A New View of Society and Other Writings (Penguin Classics) by Robert Owen

By Robert Owen

In his early works Owen argues that, for the reason that everyone is utterly shaped through their surroundings, schooling is the the most important consider remodeling them. Later he got here to undertake way more radical positions, featuring not anything lower than 'the emancipation of mankind' and the construction of a 'new ethical world', a full-scale reorganization of British society, significant reforms of operating practices and the terrible legislation and the institution of co-operative model.

Robert Owen (1771-1858) used to be a Welsh social reformer and one of many founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative circulation. He labored within the cotton in Manchester sooner than constructing a wide mill at New Lanark in Scotland.

George Claeys bought his PhD from the college of Cambridge and is now affiliate Professor of heritage at Washington University.

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Extra info for A New View of Society and Other Writings (Penguin Classics)

Sample text

So were some of his industrial proposals and views about model town construction. The co-operative movement grew strongly after the middle of the century, even if it never came close to challenging the capitalist system. Its aims were also incorporated into the ideals of major liberal social theorists, such as John Stuart Mill. John Ruskin's ideas on just exchange were remarkably similar to Owen's, while William Morris took a considerable interest in Owen's works. Other later forms of socialism, notably Fabianism, acknowledged a strong debt to his plea for social engineering.

Most importantly, Owen had no choice over the influx of members, many of whom responded to his newspaper advertisements inviting the ‘rational and well-intentioned’ to join him. Though there were many distinguished scientists and teachers, too few members were farmers or practised other necessary skills. Supplies were expensive, moreover, and the produce of the community never sufficed. Most of the colonists were inspired by Owen's ‘openness, candour and sincerity’ (to recall William Pelham's impression), but were unwilling to submit unquestioningly to his teachings, and preferred governing themselves.

Nevertheless, Owen not only enjoyed extremely high profit margins, but still employed children from the age often (he wished to raise this to twelve). Most of his labourers also worked the usual load of fourteen hours daily until 1816, when hours were reduced to twelve. Owen himself sought to reduce these further to ten per day, but was frustrated, as he often was at New Lanark, by his partners' wish solely ‘to buy cheap and sell dear’. Exasperated in turn by Owen's experimental whims, the partners tried to force him out.

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