Lincoln Lewis: reasoning away structures

In 1817, the social theorist, activist and ‘father’ of ‘cooperation’, Robert Owen, was told at the Congress of Sovereigns at Aix-La-Chappelle that the enduring structural contradiction between capital and labour would make it impossible for his idea of cooperativising the world to gain traction. But  instead of rethinking his activism, Owen concluded: ‘I … discovered that I had a long and arduous task before me to convince governments and governed of the gross ignorance under which they were contending against each other, in direct opposition to the real interest and true happiness of both’ (Gray, Alexander (1946) The Socialist Tradition. Longmans; London). Robert Owen continued to believe that cooperation would come upon the world ‘like a thief in the night’ and his essential dogmatism led the British social theorist Harriet Mortineau to comment …to continue reading this article, please subscribe.  Already a subscriber ? Sign In

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