Publication Date


Document Type

Working Paper


Professor John Hall

Journal of Economic Literature Classification Codes

B14, B31, P32

Key Words

Charles Fourier, Henri de Saint-Simon, New Lanark, Phalanx, Robert Owen, Utopian Socialism


This inquiry seeks to establish that efforts to formulate utopian solutions to societal challenges are deserving of reconsideration, especially when the national and international solutions influenced by one Karl Marx and his followers appear to have reached their nadir as the Soviet experiment ended by the start of the 1990s. Such requires us to look back in time prior to Marx by considering contributions advanced by the likes of: Henri de Saint-Simon, Robert Owen, and Charles Fourier. What is stressed is that all three of these authors advanced novel ideas, with some of their ideas deemed important and enduring, while other ideas and suggestions could be rightly dismissed as farfetched. However, what is borne out is that each of the theorists under consideration provides a window into early socialist thought; with an orientation towards real world solutions to the economic and social climate that was profoundly influenced by the rise of industrialism. As the ideas of these three thinkers are reconsidered, what shall be borne out is that their thoughts, proposal, and solutions do indeed share certain commonalities. Nevertheless, their efforts also remain quite distinct—even unique. What can be noted is that when regarding utopian socialism, the making of broad generalizations proves difficult and fails to capture the uniqueness of the contributors and the distinctness of the ideas advanced.


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