In Utopia, author More contends that a thorough scrutiny of institutions is valuable and that conceiving of ideal or imaginary alternatives to reality may yield important insights into how institutions can be improved. While some scholars have been tempted to read More’s Utopia as a set of recommendations for the conduct of real-world affairs, an outright critique of contemporary rulers and laws would have been impossible for More, who was a respected statesmen and close advisor to Henry VIII. The narrator More criticizes the fantastical accounts of the Utopians, effectively distancing the author More from Hythloday’s provocative recommendations, which include the abolition of private property. However, the extent to which the author More favors Utopian practices is unclear. In Utopia, More contrasts the problems of the real world, such as poverty, crime, and political corruption, with the harmony, equality, and prosperity of Utopian society. This suggests that More believes that at least some of the principles underlying Utopian practices are noble, even if he finds that the practices themselves are farfetched. In any case, in describing and critiquing Utopian society, More gives new perspectives on the problems and strengths of his own society.

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