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By Robert Owen

In his early works Owen argues that, considering people are thoroughly shaped by means of their setting, schooling is the an important think about reworking them. Later he got here to undertake way more radical positions, providing not anything lower than 'the emancipation of mankind' and the production of a 'new ethical world', a full-scale reorganization of British society, significant reforms of operating practices and the bad 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 stream. He labored within the cotton in Manchester ahead of constructing a wide mill at New Lanark in Scotland.

George Claeys obtained his PhD from the collage of Cambridge and is now affiliate Professor of historical past at Washington University.

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

Sample text

In fact Owen came increasingly to believe that virtually no traditional means of reform suited the novel circumstances of post-war developments. Seeking support at a famous meeting at the City of London Tavern in August 1817, which he later termed the most important day of his public life, he turned particularly upon his clerical opponents. But Owen now also revealed a dramatic shift in his own beliefs. For it was not only religion, but equally the system of private property and the subordination of all human affairs to the drive for profit, which he now believed prevented improvement.

Many operatives also took from Owen the idea that labour was the source of all wealth, and concluded that reward should be given only to productive labourers, or those who actually furnished articles for consumption, or offered equivalent services, not to capitalists or retailers. In turn they persuaded Owen, if only briefly, that the pressure of numbers might effect social reform quickly and without violence, and that the unions could operate democratically and efficiently through a council elected by all members.

But despite a large number of strikes, the enrolling of many trades in co-operation, and the amassing of as many as a million members, the Union failed. It was Owen's sole major attempt to act as a working-class leader. But his paternalistic style again grated on many around him. Owen himself tended to assume he had been proved correct no matter what the outcome of any experiment. He never again considered retail co-operation as an appropriate vehicle for raising funds, and now reverted to the view that true social reform could only begin with a model community.

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