Plato and the Ideal City
What was Plato's concept of the ideal city-state?
First, Plato perceived the ideal society as a city-state of no more than 20,000 people, ruled by the elite. He wanted something better than the kind of rule that had existed among the Spartans ands societies with aristocracies, and looking into the past he saw that societies led by aristocrats could degenerate and that some aristocrats were unfit for leadership. Plato envisioned a society with a ruling of elite men of learning, men who could pass their status to their sons but who lose that state if their peers decided that they were unfit, and men would admit to their ranks only those who has developed into sound philosophers.
Furthermore, Plato believed in preferential treatment for the elite. For example, he believed that his ruling elite had to be free from labor so they could specialize in philosophy.
His idea society called for a second class and even third class of citizens. The second class citizens were the warriors who did not have to work. Finally, the third class citizens were the ones Finally, Plato raised several concerns regarding city/state. He feared that if the city continued to grow, the population would become harder to keep under strict control. Plato knew that the local food supply could not continue to handle an influx of people.
What does all this mean? Plato's concept of an ideal city-state is the most prevalent image of a society that would never work. He was right in thinking that the shaping of the city need to be overhauled. Yet Plato never stop to ask some basic questions regarding a city: How could a large city maintain its existence by being isolated? How could a city thrive as a society with...