Looking Backward: 2000-1887
Edward Bellamy\'s "Looking Backward: 2000-1887" was an attempt to show

Americans who desired the utopian sense of community what it could truly be.

Looking Backward addressed the yearnings of a society stricken by economic
panics and social collapse by proposing an Eden-like community in which war,
hunger, greed and malice were eradicated from society. While the story followed
the wonderment of Julian West as he awoke in a Boston of 2000 AD after 113 years
of sleep, the text focused on Bellamy\'s description through the kindly and
omniscient character, Dr. Leete of a "post-revolutionary" society
which emancipated the individual from the horrors of capitalism. As the story
progresses, it becomes obvious that Bellamy is simply trying to suggest ways in
which to improve his own society at the time whether it be politics or business
practices. The first thing Julian inquires about his the problem of labor
strikes, something very prominent in his time due to the newly formed labor
unions. "The National Labor Union (NLU) hailed the virtues of a simpler

America, when workers controlled their workday, earned a decent living, and had
time to be good citizens" (Davidson, Nation of Nations, 626). Dr. Leete
explains that with generous capital, any worker with a decent idea can become
his own boss and the need for unions and strikes desisted. This was something
that had begun occurring already in Bellamy’s time, as had monopolies. This
was the second step in the eradication of strikes as companies began to
aggregate and form large syndicates. Finally, the largest syndicate of all, the
government took over all industry. "When it was proposed that the nation
should assume their functions (corporations), the suggestions implied nothing
impractical even to the timid" (Bellamy, Looking Backward, 67). With this in
mind, Julian asks who the enemies of the government are, whether they are other
nations or natural ills. Dr. Leete responds with the mind-blowing realization of
a perfect society. "We have no wars now...but in order to protect every
citizen against hunger, cold, nakedness, and provide for his physical and mental
needs, the function is assumed of directing his industry for a term of years"
(Bellamy, Looking Backward, 68). The next major question was unemployment.

During the any era, this is always going to be problem. Though a person who is
educated can generally get a job, an uneducated person can only do menial labor.

In the 19th century, there weren’t enough jobs to go around so many were
forced to beg or wait in long lines outside factories for work. However, the
so-called industrial army provided jobs for one and all not to mention free and
mandatory education up to the equivalent of college. Then, based on what people
were good and wished to do, they were placed in their permanent jobs for which
they worked until 45, the age of retirement. Another problem with employment was
wages. In the 19th century, wages were on the average very low with the average
worker having to spend nearly all their money on food and shelter without room
for luxury. Now, everyone earned the same thing and it was his or her hours of
work that varied from job to job. Even if everyone worked, problems would still
occurred with production in the 19th century. Since producer has no clue as to
how much of a certain product was needed by the population, there was almost
always a surplus or lack of a certain product. In the new society, distribution
was carefully calculated by an average consumption rate. Thus there is never a
shortage and any surplus can be given to other nations. Another problem was the
schism between the rich and the poor. There wasn’t enough of a median for the
two groups to interact except with through work-hire relationships. The real
problem was money, something this world didn’t have. This also eliminated the
need for crime since everyone had the same amount and no one was jealous of
anyone else’s property. The last two problems were female and child labor. In
the 19th century, both of these two groups still worked but were paid less and
often were treated much worse. Women nowadays were part of the same system men
were and were paid equally. In fact, Dr. Leete felt they should be paid more.

"Can you think of any service constituting a stronger claim on the nation’s
gratitude than bearing and nursing the nation’s children?" (Bellamy, Looking

Backward, 188). Children of course had education to worry about until the age of

21 and thus couldn’t work. As one can see, everything in