Thomas More coined the word Utopia (meaning Noplace) to emphasise his conviction that humanity had never yet attained to the ideal society. Writing in 1516, More attempted to describe the basis of just such a society, founded upon the principles of rationality and equality. But Mores vision is not wholly rose-tinted: he acknowledges the imperfections of human nature and attempts to construct an ideal society in which individuals fulfilling their baser urges would at the same time act in the best interest of the community. Nearly 500 years of social experiment now divide us from Utopias author (and the ideal society is arguably no nearer) but Sir Thomas book still has much to teach us.
Since its publication in 1516, Utopia has provoked a hailstorm of debate. The minute details More ascribed to his perfect world make Utopia still a work of the future.