Utopian World Championship


The jury found Mr. Cyril Belshaw's essay 'From Youth Maturity to Global Government: The Utopian Tapestry' to be outstanding among many excellent submissions to the competition. The essay was given two votes out of three in the final and decisive poll, one by juror Prof. Tom Moylan and one as a result of the reference group's internal poll. Dr. Lyn Carson gave her vote to Per Norbäck's essay 'Demoex - think global, act local'.

Tom Moylan's statement:

The following was written by Professor Tom Moylan as a motivation for his choice of Mr. Belshaw's essay as the winner and we have chosen to let it express also the views of the other jurors that nominated his proposal to the first prize: "...Cyril Belshaw's 'From Youth Maturity to Global Government: The Utopian Tapestry' emerges as the best of a fine group of submissions. Belshaw's essay, and vision, is the most comprehensive and most challenging. He combines a sober and informed utopian realism with the best of imaginative utopian hope.

His most useful and empowering insight--the one that is formative for his entire framework--is his insistence on a holistic account of what must be done. Unwilling to accept the postmodern rejection of thinking in large, holistic, totalizing systems, he adopts precisely such an encompassing analysis and vision. This comprehensive cognitive mapping of what is, and what could be, therefore enables him to consider the smallest, most intimate personal detail and motivation along with the largest, most systemic considerations. This, of course, is a way of thinking that both Marxists and ecologists have understood, in their different but related ways, as they sought ways not only to understand society but to change it for the betterment not only of all humanity bur indeed all life.

Then, with this holistic perspective, Belshaw goes on to address two key elements of the forward plan: the education of youth and the governance of the world. He radically rethinks schooling, and does so in the best tradition of educational thinkers such as Neill, Goodman, and others. And he builds a vision of world governance that has deep roots in radical thought but is also to be found in the most cutting edge contemporary work, such as Michael Hardt's and Antonio Negri's Empire (not to mention the work of George Monbiot with whom he acknowledges his affinity).

As thinkers such as Herbert Marcuse and Murray Bookchin noted several decades ago, humanity already possesses the social wealth and technology to rebuild the world for the betterment of all. Belshaw too knows this and builds on this "post-scarcity" alternative.

Belshaw also connects with the insights of the 'critical utopias' of the 1960s and 1970s (see Tom Moylan, Demand the Impossible) which recognise the necessity for an open and critical ambience and system in any utopian agenda.
Finally, Belshaw is no idealist, thinking he can assert this vision and see it achieved. Indeed, he deeply understands the provocative, indeed pedagogical, quality of utopian thought and expression, and understands his own work in just such a light.

We can and will learn from this writer's work. He deserves the award of this championship competition".

Lyn Carson's statement:

Nominated winning essay:

Per Norback "Demoex - think global, act local"


Of the five finalist essays, Norback's essay is neither the longest nor most researched by any means. However it is distinguishable in its discussion of an example of utopia in action. In his description of the development of Demoex and the principles underpinning it, Norback captures the essence of utopian principles most eloquently.

Norback, like his fellow finalists, acknowledges the difficulties of realising utopia under the conditions of today's world. At the same time, Norback inspires the reader through his defiance of those conditions in pursuit of utopia. In doing so, Norback's essay is able to provide a pertinent suggestion for what each finalist acknowledges as a most difficult obstacle: the transition to the utopian society.

It should be noted that Norback offers a hopeful but imperfect system of direct democracy leaving this reader hungry for information about deliberative democracy which would strengthen his ideal. However, it remained the most satisfying of the entries