Study Guide

Utopia Wealth

By Thomas More

Wealth

Then I said, "It is clear, my dear Raphael, that you seek neither wealth nor power" (1.13)

This is one of the first things More says to Hythloday as their debate gets going. Right off the bat, we know that Hythloday isn't interested in wealth. Is this some sort of foreshadowing for the descriptions of Utopia?

To make this hideous poverty worse, it exists side by side with wanton luxury. (1.20)

The only thing that Hythloday thinks is worse than wealth? Wealth that doesn't even help the poor. Might as well put a nasty thing to use, right?

But as a matter of fact, my dear More, to tell you what I really think, 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 (1.38)

Here, Hythloday really breaks it down for More. We think this one really speaks for itself. Private property = unhappiness.

It seems to me that men cannot possibly live well where all things are in common [...] If the hope of gain does not spur him on, won't he rely on others, and become lazy? (1.40)

More is voicing a pretty direct objection to Hythloday's picture of human life. How do the Utopians avoid being lazy? Do you buy Hythloday's explanation?

The doors [in Utopian houses] open easily and swing shut automatically—and so there is nothing private or exclusive. Every ten years they exchange the houses themselves by lot. (2.47)

Nope, Hythloday wasn't kidding about the whole no-private-property thing. Too extreme?

Since [the Utopians] share everything equally, it follows that no one can ever be reduced to poverty or forced to beg. (2.61)

Even if you aren't sold on the whole no-wealth thing, it's hard not be sold on the no-poverty thing. But do wealth and poverty necessarily go together as Hythloday describes? Would this system work in the real world?

While they eat from earthenware dishes and drink from glass cups […] their chamber pots and all their humblest vessel […] are made of gold and silver. (2.63)

Yep, that's right. The Utopians are pooping in gold toilets. Need any more proof that they don't care about wealth?

The Utopians are appalled at those people who practically worship a rich man. (2.65)

This passage isn't part of the religion section, so why are we talking about worship? We're guessing that Hythloday is also thinking that wealth should not equal religion.

Speaking of false pleasure, what about those who pile up money, not for any real purpose, but just to sit and look at it? Is that true pleasure, or aren't they simply cheated by a show of pleasure? (2.72)

Call on us! We know the answer! Hythloday sure knows how to ask a leading question. We dare you to find 'em all.

When I run over in my mind the various commonwealths flourishing today, so help me God, I can see in them nothing but a conspiracy of the rich, who are fattening up their own interests under the name and title of the commonwealth. (2.108)

We're noticing a switch here in Hythloday's tone. Earlier, his attacks on Europe were more indirect, but now, he's directly calling countries out. Which tactic is more effective?