Essay on Bellamy's Looking Backward: Utopia or Fantasy?

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Bellamy's Looking Backward: Utopia or Fantasy? Although Edward Bellamy's twentieth century society in Looking Backward appears to be the perfect utopia, it could never exist. The very factors that Bellamy claimed contributed to the society's establishment and success are, in reality, what would lead to its failure. The twentieth century society lacked the possibility for advancements in technology while at the same time lacking competition and appropriate incentives. Even if we ignore these faults, we observe that when Bellamy created his society for Looking Backward, he made several false assumptions about human behavior and failed to realize that the only way his society could be imposed would be involuntarily.…show more content…
The first three years of service include common labor during which time a person may choose an occupation. After three years, the person enters an apprenticeship and will finally become a full workman. Until age forty-five, when service is over, the person has an opportunity to move up in the ranks of the industrial army. Under this system, it appears to be quite impossible for young men to come up with new inventions and innovations since they must follow this course in their lives. It is often those who are in their early years who become entrepreneurs, but in Bellamy's society, youthful years are spent in service to the industrial army. One critic stated that ". . . Looking Backward nevertheless recognizes the need for economic and especially ethical constraints on otherwise unadulterated technological advance and unbounded materialism" (Segal 104). Contrary to this belief, if it was not for the supposedly "unadulterated" technological advance, Edward Bellamy's society, with its large warehouses and credit cards, would not have appealed to the public as much as it indeed did. Without advancements in technology, an economy's production possibilities curve may not shift outward, and the economy basically will be going nowhere fast. A lack of competition is another fault of the twentieth century society in Looking Backward. Bellamy's society is controlled solely by the government. The government is the only producer, the only

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