Magazine article In These Times

Turn Left at Utopia

Magazine article In These Times

Turn Left at Utopia

Article excerpt

In Utopia Drive: A Road Trip Through America's Most Radical Idea (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Erik Reece invites the reader to join him on a journey to visit the sites of 10 historic utopian communities-and to connect the dots to our present dystopia.

I've come to believe that things will only get worse if we don't engage in some serious utopian thinking. Fighting for something like campaign finance reform is laudable, but that isn't what I consider utopian thinking because it is an effort to fix a plutocratic system that doesn't deserve to be salvaged. It isn't enough. Utopian thinking, by contrast and definition, works outside the system, in a bottom-up fashion, to create a new paradigm and thus create a true form of democracy that is worthy of its name. In my view, such thinking must begin by addressing this country's most intractable problems, namely our gross disparity in wealth, and a fossil fuel-based economy that is completely unsustainable in the face of climate change, resource depletion and the degradation of our ecosystems. …

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