Thomas More and his Utopia. Karl Kautsky. Halaman 4. 3. The Economic Tendencies of the Reformation in England. Chapter II. THE MODE OF PRODUCTION. Read the full-text online edition of Thomas More and His Utopia (). Thomas More and his Utopia. Front Cover. Karl Kautsky. Russell & Russell, – Biography & Autobiography – pages.

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What can be more monstrous than the Anabaptists?

These influences had a profound effect upon More, and before we can sketch his personality and estimate his writings, it is incumbent on us to indicate, at least in outline, the historical situation whose product he was. They stop the course of agriculture, destroying houses and towns, reserving only the churches, and enclose grounds that they may lodge their sheep in them. But sympathy with the poor does not make one a socialist, although without that sympathy no one is likely to become a socialist.

What parliamentary legislation had only incompletely achieved in the preceding two centuries was easily attained in the sixteenth century by the oppressive weight of the reserve army of the workless. But a thinker who takes his stand on the material conditions may be a whole epoch in advance of his time, if he perceives a newly evolving mode of production and its social consequences not only sooner than most of his contemporaries, but straining far into the future, also glimpses the more rational mode of production into which it will develop.

But the situation in England was, in a scientific respect, similar to that in Germany: Had he not written Utopia his name would scarcely be better known to-day than that of the friend who shared his fate, Bishop Fisher of Rochester.

For when by wandering about, they have worn out both their health and their clothes, and are tattered, and look ghastly, men of quality will not mpre them, and poor men dare not do it, knowing that one utpoia has been bred up in idleness kutsky pleasure, and who was used to walk about with his sword and buckler, despising all the neighbourhood with an insolent scorn as far below him, is not fit for the spade and mattock; nor will he serve a poor man for so small a kutsky and in so low a diet as he can afford to give him.

It rapidly increased in the sixteenth century, in consequence of the unexampled profits which it then made, and which not only accelerated the accumulation of capital, but also attracted capitalists from the utopoa. The number of workless swelled to terrible dimensions. Therefore they fell actually if not nominally.

In these compact corporations the traditions of feudalism retained greater vitality than among the newly created nobility who had succeeded the old nobles devoured by the Wars of the Roses. The towns on the Rhine and on the estuaries of the North Sea suffered thoms, but the trade which they supported was insignificant and its direction had changed. Consequently, he had to twist and turn them about in a truly fantastic manner to adapt them to his modern aims.

The latter discloses itself as breathing, partly the fresh spirit of the feudal, primitive Catholicism, partly the joyous spirit of the aspiring bourgeoisie, serene and cultivated. As a Humanist and a politician, More was in the front rank of his contemporaries, as a Socialist he was far ahead of them all. The new ideas, prompted by the new interests, had not discarded the vestments of modes of thinking derived from feudalism, and the latter persisted as traditional illusions long after the main props of its material foundation had been knocked away.


The popes could only extract money from England on condition of sharing the spoils with the kings. So that there will be two sorts of people ans them, who deserve that their fortunes should be interchanged — the former kauysky, but wicked and ravenous; and the latter who by their constant industry serve the public more than themselves, sincere and modest men — from whence Kauutsky am persuaded that till property is taken away, there can be no equitable or just distribution of things, nor can the world be happily governed; for as long as that is maintained the greatest and the far best part of mankind will be still oppressed with a load of cares and anxieties.

The kings tolerated no more of it than they felt disposed. The monasteries therefore contributed but little to the impoverishment of the country people, and their estates were most thickly populated with peasants.

Karl Kautsky: Thomas More and his Utopia ()

In opposing the Reformation, therefore, More did not act contrary to the interests of the exploited people. The rise of profits is to be especially attributed to the depreciation of gold and silver which was caused by the immense transfers of the precious metals from America to Europe; the effect of this monetary depreciation may well have been accentuated by the currency debasement of princes.

But since the fourteenth century the dependence of England on the Papacy had been gradually disappearing, as we have shown in the fourth anv of the second book, and consequently the exploitation of England by the Papal Stool had considerably diminished. More was a child of his age; he could not overstep its limits, but it testifies to his perspicacity, and hiss also to his instinct, that he already perceived the problems inherent in social development.

One shepherd can look after a flock, which will stock an extent of ground that would require many hands if it were to be ploughed and reaped.

Then he became Treasurer, and, inSpeaker in the Commons, both positions presupposing experience in financial matters, and shortly afterwards Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: The first was to Bruges in They clung to karrl as long as possible.

Before following our Communist into his Utopiawe must deal with a question which requires to be answered if our present enquiry is not to be incomplete: In this way arise political and social ideas which influence contemporary thought, or at least, particular classes, in the degree that they respond to the actual conditions, and which are correct so far as they coincide with the interests of the aspiring classes.

And hand in hand with the separation of the workers from the land, from their means of production, a rapid concentration of landed property into a few hands was going on. If you do not find a utopiaa for these evils it is a vain thing to boast of your severity in punishing thieves, which though it may have the appearance of justice yet in itself is neither just or convenient; for if you suffer your people to be ill educated, and yis manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this but that you first make thieves and then punish them?


While the young noble plunged headlong into the stream of the capitalist development of his time and made greed for profit his chief passion, the monasteries continued to regard not only the extent of their land, but also the people settled thereon, as the basis of their power. It must aim at a constant extending of the market, of production, while the importation of labour-power proceeds but slowly.

In this respect England offered no special peculiarities.

Karl Kautsky: Thomas More and his Utopia (Pt.3, Ch.1)

But in the England of More the beginnings of the capitalist mode of production in agriculture were much more perceptible than these nuclei of industrial capital. Thus the indulgences became a new source of income for monarchs, a new tax, which the popes collected for them, taking on themselves, in return for a share, the full odium of the exploitation.

But in the degree that England came to the front as a commercial State, in that degree did its interests become hostile to those of Spain, the great commercial power of the sixteenth century, which dominated the western seaboard of the Mediterranean and strove to be the mistress of the seas.

These laws, Utopix say, might have such an effect as good diet and care might have on a sick man whose recovery is desperate; they might allay and mitigate the disease, but it could never be quite healed, nor the body politic be brought again to a good habit as long as property remains; and it will fall out as in a complication of diseases, that by applying a remedy to one sore you will itopia another, and that which removes the one ill symptom produces others, while the strengthening one part of the body weakens the rest.

Not much better than the situation of the workless was that of the propertyless workers, who then began to form a numerous class in agriculture.

Thomas More and His Utopia

In the same year Parliament appointed him a Commissioner of Sewers. The retainers were in any case a burden for the working people.

But, suppose the sheep would increase ever so much, their price is not likely to fall, since, though they cannot be called a monopoly, because they are not engrossed by one person, yet they are in so few hands, that these are so rich that, as they are not pressed to sell them sooner than they have a mind to, so they never do it until they have raised the price as kaarl as possible.

But the proletariat of old was quite different from the modern variety, and modern Socialism is equally different from antique Socialism.

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