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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Thomas More and his Utopia

In part they bore an ecclesiastical character, in accordance with the period katsky which they arose; they were bound up with provisions for the saying of masses, the maintenance of chapels, and the like.

This not only increased the number of farmers and the amount of their capital, but also formed a fresh incentive for the large landowners to extend their estates, in order to make good their losses in this way. In contrast to the cruel legislation of his time he proposed to punish theft, not by hanging or even imprisonment, but by compulsory labour. The proletariat of to-day is markedly dissimilar from the proletariat ofand much more numerous are its variations from its prototype in the days of Utopiawhen Capital had but just entered on its economic revolution, and feudalism still wielded an extensive power over the economic life of the masses of the people.

It does not, however, thpmas at this point, but proceeds to investigate the forces which set the machinery in motion, and these it finds in the material conditions.

Thomas More and His Utopia

In the mercantile republics of Italy, as in the Courts of the Romance monarchies, egotism, the grand feature of the new mode of production, reigned absolutely; it reigned openly, boldly, full of revolutionary defiance.

Jore greater part of the guild kaktsky that was invested in land, consisting mostly of endowments, kaautsky to maintain hospitals, schools, and almshouses for the support of impoverished guild members, for dowries, allowances for widows and orphans, and the like. Henry was driven to this for political reasons: As the market grew, the merchants and great landowners of England redoubled their efforts to extend wool production.

But I do not think that this necessity of stealing arises only from hence; there is another cause of it, more peculiar in England. 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: After More had put this severe criticism of the economic evils of his time into the mouth of his hero, Kautskg Hythloday, he proceeds to discuss the best system of punishment.

It is not concerned to deny that every yis has its particular ideas which condition it, and that these ideas form the dynamics of social development. 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.


As a Humanist he was enabled to look beyond the horizon of his time and his country: 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 on the same account it is that the other kinds of cattle are so dear, because many villages being so pulled down, and all country labour being much neglected, there are none who make it their business to breed them.

And he became acquainted with it from the most modern standpoint that was then possible, from that of the English merchant, for kajtsky world trade was then opening up.

As far as England was concerned the popes had become tax collectors for the king. 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 Socialism of the Lollards was the expression of a tortured, despairing class which had been crushed as much as possible.

Like every other Socialist, More can only be understood in the light of his age, to comprehend which a knowledge of the beginnings of capitalism and the decline of feudalism, of the powerful part played by the Church on the one hand, and of world tyomas on the other, is necessary.

On the contrary, the rudeness, the barbarism, the boorishness into which Germany sank to an increasing extent after the sixteenth century, and from which she did not emerge until the beginning of the eighteenth century, rendered the maintenance of science in Germany possible only by its being completely divorced from active life.

Not only the secular power, but also the clergy had become almost completely independent of the Papacy and refused to pay the ecclesiastical dues to Rome, when it did not suit either them or the monarchy. The bases of his socialism are modern, but they are overlaid by so much that is not modern that it is often extremely difficult to reveal them.

The kings tolerated no more of it than they felt disposed. Fundamentally different from each other in respect of standpoint, method, and temperament, both were alike as regards their object — communism, alike in daring and fidelity to conviction, and alike in the end which overtook them — both died on the scaffold.


Consequently, so far as England was concerned, separation from the Papacy was in no way the sole means, as in Germany, of putting a stop to the exploitation of Rome.

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.

At the end of this epoch they were both suddenly plunged into deepest poverty. 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. There are historians who believe they find in the Rome of Julius Caesar the same proletariat as in modern London, Paris, or Berlin.

We have also mentioned several missions of which he was a member, for the conduct of commercial negotiations. Food prices rose by per cent. When capitalism first invades industry and then turns to agriculture, it seems at the outset to wear a benevolent aspect. 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.

All kinds of expedients were adopted.

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

England had been one of the countries which was early exposed to papal exploitation in its severest form. More recognised at the outset that the Reformation could not remain an exclusively German affair, and Lutheranism soon penetrated to England.

So that there will be two sorts of people among them, who deserve that their fortunes should be interchanged — the former useless, but wicked and ravenous; and the latter who by their constant industry serve the public more than themselves, sincere and modest men — from whence I 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.

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.