The role of the 'ideal' in political philosophy is currently much discussed. These debates cast useful light on Mill's self-designation as 'under the general designation of Socialist'. Considering Mill's assessment of potential property-relations on the grounds of their desirability, feasibility and 'accessibility' (disambiguated as 'immediate-availability', 'eventual-availability' and ;conceivable-availability') shows us not only how desirable and feasible he thought 'utopian' socialist schemes were, but which options we should implement. This, coupled with Mill's belief that a socialist ideal should guide social reforms (as the North Star guides mariners), reveals much more clearly the extent of his socialist commitments (even if he thought political economists would be concerned with forms of individual property for some time to come). Moreover, this framework for assessments of 'ideal' institutions makes a useful contribution to an ongoing contemporary debate.
Mccabe, H. (2019). Navigating by the North Star: the role of the 'ideal' in J.S. Mill's View of 'utopian' schemes and the possibilities of social transformation. Utilitas, 31(3), 291-309. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0953820819000074