Socialist thinkers: Robert Owen (1771-1858)

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  • Created by: Carysjjj
  • Created on: 19-03-16 17:37


  • called the father of British socialism, although not quite true, he had an immense influence on the movement
  • he's known as autopian
  • he didn't share the class conflict analysis of the Marxists, nor did he advance a state-sponsered system of common ownership
  • his form of socialism was based on compassion, altruism and social responsibility

His work:

  • he set up an experimental ethical capitalist enterprise in Scotland and another in the USA
  • neither was successful, and both were critcised for his unrealistic schemes, which were based on an over-optimistic view of human nature
  • he believed that capitalists could be persuaded to adopt a more humanitarian approach to their workers, and that the workers could be turned into enlightened individuals through education and welfare

Why is he celebrated?


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