7 may 2010
British socialist and philanthropist. Born in Newtown, Montgomery shire, Wales in May 14, 1771. In November 1858, starting as a clerk in a dry goods store in Stamford, Northamptonshirehe was made manager of a large Manchester cotton mill when he was 19,and in 1794, organized the Charlton Twist Company with a group of partners in Manchester. In 1799 their company acquired the New Lanark Mills in Scotland from Owens’s father in law, David Dale; these mills employed about 2,000 persons, nearly 500 of them pauper children from these poorhouses of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Appalled by the living conditions of the workers at New Lanark Mills in Scotland from Owen’s set about to improve the situation with better housings, schools for the children, and company store where goods could be purchased reasonably. In 1807, during the American embargo, the mills were forced to close down for four months, but Owen continued to pay his employees full wages. His partners, however, disapproved of his methods, and in 1813 he formed a new company with the aid of Jeremy Bentham, the Quaker philanthropist William Allen, and others, to operate the mills.(1)
For the next few years Owen´s work in New Lanark had a national and even European significance. New Lanark itself became a much frequented place of pilgrimage for social reformers, statesmen and personages. According to the unanimous testimony of all who visited it, the results achieved by Owen were singularly good. The children brought up on his system were graceful, genial and unconstrained; health, plenty and contentment prevailed; and the business was a commercial success. In 1815 Owen started, apparently single-handed, an agitation for factory reform, with little effect. His work as a practical reformer gave way in 1817 to the ideas-still vital-which made him the forerunner of socialism and cooperation.(2)
Owen pointed out that the competition of human labor with...