Citizens, Agriculture and Property in Plato’s Republic and More’s Utopia
21 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2011 Last revised: 26 Apr 2011
In the ideal city of the Republic, Plato forbids property ownership for the guardians while he retains private property for the lowest class, including the farmers who will provide the guardians’ food. For Plato, agricultural land and practices are the realm of lifelong farmers who are politically dedicated to the upkeep of the ruling class. In his novel Utopia, Thomas More also takes a communalist approach but he extends the ban on private property to the entire community, including those engaged in farming. Furthermore, he includes the practice of agriculture within the regular rotation of living arrangements so that virtually all Utopians have some experience with the land and food production. Thus, although both Plato and More present communalist theories of property, their ideal states show critically different approaches to the role of agriculture and the connection of citizens to the land that supports them.
Keywords: Plato, More, property, agriculture
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