“This is a fictional novel of a utopian society. This book was actually very interesting, well written and extremely well thought out. Keeping in mind that it is fiction.
It is really the story of the jaded and disillusioned Professor Burris. Two former students of his come to him asking questions about his opinion of a communal society they had read about in a journal. After a brief investigation, Professor Burris realizes he knew the visionary behind the community, a man named Frazier, in grad school. So an invitation is made and the former students and their fiances, plus Burris and a guy named Castle, all hop on a bus to check out this community called Walden Two for a few days.
So, through the eyes of Burris we see how the community is set up and the way the lifestlye of the people living here is different from that of the average american of 1948. I can see why this was a really controversial book, though I won't go into detail why -- that's what the book is for and you can read it and decide for yourself.
Anyway, after our party gets their tour and participates in some work for labor-credits to earn their food and lodging, one of the young couples becomes so enraptured by it all that they join up on the spot. The other couple is kind of turned off by the whole thing and just wants to go home. Burris remains pretty ambivalent about it, and Castle is outright hostile and is constantly picking a fight with Frazier. And we do come to learn that yes, indeed, everybody has an agenda, even Frazier (who I guess is Skinner's fictional personage).
For me, the most interesting part of this book is that it reinforced my working theory that greed and fear are the two main motivators of most people. Even in this happy-happy-joy-joy land of positive behavior according to the "Walden Code", Frazier himself eventually expressed his real reasons for it's creation...the need for control...which is nothing more than a manifestion of a person's greed and fear (in my opinion).
There were some interesting arguments about the nature of government and the perceived reality of free will vs. conditioning. But overall what I felt about the Walden way is this: I can't imagine that the number of people needed, with expertise in the different areas from dairy farming to cloth weaving (etc), would actually be interested in joining this kind of thing. So personally, I don't think it would be economically feasible. At the very least, it's highly improbable.
So after I read the book, I did a google search to find out if anyone had ever really tried this. And lo! there are a couple of commmunities that had tried to model themselves after Walden Two. The most notable of which is a place called Los Horcones in Mexico, started in 1973 and only engaging between 40 and 60 members at a time (as opposed to Frazier's 1000 and growing). The other community is Twin Oaks in Virginia, USA, founded in 1967, but supposedly has dropped all it's skinnerian psychology to date, and is just a commune.
Overall, this book gave me interesting stuff to think about.”