Utopian Society Thinkers Edward Bellamy Part 2

About the famous utopian thinker Edward Bellamy and history of his planned utopia Boston in the year 2000.


EDWARD BELLAMY (1850-1898)

Bellamy had been ill with tuberculosis for some time, and doctors had recommended a warmer climate for him, but he refused to move until he finished Equality, a tractlike novel designed as a sequel to Looking Backward. By the time he got to Colorado, it was too late, and he returned home to die at the age of 48.

His Utopia: BOSTON IN THE YEAR 2000

Julian West, the romantic hero of Looking Backward, woke up in Boston in the year 2000 after a 113-year hypnotic spell. Boston was a far different place than it had been more than a century before.

The head of the country, called the president, was the leader of a huge industrial army, for all workers were employed by the state.

People were educated until they were 21, when they went into menial service for a short time. After that, they took examinations to qualify for professional schools; if they failed, they were given jobs for which they were suited. The most boring jobs had the shortest hours. Women had rights equal to men's.

Though people in this world still rode in coaches, they enjoyed modern conveniences, too--a kind of radio piped in by telephone, paper clothes, television and movies, airplanes, electric heating, and pollution-free air.

No matter what the job, each person made exactly $4,000 a year and was issued a credit card rather than money. A central store stocked samples of goods from which a customer could pick and choose, paying for what he wanted with his credit card. The order was then sent to the warehouse, and the goods were delivered directly to the customer's house. Statistics determined the production of goods.

Sidewalks were roofed with waterproof material when it rained, a practice that exemplified for Bellamy what his utopia was all about: "The difference between the age of individualism and that of concert was well characterized by the fact that in the 19th century when it rained, the people of Boston put up 300,000 umbrellas, over as many heads, and in the 20th century they put up one umbrella over all the heads."

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