Population in Utopia--big or small?

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OK, so here's a question for you:

If you're making a utopia--the best possible society--how many people are you responsible for? Is it OK to have a small group that's happy with a large group that's not (think Steve's Open Plains)? Or do you have a moral responsibility to the rest of society?

On a related note, is it OK to limit population size? (I put the cap at 10 million, but that's arbitrary). Or should you let as many people as possible enjoy it?

-- Anonymous, April 26, 2000


Ah, but is it possible? Can one system be the best for everybody, or must there always be alternatives for the discontented (think The Disposessed)? Is the spread of Christianity, for example, self-limited, so that there will always be non- believers? Bryan argues (for theological reasons) that there will be in his utopia...

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2000

Although I didn't show it that well in my utopia, I think a utopia definitely has a responsiblity to the rest of society. A society, like Open Plains, that depends on a dystopia is no utopia.

Isn't it selfish to have the answer to a better society and keep it to yourself? This is the failing of Agape, my own utopia, and many of those in the class.

I'm not advocating something like More, who has his Utopians invade those who aren't "enlightened" enough to properly exploit the land. But maybe do something like in Justin's, try to convert people. Show, by example, that your way works better. Are we all so cynical that we think everybody in the "outside world" will be unable to understand and reject the utopia?

I'm sure that many of my ideas about this come from my faith. I believe that I've found the way to eteranal life and fulfillment. How horrible it would be of me to keep this to myself!

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2000

Sure, it would be ideal to make everyone happy but I'm with Steve, better to have a few hundred or a few thousand happy than no one, and I think that's the only hope that there is at all. (boy, isn't that cynical). But I think the reason I made my utopia be a bunch of people who chose to go off and form a society together is that the only possible utopia I see is where everyone there chose to be there . . . otherwise you have to do a great deal of limiting freedom or conditioning people to make them happy, and happy people, despite our debate over what exactly that means, is what I want in my utopia. So in my mind, the best you can do is establish a society among people who all have the same general idea of what would be a good society . . . I would certainly want them to be open to anyone who will follow their rules and to try to share their better way (meeting Ben's goal of letting other people know that he's found something worth sharing), but I think it's inevitable that there will be people who don't want to be a part of your society. So moral responsibility to share the ideas of your society, yes, but moral responsibility to get your society to rule the whole world, no. As for limiting population size . . . I would want as many people as possible to enjoy the benefits of the society, but at some point you would probably lose some of the benefits if your society is at all dependent on everyone's voice being heard and that sort of thing. So let's do like Walden, I'll make Minerva Two and Three and Four . . .

-- Anonymous, April 27, 2000

Hey guys! Here's my thought. I definately agree that having found some sort of Utopia, there comes with it a certain amount of responsibility to spread this beneficial way of life to any who do not yet enjoy it. Of course, I'm not condoning More's beligerent means of spreading the idea, but it's kind of like possessing some life-saving drug or technology: it has to be shared with those who do not yet have it. But, unlike a certain technology, people have to come to it on their own terms. So perhaps, to make use of the religious analogy, a sort of evangelizing by example. On top of this is the issue of logistics. You can only grow to a certain size before the surrounding land becomes incapable of supporting the population. Interestingly though, i would see this problem dimishing if the society acheived a certain national level. So perhaps to insure survival you have to make an effort to recruit as much of the population as possible.

-- Anonymous, May 02, 2000

Huh! Interesting response, Todd! So you not only should "evangalize" your utopia to the outside world, but you MUST for the sake of the utopia's survival. Is this a positive take on the utopia's possiblity of spreading, or a pessimistic take on a utopia's ever really surviving in an unenlightened world? Responses anybody?

-- Anonymous, May 03, 2000

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