The Wasteful British
“Agriculture is the one occupation at which everyone works, men and women alike, with no exceptions,” (550). This opening statement for the section regarding “Their Occupations” sets the standard. There is an obvious emphasis on being ecological. In the section “The Travels of the Utopians” they describe the switch from vellum to paper, which was described in the Weekly Blog as taking place in society at the time as well. This emphasis on being environmental reflected the simultaneous attention it was receiving in British society.
However being ecological did not just present itself in directly interacting with nature. Not only does everyone take part in agriculture but they also share the same amount of workload. There are six hours of work a day, during which everyone must participate. They argue that because everyone takes part in the labor time is spent more efficiently and more work gets done. A contrast is made to other countries where this does not occur because of specific groups of people: the rich “who are commonly called gentlemen and nobility,” “that mob of swaggering bullies,” and the “lusty beggars” (552). These terms reflect the narrator’s attitude of such people in society, specifically British society. It can be taken a step further to say that the narrator looks down on the British because such people as this exist and do nothing to contribute but usurp the goods provided by hard-workers.
One final manner in which they are also efficient is the maintenance of buildings. Regular work is done to repair damage and also to prevent it. Such upkeep makes it so less work is done overall and less money is spent. Overall this makes sense and is an ideal practice. Once again, however, a comparison is made to another society (British) in which a “thriftless heir” lets a house fall into ruin, or another man may want a better house and thereby lets it fall to ruin before rebuilding a new one for just as much money. Again, a direct attack seems to be forming against British society. These depictions are obviously unfavorable and portray these people as wasteful.
All in all, it seems that More, through comparisons to “another country”, is trying to depict the importance of the environment in society and the importance of not being wasteful.