Robert Owen

Robert Owen

(1771–1858)
Welsh social reformer and industrialist. A pioneer socialist thinker, he believed that character is a product of the social environment. He founded a model industrial community centred on his cotton mills at New Lanark in Scotland; this was organized on principles of mutual cooperation, with improved working conditions and housing together with educational institutions provided for workers and their families. He went on to found a series of other cooperative communities; although these did not always succeed, his ideas had an important long-term effect on the development of British socialist thought and on the practice of industrial relations.

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