feudal system. Hythloday contends that English laws are badly administered as thief and murderer are punished alike. Means should be taken rather that to see that men are not driven to steal. The servant class for example, should learn trades, so that they need not have recourse to highway robbery when dismissed by their masters. Also some provision should be made for agricultural labourers that they might not follow a like profession when the arable lands were converted into sheep runs and land was enclosed. This was an evil spreading through England at the time as the price of wool rose making more money for landlords. Yeomen and peasants were pauperised and social dislocation was the result of such practices,

"Your sheep… that commonly are so meek and eat little; now, as I hear, they have become so greedy and fierce that they devour men themselves".

Hythloday suggests instead radical projects of punishment that come close to our concept of community service as he explains that the Polyrites ("people of much nonsense" – adding an element of doubt to the practicality to the suggestion) get thieves to work on public projects; "Thus the convicts are kept occupied, and each brings a little profit into the public treasury beyond the cost of his keep".

The dialogue then turns to that between the cardinal, fool and friar that Raphael is in company with. It is comic and light-hearted as the fool jests that the country will not be rid of beggars until they provide for friars as well. This pinpoints the abuses of the clergy contemporary to More’s time in a comic manner. Raphael then goes on to divulge how the growth of luxury and excess corrupts and degenerates society and give the example of corrupt king and counsellors. The cure in the model of the Macaranians (from ‘blessed’) and their king who limited the amount of money in the treasury because he cared,

"more for his country’s welfare than for his own wealth, and wanted to prevent any king from heaping up so much money as to impoverish his people"

Hythloday contends further that most of the difficulties of European government grew out of the institution of private property. Hythloday discusses how despite the sound nature of his philosophy and advise that rulers are reluctant to listen and learn paralleling Erasmus’s remark on the reception of Plato’s intellectual position;

"it is extraordinary how Christians dislike this common ownership of Plato’s …. Although nothing was ever said by a pagan philosopher which comes closer to the mind of Christ"

Hythloday sees the abolition of private property as the only route to social justice and productive of the best conditions for a commonwealth. The objection is made that a nation cannot be prosperous where all property is common because there would be no incentive to labour, men would become slothful and violence and bloodshed would be the result. More’s objection is based on the arguments made by Aristotle in answer to Plato’s ideas on communism. Hythloday answers this objection by the account of the practices and customs of the Utopians and his strong belief that

"wherever you have private property, and money is the measure of all things, it is hardly ever possible for a commonwealth to be governed justly or happily".

This debate on the difference between ideals and practical efficacy leads us neatly into book two where Hythloday gives evidence of the compatibility of the moral and the expedient in political life through his account of the land of Utopia, particularly demonstrating the ideal of equality as compatible with stability and prosperity.

Book 2

Turning to the second book we are presented with a striking juxtaposition of Europe and all its evils with the exemplary by contrast, of harmonious Utopia. The discussions of social degeneracy in book one form an apt prelude to the presentation of a possibly better society. Book one and two could be said to

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