What kind of Utopia would you like to live in?

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N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

You're obviously from another planet. No human would be naiive enough to think that such prescriptions have a hope in hell of coming to fruition.

And you're notion of freedom ... sucks. Near as I can make out, it consists of the absence of constraints maybe freedom as capriciousness or some goofy petty bourgeois glop. Give yourself a slap upside your alien proboscis. heh.

Real freedom is is people participating in making themselves, not in just getting their basic needs met. Your idea sounds like a liberal version of barracks socialism. Fuck that shit. See Mike Lebowitz: The Socialist Alternative and don't come back until you've absorbed it into your consciousness. Now pass me that beer.


Profanity for argument?



Maysie Maysie's picture

Yo, N, dial it down.

alien, one of the problems with your utopia is that some people can't "work" in the sense of working to produce labour, goods, services, etc. In our lives we will have different times when we can't engage in it, and for some, they will never be "productive" as you've defined it. Any society I live in has room for such folks.

There is also no mention of visual arts, creativity, music. These are not secondary considerations. And what about culture? Do we all become, what, generic white folks? 

Utopia is not an actuality, it's a goal.

writer writer's picture

Peace is not the absence of war—peace is the absence of fear.

All creatures have value and are subjects of equal care and love; similarly, in a society of justice and peace, all people matter equally.

I used to say ... that the dream of a peaceful society, to me, is still the dream of the potluck supper. The society in which all can contribute, and all can find friendship, that those who bring things, bring things that they do well and bring a variety of things. Those who can't cook can still organize, help clean up, and all belong. And that, however archaic it might sound, is still the society that I dream of, not that everybody runs everybody's business, but that we create conditions under which a potluck is possible.

— Ursula Franklin, various quotes

Maysie Maysie's picture

alien, have you read "Woman on the Edge of Time" by Marge Piercy?

Classic sci fi/utopia/dystopia novel from the 70s. It's a wonderful read. 

writer, that potluck sounds great.


Yes, Maysie, I have. Yes, I know, any idea can be twisted and abused and turned into a nightmare. Communism was, for crying out loud! This unfortunate human (as opposed to alien) talent does not change my basic argument: as long as those 2 ethical pillars are not incorporated into a solution, no solution is possible.



Thank you Maysie for civility. 

As I mentioned, millions of details need to be worked out. 

I concentrated on the basic conceptual foundation of the dilemma in all socialist schemes: the extent of redistribution is completely undefined, arbitrary, resulting in forever fight over distribution. 

As I also mentioned, it is an advanced form of the "Guaranteed Basic Income" idea that does exist in some form or another (also in arbitrary forms). 

The most important aspect of this system is ethical: As long as people/children go hungry, have to sleep on the streets, get sick and die, without help, of preventable illness or can't afford basic, good quality education, everything else is a luxury.

Once these basic human needs are satisfied, then we can talk. 

The other pillar of the system is also ethical: Every human being benefits from living in a society, as opposed to living alone in a jungle. Every human being owes something to the maintenance of this society and should be expected to contribute. Those who have legitimate reasons not to, for a period of time (or even permanently), can be exempted, obviously. 

Now, I don't really think that this system will "come to fruition", but it highlights the ethical and conceptual foundation of any system that has a chance of being different from the one we do have now, and what we have had, with minor variations, for thousands of years. 

This is the time, people, to think outside the box and try something that hasn't been tried (and failed at) before for millennia. 

Wars, famines, brutality on one hand, or creative thinking outside the box on the other. 

I don't see any other way. 

But, of course, I am an alien from outer space!

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

alien wrote:
Once these basic human needs are satisfied, then we can talk.

This is the problem. Postponing addressing how people's needs are met means inevitable failure. If people are not participants in the process of determining and meeting their needs, then it's just going to be, at best, Soviet-style barracks equality - something you claim to dislike.

Sorry if I offended you with colourful language. You'd do well to have some colourful ideas, instead of the same, old, drab, worn out unworkable prescriptions.

writer has the right idea - a potluck, in which everyone participates in the making is already better than anything you've put forward. It's dynamic, collective and participatory. Have a nice day.


Maysie Maysie's picture

The potluck image has created another image in my mind, in this quest to describe utopia.

Let the most marginalized define this new world and have all or most of the decision making powers.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Well, yea, exactly. Empowerment in the process of determining and fulfilling people's needs ... means that the citizenry becomes more fully human because more empowered. Therefore, the least empowered need the most empowerment.

And, funny thing, one of the earliest socialists (Fourier) defined social justice in terms of how far the status of women had improved. He was looking at the society he lived in, and saw the most disadvantaged, the most disempowered, being women.

Even liberal philosophers have taken a stab at this view; John Rawls who is very famous for his theory of justice has some variation of empowering the most disadvantaged at the heart of the theory.

Anyway, sorry for the impatient tone. I'm behind in my reading and very soon I will have no time for any extra reading.


This is not substantially different from graduated income tax and various contributions to social programs, except - and this is a huge exception - in the removal of money from the equation. When the contribution is in money, it is necessarily arbitrary: one person's work is valued higher than another's, because of fashion or exclusivity, or the dictates of capital. Thus, we can train enough doctors: there is no point in their closing out competition (or entering the profession for the wrong motives!) if doctors don't get more of the resources than janitors; if everyone who likes the work and has the talent can train for it.


   I have some ideas on how to get from here to there. Go to the communities with the lowest per capita income - say the poorest 10% - and ask them to submit a list of what they need in order to raise their standard of living to the next 10%. Take enough resources, material, people-power and whatever is required, from the top 1% income group. Then go to the next 10% lowest income communities, and take their requirements from the top 2%, and so on, until we meet in the middle. Which, by the way, will be a higher standard of living than working people have now, and at a fraction of the hours of labour. So the miner can go out painting every afternoon and the surgeon has time to learn a second language. 


thread drift/ Thanks for the book res at #56 Maysie. The university library is getting it out of storage for me/end thread drift


absentia wrote:
This is not substantially different from graduated income tax and various contributions to social programs, except - and this is a huge exception - in the removal of money from the equation.

Another huge exception is the absolute requirement for the basic-needs-economy to be COMPLETELY isolated (hermetically sealed, air tight, etc) from the other tier.

If the bastards had any way whatsoever to touch it -- they would subvert, corrupt and eventually destroy it, as they have subverted, corrupted and almost (they are working on it day and night) destroyed all the progressive social-justice gains we have made in the fifties and sixties.



N.Beltov wrote:

alien wrote:
Once these basic human needs are satisfied, then we can talk.

This is the problem. Postponing addressing how people's needs are met means inevitable failure.  


From what you quoted, and your highlighted comments after, made me realize that you completely misunderstood my proposal. 

It is the second tier of the aconomy, created for the luxuries, that needs to be dealt with after the basic needs of every citizen are met.


Yes, of course. Capitalists are able to become mega-rich because they have access to - and power over - a work force with no other options. That's exactly why they need to destroy the social safety-net.


absentia wrote:
This is not substantially different from graduated income tax and various contributions to social programs, except - and this is a huge exception - in the removal of money from the equation. When the contribution is in money, it is necessarily arbitrary.

When the contribution is money, as it is now, it may not be a real contribution at all, or may even be negative contribution, depending on how the money was obtained. It could be stolen, extorted, or obtained as salary/income/profit for really destructive behaviour that causes great harm to society. But they "paid their taxes" (those who did), so they are on record of 'contributing'. In my scheme, where money doesn't exist in the basic-needs economy, the contribution has to be obvious and visible by the contributor actually being there and doing something visibly useful.


Sorry, changed my mind...


No, Beltov, you did not offend me.

It is my Babble policy: never be offended.

I suspect you did not finish reading my posts and/or did not give yourself enough time to think them over. I do agree with writer's potluck idea.  Everybody contributes to the extent of their ability and everybody is valued equally.

In my Utopia people are "participating in the process of determining and meeting their needs" in a truly representational democratic system. So I don't know how you got the impression that they don't. It is not a centrally run buerocratic system as you may think.

The essence are those 2 ethical pillars I highlighted in my earlier post.

Spectrum Spectrum's picture

Coming late to the party:)

It got my historical dithers up so as to pin down points of views that may have inspired cultures to look for new lands beyond the realms of thought each society was used too, and "hoped for" in some better form.

Why quest for new lands, planets for living? 

Bacon's Utopia: The New Atlantis

[i]In 1623 Bacon expressed his aspirations and ideals in The New Atlantis. Released in 1627, this was his creation of an ideal land where "generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendor, piety and public spirit" were the commonly held qualities of the inhabitants of Bensalem. In this work, he portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge. The plan and organization of his ideal college, "Solomon's House", envisioned the modern research university in both applied and pure science.[/i]


City of the Sun


Tommaso Campanella- See also:The City of the Sun


What contributions were idealistic set before those who signed the documents that one would have found reference from Raphael toward the Stanza's of the signatore's room in Rome?


The Room of the Segnatura contains Raphael's most famous frescoes. Besides being the first work executed by the great artist in the Vatican they mark the beginning of the high Renaissance. The room takes its name from the highest court of the Holy See, the "Segnatura Gratiae et Iustitiae", which was presided over by the pontiff and used to meet in this room around the middle of the 16th century. Originally the room was used by Julius II (pontiff from 1503 to 1513) as a library and private office. The iconographic programme of the frescoes, which were painted between 1508 and 1511, is related to this function. See Raphael Rooms


You had to understand the setting and the historical drama set forth?

School of Athens by Raphael

In center, while Plato - with the philosophy of the ideas and theoretical models, he indicates the sky, Aristotle - considered the father of Science, with the philosophy of the forms and the observation of the nature indicates the Earth. Many historians of the Art in the face correspondence of Plato with Leonardo, Heraclitus with Miguel Angel, and Euclides with Twine agree.

So to set this up some background was needed?

[b]Plato and Aristotle, Up and Down[/b] by Kelley L. Ross, Ph.D. [i]

Rafael has Plato pointing up and Aristotle gesturing down to indicate the difference in their metaphysics. For Plato, true existence is in the World of Forms, in relation to which this world (of Becoming) is a kind of shadow or image of the higher reality. Aristotle, on the other hand, regards individual objects in this world as "primary substance" and dismisses Plato's Forms -- except for God as a pure actuality, without matter.

However, when it comes to ethics and politics, the gestures should be reversed. Plato, like Socrates, believed that to do the good without error, one must know what the good is. Thus, we get the dramatic moment in the Republic where Plato says that philosophers, who have escaped from the Cave and come to understand the higher reality, must be forced to return to this world and rule, so that their wisdom can benefit the state. Aristotle, on the other hand, says that the "good" is simply the goal of various particular activities, without one meaning in Plato's sense. The particular activities of most human affairs involve phronésis, "practical wisdom." This is not sophía, true wisdom, for Aristotle, which involves the theoretical knowledge of the highest things, i.e. the gods, the heavens, and God.

Thus, for philosophy, Aristotle should point up and would represent a contemplative attitude that was certainly more congenial to religious practices in the Middle Ages. By the same token, Aristotle's contribution to what we now think of as science was hampered by his lack of interest in mathematics. Although Aristotle in general had a more empirical and experimental attitude than Plato, modern science did not come into its own until Plato's Pythagorean confidence in the mathematical nature of the world returned with Kepler, Galileo, and Newton. For instance, Aristotle, relying on a theory of opposites that is now only of historical interest, rejected Plato's attempt to match the Platonic Solids with the elements -- while Plato's expectations are realized in mineralogy and crystallography, where the Platonic Solids occur naturally.

Therefore, caution is in order when comparing the meaning of the metaphysics of Plato and Aristotle with its significance for their attitudes towards ethics, politics, and science. Indeed, if the opposite of wisdom is, not ignorance, but folly, then Socrates and Plato certainly started off with the better insight.


Spectrum Spectrum's picture

Hope I didn't bore you with precursors of "new thoughts of how differing societies were formed?  How one may of attained such insight by helping one to realize the choice we have about how those new societies may have inspired?

Of course, "a science" evolved from it all?


Life Vs Productivity: 'What Would You Live and Die to Protect?


"It is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the contant victim of brutal attacks.."


Chris Hedges: Empire of Illusion (and vid)




absentia wrote:

Yes, of course. Capitalists are able to become mega-rich because they have access to - and power over - a work force with no other options. That's exactly why they need to destroy the social safety-net.

I think some might argue that there is actually very little preventing anarchy. The proles way outnumber the powerful elite few by some incredibly large number.  And the power mongers know it. It's been one continuous psyop against the proles. We are divided and  conquered only in our minds.



Check this one out: http://www.thevenusproject.com/