Utopia Theory in History United States of America in 2000

About the theoretical utopian society the United States of America in 2000 devised by Edward Bellamy, about the social, political, and economic structure.

Name of Utopia: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (in the year 2000)

Who Created: Edward Bellamy (1850-1898). New Englander. His utopian novel won enthusiasm and brought converts to socialism.

Described in: Looking Backward (1888).

Political and Social Structure: A single syndicate represents the people, and it is "to be conducted in the common interest for the common profit . . . the nation [is to be] organized as one great business corporation . . . the final monopoly." As such, it competes with other countries organized in the same way. This supercorporation, modeled on the military, is a gigantic hierarchy based on merit and accomplishment. At the head is the President, commander-in-chief of the "industrial army." Under him are the 10 major generals of the 10 industrial departments and under them the generals of the various trades. Finally, within each trade we find lieutenants, captains, colonels, foremen, and superintendents. A gerontocracy: The President is elected, but only those over 45 (retirement age) can vote.

Property and Distribution of Goods: Guaranteed annual income of $4,000 (in 1887 dollars). Each citizen receives a yearly credit card for this amount and can spend it as he wishes. He can retire at 33, on half-income, if he chooses. Sample shops display all purchasable goods, even in small towns. When an order is taken, it is sent to a central warehouse which dispatches the goods to the buyer's home by pneumatic tube. Service labor can be hired from the state. If someone wants to publish a book, he can pay for it out of his "credit" account and receive royalties. A group can start a magazine or newspaper by guaranteeing the support of an editor out of its members' own "credit" accounts. No wages, trade, or money per se.

Production: Everyone between 21 and 45 is a state employee. For 3 years each person works where the state determines he is needed. After that he may study the trade of his choosing in a national school. More arduous and less attractive work is made acceptable by its having shorter hours. Even though there are no wages, the factories have piecework in order to gauge individual merit for the annual regarding of the labor army. Consumer petitions play a part in determining what is produced.

Family/Marriage/Sex: Candor, restraint, and absence of artificiality are the rule. Marriage is not compromised by obligations to parents.

Daily Life: After 45, one lives a leisurely existence that includes travel, special vocations, hobbies, attending sports events. Or if one wishes, one can stay home and have music and sermons piped in (an anticipation of the radio).

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