Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward

Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward




Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward

Definition of Happiness

Bellamy perceived an ideal society that was devoid of competition and a restricted replication of manufacturers and distributors. There was limited waste due to surplus production, very little unexploited capital and labor while missing from the scene was political parties and cyclical predicaments. Bellamy’s vision of the future United States was very encouraging and was characterized by total parity in income distribution, collective public education, and common good and affordable healthcare systems. Other benefits include nationwide employment in an industrial workforce (Bellamy, 1960). Bellamy vision for the future society was perfect, and consequently, no supplementary social shaping was necessary. In the novel, Julian slept for over a century after which he woke up to a labor force that had been altered into an industrial team of patriotic members. Every physically able individual had a debt to his nation for tenure of service to ensure that most of the essential necessities could be available throughout. Gender equality was another area in which Bellamy envisioned with detail. In the utopian universe, men and women were categorized as equals even though women were allocated a different auxiliary set of tasks in the industrial team where they carried out tasks for which they were physically and mentally competent (Bellamy, 1960). Since Bellamy pursued economic equality, all workers were reimbursed in the same manner and levels. The labor force would be flexible enough to allow people to work in different capacities according to their abilities and skills. Given that all members of the society were expected to contribute to their fullest potential regardless of the absence of financial incentives, every individual would be rewarded with a proportionate share of the profits All workers would receive the same reimbursement since they all contributed their best in their respective occupations. Younger citizens were urged to study in school until an appropriate age after which they joined the industrial workforce. All young people were presented with the chance to study up to the college level after which they were free to select any career. In his novel, Looking Backward, Bellamy perceived work as an unpleasant, agonizing, and essential task to be performed until the workers could retire at around age 40 (Bellamy, 1960).

Promise of Utopian to it Citizens

Edward Bellamy narrated his story and argued his main theory through a fictional character, Julian West. In the novel, West concluded that the transformations in society were not caused by alterations in human nature. Instead, it originated from the economic leveling that affects all citizens in the society. The equal allocation of assets contributes to what Bellamy perceived as an immensely morally enhanced society that was not motivated by capital and private corporations. In such a utopian society, Bellamy proposed that the labor force toiled because of their pride instead of being motivated by financial gains. Additionally, the nationalistic need to provide services to the state and the common good has reinstated the profit purpose. Bellamy’s ideas also consisted of a much larger ideological change from the 19th century that concentrated on individuality and private ventures into a modern era characterized by collaboration and the involvement by every member to the welfare and the general development of society (Bellamy, 1960). In arguing his case for a “happy” society, Bellamy grounded his model theory on a structure of cooperative equality. He assumed that all men were naturally good and that when placed in the appropriate system, coherent people would react by being cooperative. Bellamy’s “perfect” world was based on numerous assumptions that would be difficult to overlook in real life. However, his conception of the ideal society was highly accurate. He contended that the major global problems such as injustice, degrading, extravagance, and cruelty were a consequence of owning and controlling private property (Bellamy, 1960).

Weakness In Bellamy’s Notion Of Happiness

One of Bellamy’s major weaknesses is his failure to acknowledge human nature as dominant factor in the modern day America. By default, man is the most intelligent of all creatures in the universe. Therefore, they are inclined to use their mental capabilities to discover new ways of reducing workload and effort while enjoying the benefits of exploiting capital and labor. Therefore, Bellamy’s proposal that all young people had to attend school, join an internship program and then the industrial army would not be applicable in the United States. A significant number of entrepreneurs were either high school or college dropouts driven with the need to offer lesser labor and still enjoy the maximized benefits of their efforts.

Looking Backward has been criticized for elements that were categorized as its impractical goals and for anti-democratic inclinations sine it advocated for manipulative economic regimes and hegemonic societies. Analysts have specifically investigated Bellamy’s redemptive visualization of a conversion of man’s will into a group effort that stressed the significance of reliability and conservatism. Many critiques have identified Bellamy’s ideal model of society as an effort to rise above the economic, ethical, mental, and social repulsion of the 19th century by synchronizing his spiritual perspectives of sacrifice, willpower, and virtue with his economic principles of order, impartiality, and secular abundance.



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Bellamy, E. (1960). Looking Backward. New York: New American Library.

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