Your Utopia

These questions were given to various people (including John Lennon and Dr. Benjamin Spock) in 1975 in the People’s Almanac on what their Utopia would be. Keep in mind this would be an earthly utopia so complete perfection would still be impossible but still the best of all possible worlds.

  1. What would the physical environment of your utopia be like? My utopia would be a highly developed and advanced united world. Vast tracts of nature would still be preserved of course. Cities would be large and laid out with both a downtown sections with sleek skyscrapers and the like and large sections of unique architecture (ie Victorian or Baroque or Georgian or Indian). Possibly the best cities would be in architecture Edwardian London.

  2. What family structures would exist? More or less the same time but with more faithfulness and integrity and stronger extended family bonds (as in Asia) with old people (if they need to be) being taken care of by their children.

  3. How would government be organized? Along federal republican democratic lines with strong oversight and tough anticorruption laws. Average citizens are represented in all levels of governments alongside politicians and bureaucrats.

  4. How would work and goods be divided? Strongly cooperative bonds between corporations and unions. Taxes would be minimal and largely on individuals rather than businesses.

  5. How would education take place? Education would be truly life-long. After mandatory schooling until eighteen (combining scholarly/classical study with scientific education and practical experience) anyone is free to go to college if they have minimal ability. Also all adults are encourage to take educationc lasses.

  6. What crimes would there be and how would they be punished? There will still be crimes but much reduced and they would be treated by extensive psychological restructuring of the mind and genuine repentence.

  7. What would YOUR role be in the society? I would be a historian and/or reporter covering on this world.

  8. Why isn’t life like this now? Because people in general are selfish, wicked, immoral, and totally depraved and lack faith in God.

  9. Any other comments? I think a society like this could actually be possible if there was a strong revival of religion and a greater care for fellow human beings.

  1. All cities would be floating about 1 mile above the surface of the Earth, leaving it pristine. Each city would be completely self-contained through recycling, and it would automatically rise/lower to control the temperature and they could move to avoid bad weather.

  2. Children would be raised in nuclear or extended families. Both parents would have the full-time responsibility of raising the children. The elderly can choose to stay with family, or live in retirement communities. (see #6).

  3. Each city-state would be able to choose their own form of government, and people who don’t like the system in their city are encouraged to move. If the government system is experimental and fails, a clean template of a democracy will be instituted, that can be used to vote for a new government form later.

  4. Work and goods would be freely and readily available. Robots and computers handle all manual labor and most services. Humans are primarily engaged in the arts, sciences, meditation or child-raising. There is no money. Extra goods are recycled back into the city. Trade can occur between cities. Necessary services can be traded between cities by inviting experts from one city to another, where they are treated like dignitaries for the amount of time needed to train people at the new city in that area.

  5. Each city-state would have a specialized university, where the greatest teachers in a given field would congregate and train people for advanced degrees or specialties. Multiple specialized universities might exist for very popular pursuits (programming, theater, filmmaking, etc.) while there might be only one major university on the planet for say painting. Lower level universities and colleges would also exist, however since there are no jobs anymore, people take classes in their interests. Public school education ends in the 9th grade. All schooling is free.

  6. Crimes would have various penalties depending on severity, but there are no jails or fines. People will be put to work in community service for their crimes. The most dangerous and violent criminals will be banished from the cities and sent to live on the planet, but a few will be saved to be studied at the university of Criminology. As robots are in every level of society, catching criminals will occur within milliseconds of a crime being committed. Reaction time to crime will be so fast that it is possible to stop a person while their finger is pulling the trigger and before the hammer is released on a gun, or if person is being stabbed, before the knife can penetrate more than 2-3 millimeters. There are no courts. Robots will record all information about the crime, computers will process the pertinent facts, and the entire populace of a city will vote on the verdict. There will only be three laws: no harming of another, no stealing from another, and harming of the self.

  7. Nobody has jobs. I will just spend my free time fishing, playing golf, or having sex.

  8. All humanity is driven by profit and greed. Once money no longer exists, people will act in better ways.

  9. The main flaw in my plan is the technology to build anti-gravity cities.

Oh, fun!

  1. What would the physical environment of your utopia be like? Not much different than the present. The preferences of people, the motive of profit, and the decisions of municipal planners do a good enough job. Blight, though, would be eliminated.

  2. What family structures would exist? Anything goes. I personally may not like some of the people’s decisions, but those decisions are theirs to make.

  3. How would government be organized? A strong, central figure with a lifetime appointment. Only a coup or resignation would remove him from office. Federal relationship to the various states or provinces. States largely left on their own. No democracy, or at least, only democracy for those that contribute. Say, you get one vote for every dollar of taxes you pay. Democracy on the local level to be very highly encouraged.

  4. How would work and goods be divided? Corporations massively taxed. Anyone at all can choose to be on welfare, and they’ll have to live in welfare communes, and nothing will be expected of them as long as they stay in the welfare communes. It will be a comfortable, fattening life. Of course, they don’t get to vote. Once that’s paid for, all free people are free to keep their profits and earn their own livings. You’re always free to leave the welfare communes and join free people again.

  5. How would education take place? Education is basic infrastructure through the bachelor level. No forced education.

  6. What crimes would there be and how would they be punished? Thou shalt not steal and variations of that theme. That’s really the only law there is if you extrapolate enough. Punishment according to the circumstances (cop out answer, because there would be soooo many details).

  7. What would YOUR role be in the society? Same as now, although it’d be a paradise because I’d only have coworkers who want to contribute. All the lazy sloths would be in the welfare communes.

  8. Why isn’t life like this now? People are afraid of fascism. People don’t want to pay taxes because they’re wasted. People think that “welfare communes” are equivilent to “ghettos.” Basically, my ideas are monstrous to most of polite society.

  9. Any other comments? True democracy at non-local scales is stupid. Capitalism is good. Stealing, though, isn’t capitalism and is wrong. Some people won’t work or don’t want to work, so let’s face that fact and get rid of them without mass murder.

I’ll take a stab at it.

  1. What would the physical environment of your utopia be like? Extremely high tech. Even nature will have been fully technologized, with all higher animal life optimized to eliminate suffering and eliminate the need to kill higher creatures for food.

  2. What family structures would exist? None, as such. “Children” would be manufactured as fully independent adults. Pair bonding aka “love” would not exist; affection would but wouldn’t come in the exclusive, greedy variety called love. Note as per #9 below this is a perfectly satisfactory arrangement for all as these are NOT humans.

  3. How would government be organized? Selfless, non-self aware but very smart AIs working off of a combination of a programmed drive towards the common good and democratic input as to the collective goals of society.

  4. How would work and goods be divided? There would be no work as such; everything would be provided by fully automated industry.

  5. How would education take place? Direct download of knowledge to the mind.

  6. What crimes would there be and how would they be punished? Attempting to harm others, mainly. Punishment would consist of having a robot assigned to watch you and prevent you from harming others, or in severe cases where that won’t work an isolated exile to what amounts to an automated prison.

  7. What would YOUR role be in the society? Just a random entity enjoying itself.

  8. Why isn’t life like this now? Because we don’t begin to have the technology for any of this.

  9. Any other comments? All of this would involve a posthuman species; utopia is impossible for humans because we aren’t built for it. They would be physically and mentally quite different from humans.

Everything would be exactly the same as it is now, but smoking is good for you.

Mine would be like Der’s but we’d remain human, children wouldn’t pop out as fully-grown adults and pair-bonding would stick around (though marriage would be a purely ceremonial/personal arrangement without legal ramifications at all).

  1. What would the physical environment of your utopia be like? A mixture of high-tech high density cities/enclaves with as much as possible left to nature. high speed rail would connect each enclave. Sprawl would be extremely limited.

  2. What family structures would exist? More extended families, clans. Each clan would have their country estate, though individuals could live wherever they wished, but they could always live full time at the estate if they wished. Family property would belong to a family trust where each adult is a trustee. Each adult could only belong to one clan though. When couples marry, they decide if they want to remain in their original clans, join the other, or start a new one.

  3. How would government be organized? A global commonwealth consisting of autonomous democratic socialist city-states. Subsidiarity would be the highest principle along with freedom of movement (with a guaranteed loan to accomplish the move if desired.) If certain city-states want to be theocratic and others completely secular, that would be the locals choice. The global organization would primarily be a networking organization/policy think tank to share best practices and assist troubled cities, more along the lines of the National Governors Association or Council of Mayors than a federal government. i would have a corvee system instead of direct taxation. Everyone would have to spend X amount of hours (say 100 hours per year) working directly on government/community projects, though people would be able to pay others to take their place. The only full-time government personnel would be law enforcement/emergency providers and a small cadre of ‘officers/administrators’ who could not own any income-producing properties, but receive substantial benefits. The grunt work would be done by the ‘taxpayers’. All legislation, projects and budgets would have to be approved through a referendum process.

  4. How would work and goods be divided? Goods would be divided into two categories - mass-produced automated goods that anyone may requisition from community-owned factories, and handmade custom arts and crafts that would mostly be traded through barter than for money. industrial resource extraction and farming would be highly automated as well. Most people would continue to have an occupation, but mostly to explore their own interests than to earn a living.
    The commercial market would only be for luxury items, not necessities, and commercial enterprises would either be family-owned businesses or cooperatives.

  5. How would education take place? Mandatory education through initial college degree or trade certification followed by a two year internship/apprenticeship. Education would emphasize science and the arts equally. Then one is free to pursue whatever they wish. All education would be free. Elementary education would consist mostly of field trips exploring different topics. Secondary and tertiary education would consisting mostly of computerized tutorials with weekly lab sessions to practice hands on under an instructor. Senior projects would consist of pursuing some task requested by local governments - for example, creating a new database for IT students, upgrading the factories for engineering students, creating a new arts program for humanities students.

  6. What crimes would there be and how would they be punished? This would be the decision of each local community, but extradition would mandatory after due process. Crimes against property would require labor sufficient to restore it in a type of work-release program Crimes against others would require psychological rehabilitation and imprisonment if severe enough. For crimes against oneself - mainly addiction, one would have access to a treatment program for the first offense. After that, their family has to deal with the problem. (I am hoping shame would be effective than guilt in this world.)

  7. What would YOUR role be in the society? I would be a professor or a director of a social service agency, or both.

  8. Why isn’t life like this now? The majority of the world still needs major economic and political development and the vast majority of people are either too skeptical or afraid to radically change the institutions and structure we were born into - what I call the dictatorship of the dead.

  9. Any other comments? I could possibly see human society approaching this in a few hundred years, when the sad part for me is that we could accomplish within a few decades except for the skepticism and fear I mentioned. Plus its a utopia, I don’t honestly expect it to ever happen, but its the ideal I strive for.

What does optimized to eliminate suffering mean?

Modified so they don’t suffer, but can still function.

How do you define “higher animal life” which is rather funny considering your views on abortion.

You don’t want to get into that, Curtis. Der Trihs has said before that since he hates suffering, and all animals suffer, they should all be euthanized.

I would classify “modifying animals so they no longer suffer” to be equivalent to ecocide. Might as well drop the Earth into the Sun, it would be cleaner.

Wow, you’ve just made me change my answer!

Q1: What would the physical environment of your utopia be like?
Non-existant. The sun will have become a red giant and destroyed the earth.

Q2 through 7 kind of all become not relevant.

Q8: Why isn’t life like this now?
The sun’s too young, and no one’s had the wherewithal to force it to happen.

Q9: Any other comments?
Perfection, at last.

Cool idea for a thread, but is anyone else disappointed by Curtis Lemay’s lack of imagination? His ideal, utopian, best of all possible worlds is basically “like America, but 30% better.”

Anyway, my answers would mostly be the same as Der Trihs’s, less the pod children.

Because 1) a true utopia or perfection is impossible and 2) a truly perfect world will result in massive boredom.

Disagreed! My perfect world has holodecks!

I’m going to that better land, where the motors always roar
Where the eggnogs grow on eggplants in the Quartermaster’s store
Where there aren’t no Interceptors and no enemies around
There’ll be apple pie & rock’n’rye
And the pilots go there when they die
In the Army Air Force heaven

Sure, in the purest sense of the word, but something radically different which may or nay not be better is entirely possible; inevitable, really.

Not sure how you mean “truly perfect,” but there’s absolutely no good reason to think that (for example) eradicating war, poverty, etc. would lead to boredom.

1. What would the physical environment of your utopia be like? Well, it would be clean. Utopia is powered through fusion, solar, wind, and tidal generators. There would be cities, towns, and expanses of wilderness like today. Towns and smaller settlements would be better incorporated with their natural surroundings.

2. What family structures would exist? The typical nuclear and extended families will still exist. However there will be legal recognition for non-traditional types too: homosexual marriages, multiple marriages, contract marriages, and the various permutations and combinations will all be okay. Whatever people want to do is fine, as long as they are raising their children and harming no one.

3. How would government be organized? I’m quite fond of the government described in Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers: a world government wherein “citizens” are those who have somehow served society as a whole. Military service is one way, but there would also be non-combat, Peace Corps-type services. Want to vote? Serve your society. Don’t care about voting? That’s fine, you’ll still enjoy all the freedoms, protections, and services - you just aren’t allowed to say boo about how things are run or hold an office.

4. How would work and goods be divided? Capitalism is a fine way to do business. Competition is good. But all things in moderation, as the monk said; regulation is important. Unions are important. Non-profit organizations are important. Under a global system, it should be possible to produce, consume, recycle, and re-produce things sustainably. Health care will be universal, as will pensions, so some of the burden on the capitalist system will be removed – better companies may be able to provide better incentives. There should be little to no poverty, as there should be full employment – see #5.

5. How would education take place? Beginning with preschool at age 4, education runs through to age 18. Upon attaining majority you have the option to enter university or begin government service (as a prerequisite for citizenship). This is not to say the two are mutually exclusive; you may serve after university or attend school after a term of service. University is not for everyone, however, and those who cannot pass the entrance exams will be slotted into job-training programs.

6. What crimes would there be and how would they be punished? There is likely to be much less crime simply based on a more just economy. Most forms of recreational drugs will be legalized, regulated, and taxed. Punishments for crimes that are committed will be severe. Corporal and capital punishment will both be used, and in public. There will still be jails and prisons, but far fewer. Rehabilitation will be the focus of those institutions rather than punishment.

7. What would YOUR role be in the society? I’d earn my citizenship, go to school, and become a history professor, raise my family and enjoy the benefits of living in a well-ordered society. I don’t need to be in charge for this to work.

**8. Why isn’t life like this now? **Essentially it’s because people are provincial and short-minded.

**9. Any other comments? ** Questions happily entertained. Applications for service should be left with the secretary at the front desk.

  1. What would the physical environment of your utopia be like? Varied.

  2. What family structures would exist? Varied; structures from “single and loving it” to “we’re not sure how many people are in this marriage, but a bundle” would all be fine.

  3. How would government be organized? To keep certain things going (schools, infrastructure - since it’s an utopia, police and armed forces would be a thing of the past except for recreation groups) and otherwise bother people as little as possible. It would be something federal, with most of the work managed at a localish level but a central ombudsman. There would be no constrains to the movement of goods, people and capital across borders.

  4. How would work and goods be divided? Very few truly-large companies. Lots of small and medium-sized companies, freelancers; those people who value job security would find their niche, those who like bouncing around would have it too. And (utopia you said?) the people distributing jobs would do a good job about it.

  5. How would education take place? Curricula up to 12th grade would be set by each local government; educational levels would be defined worldwide, so that if you had for example a “Masters” there would be no doubt what it meant (and yes, it does mean different things in different countries now, let’s not go into the vagaries of the UK’s educational systems); curricula for professional qualifications (this includes vocational/trade school-based training and equivalent-experience training) would also be set worldwide, for the same reason. This would have been a bitch to implement (see: current situation in Europe) but once in place would make it much easier for people to move around.

  6. What crimes would there be and how would they be punished? Hey, it’s an utopia! What is this “crime” thing you speak of?

  7. What would YOUR role be in the society? Oh, I don’t necessarily have to be in it. But if I was, I’d be a middle-class nerd, nobody special.

  8. Why isn’t life like this now? Because trust is difficult, and those relatively-few bad apples (the evil and the greedy) screw up the whole basket. So long as there are people looking to screw others up rathen than to help, and people who will justify anything as long as they believe it makes the bottom line look better, there will need to be distrust.

Throw in some booze too, and I’m there!