Utopias, those idealized societies that wholly fulfill human and social needs, have long captured the human imagination. They offer us dreamlike glimpses of a more perfect world and of better lifestyles. Yet few nations have tried wholesale transformation based on utopian ideals, and those attempts have ended in disaster and social fragmentation. It is not difficult to see why: while everyone can agree on the idea that happiness is good, few can agree about how to build a society that engenders happiness. Conflict is the inevitable result of large-scale social engineering projects, and efforts to reduce conflict and dissent often lean toward totalitarian control. Proponents of even the most practical social betterment proposals find that they meet more success when shying away from classical images of utopia and even avoiding the word altogether. Classical utopian ideas are fading, and rightly so. Efforts at betterment need to be based on more practical considerations and informed scientific findings. That’s why proponents of social betterment are reducing their aims from large-scale change to single-sector proposals. Society has simply become too unwieldy complex, and fragmented to make holistic changes. It is far easier, and more beneficial in the long term, to make improvements in targeted sectors such as the economy, health, welfare, education, and the environment. This is not to say that utopian thinking is dead. It has evolved into something new. Positive visualization was at first a technique used by athletes who were preparing for competition, but is now a technique widely employed by corporate executives. “Having a vision and being a realistic visionary are absolute necessities for functioning as a rational human being,” writes Tsvi Bisk, founder of the Strategic Educational Planning Institute. “Human society absolutely requires visions of where it wants to go,” Ideal future societies have become a topic of serious research for scholars and activists, especially those working in think tanks and interest groups. Perhaps the most profound change in betterment thinking is its shift away from the public sector to the private sector. Many new utopian works in the last decade have focused on the ideal corporation, and a number of betterment proposals include government and private-sector collaboration. Utopias will always have a place in the classroom, primarily as a study of human values. Vivian Rosenberg, professor of humanities at Drexel University, says, “The challenge in teaching a utopias course is to find a way to navigate between naive dreams, dogmatic and unexamined beliefs, cynicism, and the impulse, so rampantly encouraged in our culture, to escape to personal, selfish, and usually materialistic pleasures.” Any discussion of utopia must be balanced with human nature and the demands of reality.