In his work "Utopia" (1516), Sir Thomas More described an imaginary island where the inhabitants enjoyed total perfection under the law, politics and etc.
Some three centuries later, in 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels presented to the world the "Communist Manifesto," which was based on the utopian idea that all wealth created by any means should be shared in equal amounts by everyone no matter who earned it.
This concept in time gave rise to the unwise and failed experiment in governance called socialism.
Another hundred years on, in an amusing tale about another make-believe utopian society, George Orwell's "Animal Farm" (1945), the reader is reminded that although "all pigs are created equal, some pigs are more equal than others," which was a not-so-subtle jab at what life was really like in all the Communist-socialist countries at the time as the many toiled endlessly to support the luxurious lifestyle of the very few.
In contemporary usage, the word utopia is commonly applied to any visionary system of political or social perfection or reform.
However, history reveals that utopia has proven to be an elusive and unobtainable objective, as numerous failed experiments around the world have demonstrated.
The demise of the Soviet Union, and today what appears to be the gradual unraveling of the Eurozone are two notable examples.
Norman Thomas (1884-1968) was a leading American socialist, pacifist, and six-time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America, and in a speech in 1944 he is quoted as saying: "American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name 'liberalism,' they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened."
Thomas went on to say: "I no longer need to run as presidential candidate for the Socialist Party. The Democratic Party has adopted our platform."