. Restrictive rules do not take this into account. In Jonas's world, the rules were designed to make people more comfortable by making them all the same, but to do so was to deny their humanity. People have free will, and they will make devastating choices sometimes.

In actuality, the term utopia, despite its positive connotation in our society today, comes from the root 'u' (meaning 'not'), not 'eu' (meaning 'good'). Utopia is somewhere in between "a happy place" and "nowhere." In fact, More himself "...readily confess[es] that in the Utopian commonwealth are very many features which in our societies [he] would wish rather than expect to see." (More, 135) More's goal is not to copy or enforce a utopia in the real world, but rather to move past its deceptive guidelines and work towards making a realistic improvement in society. However, Utopia should not be discredited or seen as a useless work, just because it is not workable as a social system. Instead, one should appreciate the profound insights, the humorous irony, and the underlying message in the good ideas presented by More. Hythloday begins by discussing the geography and history of Utopia, each of which proves perfect for nurturing an ideal society. Utopia occupies an island that is as isolated as it wants to be; the Utopians interact with the rest of the world on their terms. Utopia needs no real external resources, is well defended against any sort of attack, is fruitful enough to carry on a surplus in trade, and allows for easy transport of goods and people within its own territory. With the story of General Utopus the ideal geography is given a source: the island was built, cut off from the mainland thousands of years ago. General Utopus conquered the territory and installed in a single historical moment the roots of the present-day Utopian society. Utopia, then, did not develop in a way comparable to any other state in the history of mankind. Its geography and history can only be described as ideal. Implicit in the recognition that an ideal society can only emerge out of ideal circumstances is More's criticism that Hythloday's "ivory-tower theorizing" cannot have any effect in a world that, by its very nature, is not ideal. The ideal society of Utopia is not presented by Thomas More as a real possibility for other nations to mimic. Thomas More admits as much by describing Utopia only within a fictional frame. Utopia may be ideal, but in the very structure of Utopia is the understanding that the ideal can never be attained and instead can only be used as a measuring stick.

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