Debate: Utopias, or the Ideal Society of the Future
The discussion about the ideal political community is not a normal debate which is located in particular date, place, and historical context. Rather it is a theoretical “debate” which has engaged thinkers across time and geography ever since the beginning of formal political philosophy with the ancient Greeks. The name given to an ideal political community, “Utopia”, comes from Thomas More’s work Utopia which was published in Latin in 1516. What is interesting about many conceptions of utopian communities is that the authors assumed that without free markets and private property there would be an absence of conflict and greater prosperity. There have been a few dissenters to this tradition, namely Voltaire and Molinari who envisioned utopian-like communities which were based upon these very two principles. Hayek in an essay “The Intellectuals and Socialism” published in 1949 calls for “true liberals” to dare to be Utopian as their 19th century socialist counterparts had been.
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