Archive for August 21st, 2015

21/08/2015

The Need for a New Economic System – PART VIII: The Cooperative Movement

Human Wrongs Watch

By John Scales Avery*

Robert Owen and social reform

21 August 2015 — During the early phases of the Industrial Revolution in England, the workers suffered greatly. Enormous fortunes were made by mill and mine owners, while workers, including young children, were paid starvation wages for cruelly long working days. However, trade unions, child labor laws, and the gradual acceptance of birth control finally produced a more even distribution of the benefits of industrialization.

**Twin Pines, the international symbol for cooperatives | Author: Twinpines.gif: Gobonobo | public domain | Wikimedia Commons

**Twin Pines, the international symbol for cooperatives | Author: Twinpines.gif: Gobonobo | public domain | Wikimedia Commons

One of the most interesting pioneers of these social reforms was Robert Owen (1771-1858), who is generally considered to have been the father of the Cooperative Movement.

Although in his later years not all of his projects developed as he wished, his life started as an amazing success story. Owen’s life is not only fascinating in itself; it also illustrates some of the reforms that occurred between 1815 and 1850.

Robert Owen was born in Wales, the youngest son of a family of iron-mongers and saddle-makers.

He was a very intelligent boy, and did well at school, but at the age of 9, he was apprenticed to a draper, at first in Wales.

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