Long before communism was thought of, Thomas More derived an idea similar to it. This might have contributed to the beginnings of socialism. His idea was called “utopia”. The meaning of the word has changed significantly over the years. Today, it means an ideal perfection, especially in laws and social conditions. I believe Thomas More thought of Utopia as an ideal society. What is an ideal society? An ideal society varies towards the perspective of each individual and to the economics of the environment in which the person lives in. More lived during the early 1500?s. During that time, the technology was simple and the economic demand was not sophisticated. So More?s views probably seemed good at the time, but today his ideas might seem foolish.
More believed that everyone, men, women, children, and adults would be farmers. Then and only then would the people be allowed to learn another trade such as carpentry or sewing. Also, the person could only practice that trade in their spare time. This idea does not seem reasonable to me. Why does someone have to be a farmer? This would mean that whoever did not want to farm was forced to. That is slavery. What about all the other things that a community needs to survive? Are those needs going to be put on a hold until farming was finished? Will ill people have to wait for a doctor until he has spare time to help? It seems that farming to provide food for the community is Moore?s main concern. However, if he was really concerned about the people, his society should not have farming as a higher priority than medical care. I feel that instead of having everyone farming, there should be a certain number of doctors, tailors, shoemakers, blacksmiths, etc., that is proportional to the population?s needs.
Furthermore, More also states that “children are brought up to do the same work as their parents, since they tend to have a natural feeling for it.” This seems more like a class system, where someone is placed into a certain class or group depending on who their parents are. More tries to avoid the class system by stating that “if a child fancies some other trade, he?s adopted into a family that practices it.” This is very strange, why would anyone give up their child because s/he likes a different profession than their parents.. Besides, does any child know what they want to do for their rest of their lives during adolescence? Not many children do.
Equally important is More?s view of an average working day in utopia. The day begins with three hours of farming, then lunch and a two-hour break. After the break there is another three hours of farming, then supper. If that is not practical enough, everyone goes to sleep at 8 o?clock. Also, they have the rest of the day to do what ever they want. I disagree with this strongly. Even though a six-hour workday does not sound bad, having to work certain hours is. Why does someone have to work in three-hour intervals? Why cannot he work all six hours all at once? Moreover, does the person have to work in the morning and in the afternoon? Should he not be able to decide if he wants to work only in the day or night? Lastly, does it have to be lights out at eight o?clock? What will happen if a person does not obey these terms? It seems like people are forced into being robots.
More?s ideal society is not so ideal when I think about it. There are many factors why I believe this. This utopia seems more like a dictator owning a bunch of slaves, controlling their lives and their environment. Or is it just that time has changed, and needs are different? In that time, technology had not developed, and their main source of food was through farming. This idea would not sound so bad if we were in the 1500?s, but we are not. Today?s needs are far more complex than those in the 16th century. In the past there has been a society similar to Moore?s utopia (communism), but it ended up in disaster.