What are the criteria for a utopia?

0. Definitions

Define the set of alternatives to a social structure as those alternate structures that could be feasible transitioned to by the will of some subset of the population (call the people in that subset the 'revolutionaries' for that alternative).

I. Morality

In this section, we place things such that if they were missing, a significant number of people may be willing to die to change society to gain them for others, even if these people were personally happy.

A. Freedom B. Safety from others in the utopia C. Fairness D. Honesty E. Community F. Purity G. Competence H. Meaning

Z. What else?

(the above follows Haidt's five spheres, with the addition of freedom, honesty, competence, and meaning)

More details:

C. Fairness

The regretless role criterion: If each person in society would not willingly change roles with any other, than they will feel that there is fairness, even if, if an ideally rational being were to choose which role to take, they would have a preference.

II. Hope of happiness

It is too much to ask for a guarantee that a certain social structure will provide happiness; external conditions may simply not permit it. But a social structure must at least provide for a hope of happiness -- a feeling that, if a certain level of happiness is attainable, then eventually a level will be attained within this structure such that the difference between achieved happiness and potential happiness will be upper bounded, with high probability.

In this section go things from Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

III. Sustainable

If resources are finite, that should not cause a utopia to break (until, perhaps, very near the end, if resources are nonrenewable). A utopia should not need to continually expand.

IV. Internal stability

A. Continuous Dynamical stability: Insofar as utopia-ness (these criteria) are continuous along certain dimensions, then beyond a certain point, small perturbations along those dimensions will cause an increase in forces acting to move society back towards greater utopia-ness.

For example, if society becomes more and more lazy and unproductive, then beyond a certain point, some force must counteract this and make society more productive again.

B. Local optima of individual interests for potential revolutionaries: The conditions is that for each alternative to this utopia, either the alternative is a utopia (e.g. it meets these criteria; note that proving this of the alternative requires proving IV.B. of it, and therefore requires induction or something like it), or the revolutionaries will not prefer to transition to that alternative.


For example, lets say that Ghengis Khan lives in Utopia but likes to be in charge and also has acquisitional tendencies. This criterion implies that for any revolution Ghengis Khan could feasibly mount, the resulting society would not make him more in charge or allow him to acquire more.

Note that we don't demand global uniqueness of utopias; it's okay if society tends to switch out of one utopia into a different one.

V. External defensibility

As with happiness, the social structure cannot guarantee that another society won't overcome it, but it can guarantee that it will do something close to the best it can.

A. Competitiveness: For any rate of productiviy or discovery attainable by a non-utopian alternative to this utopia, this utopia can also attain that rate if given enough time.

B. Urgent Competitiveness: For any rate of productiviy or discovery attainable by a non-utopian alternative to this utopia after a time t, this utopia can come within a constant fraction of that rate after the same time t, with high probability.

C. Tactical completeness: Define a tactic to be critical if it could determine whether a war is won or lost that is feasible with a non-utopian alternative to this utopia, then with high probability this tactic is also feasible in this utopia in situations where the tactic is critical.



For example, if torture is absolutely necessary to win a war against the Evil Dystopian Enemy Society, then with high probability a utopia would realize this, and would use torture.