The novel revolves around two Englishmen who during a trip to the Swiss Alps find themselves mysteriously transported to a habitable planet around the star Sirius which is an exact duplicate of Earth with the exact same plants, animals, and continents except for that fact that this planet has achieved political and social perfection by virtue of a benevolent world government.
The two English tourists are obviously supposed to represent H.G Wells and his friend Graham Wallas who was a professor in political science at the London School of Economics. Indeed Wallas and Wells did make a trip to the Swiss Alps together in 1903.
No explanation as to how they were transported light years across the universe in an instant and yet the scenery on the planet stayed the same but the people and buildings had changed. Wells( or the character who represented Wells to be more exact) realized something was wrong when he could not find familiar constellations in the night sky, more specifically Orion or Ursa Major. (The Big Dipper)
A Modern Utopia is not really a science fiction novel but really a novel to expound upon a political philosophy using science fiction as a medium of instruction. Modern Utopia contains all the following features;
1. A universal language
2. An exact duplicate of all people on earth
3. Private ownership of houses is allowed but the amount of land you are allowed for your house is regulated and taxed especially if you go over the required limit.
4. The money system is based on units of 12, not 10 as it is on earth.
5. The currency features Isaac Newton on gold coins usually referred as as "a lion" and on the flip side is the goddess of peace riding with a child on a horse and behind them are pictured stars and an hourglass half full.
6. The World State owns all highways, railroads, hotels, and communications whereas energy, such as water, coal, or electricity are operated by local cooperatives with a portion of the power generated earmarked for the exclusive use of the World State.
7. The World State owns all land and leases it out locally.
The responsibilities and jurisdiction of the World State include all of the following;
A. Maintaining order
B. Maintaining roads
C. Administering justice
D. Maintaining cheap and reliable transportation
E. Assigns labor and work projects according to need
F. Pays for all healthy births
G. Maintains the public health
H. Coins and issues all currency
I. Subsidizes all scientific research
J. Finances that which benefits only the community at large and not private individuals
K. Subsidises authors and publications
L. People are allowed to own their own clothing, jewelry, tools, books, art, and weapons
M. All that is bought, acquired,or made by an individual will be his to lend, keep, or sale and is free from taxation. Such items are allowed to be passed on to descendents as are any finances they may have with certain specifications ( see plank P)
N. Subsidize people in old age and infirmity
O.The World State owns all lands but leases it out to companies or individuals but said lease cannot exceed 50 years.
P. all inheritances not set aside for educational purposes for children will lapse to the World State.
* Remember some of these planks listed above turn up again and again in our modern era among people who also want world government. Now you know the source!