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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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A concurrent phenomenon was the dispersal of the feudal bands of retainers, to which we have made reference in the first part.

Despite the immense economic and technical transformations of the last three hundred years, we find in Utopia a number of tendencies which are still operative in the Socialist Movement of our time. As a Humanist he was enabled to look beyond the horizon of his time and kautaky country: If you do not find a remedy for these evils it is a vain thing to boast of your severity in punishing thieves, which karll 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?

This class arose in England in the last third of the fifteenth century.

Thomas More and his Utopia

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 his demand to one-half. In these compact corporations the traditions of feudalism retained greater vitality ahd among the newly created nobility who had succeeded the old nobles devoured by the Wars of the Roses.

Then he became Treasurer, and, inSpeaker in the Commons, both positions presupposing experience in financial matters, and shortly afterwards Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Not so in England, where it first invaded and revolutionised agriculture. The towns on the Rhine and on the estuaries of the North Sea suffered less, but the trade which they supported was insignificant and its direction had changed. A theory of Socialism could only arise within the realm of Humanism. From the coasts of the Iberian Peninsula to the North Sea English privateers were always loitering on the look-out for silver galleons from America or the rich merchant vessels carrying the treasures of the Indies from Lisbon to Antwerp, Portugal being a Spanish province from to The drift of his speculations, of course, escaped his contemporaries, and can only be properly appreciated by us to-day.

In the case of the sale of indulgences, which was to give the impulse to the Reformation movement, the Pope offered Henry VIII a quarter of the proceeds of the sale of indulgences in England, if Henry would give his permission for such sale, but Henry declared that he would be satisfied with nothing less than a third.


In this way arise political and social ideas which influence contemporary thought, or at least, particular classes, in the degree that they respond to the actual conditions, and which are correct so far as they coincide with the interests of the aspiring classes.

The exploitation of the people by Catholicism had become a slight thing in England at the time of More. In contrast to the cruel legislation of his time he proposed to punish theft, not by hanging or even imprisonment, but by compulsory labour.

Thomas More and His Utopia

But the proletariat of old was quite different from the modern variety, kafl modern Socialism is equally different from antique Socialism. Almost everywhere English commerce strove to develop, it found the road barred by Spain. From his English standpoint he also condemned the German Anabaptists, who seemed to him half Lutherans and half Lollards.

Turks, while the caravan routes from Central Asia had previously been closed in consequence of local upheavals. The rise of profits is to be especially attributed to the depreciation of aand and silver kaarl 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.

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.

We know that he was a popular advocate, that in he was appointed Under-Sheriff, in which position he had sufficient opportunity to gain an insight into the economic life of the people. To be Catholic was to be Spanish, was to serve the hereditary foe, was treason to the Motherland — that is, to her commercial interests. It had survived under cover of feudalism, and only then uopia to yield place to another system of agriculture.

Karl Kautsky: Thomas More and his Utopia (Pt.3, Ch.1)

Next to wool, timber and fuel were important agricultural products in England, in view of the growth of the towns, as was also barley for the Flemish breweries. The consequence was a rapid impoverishment of the small peasants. We grant that with the development of commodity production a class of free persona without property arose in antiquity, who were called by the Romans proletarians.

The English Reformation under Henry VIII was a most audacious machination to intensify the exploitation of the people and enrich some of the most unprincipled creatures of the King. But in the degree that England came to the front as a commercial State, in that degree did its interests become hostile to those of Spain, the great commercial power of the sixteenth century, which dominated the western seaboard of the Mediterranean and strove to be the mistress of the seas. In order that socialist sentiments kwrl ideas should grow out of this interest, it must be conjoined with a special economic situation, the existence of a working proletariat as a permanent mesa phenomenon, and on the other hand profound economic insight.


He 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 his convictions at a time when they were not shared by a powerful section of the people.

But how keenly he observed the economic conditions of his time and how clearly he recognised the great principle, which forms one of the bases of modern Socialism, that man is a product of the material conditions in which he lives, and that a class of human beings can only be elevated through a corresponding change in the economic conditions, this he has proved in his Utopiathe critical parts of which even to-day possess more than an academic interest.

But what Lutheranism chiefly aimed at in England was not andd much separation from the Papacy as the confiscation of the andd and pious endowments, which was demanded in numerous pamphlets. In we find him on a mission to Bruges, to settle disputes between English merchants and the Hansa.

In this respect England offered no special peculiarities. For when by wandering about, they have worn out both their health and their clothes, and are tattered, and look ghastly, men of quality will not entertain them, and poor men dare not do it, knowing that one who has been bred up in idleness and pleasure, and who was used to walk about mors his sword and buckler, despising all the neighbourhood with an insolent scorn as far below him, is not fit for the spade and mattock; nor will he serve a poor man for so small a hire and in so low a diet as he can afford to give him.

One shepherd can look after tuopia flock, which will stock an extent of ground that would require many hands if it were to be ploughed and reaped. Just as the champions of the confiscation of ecclesiastical and guild property based their demands not so much on economic as religious motives, so did their opponents adopt the same position.

The contest over Church property was not decided until after its most energetic and capable champion had perished on the scaffold. At the same time the old communications with the East through Asia Kaustky and Egypt were interrupted by the invasions of the.