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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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What parliamentary legislation had only incompletely achieved in the preceding two centuries was easily attained in the sixteenth century by the oppressive weight of the reserve army of the workless. From his standpoint, therefore, communism would not develop in the class struggle by the logic of facts, it must be ready-made in the mind before one could think of inducing a powerful ruler to.

When capitalism first invades industry and then turns to agriculture, it seems at the outset to wear a benevolent aspect. And hand in hand with the separation of the workers from the land, from their means of production, a rapid concentration of landed property into a few hands was going on.

In the course of the sixteenth century the prices of agricultural products rose by to per cent. Hix owed his fate to the fact that he saw farther than the multitude, that he foresaw the consequences of the Reformation, of which the majority of the people did not become fully aware until a later date, and that he was obliged to pay with his life for utkpia convictions at a time when they were not shared by a powerful section of the people.

How can there be any plenty where every man will excuse himself from labour? In the same year Parliament appointed him a Commissioner of Sewers. The same clergy who paid six-tenths to Henry VIII refused in to grant even one-tenth to the Pope, who did not even prevail against them when he reduced kautky demand to one-half.

Thus the peasant was more and more deprived of the opportunity of keeping cattle, his entire business fell into disorder, and financial ruin overtook him.

The total effect of these changes was to sever the arteries of the German towns, especially of the Hansa towns on the Baltic and the towns in Southern Germany, Nuremberg, Augsburg, etc.

His socialism made him immortal. The materialist conception of history alone explains the influence of particular ideas.

Thomas More and his Utopia

Erasmus tells us how amiable, helpful, and full of sympathy with the poor and oppressed More was: The rich do not breed cattle as they do sheep, but buy them lean and at low prices; and, after they have fattened them on their grounds, sell them again at high rates.

You have also many infamous houses, and besides those that are known the taverns and ale-houses are no better; add to these dice, cards, tables, football, tennis, and quoits, in which money runs fast away; and those that are initiated in them must in conclusion betake themselves to robbing for a supply. Not much better than the situation of the workless was that of the propertyless workers, who then began to form a numerous class in agriculture.


Elizabeth herself fitted out slave ships, vessels of the Kajtsky engaged in piracy, and slave dealers and pirates, such as the famous world navigator, Francis Drake, were kar favourites.

Out of mercantile the beginnings of industrial capital were already beginning to develop. The peculiar character of that time would necessarily colour the socialism which then arose.

The contest over Church property was not decided until after its most energetic and capable champion had perished on the scaffold. At the end of this epoch thommas were both suddenly plunged into deepest poverty. As far as England was concerned the popes had become tax collectors for the king.

Anc was a child of his age; he could not overstep its limits, but it testifies to his perspicacity, and perhaps also to his instinct, that he already perceived the problems inherent in social development.

Now in the northern countries Humanism was an exotic growth, in which no class had a special interest.

Karl Kautsky: Thomas More and his Utopia ()

If you do not find a kael for these evils it is a vain thing to boast of your severity in punishing thieves, which though it may have the appearance of justice yet in itself is neither just or convenient; for if you suffer your people to be ill educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this but that you first make thieves and then punish them?

Antwerp became for the sixteenth century what Constantinople had been in the fourteenth century and what London was to become in the eighteenth century: That was an illusion. But I do not think that this necessity of stealing arises only from hence; there is another cause of it, more peculiar in England. England had been one of the countries which was early exposed to papal exploitation in its severest form.

However much More longed to see his ideal State realised he shuddered at every attempt to end exploitation from below. Had he not written Utopia kxutsky name would scarcely be better known to-day than that of the friend who shared his fate, Bishop Fisher of Rochester.

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

The rise of profits is to be especially attributed to the depreciation of gold and silver which was caused by the immense transfers of the precious metals from America to Europe; the effect of this monetary depreciation may well have been accentuated by the currency debasement of princes. Two great figures loom on the threshold of Socialism: This paralysed not only the trade of the Mediterranean seaboard, but also that of the towns on the utoppia German waterways, which, besides being the intermediaries of the trade between Italy and the North, traded with the East on their own account by nis routes — via Trapezunt and the Black Sea as well as the land route over Russia.


Rents, on the other hand, were slow in rising, as the leases ran for long terms, and did not keep pace with the prices of agricultural products. But, suppose the sheep would increase ever so much, their price is not likely to fall, since, though they cannot be called a monopoly, because they are not engrossed by one person, yet they are in so few hands, that these are so rich that, as they are thkmas pressed to sell them sooner than they have a mind to, so they never do it until they have raised the price as high as possible.

But this bad custom, so common among you, of keeping many servants, is not peculiar to this nation. The discoveries of the Portuguese in the second half of the abd century opened a sea route to India. But since the fourteenth century kautzky dependence of England on the Papacy had been gradually disappearing, as we have shown in the fourth chapter of the second book, and consequently the exploitation of England by the Papal Stool thmas considerably diminished.

Generally speaking, in the towns of England and Germany, entirely different economic conditions prevailed from those in the Italian towns, and to a lesser degree in the towns of France and Spain. When that little money is at an end for it will be soon spentwhat is left for them to do but either to steal and so to be hanged God knows how justly! The features which corresponded to primitive mire still existed, especially among the lower population, and we meet them in More only slightly glossed over with the Humanistic and courtier traits and the self-censure which the conditions imposed upon him.

This, indeed, is the only instance of their frugality, for in all other things they are prodigal, even to the beggaring of themselves; but, besides this, they carry about with them a great number of idle fellows, who never learned any art by which they may gain their living; and these, as soon as either their lord dies, or they themselves fall sick, are turned out of doors; for your lords are readier to feed idle people than to bis care of the sick; and often the heir is not able to keep together so great a family as his predecessor did.

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.