Utopia is a vision of an ideal society that has been dreamt of for centuries. While this utopian ideal may seem unattainable, it is possible to create a society that is more just and equitable. This can be done by implementing policies that promote economic, social, and environmental justice and ensure citizens have access to their basic needs. Additionally, citizens should be provided with meaningful work opportunities, equal pay, and secure jobs that provide a dignified living wage. This article will explore the policies and steps needed to achieve a utopian society and how we can move closer to this utopian dream.
In 1519 when the Spanish explorer, Hernán Cortés discovered the Aztec empire. The civilization rivalled that of any European society on many levels. It was highly functional, organized and sophisticated, leveraging technologies and methods the Europeans had not yet discovered. Its capital city Tenochtitlan, founded in the early 14th century was an absolute marvel. Built across a series of natural and artificial islands connected by causeways in the swamps of Lake Texcoco, it had become one of the largest cities in the world, covering more than five square miles. It had a population of over 200,000–larger than the largest European city, Constantinople. When Cortés only arrived in 1519 Tenochtitlan was immensely wealthy, architecturally grand, colourful, full of life and civilized. It took just two years for the Spanish to raze the city to the ground. Mexico City, the capital of the viceroyalty of New Spain, grew up in its place.
Although Aztec civilization was magnificent, it was at no point a utopia. While they had a highly organized and sophisticated society, with impressive architectural feats, a complex religious system and a well-developed market economy, their society was also characterized by social stratification, human sacrifice and warfare with neighbouring peoples.
A utopian society is typically characterized as having the following traits:
- Distribution of Wealth. Perfect equal distribution of wealth and resources among all members.
- Zero Conflict. The total absence of conflict, poverty, disease, and other forms of suffering.
- Social and Political Equality. High levels of social and political equality, with no oppression or discrimination based on race, gender, religion, or other factors.
- Perfected Technology. Advanced technology meets all of the needs of the population and makes life easier and more comfortable.
- Advanced Education. High levels of education, literacy, and cultural sophistication, with a strong focus on the arts and sciences.
- Unbreakable Community. A strong sense of community and cooperation among all members, with everyone working together for the greater good.
It is important to note that these characteristics are largely imagined and not representative of any actual society, as a truly utopian society is considered by many to be impossible to achieve. Achieving a utopia, a perfect society, is a complex and idealistic goal that requires a combination of complex factors. A utopia is ultimately a hypothetical place or state of things in which everything is perfect. The concept of a utopia has been explored throughout human history and has been the subject of much philosophical debate. Despite its unattainability, the pursuit of a utopia remains a popular and enduring ideal. Some experts believe there are ways to achieve this goal, but sustaining it could be difficult. Within any society, there is corruption that often bends the most well-balanced of societies. Scandinavian countries have come close. But while they have strong welfare systems and high standards of living, their societies are not without social and economic problems, they face many of the same challenges as other developed countries. Hence, it’s not accurate to describe them as “utopian”.
This is a long list of the challenges and issues expected with achieving a utopia:
- Overcoming Inequality: Utopian societies must work to eliminate systemic inequality and ensure all citizens have equal access to resources and opportunities.
- Reducing Poverty: Utopian societies must work to reduce poverty and ensure all citizens have access to basic needs such as healthcare, education, and housing.
- Promoting Sustainability: Utopian societies must promote sustainable development and responsible use of natural resources to ensure the longevity of the planet.
- Encouraging Religious Tolerance: Utopian societies must promote religious tolerance and respect for all beliefs.
- Ensuring Quality Work Opportunities: Utopian societies must ensure citizens have access to meaningful work opportunities, equal pay, and secure jobs that provide a dignified living wage.
- Protecting Human Rights: Utopian societies must protect the human rights of all citizens and ensure everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
- Encouraging Civic Engagement: Utopian societies must promote civic engagement and ensure citizens have a voice in the decision-making process.
- Creating a Culture of Peace: Utopian societies must work to create a culture of peace and non-violence.
Despite the challenges, there is a path to achieve it, and it could very well be worth it. The path to a utopian society is a matter of debate and there is no clear answer. However, some common themes in discussions of utopian societies include equality, cooperation, mutual respect, sustainability, peace, and the fulfillment of basic human needs. Achieving a utopian society, it would likely require significant changes to current social, political, and economic systems, as well as a shift in individual and collective values and behaviours. Here they are unpacked:
- Equality and Fairness. Creating a society where everyone has equal opportunities, access to resources, and is treated fairly.
- Cooperation and Collaboration. Encouraging people to work together towards common goals, rather than competing against each other.
- Sustainability. Adopting environmentally friendly practices and policies to ensure the long-term health and stability of the planet.
- Education. Providing quality education to all individuals to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed and contribute to society.
- Political Stability. Establishing stable, transparent, and accountable political systems that promote peace and security.
- Empathy and Compassion. Cultivating a society that values empathy, compassion, and kindness towards others, regardless of their background or beliefs.
Let’s Diver Deeper
It’s important to note that utopia is a theoretical concept and may never be fully realized. However, striving towards these ideals can still lead to a more just and harmonious society. In Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014), the author Jeremy Rifkin discusses a self-sustainable society where there is zero cost for electricity. There should be a maximization of AI and robotics for production and services, and the maximization of recyclables. We must base our energy and resources on renewable resources. We have free of petrochemical-based products and there is a focus on helping each other.
Rifkin argues the 40-hour work is dead, and that was in 2014. Now there is more a need to overhaul our perspective on this than ever. The maximum should be a 4-day, 28-hour work week. Enforced standards for all work environments supported by the credit system. To balance things out there should be credits for good behaviour and output.
The ideal concept for work in a utopian society is one that is based on collaboration, creativity, and meaningful contribution. Work should be driven by passion and purpose and should provide citizens with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. People should be free to pursue their dreams and work in their areas of interest or expertise. All citizens should have access to meaningful work opportunities and the ability to move up in their chosen fields. Equal pay should be the norm, and people should be rewarded for the value they bring to the workplace. Jobs should be secure and provide a dignified living wage. Finally, work should be flexible and provide citizens with the opportunity to balance their work and personal lives.
Governing bodies will use AI to govern people–free from human error, greed, deception and corruption. The governance required to make a utopia functional and sustainable should include the following:
- Universal Basic Income: A policy that guarantees every citizen a basic income to cover their essential needs, regardless of their employment or financial situation.
- Universal Healthcare: A policy that guarantees every citizen access to quality healthcare regardless of their income, employment, or financial situation.
- Universal Education: A policy that guarantees every citizen access to quality education regardless of their income, employment, or financial situation.
- Sustainable Development: A policy that promotes the responsible use of natural resources and encourages eco-friendly practices to ensure the longevity of the planet.
- Equal Rights and Opportunities: A policy that ensures everyone has equal rights and opportunities regardless of gender, race, sexuality, disability, or any other factor.
- Transparency and Accountability: A policy that ensures citizens have access to all relevant information so they can hold their elected officials accountable.
- Sustainable Energy: A policy that encourages the use of renewable energy sources to reduce fossil fuel consumption and protect the environment.
- Social and Economic Equality: A policy that ensures everyone has the same opportunities to achieve economic success, regardless of their background.
- Equal Access to Technology: A policy that ensures everyone has access to the latest technological advancements
Community and Health
Community and health must be at the core if a utopian society is to thrive. A society built on a foundation of holistic health and support for each other is essential. Policies and support should include the following:
- Healthy living incentive: Credits for eating healthy and participation in exercise.
- Volunteer hours incentive: As conventional jobs disappear through the rapid transition to AI and robotics, more people will need to volunteer their time for humanitarian needs. In return for their time, they will receive a provision of credits.
- Community project development. Development of community projects in the interest of community health (cycle paths, renewable energies).
- Marital training. To reduce chances of separation and divorce mandatory pre-martial training for partners will be required to gain the right to marry, similar to entering a profession.
- Parental training. For perhaps the most difficult job on the planet, mandatory parental training would be required for all that plan on being parents in order to gain the right to register children and be provided with a tax benefit and credits.
- Universal Access to Quality Education: A policy that ensures all citizens have access to quality educational opportunities, regardless of their income or background.
- Universal Access to Quality Healthcare: A policy that guarantees all citizens access to quality healthcare regardless of their income or background.
- Universal Access to Affordable Housing: A policy that ensures all citizens have access to affordable housing so they can have safe and secure homes.
- Universal Access to Clean Water: A policy that guarantees all citizens have access to clean and safe drinking water.
- Universal Access to Sanitation: A policy that ensures all citizens have access to adequate sanitation and hygiene facilities.
- Universal Access to Nutritious Food: A policy that guarantees all citizens have access to nutritious and affordable food.
- Mental Health Support: A policy that guarantees all citizens access to mental health services and support in times of need.
- Community Development: A policy that encourages local communities to work together to improve the quality of life for all citizens.
- Social Justice: A policy that works to eliminate systemic inequalities and promote fairness and justice for all citizens.
Religion and Faith
Religion and faith must be able to flourish in a utopian society otherwise it will be unsustainable. Religion and faith required to make a utopia functional and sustainable should include the following:
- Credits for institutions. Credits for cooperative religious institutions.
- Freedom of Religion: A policy that guarantees all citizens the right to practice their chosen faith without fear of discrimination or persecution.
- Religious Accommodation: A policy that allows individuals to practice their faith without fear of losing their job or other privileges.
- Religious Education: A policy that ensures all children have access to religious education and are exposed to a variety of faiths.
- Religious Tolerance: A policy that encourages respect for all beliefs and does not favour any particular faith.
- Religious Freedom: A policy that ensures all citizens have the right to choose their own religion and practice it freely.
- Separation of Church and State: A policy that ensures the government does not interfere with religious practices, while also protecting the rights of citizens who do not practice a faith.
- Religious Charities: A policy that encourages religious organizations to provide charitable services to the community.
- Religious Expression: A policy that protects the right of individuals to express their faith in public, including wearing religious symbols or clothing.
- Religious Organizations: A policy that protects the right of religious organizations to operate freely and provide services to their members. Ban of religious extremist groups.
The achievement of creating a utopia is an elusive goal, as it requires the perfect alignment of social, political, and economic systems. While it may never be fully realized, the pursuit of a utopia is an important driver of progress and change. Through constant improvement and striving towards a better world, we can move closer to a utopia, even if we may never fully reach it. No, the term “utopian” refers to an ideal and perfect society that exists only in imagination and cannot be achieved in reality.
Utopia is a vision of a perfect world where everyone is happy, safe, and equal. While achieving this utopian ideal may seem impossible, it is possible to create a society that is more equitable and just. This can be done by implementing policies that promote economic, social, and environmental justice. These policies should ensure universal access to basic needs such as healthcare, education, and housing, and should also promote sustainable development and religious tolerance. Additionally, citizens should be provided with meaningful work opportunities, equal pay, and secure jobs that provide a dignified living wage. By taking these steps, we can create a society that is more equitable and just and move closer to achieving our utopian dream.
- The Map: Tenochtitlan, 1524. History Today. October 10, 2016.