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By Robert Owen

In his early works Owen argues that, on the grounds that everyone is absolutely shaped through their setting, schooling is the an important consider remodeling 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 negative legislation and the institution of co-operative model.

Robert Owen (1771-1858) was once a Welsh social reformer and one of many founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative circulate. He labored within the cotton in Manchester ahead of developing a wide mill at New Lanark in Scotland.

George Claeys got his PhD from the college 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

Unable to control the new movement, however, he withdrew his support and attempted to frustrate measures he disagreed with. The middle and late 1820s also saw the publication of the main works by Owen's early followers and associates, notably several books by the Irish landowner William Thompson, especially An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness (1824) and Labour Rewarded (1827), and the newspaper editor John Gray's Lecture on Human Happiness (1825) and The Social System (1831).

At the age of seventeen Owen thus found himself in Manchester, which was then just becoming the leading centre of cotton-manufacturing in Britain. Most spinning and weaving still took place at home. But forms of production were quickly being altered by technical developments, notably the invention of Samuel Crompton's ‘mule’ for producing fine yarn and the introduction of the steam-engine in place of water power at the end of the eighteenth century. Owen soon saw the implications of these changes, and not only in terms of the rapid expansion of production, but equally the increase in urban overcrowding, the rising rate of disease and premature death, and the intensification of work and discipline in the new factories.

Elements of Owen's views also remained even in the thought of Marx and Engels long after they had rejected his plea for a peaceful transition to socialism by communitarian example. To late-twentieth-century readers, Owen's legacy appears somewhat different. Owen wrote at the very beginning of the socialist movement, and with a degree of optimism about the prospect of ideal institutional development that many today would concede is no longer warranted. The various efforts to found a socialist society in the twentieth century have by no means all failed, and the welfare state is partly a major and enduring result of the socialist movement.

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