Robert Owen

The working classes may be injuriously degraded and oppressed in three ways: 1st — When they are neglected in infancy. 2nd — When they are overworked by their employer, and are thus rendered incompetent from ignorance to make a good use of high wages when they can procure them. 3rd — When they are paid low wages for their labor
 
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Robert Owen
Robert Owen
  • Born: May 14, 1771
  • Died: November 17, 1858
  • Nationality: Welsh
  • Profession: Co-operator; Social Reformer, Textile Mill Co-owner; Philanthropic Capitalist

Robert Owen was a Welsh textile manufacturer, philanthropic social reformer, and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. Owen is best known for his efforts to improve the working conditions of his factory workers and his promotion of experimental socialistic communities. In the early 1800s Owen became wealthy as an investor and eventual manager of a large textile mill at New Lanark, Scotland. (He initially trained as a draper in Stamford, Lincolnshire, and worked in London before relocating at the age of 18 to Manchester and going into business as a textile manufacturer.) In 1824 Owen travelled to America, where he invested the bulk of his fortune in an experimental socialistic community at New Harmony, Indiana, the preliminary model for Owen's utopian society. The experiment was short-lived, lasting about two years. Other Owenite utopian communities met a similar fate. In 1828 Owen returned to the United Kingdom and settled in London, where he continued to be an advocate for the working class. In addition to his leadership in the development of cooperatives and the trade union movement, he also supported passage of child labour laws and free, co-educational schools.