In Search of Harmony: The Idea of Social Harmony in the Writings of Early Socialists

Cover Page

Cite item


The problems of the history of socialist ideas, their origin and possible role in nowadays became the subject of scholar interest again. The problem of the social arrangement becomes more acute today than ever. Descriptions and even attempts to construct a harmonious society appeared many centuries ago. Two revolutions The Great French Revolution and the industrial revolution annihilated the ideological basis of previous times pushing forward the class structure instead of medieval system of estates. The first ones who found out the signs of order, not complete chaos, were early socialists A. Saint-Simon, S. Fourier, and R. Owen. This research is devoted to the comparison of approaches to the idea of social harmony of Saint-Simonists and Owenists. The main research method used is political-textual analysis. The conclusion of present study confirms that Saint-Simon and Owen being on the same side, followed different ways leading to harmonious state. However, their projects were united by a common radical idea - the complete reorganization of society, first - the system of classes and estates.

Full Text

Introduction In the first decades of the 19th century, there was no more influential prophetess in Britain than Joanna Southcott. Heeding her words, tens of thousands of people dressed in savannas gathered on the wastelands in order to properly meet the coming Day of the Last Judgment. However, many believed that the end of the world had already begun and the fruits of the revolutions, French and industrial, were directly affecting society. Initially, the attention of contemporaries was focused on the political and economic upheavals that broke the age-old foundations of many states. The estate system, for all its rigidity, provided a visible order, based largely on the principle of the division of social functions, noted by Plato a long time ago. His distribution of responsibilities among philosophers, guardians and producers had an undoubted similarity with medieval ideas about a society consisting of worshippers, warriors and workers. The class division, based mainly on legal postulates, outlined acceptable forms of relations between social groups, making them predictable. This stratification was eliminated by revolutions, and the industrial revolution turned out to be the most destructive. Society has lost its traditional ties, which did not allow it to disintegrate, as hoops do not allow a barrel to fall apart. The gradual displacement of the concept of “estate” by the concept of “class” inspired fear, since the latter fixed the place of the individual mainly in economic life, linking, for example, the class of owners, or “capitalists”, with the class of factory workers, by exclusively monetary motives devoid of moral supports. Chaos was coming, smacking of apocalyptic motives. Fear gripped not only the adherents of Southcott, but also many reasonable people. It was not the inevitability of change that was frightening, but their unpredictability. It was not easy to understand what was happening. The old tools of cognition, primarily philosophy, did not always work in the new, industrial environment. But still there are self-confident loners who undertake to explain to humanity what is happening. They were brought into the category of visionaries, cranks or madmen - like Beranger, who praised them with the words: “If the world cannot find the way to the truth, honor to the madman who will bring a golden dream to mankind.” For Beranger, as well as for the educated European public, the characters of the poem - Henri de Saint-Simon, Charles Fourier and Robert Owen - were presented as co-religionists who sought to bring peoples to peace and harmony, replacing the society of rivalry and competition with a society of cooperation. The closeness of the views of the patriarchs of socialism is rather conditional, and this circumstance allows us to assume a multiplicity of trajectories of the development of social thought that preached social harmony. Let’s try to compare the ideas of social harmony of Robert Owen and Henri Saint-Simon, and their disciples. Owen’s idea of social harmony In 1771, when Robert Owen was born in the Newtown, the English kingdom had not yet completely parted with the blissful state in which it had been for the previous two decades. Those were serene and well-fed years: there were no wars, overseas trade brought enviable profits, local factories had no equal rivals, sluggish parliamentary debates resembled a meeting of a society of literature lovers, artisans were respected and lived in relative prosperity. Even beggars did not burden society too much. When, in 1817, 46-year-old Owen unveiled his plan to rebuild the world, Britain was completely different. It was separated from the past way of life by two revolutions: the Great French Revolution and the Industrial Revolution. They dramatically changed the attitude of people who were transferred from “good old England” to new industrial Britain in a matter of decades [Thompson 1977]. At the beginning of the 19th century, the topic of “mechanical inventions” supplanted the plots of newspaper articles, the topics of meetings of philosophical and literary societies and even conversations in pubs. Driven by steam, they seemed a strange, but an alarming novelty. The contest of a steam carriage with a horse-drawn one was described as something funny, but unnatural, since the mechanism competed with a living being. Machines obeyed the will of man, but at the same time they turned out to be his formidable rival. For the first time in history, it was discovered that technological progress is not equal to the promotion of happiness and abundance. Machines, soulless tools, same to those that were once subject to man, turned out to be the death of manual production and the prestige of the worker. Years used to pass before a student, having mastered the skills of the profession, was allowed to work independently. The skill acquired by long labor elevated artisans above the crowd of profane. It gave a “position in society.” And now even a teenager, after a short training, could make a hundred times more than the old master. The British were not interested in dubious acquisitions of the era of machines, but quite tangible, painful losses; not the flourishing of factory industry, but the ruin of old crafts; not the alienation that arises between the “capitalist” and the worker, but the destruction of former social ties. The unrestrained acquisition of the “lords of the machines” was understood not as the establishment of a new morality, but as the trampling of an ancient one. What was happening in the country seemed to be a departure from the proper, proven course of life, and few noticed that many phenomena, while retaining the old name, had lost their former essence. As before, there were owners and workers, but these were completely different breeds. Even poverty, the eternal companion of society, acquired new features, the guise of pauperism. Contrary to Adam Smith’s predictions, the increase in national wealth not only did not reduce the number of the disadvantaged, but, on the contrary, turned pauperism into a national disaster. Neither the taxes increasing from year to year in favor of the poor, nor the existing forms of charity did not change anything at all. It was not the poverty itself that worried, but its scale. Among the publicists who tried to find the origins of poverty, the belief prevailed that poverty is evidence of laziness or vice. Accordingly, pauperism was interpreted as a purely moral problem. Methodists, who believed that it was necessary to save souls, not bodies, very consistently adhered to this point of view. Their philanthropic activity was limited to the distribution of religious treatises and edifying conversations. However, judging by the fact that the sect acquired great influence in industrial areas at the beginning of the 19th century, even verbal encouragement was not useless [Thompson 1977, 385; Hammond 1920, P. 268-288]. Among the authors who talked about poverty, the radical-minded associated it primarily with the privileges of the landed aristocracy. Wealth inequality was another recognized cause of poverty. The monopoly of wealth was condemned by William Godwin, Thomas Spence and other publicists who embraced the ideas of the Enlightenment. The “natural state”, which did not know private property, served as a kind of standard, dictating a return to the reasonable simplicity of life, to the complete freedom of the individual. Their “ideal societies” were not just the antipodes of the established order in England, but also an apology for the mythical past, against which the industrial revolution seemed an unnatural process. Many people thought so, but not Robert Owen. Sincerely believing in his mission as the savior of mankind, he saw in his own life a chain of significant events that led him to his cherished goal. But to an outsider, Owen’s life appears more like a textbook biography of a man who managed to rise on his own in troubled times. A native of provincial Newtown, who left his father’s shelter early, worked as a clerk in trading houses, receiving a more solid, but not fabulous salary with each transition, which allowed him to get his own spinning workshop, a administrator of a large factory who resorted to unconventional forms of management, a co-owner of a cotton mill in Scottish New Lanark, where he conducted a social experiment, investing money to improve the lives of workers, while increasing profits. The life path is typical for a “self-made man” inclined to charity. However, Owen went further, calling for the reconstruction of the world. The starting point for Owen was the factory system, a phenomenon that was close to his interests and life experience. “The wide spread of industry throughout the country creates a new character in people; since this character is formed on the basis of a principle that is highly unfavorable for the general well-being and happiness of individuals, this should cause the most deplorable and, moreover, undeniably negative phenomena, unless this trend is stopped by legislative intervention and leadership,” he warned in one of his reports. In 1816, addressing the residents of New Lanark, Owen stated with characteristic categoricality: “Now the dispute between me and the world will be resolved. Either the world is monstrously insane, or I am.” The madness of the world was not revealed to him suddenly. For a long time he went to the conviction of the unsuitability of the existing system, contrasting it with the “New Moral World”, a society without classes, private ownership and all kinds of oppression. In one of the speeches, Owen told a parable about a farmer who wanted to plant grapes, but in his darkness planted a rosehip. Despite the tricks, the bush grew thorns, but not clusters. “This is an accurate picture of what human life has been up to now,” Owen sums up… Possessing in human nature a soil capable of yielding fruits in abundance, in our ignorance we planted a rosehip instead of a vine.” The world has been unreasonable for a long time, maybe even since its creation. There is no history and there was no history. There are centuries-old misconceptions, the stagnant state of the human race. Only the Truth can interrupt it, freeing the mind from false opinions. The fact that it was Owen who discovered her was pure chance. With equal success, it could have been discovered by someone else centuries ago, and even then humanity would have lived happily. Owen was the first to break out of the captivity of prejudice, but was he the only one? “I believe,” he declared, “that none of my principles has the slightest claim to originality; the best minds of mankind have been constantly protecting and recommending them since the most ancient times. I do not even claim the right of primacy in relation to the theoretical combination of these principles.” Owen is undoubtedly a peculiar thinker. His originality lies in the fact that a significant part of his views seems unoriginal. He used already established ideas, slightly modifying them, rearranging accents, turning the original theories into their complete opposite. “The character of a person is not formed by himself” - this is the law that Owen considered his greatest discovery, comparable only to the discoveries of Newton [Owen 1924: 45]. Contemporaries doubted Owen’s authorship not without reason. Many thinkers of the Enlightenment century proved that man is a product of the environment. In England, for example, this thesis was vividly and convincingly defended by Godwin. And Godwin wrote about the confrontation of reason and ignorance better than Owen, and, it is most importantly - earlier. As for the past, didn’t the enlighteners consider it a lost time, a failure in the life of mankind? Owen, it would seem, is following the beaten path. If A. Saint-Simon and S. Fourier, not content with the legacy of the Enlightenment, created their own philosophy that explained the causes and patterns of the development of human society [Silberfarb 1964; Kucherenko 1975], then Owen’s worldview was formed from ideas accumulated by the previous century. However, for England, the appeal to the legacy of the “age of reason” was not an anachronism. The slogan of “human rights”, justified by T. Payne and other enlighteners, the apology of “natural” simplicity and individualism have not lost their appeal in the era of the Industrial Revolution. There is nothing surprising in the fact that Owen also took much of the heritage of the Enlightenment, first of all, the idea of the unconditional influence of the environment on man. If people are ignorant, dishonest, stoop to lies and crimes, then the environment that nurtured them is to blame for this. There is no inevitable reckoning for original sin, there is no innate depravity, but there are bad conditions that generate evil in the human mind [Owen 1816: 231]. Consequently, he is capable of perfection, of virtue, it is only necessary to create conditions corresponding to his nature. Recognizing the postulate “man is a product of the environment”, Owen was close to the enlighteners but differed in the understanding of the word “environment”. For Rousseau or Diderot, the environment meant primarily political institutions and, to a lesser extent, social institutions. The ideal conditions for human nature were created by the “natural state”. Owen is not interested in political institutions at all, and he has not the slightest inclination towards the “natural state”. Equality and purity, achieved by a severe rejection of material goods, the squalor of “natural” life, from Owen’s point of view, do not deserve the name of reasonable [Owen 1924: 71]. Why condemn people to ascetic vegetarianism, if humanity is able to create an abundance that allows everyone to receive everything he needs? Yes, like the enlighteners, Owen believed that “in order for a person to become wise and happy, his consciousness must be reborn… the very foundation of his life must be created in a new way” [Owen 1816, 145; See: Owen 1924: 113]. But an indispensable condition for the renewed “basis of life” should be what the thinkers of the 18th century considered the greatest deviation from the protected nature - industrial production. If for Godwin or Spence the progress of the mind meant going backwards from the “machine civilization”, then for Owen it was the threshold of a “New Moral World”. Although the utopians of the 18th century and Owen spoke the common language of the Enlightenment, they were talking about different things. In people, Owen saw not their personal qualities, but the embodiment of certain “circumstances”. A person is essentially nothing more than a “tabula rasa” on which the outside world can inscribe any writing. No one is responsible for their actions or way of thinking. Because a feat, and a crime, and baseness, and greatness are the result of a combination of different circumstances. Punishments are ridiculous, praises are ridiculous. No matter how people differ from each other in appearance or characters, but everyone has the same “nature”. The troubles stem precisely from the oblivion of this truth. If one person oppresses another, he tramples on his own “nature”. The same thing happens to those who rise up against the enslaver. Ultimately, both the executioner and the victim are just slaves to the circumstances that shaped them. Therefore, oppression is unreasonable, but its violent destruction is also unreasonable [Owen 1818]. Thus, unreason, ignorance turned out, according to Owen’s logic, to be the main enemies of humanity. The world is being transformed not by weapons, but by enlightenment. “True freedom of mind is necessary,” Owen said [Owen 1924: 225]. He did not reject political freedom, but neither did he praise it; he did not consider it harmful, however, as he personally saw in the very democratic United States, the majority of the people benefit from it is small.[39] In addition, politics gave rise to rivalry, that is, it divided, not united people. And therefore, the way to “mental freedom” lay, in Owen’s opinion, through getting rid of the four main prejudices associated with the concepts: “class”, “party”, “sect”, “nation”. All this is nothing more than ridiculous conventions that have entangled the consciousness of people [Owen 1950: 151]. Assigning the dominant role to the “environment”, considering man to be essentially a weak-willed creature, Owen was forced to resolve the contradiction that arose. To turn an unreasonable person into a “reasonable” one, it is necessary to change the world around him. But in order for a person to be able to “intelligently” change the world, it is necessary first to change his “ignorant” mind. A vicious circle was emerging. Since Owen did not believe in the providence of the Lord, denied the laws of history, did not allow thoughts of violence, he had to rely on the omnipotence of the Truth revealed by him, capable of overcoming ignorance [Owen 1920: 227]. Society will not get rid of unreason immediately, but only when the generations brought up by the “new environment” grow up. But in order for this cure to begin, it is necessary to put people in the appropriate conditions, whether they want it or not. Owen did not think of himself as the Messiah, but he was firmly convinced that it was he who was called to become the guide of humanity blinded by delusions. It is hardly appropriate to talk about the philosophical system, or the teachings of Owen. His writings resemble a well-prepared business plan, with all the appropriate calculations that allow you to create a “village of unity and cooperation”, the most suitable form of communal live, ensuring the wellbeing of the human race. The system of Cooperation or the New Moral World, a post-enlightenment project that has affected many social movements. He was a man of action who despised armchair theorists and he attracted views by the practicality of his projects, most of which relied on already existing movements and organizations. Their participants could hardly be called Owen’s disciples, since the teaching was in line with the British constitution, which exists not in the form of a coherent text, but many separate acts and laws. In the ranks of friendly associations there were up to half a million people who are more appropriately called followers, not students. The idea of social harmony in the works of Saint-Simon and Saint-Simonists The fate of the ideas of Count Henri de Saint-Simon developed according to a different scenario. On October 17, 1760, the future social reformer and founder of the school of utopian socialism, Claude Henri de Saint-Simon, was born in the family of nobleman Balthazar Henri de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon. It was during this period that changes took place in France, which later led to the French Revolution, which echoed throughout Europe. On the throne was King Louis XV “Beloved”, who ruled the country for 58 years and brought France to decline with an inept and short-sighted policy to please his regents and favorites. The ruined treasury, the privileged position of the clergy, the Seven-Year War, which led to territorial losses and plunged the country into a political and financial crisis - the legacy inherited by the grandson of Louis XVI. The young king, on whom great hopes were pinned and in whom they saw hope in changing the political situation in the country, also saw the need for reforms. The economic successes of neighboring countries, including England, contributed a lot to this. Having put such talented people as Turgot and Malesherbe at the head of the administration, Louis XVI led France on the right path, but the king’s indecision and his exposure to the influence of various people again prevented the completion of the reforms begun, to pursue a purposeful and planned policy. Since the 1780s, the rights and privileges of the nobles continued to expand, the gap between the estates increased. At the same time, the last quarter of the 18th century for France was the time of the rise of production. The textile, food industry, and shipbuilding industries were actively developing. New agro-industrial methods were introduced into agriculture. However, even a slight rise in these areas could not protect the country from falling prices, rising unemployment, and all the measures taken, as a result, only aggravated the situation. The crisis exacerbated discontent with the authorities and the “lower classes”, who had been practically silent until now, began to express their discontent openly and increasingly support the opposition. The government, which had lost all credibility and trust, despite attempts at reforms and transformations, was inexorably moving towards its collapse, marked by the French Revolution. The French Revolution marked the formation of a completely different attitude to the structure of society and its laws in the intellectual elite. From the questions of the laws of nature, according to which both society and a person who is in certain circumstances develop, the philosophers moved on to the questions of the laws of the development of society. There is a new understanding of the structure of society, the founder of which was Saint-Simon. In this arrangement, it is the work of people that becomes the main aspect, and the measure of harmony is not full property equality, but universal labor for the benefit of common interests. The revolution was discovered by A. Saint-Simon, a 29-year-old young man traveling around Europe in an attempt to offer the Spanish government his water canal project. He did not to take part in the revolution itself, because he was already convinced of the fragility of the existing Old regime. However, the very phenomenon of the French Revolution, reflections on it, ran like a red thread through all the work of the French thinker. Saint-Simon treated the revolution itself without sympathy, not accepting any methods that bring destruction. Saint-Simon developed and wrote his reformist ideas during the most notable social contradictions. At the same time, as Gladyshev clearly notes, his entire interpretation and analysis of the revolution takes place through the prism of the relationships of three classes: “scientists, artists and all people who share liberal ideas”, “all owners who are not part of the first”, “united by the idea of equality, encloses the rest of humanity” [Gladyshev 2001: 247]. The revolution itself was the result of a situation in society when the first class, the people who make progress, could not realize their ideas. “Look at the history of the progress of the human mind, and you will see that we owe almost all of its exemplary works to people who stood apart and were often persecuted. <…> If an academician is a slave, is it surprising that he does nothing?” [Saint-Simon 1948: 109]. The interpretation of events through classes became a response to the relations between the three estates in France in the second half of the 18th century. The first and second estates - the nobility and clergy - had exclusive political rights, tax breaks, and the sale of titles and positions in parliament flourished in the highest society. The third estate did not have such a wide range of rights, but accounted for more than 80 % of the total population. The problem of classes is raised in the context of the French Revolution insofar as it was the class system that became the subject of transformations on the part of revolutionaries. According to Saint-Simon, society should act for the benefit of the majority of people: “According to the principle that the Lord taught people as a rule of their behavior, they should organize their society so that it would be most beneficial to the greatest number of people; they should set the goal of all their works and all their actions - in the shortest possible time and in the fullest way to improve the moral and physical condition of the most numerous class” [Saint-Simon 1948: 365]. The achievement of such a system should be progress, which will inexorably and inevitably lead humanity to its “golden age”. The engines of this progress will be industrialists who will create a stable foundation for a new system - industrialism. Saint-Simon gave the main role to large-scale production - it was not for nothing that he and his followers proposed monumental and truly epoch-making engineering projects, some of which were implemented. A distinctive feature and the subject that causes discussions in the question “can Saint-Simon be classified as a socialist?” has become private property - the French Utopian does not oppose it at all. On the contrary, he assumed that the capitalists would remain with their capitals - the only question was how they organized labor. And Saint-Simon put the work at the forefront. In his system of society, everyone and absolutely everyone is obliged to work: “All people will work <…> everyone is charged with the duty to constantly direct their efforts for the benefit of humanity” [Volodin 1982: 216]. Saint-Simon was not an egalitarian and a democrat - he fought against the countless privileges granted by the nobility. Immediately after the revolution, having created a fortune on financial speculation, Saint-Simon began to comprehend the sciences in order to find out their current state and lay a new path for humanity - the physicopolitical one [Saint-Simon 1948: 92]. The role of science and scientists in society for Saint-Simon was almost sacred - the philosopher in his main work “New Christianity”, created shortly before his death, described such a structure of society in which spiritual power should be in the hands of the scientific class. “I think that all classes of society will be fine with such an arrangement: spiritual power is in the hands of scientists, secular power is in the hands of proprietors; the power to choose people to fulfill the duties of the great leaders of humanity is in the hands of the whole people” [Volodin 1982: 216]. As a result, a new religion should appear - Christianity, which will unite all the working people of society. The importance of this doctrine lies in one of the main principles of Christianity - all people should treat each other as brothers. Tracing the history of human development, Saint-Simon distinguishes epochs in relation to classes, with a certain form of human exploitation by man: the Ancient era is associated with slave-owning relations, the Middle Ages - with serfdom, Modern times - with industrial relations. The aforementioned most important principle of Christianity could not have been realized earlier, because it contradicted the foundations of relations between classes. However, in a new society in which the old foundation will be replaced by a new one - “industrialism”, and in place of the old Christianity - a new one that will be in alliance with secular power - then and precisely then this principle will prevail and become dominant for society. In “On the Industrial System,” Saint-Simon also writes that the feudal and spiritual system, being in their own way the foundations for scientific and industrial development, were so opposed to any changes that they themselves hindered any reformation. Now, these systems will not only not contradict, but also contain the goal of development in themselves. Saint-Simon sought to create a world in which the main measure would be work for the benefit of all. In his works, he saw a society that did not know exploitation, injustice and painful revolutions for him. On May 19, 1825, A. Saint-Simon died in Paris. However, the teachings of the French Utopian did not disappear with his death. His students, continuing the work of their teacher, tried to make a structured theory out of a chaotic and unsystematic teaching that could become a full-fledged support for a future reformed society. The dissemination and propaganda of Saint-Simon’s works and ideas by his followers became the heyday of the teaching. Immediately after Saint-Simon’s death in 1825, his disciples founded the newspaper “Producteur”. It published a number of articles showing the difference between Saint-Simonism and the ideas of Saint-Simon himself and their personal vision of the reconstruction of society. For example, in the article “On the need for a new common doctrine,” Saint-Amand Bazard writes about the imminent and inevitable collapse of the old structure of society prevailing throughout Western Europe, and the emergence of a new one. The new society will be based on two principles: education and legality [Bazard 1826: 526-528]. Hence the necessity of sciences and their development for society. He describes a similar idea in the article “De l’esprit critique” - people need harmony and a healthy state of society, which will replace uncertainty and anarchy [Bazard 1826: 114]. Moreover, this anarchy is also manifested in religion, which will be replaced by a new teaching - the teaching of A. Saint-Simon. The intention to create a new religion is confirmed by the “Le Livre Nouveau des Saint-Simoniens” written by the disciples, the name of which should be translated as “The New Bible of Saint-Simonism”. On its’ pages, again, the Saint-Simonists tried to systematically express the ideas of their teacher. The “New Bible” was supposed to serve the “new Christianity” and a society renewed not only industrially, but also morally [Barrault et al. 1991: 63]. As Philippe Rainier correctly noted in the preface, the Saint-Simonists assumed the role of apostles [Barrault et al. 1991: 8]. Olind Rodrigue, one of Saint-Simon’s most zealous disciples, also considered himself the messenger of the new religion. In the work “Appel: religion saint-simonienne” he writes with admiration about the new Christianity that will replace the old one and unite all people [Rodrigues 1831: 5]. One of the heads of the Saint-Simonists sect, Prosper Enfantin, wrote about the special role of science and education. In his work “Le crédit intellectuel: oeuvre dernière et inédite”, he points out the need to create special production societies in which intellectuals should dominate [Enfantin 1866: 8]. The organization of production, material or intellectual, should be collective [Enfantin 1866: 11]. The “Producteur” existed for only one year, but even in such a short period of time, the new movement found new adherents and followers. Everyone was sure that the new teaching, showing more and more mysticism and religious traits, would displace Catholicism and liberalism and become the basis for a new society. The movement very soon began to resemble a sect with all its inherent attributes: the disciples of Saint-Simon were called “Fathers”, those, in turn, neophytes were called “sons” and “daughters”. Saint-Simonists began to develop and disseminate their ideas through public lectures, which were subsequently published in the work “Doctrine de S.-Simon”. The Saint-Simonists went further than their teacher in the ideas of social coresidence. Completely rejecting the idea of private property and private interests, the Saint-Simonists believed that a person, as an element of society, should, first of all, serve for the benefit of this society. Following the concept of Saint-Simonists, the entire historical process of human development should eventually come to association and the complete disappearance of competition [Zhelubovskaya 1947, l4]. They laid the named principle of association as the basis for the establishment of colonies in Egypt and Algeria during the French expeditions [Enfantin 1843]. Saint-Amand Bazar became another head of the new sect of Saint-Simonists. He believed that one of the main problems of modern society was the gap between the poor and the rich, and it was the destruction of this gap and the distribution of all property between people on an equal basis that would help move to a new society [Zhelubovskaya 1947: 84]. The state will have to distribute the property according to the principle laid down by Saint-Simon: “to each according to his abilities.” Idleness will be destroyed, because, according to the Saint-Simonists, it contradicted nature itself [Zhelubovskaya 1947, l7]. The Saint-Simonists developed their teacher’s ideas about designing a society built on the ideas of association. In their teaching there was neither private property nor individual interests, P. Enfantin rejected even the institution of marriage. Productions organized by collectives with common property had to follow the goals of the whole society. The basis of the new society was to be a renewed Christianity, the apostles of which were the Saint-Simonists. Conclusion The development of various variants of socialist models was undoubtedly significantly influenced by the conditions in which their creators existed. Despite pauperism and the influence of revolutions and industrial upheaval, Britain was in a better position in terms of well-being than France, which became the direct theater of revolutionary actions. In the cultural field, conditions also differed - if Robert Owen largely relied on the works of his predecessors, the enlighteners, then SaintSimon and his colleagues used a more innovative approach, developing more new ideas and approaches. As a result, despite the similarity of these models, some nuances, sometimes even key ones (for example, the attitude to the liquidation of private property), were determined by their creators in different ways. R. Owen gave a big role in the creation of a new society to the “environment” - the environment in which a person was brought up. Saint-Simon and his students looked at the person himself, his abilities and the benefit (or harm) that he brought to society. For R. Owen, the achievement of harmony could be realized through not the destruction of classes, but the establishment of complete harmony in society. Hence the different models of social harmony - the communist one by R. Owen and the socialist one with the preservation of private property, classes by A. Saint-Simon. And it is the concept of the latter that has received so many interpretations and projects thanks to the active dissemination and development by students and a new approach to understanding the social structure

About the authors

Kirill M. Anderson

Lomonosov Moscow State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1887-8239

Ph.D. of Historical Sciences, Professor, Faculty of Political Science, Department of History of Socio-Political Doctrines

Moscow, Russian Federation

Maria S. Zvereva

Lomonosov Moscow State University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4815-0150

Postgraduate Student, Faculty of Political Science, Department of History of Socio-Political Doctrines

Moscow, Russian Federation


  1. Barrault, E., Chevalier, M., Duveyrier, C., Enfantin, P., Lambert, C., Simon, L., & Urbain, T.I. (Eds.). (1991). Le Livre Nouveau des Saint-Simoniens. Tusson: Еditions du Lеrot. (In French)
  2. Bazard, S.-A. (1826). De la nécessité d’une nouvelle doctrine genérale. Le Producteur, 3, 526-560.
  3. Bazard, S.-A. (1826). De l’esprit critique. Le Producteur, 3, 110-134.
  4. Doctrine de Saint-Simon: exposition, première année, 1828-1829. (1831). Paris: bureau de l’Organisateur.
  5. Enfantin, Р. (1843). Colonization de l’Algérie. Paris.
  6. Enfantin, Р. (1866). Le crédit intellectuel: Oeuvre dernière et inédite. Paris: Édouard Dentu.
  7. Gladyshev, A.V. (2001). “Artists”, “legists” and “bourgeois” (K.A. Saint-Simon on the creators of the French Revolution) (pp. 266-279). In A.V. Chudinov (Ed.), Annuaire d’etudes françaises. Moscow. (In Russian)
  8. Hammond, J.L., & Hammond, B. (1920). The town labourer. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown.
  9. Kucherenko, G.S. (1975). Saint-Simonism in public thought of the 19th century. Moscow: Nauka publ. (In Russian)
  10. Levandovsky, A.P. (1973). Saint-Simon. Moscow: Molodaya Gvardia publ. (In Russian)
  11. Owen, R. (1816). Address to the Inhabitants of New Lanmark. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown.
  12. Owen, R. (1819). Address to the Working Classes. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown.
  13. Owen, R. (1950). Description of a number of misconceptions and troubles. In Owen, R. Selected writings (Vol. 1). Moscow: Publishing House of the USSR Academy of Sciences. (In Russian)
  14. Owen, R. (1924). Letter Published 10 September 1817. In Owen R. New View of society and other writtings. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown.
  15. Owen, R. (1920). Life of Robert Owen. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown.
  16. Owen, R. (1820). Report to Lanark County. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme and Brown.
  17. Rodrigues, O. (1831) Appel: Religion saint-simonienne. Paris: Le Globe.
  18. Saint-Simon, K.A. (1948). Selected works. Moscow: Leningrad, Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. (In Russian)
  19. Silberfarb, I.I. (1964). Fourier’s social philosophy and its place in the history of socialist thought of the first half of the 19th century. Moscow: Nauka publ. (In Russian)
  20. Thompson, E.P. (1977). The Making of the English Working Class. 7th ed. London: Penguin books.
  21. Volodin, A.I. (1982). Utopian Socialism. Moscow: Politizdat publ. (In Russian)
  22. Zhelubovskaya, E.A. (1947). Exposition of the teachings of Saint-Simon. Moscow; Leningrad: Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. (In Russian)

Copyright (c) 2023 Anderson K.M., Zvereva M.S.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies