Utopia is chock full of social commentary. And when Hythloday gets to Utopia, he's pretty taken with their unorthodox way of eliminating wealth: no private property. Without private ownership, there is no such thing as wealth—or poverty, for that matter—and people just don't care about being rich. This works out well, says Hythloday, because then there's no greed; and when there's no greed, everyone is happy. Everyone except him, of course, because it reminds him of how money-driven European society really is.
Questions About Wealth
- Does the question of wealth come up in places other than in the description of Utopia? If so, when and how?
- What exactly is the Utopian attitude toward wealth and precious things? Do they serve a function in their society at all?
- Hythloday sees wealth and private property as directly related—but are they? Are there examples in the text where they could be different?
- While it's very clear how Hythloday feels about wealth, do we get a sense of what other characters think about it? If so, do they agree with him?
Chew on This
Like it or not, ownership of things makes us happy; it's completely unrealistic that people could be happy in Utopia.
If Hythloday hates wealth so much, he shouldn't be hanging around with his wealthy friends all the time enjoying their food and beautiful gardens.