Utopia

A PDF version of this paper is available here.


 

The imagination of a Utopian world is constantly evolving over time. The current society might have been considered Utopian a few centuries in the past. However, a key thing about Utopias in my mind is that they can be imagined. Many facets of our current society were unimaginable in the past, so when I describe my vision of Utopia I envision concepts that I can picture actually happening in the (near) future.

We live in a world of supply, demand and limited resources. Things we want cost money, and to get money we need to do the work. This work takes up a lot of the precious little time we have on this earth (unless we figure out how to prevent aging, which seems possible). In a Utopian society resources should be abundant and supply will always meet the demands. This may sound far fetched, but with the upcoming revolution in automation, it is not unthinkable that we may reach a point where we no longer have to deal these limitations. Jobs will no longer be required, since many will be taken over by automated systems, which will free up our time for other, more pleasant things. People interested in working can still hold jobs, such as people who love their profession (for example scientists). An unregulated capitalist society like today’s could therefore not work in Utopia. Instead, wealth should be spread so that everyone can live in prosperity. A way to do this would be with a universal basic income system, in which everyone receives a certain sum of money from the government. Because of the abundance of supply, money would be less important, as things could become cheaper, but there would still be luxury items that people could spend their money on, else individual differences and creativity would not be able to flourish in Utopia. Because wealth is spread, every person has a chance to nurture their talents and no one is limited simply by being born in the wrong place or time. People who desire to become something greater can do so in Utopia, while others can simply live the easy life, enjoying the benefits of automation. Another benefit of the spreading of wealth is that inequality in the world will be significantly reduced and crime will go down as there is no longer a need to steal.

I believe it to be in human nature to find challenges in life and to become something greater as a society requires people to rise up to these challenges. However, in a world where working is not required and people can live easy lives, this might require some extra incentives. Gamification could be a way to stimulate individuals to do something extra, that they would not do otherwise. This could range from doing things that can improve society or simple things like going the extra mile in a social setting. Gamification would also be used in education to make it more pleasant and also because people no longer need to be educated to get a job in society later on in life. Education will be adapted to individuals and by using gamification it can still inspire children to become something great.

This version of Utopia seems to be at least partly reachable within the foreseeable future and I hope to see parts of it realized in my lifetime. I will end on a quote by R. Buckminster Fuller that echoes my vision of Utopia:

“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian Darwinian theory he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”
– T. Buckminster Fuller

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