Thursday, June 09, 2016

Mormonism, Progressivism, and Utopianism

Via Marginal Revolution, I came to this plan to build "New Vista" developments in Vermont for millions of residents, based apparently on ideas of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. The son of the industrial diamond maker has the money behind the plan and is busily buying up Vermont land and making enemies of some of the locals.

The plan reminds me of a scheme I ran across when reading in Country Life literature; it probably was a proposal at one of the Country Life conferences in the 1920's.  It too was a plan for a very organized town which incorporated all the necessities: agriculture, commerce, transportation, community services, etc.   Never went anywhere much, although perhaps you can see some of the same ideas in the New Deal, in the "green" towns, like Greenbelt, MD and the Resettlement Administration's projects.

And of course pieces of this pop up everywhere in American history, from the town settlements of the early New England Puritans to the utopian schemes of New Harmony and others. More recently we see the seasteading movement of the libertarians.

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