Utopia & Utopian Literature By Sir Thomas More Summary and Analysis Book II: The Discourse on Utopia: Markets

Summary

The cities are divided into four equal sections, and in the middle of each are marketplaces, one for dispensing all kinds of food, another for dry goods and the like. All goods are free. A father takes home whatever is needed for his family. There is no reason for hoarding because there is an ample quantity of goods to be had at will.

All butchering of animals is performed by slaves at an appointed place outside of town and near a stream. They are careful not to permit any unclean matter to be taken into town in order to avoid unpleasant odors or otherwise polluting the atmosphere or endangering health.

Analysis

Little by little, we are being shown how people live in a society operating on the basis of idealized communism. Nobody receives wages or rewards for his labor. What he receives is free housing, free food, clothing, and all necessary provisions. Certain psychological benefits may also be deduced, though More does not emphasize them in this part of the book. Those benefits are a knowledge that each citizen has a voice in the government and that everyone is on an equal footing. Later in the book, More, through Hythloday, will consider the merits and defects of the system. At present, he is merely stating the facts.

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