Utopia: Democracy and Citizenship

Table of contents

Utopian politics seems a strange mixture of freedom and repression. Utopia employs a democratic government, its people represented by two layers of elected public officials, the higher level selected by the lower level. However, the rule abolishing on pain of death any discussion of politics outside of the political arena seems incredibly repressive. This repression, though, is a fair repression in the sense that all citizens of Utopia are equally bound by it. This is a very different repression than those in place in Europe, where the poor and weak were repressed by the rich and powerful. Utopia is operating under a rule of law, with all citizens subject to that law, even if the law itself strikes modern readers as excessive.

Hythloday trumpets the lack of private space as a wonderful idea promoting friendship and stifling pettiness and gossip. Again, though, in the loss of private space is a correspondent loss of privacy and autonomy. Utopia is a society in which everyone watches everyone else, much as everyone does in George Orwell’s nightmare world of ##1984##. There is often little differentiating one man’s Utopia from another’s dystopia.

Occupations, Workload and Productivity

As mentioned earlier, all people are engaged in farm work. They are taught theories of farming in school, and practical skills in the field.

Other than farm work, every person, woman and man, has a specific occupation. The most common trades are spinning and weaving, masonry, blacksmithing, and carpentry. Women, because they are less strong, are employed in trades that do not demand heavy work.

Young boys usually learn their trade through apprenticeship to their fathers, but if a boy shows a particular desire or aptitude for a different career, arrangements are made. People are allowed to apprentice and learn more than one trade, and then practice whichever they prefer, unless the city has a particular need for one rather than the other. Nobody is allowed to lounge while on the job. Those few who do are punished.

However, unlike European societies, working people in Utopia are not forced to toil for unconscionable hours each day. The Utopian day is broken into twenty-four hours; Utopians only work for six hours per day, three before lunch and three after. Utopians also sleep on average about eight hours a day. This leaves them with a great deal of free time, which they are free to do with as they will, as long as they do not spend it in debauchery or idleness.

Most people use their free time to engage in intellectual pursuits. They also involve themselves in music, gardening, and physical activity. Those people who demonstrate a keen love and aptitude for intellectual pursuits are identified early and, as long as they are diligent in their studies, they are exempt from physical labor. If a laborer should demonstrate some great skill in his recreational intellectual efforts, he too can become exempt from is work if he desires.

Though the Utopians work such short hours they do not suffer from any lack of productivity. Though Europeans work far longer hours, European populations are also filled with a far larger percentage of people who do no productive work at all, including most women, much of the clergy, the rich gentlemen and nobles and all of their retainers, and all of the beggars.

Also, because the Utopians diligently maintain everything they build, they have to expend far less energy undertaking rebuilding projects than Europeans, who instead follow a cycle of build, watch degenerate, rebuild. Because of the general lack of Utopian vanity and an understanding of the value of utility over style, the goods Utopians use are also far less difficult to produce. All of these factors combine so that though the Utopian workday is relatively short, Utopian society is far more productive than European states, in terms of both necessities and modest luxuries.

Commentary

The degree of choice Utopians can exercise in choosing their vocation likely strikes modern readers as incredibly small. Compared to Europeans of the sixteenth century, however, the range is not small at all. True, a European noble was freer to do what he would–from composing poetry to lying around eating figs–than any Utopian. But the European lower classes had absolutely no mobility in terms of job. If a peasant was born to agricultural parents, he had little choice but to work the land as well. The fact that Utopia allowed all of its citizens to pursue careers purely on the basis of interest was a novel idea.

Hythloday also explains why More’s market-based economies are not vastly more productive than Utopia’s non-market, communal economy. Whereas one particular individual in a marke- based economy who works incredibly long hours in order to beat out his competition is quite certainly more productive than the average Utopian worker, for every one of the productive people in a market-based economy, Hythloday explains that there are innumerable people from nobles to beggars who make no productive contribution.

In contrast, no one in Utopia is phenomenally productive, but everyone is fairly productive. More’s comment that in a communal society no one would feel the compunction to work for the simple reason that they would be fed by the work of others is answered in the Utopian law punishing all laziness and lounging on the job. However, again, such a law seems to imply a repression that most modern readers might find unpleasant.

In acknowledging the need for such a law Utopian society admits to the flawed nature of man. It is not, then, that More’s criticism of communal property is wrong, but rather that it can be overcome through the proper structuring of society. Utopia is not ideal because its people are perfect, but rather because its laws make it so that Utopian citizens must act perfectly despite their inherent failings as humans.

Because Utopian society is so productive its citizens have a lot of free time. Again, a generally cynical understanding of human nature is betrayed in the laws outlawing idleness or debauchery, but this cynicism has the positive effect of pushing Utopians into intellectual or athletic pursuits. The process through which intellectuals are uncovered depends only on individual merit, a remarkable idea in an age dominated by privilege and birthright.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
$0.00
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with MyStudyWriters
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
Testimonials
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
BUSINESS LAW
excellent job made a 93
Customer 452773, March 22nd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
excellent, got a 100
Customer 452773, May 17th, 2023
DATA565
The support team was late responding , my paper was late because the support team didn't respond in a timely manner. The writer of the paper finally got it right but seems there was a problem getting the revisioin to me.
Customer 452773, April 7th, 2024
English 101
great summery in terms of the time given. it lacks a bit of clarity but otherwise perfect.
Customer 452747, June 9th, 2021
Psychology
Thank you!
Customer 452545, February 6th, 2021
Business and administrative studies
excellent job!
Customer 452773, May 25th, 2023
Human Resources Management (HRM)
excellent job
Customer 452773, June 25th, 2023
History
Don't really see any of sources I provided, but elsewise its great, thank you!
Customer 452697, May 8th, 2021
Criminal Justice
This has been the greatest help while I am recovering from an illness. Thank your team so much.
Customer 452671, May 2nd, 2021
Business and administrative studies
Perfect
Customer 452773, February 23rd, 2023
Business and administrative studies
Thank you for your hard work
Customer 452773, October 19th, 2023
Management
Thank you!!! I received my order in record timing.
Customer 452551, February 9th, 2021
11,595
Customer reviews in total
96%
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
37%
Customers referred by a friend
OUR GIFT TO YOU
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Close

Sometimes it is hard to do all the work on your own

Let us help you get a good grade on your paper. Get professional help and free up your time for more important courses. Let us handle your;

  • Dissertations and Thesis
  • Essays
  • All Assignments

  • Research papers
  • Terms Papers
  • Online Classes
Live ChatWhatsApp