Utopian communities that bombed miserably.
4 november 2011 § Een reactie plaatsen
Every once in a while a proud little community will sprout up just to let the world know how Utopia should be run. With chins raised almost as high as ideals, the community marches forth to be an example of perfection. But in most cases , all that harmonious marching gets tripped up pretty quickly. Here are four “perfect” communities that whizzed and sputtered thanks to human nature.
1. Brook Farm, or Ripley’s Follow Me or Not
The commune was built on a 200-acre farm with four buildings and centered on the ideals of radical social reform and self-reliance. For free tuition in the community school and one year’s worth of room and board, the residents were asked to complete 300 days of labor by either farming, working in the manufacturing shops, performing domestic chores or grounds maintenance, or planning the community’s recreation projects.
The community prospered in 1842-1843 and was visited by numerous dignitaries and utopian writers. However, Ripley joined the unpopular Fourierism movement, which meant that soon the young people (out of a “sense of honor”) had to do all the dirty work like repairing roads, cleaning stables, and slaughtering animals. This caused many residents, especially the younger ones, to leave. Things went downhill from there. The community was hit by a outbreak of smallpox followed by fire and finally collapsed in 1847.