Why Steemit Is Not Utopia And You Should Be Happy

in #steemit4 years ago (edited)

There have been many references to utopia in relation to steemit, it is often used as a catch all name for a perfect society:

'It's utopic, right ?'

Steemit is working towards creating a platform that is open to all and will no doubt improve society and take it closer to that idea we commonly refer to as Utopia, however the main distinction between steemit and other 'utopian' projects is that steemit is not trying to create the perfect society. If steemit arrives at a place that could be described as a fairer society it would have been through principles and not planning.


The word utopia originates from greek word meaning 'no place' or 'nowhere' which suggests somewhere that is unreachable, it is often taken to mean a good place. The word was coined in the book 'Utopia' by Thomas More published in 1516 where he describes his idealised society, the vision that More goes on to describe would be seen as unrealistic or unacceptable today.

  • There is no private property on Utopia, with goods being stored in warehouses and people requesting what they need. There are also no locks on the doors of the houses, which are rotated between the citizens every ten years.

  • Agriculture is the most important job on the island. Every person is taught it and must live in the countryside, farming for two years at a time, with women doing the same work as men.

  • Every citizen must learn at least one of the other essential trades: weaving (mainly done by the women), carpentry, metalsmithing and masonry. There is deliberate simplicity about these trades; for instance, all people wear the same types of simple clothes and there are no dressmakers making fine apparel.

  • All able-bodied citizens must work; thus unemployment is eradicated, and the length of the working day can be minimised: the people only have to work six hours a day (although many willingly work for longer).

  • Slavery is a feature of Utopian life and it is reported that every household has two slaves. The slaves are either from other countries or are the Utopian criminals.

New Harmony, a utopian attempt, depicted as proposed by Robert Owen

Modern Utopianism

Another more recent attempt to visualise and plan a perfect system is 'Project Venus' as depicted in the popular youtube documentary 'Zeitgeist Addendum', which 'advocates transition from the global money-based economic system to a post-scarcity economy or resource-based economy'.

Zeitgeist echoes Thomas More's 'warehouses' in stating that there is an artificial scarcity in society that can be somehow replaced with abundance, it also denies the human nature of self interest and incentives and suggests humans can be conditioned to behave differently.

"There is no human nature, there's human behaviour and that's always been changed throughout history"

Released shortly after the banking crisis of 2008 it came at a time when people were beginning to search for alternatives to our present system.

A Realistic Approach

A free society should allow the individual to pursue whatever path they want in life as long as it does not harm someone else's ability to do the same and it should recognise human self interest and harness it to serve society in general.

An assumption in Utopian theories is that everyone will behave the same, they do not take into account that everybody is different and one persons idea of utopia is another's dystopia. In most examples we can see that societies that are based on centralised control end up as police states.

A society that is free to choose and free to innovate is as close to a utopia that we can hope to achieve, there will always be some that realise their goals easier than others but the opportunity for free expression is essential.

"Man is flawed from day one. There are no solutions, only trade-offs. Whatever you do with one of man's flaws, it creates another problem. You try to get the best trade-off you can get, and that's what you hope for...They don't assume that there is a solution out there. Adam Smith didn't believe that either the government or the market could solve all problems, but that you had to simply tolerate certain things."
Thomas Sowell

Steemit is certainly taking us closer to better world but it will not be a perfect world because people are not perfect.


Excellent points Bleeps! Really interesting reference to the 1516 text, it's spookily close to what Communist Russia, China N. Korea and others have tried. Wear the same clothes, have the same haircut, property is theft, etc. etc.

As you point out, a real Utopia is where everyone is left to do as they please and go where they want, and trade with who they want to trade with.

Steemit's the beginning, not the end :-)


Love the post and I need to read into the Bolo'Bolo mentioned in the other comment.

I tend to take the better world issue from two sides, that of the individuals in the population and the implementation/sustainability issues.

Many individuals have become so dependent of institutional laws/processes/benefits/security/etc that they have stopped thinking about it. I see this as the "things are ok, so no reason to worry or change it" view. While I can understand this, they commonly are only looking at their own situation and not necessarily what is working/not working for others or the whole. I do have hope for the future with there being so many people that have done some self-reflection and achieved some level of enlightened self-interest. Personally I use the term Utopia when looking for an individuals vision and goals for themselves in a 'wave a magic wand' scenario. I'll absolutely agree that this is different from anything implemented, but I personally have pulled concepts from what I've read, like Moore's Utopia, to frame the vision a bit better. Like many books, there's nothing that says we have to follow/accept everything in it but rather pick and choose with what makes sense and might work. Personally I don't see a huge conceptual difference between generating a shared vision (from the individuals) and many of the anarchy oriented ideals (that look more at implementation and prolonged sustainability.)

On the implementation side, we seem to be held up by political will and fear (because those holding power wouldn't necessarily be needed anymore.) Idea's that would move us in a (ideally) better situation whether it be universal basic income, self sustenance, or whatever are rarely brought up in main stream media. I also see with us being in the age of individualized services and products that were not necessarily bound to everyone having to agree on everything, just certain core items like the Non Aggression Principle

There is a feedback look here of:
-make populations 'ok' enough to have some base contentment they don't want to give up
-those in power not wanting to implement things that would put themselves out of a job
-Limit 'out of the box' ideas on main stream media so individuals will unlikely get the 'spark' of seeing that things don't have to be this way

I see it being necessary to have both a Vision and a path to Implementation, if we are to get anywhere.

I love discussing these topics though, please don't take anything as being negative. I've thought on things like this for a long time on my own and I'm still learning some of the concepts and terminology that Steemit is exposing me to.

while utopia is unobtainable I do believe that utopian ideas have an important role to play. I dread to think what the world would be like if we weren't constantly striving to better ourselves and our society.

I agree, it is a journey that is constantly changing

Utopia is not so utopian at all - they too wage war, but actually pay warrior slave nations with their overabundance of gold.

Only agreement here for your view, so in a sense, bolo'bolo is the best utopia I know of.

We should call it something else then

I think the problem with striving towards a utopian society is that no one can really define what it really is. Without getting philosophical or pedantic, I'm sure you can appreciate that the notion of perfect will be different from person to person. Should people forego that freedom to judge what is perfect and be forced to accept what is deemed perfect, it might be possible, but we've seen many instances where confining the human mind to a narrow set of morals, principles, and life goals ends up causing the complete opposite of Utopia.

You nailed it

Great points. If only all of humanity was selfless and morally perfect...

I am very happy to stay here with all of you 8]

Well I enjoy posting on dystopia :D

The slaves of Thomas More's Utopia in modern day terms would be technology. I think since he mentions all the work that people would do, the slaves would be there to do all the in between and unpleasant things, things that technology has or is making possible.

Our advancement today was unthinkable to him back then.

That's why it's probably useless trying to predict the future, government planning is an example of how predicting outcomes can be misguided

There's no such thing as utopia. Different times, different needs..

It seems like there are many tools at our disposal at this moment in time but will we take advantage of them and will they be useful in the future?

I'll agree there is no perfection...it doesn't exist anywhere in nature either. But maybe something termed "Adaptive Utopia" might be more in a realm of possibility.

I'm a huge fan of the quote by James Madison of "If men were angels, no government would be necessary." Speaking for myself, I don't need to be told by a law to not murder, steal, assault, etc but rather I CHOOSE not to based on personal philosophy and ideals. Personally I find it sad that many people (of course not the Steemit population) only stop themselves from horrendous acts because of the perceived punishment (which in reality exists even without a law.) For example the lack of anonymity in a small town stops many negative acts from occurring because the likelihood of reciprocity is high (since everyone knows each other, where they live, etc.)

When people have a better idea of how they actually work, motivate, interpret, communicate, filter, etc the idea or providing personalized products, services and maybe even polices hopefully would become easier.

I will admit I'm an optimist and have hope for 'most' people being beneficial to themselves and others. I see people not being exposed to 'outside of the box' ideas being a cause of them being stuck in what I see as outdated methods.

Thanks for that contribution shared. Something to seriously consider despite the stark differences.

Upvote for the Sowell quote alone. Would vote twice for great argument if I could :)

Sometimes it is best to refer to the masters ;)

Bravo, @bleepcoin. And the fact that you used Zeitgeist? Priceless - now to spread the word.

Thanks I think it is a good example of utopianism in the modern world but when you see the video the maps and drawings look similar to the old ones in Thomas More's version.

very cool. subscribed to new posts

Thanks I learned something new.

Me too thx :)

Your realistic approach to what a free society should be is actual Anarchy, and I approve a thousand times. A perfect world would collapse under its own stagnation, anyway.

We are not perfect, but perfectible: let's not forget this ! <3

Yep! man is always flawed, I agree. It is nearly impossible to achieve Utopian standards because of the time it will take to reorganize. The time will take years. Interesting post! Thank you!

Bhutan: A Modern Utopia?
Perhaps the most special thing about Bhutan is that its economy is not based on GDP (Gross Domestic Product) like most other modern nations. Instead, Bhutan measures its success as a nation on its GNH, Gross National Happiness.