Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14, 1771, Robert Owen arrived

Robert Owen

1771 Robert Owen (d. November 17, 1858), Welsh-born philanthropic social reformer and pioneer of the cooperative movement, founder of several model communities of a Utopian bent, such as New Lanark (Scotland; preserved as a tourist site) and New Harmony, Indiana, USA.
Friedrich Engels called Owen "a man of almost sublime, childlike simplicity of character, and at the same time one of the few born leaders of men" (Socialism: Utopian and Scientific). He was the founder in 1832 of an equitable labour exchange system, a forerunner of today's Ithaca Hours, Local Exchange Trading Systems (the LETS Scheme), UNILETS and the Global Resource Bank).
Owen was the father of Robert Dale Owen, Scottish-born American social reformer and politician (1801 - 1877). One of New Harmony's prominent citizens was the anarchist author Josiah Warren (1798 - 1874).
"Under Owen's management the cotton mills and village of New Lanark became a model community, in which the drive towards progress and prosperity through new technology of the Industrial Revolution was tempered by a caring and humane regime. New Lanark had the first Infant School, a creche for working mothers, free medical care, and comprehensive education, including evening classes. Leisure and recreation were not forgotten; there were concerts, dancing, music-making and pleasant landscaped areas for the benefit of the community. The village attracted international attention."  Source  
See also Fanny Wright, prominent Owenist activist, in the Book of Days


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