Utopias are generally said to be societies in which the political, social and
economic troubles hampering its inhabitants has been done away with. Instead the state is
there to serve the people and ensure the peacefulness and happiness of everyone. The
word utopia, which means 'no place' in Greek, was first used to mean a perfect society in
1516 in the publication of Saint Thomas More's story 'Utopia'. The story depicted life as
it was with its people and social institutions on an imaginary island. More's Utopia gained
critical acclaim and a wide audience. The term was subsequently used by all prominent
social thinkers and visionaries to define other concepts of this kind.
During the 19th century many attempts were made to actually establish
communities which followed the beliefs of a utopian society. Most were experiments in
utopian socialism. Although they differed considerably in their specific views, most of
them agreed that ideal societies could be created without much difficulty.
They felt all
that was needed was to have the formation of a few small, cooperative communities made
up of their followers.
The comte de Saint-Simon regarded technological progress and large scale
economic organization as being the most important keys to the establishment of these
communities. It was felt that industrial growth was the key to happiness for people in the
Another visionary, Fourier, was quite the opposite of Saint-Simon. He Spoke
strongly against the use of industry. His opinion was that agricultural communities would
be better suited for this situation. He favored these communities as he saw them as small,
self-sufficient and more importantly, free from the restraints that were being imposed by
Experimental societies based on the theories of the utopians were also set up in
Europe and the Unites States. They included Robert Owen's...