How does the world of Sir Thomas More's Utopia compare to the world today?
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Though Sir Thomas More wrote Utopia almost five hundred years ago, its relevance for the modern world remains as meaningful as it did for More's own society. While it is true that the world today has war, famine, inequality, and injustice - all regrettable realities of More's own time as well - the source of the text's importance for today's world lay in its method of addressing social concerns such as the aforesaid. Concerning the question of injustice, particularly political injustice, More proposes a system founded on socialism. Rather than political power rested in the hands of one individual, such power is shared in turns. As such, every member of society can make a contribution to the government of society. Today, a citizen's right to vote embodies very much the same idea. The process of voting extends a measure of control to the voter. With his/her vote, the voter contributes to the decision concerning who will govern them.
Concerning the question of famine - and by extension poverty - More's socialist society proposes that every member of society have a set and fixed role within society. By fulfilling their roles, the members of the population share in the benefits of society. If society profits, the individual profits. The health of crops becomes a social concern, since the health society involves everyone. More's system, more than anything, acknowledges how the population is interrelated, and how no one can say "that has nothing to do with me."
The society More proposes in his text is a reaction to the realities More saw in his own time. As such, they propose solutions to what More sees as real problems. Poverty, social injustice, and the like are not confined to us.
We have war, famine, disease, injustice, natural disasters, inequality, apathy, ignorance, calousness, vulgarity, intolerance and, most alarmingly, climate change.
It doesn't sound like utopia, does it?
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