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

The first hsi to Bruges in Not so in England, where it first invaded and revolutionised agriculture. In reality, however, the modern proletariat has undergone manifold changes during the short space of years it has existed, in accordance with concurrent economic development.

The Reformation of Absolutism was, however, not the only reforming movement in England. Next to wool, timber and fuel were important agricultural products in England, in view of the growth of the towns, as was also barley for the Flemish breweries. And the demands of the Lutherans did not stop at the monasteries. The contest over Church property was not decided until after thojas most energetic and capable champion had perished on the scaffold.

The materialist conception of history alone explains the influence of particular ideas. English Humanism remained an imported, exotic growth, without roots in the national life, a mere academic affair. From the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula to the North Sea English privateers were always loitering on the look-out for silver galleons from America or the rich merchant vessels carrying the treasures of the Indies from Lisbon to Antwerp, Portugal being a Spanish province from to They sought to attach their bondsmen by treating them well, and if they could no longer prevent their transformation into tenants, they strove to give them security by granting them unusually long leases.

It had, therefore, no roots in the people, but rather aroused their increasing resentment.

utopla Unlike the historians of the idealistic school, we do not believe in a Holy Spit which illumines minds and fills them with ideas, to which the political and economic development adapts itself.


It flowed not from East to West, from South to North, but contrariwise. They also demanded the confiscation of the property of the guilds.

Thomas More and His Utopia

More was a child of his age; he could not overstep its limits, but it testifies to his perspicacity, and perhaps also to his instinct, that he already perceived the problems inherent in social thimas.

As the market grew, the merchants and great landowners of England redoubled their efforts to extend wool production.

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. It was gloomy, ascetic, and barbaric. Agriculture, together with the Mark constitution, still formed to a great extent the basis even of the urban mode of production; the separation of the country from the town was nowhere completely defined. Where they were broken up, they became a scourge to the wage earners, by swelling the ranks of the unemployed.

The monasteries therefore contributed but little to the impoverishment of the country people, and their estates were most thickly populated with peasants. At the commencement of the sixteenth century the primitive agrarian communism still existed in England. They clung to it as long as possible.

Therefore they fell actually if not nominally. The existence of a proletariat of vagabonds creates benevolence and induces almsgiving, but does not produce a socialism of the modern variety.

From numerous writings of that time, from numerous Acts of Parliament we may perceive how deep was the impression made by the economic revolution then proceeding, and how generally the shabby practices of the landlords and their tenants were condemned. A concurrent phenomenon was the dispersal of the feudal bands of retainers, to which we have made reference in the first part.

We rather start from the assumption that the contradictions and antagonisms which the economic development creates in society stimulate thought and provoke investigations by men who are favourably situated to prosecute such researches, so that they may understand what is going on before their eyes and remove the kautky which contemporary conditions entail. But to it More owed his supreme triumph, and we owe to it the first attempt to depict a mode of production which, while forming an alternative to the capitalist mode of production, at the same time retains the achievements which accompanied the triumph of capitalist civilisation over the preceding stage of development.


The peculiar character of that time would necessarily colour the socialism which then arose. In the course of the sixteenth century the prices of agricultural products rose by to per cent.

Thomas More and his Utopia

In the same year Parliament appointed him a Commissioner of Sewers. The demand for wool grew in the degree that manufactures on the one hand, and the means of transport on the other, developed. He was encouraged to do so by his entourage: It had survived under cover of feudalism, and only then began to yield place to another system of agriculture. However much More longed to see his ideal State realised he shuddered at every attempt to end exploitation from below.

Improvements in methods of cultivation made many workers superfluous. Generally speaking, in the towns of England and Germany, entirely different economic conditions prevailed from those in the Italian utolia, and to a lesser degree in the towns of France and Spain.

The number of workless swelled to terrible dimensions.

Thomas More and his Utopia – Karl Kautsky – Google Books

But I do not think that this necessity of stealing arises only from hence; there is another cause of it, more peculiar in England. The number of workless proletarians must have suddenly increased to an enormous degree. In England this process of setting-free proceeded in its severest forms, at a time when industry was developing but slowly and required only small supplies of labour-power; least of all, the thhomas country labourer. Despite the immense economic and technical transformations of the last three hundred years, we find in Utopia a number of tendencies which are still operative in the Kautksy Movement of our time.

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