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Robert Owen
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    (May 14, 1771-November 17, 1858)
    Born in Newtown, Wales, United Kingdom
    Social reformer
    Founding member of utopian socialism and the co-operative movement
    Owner of the New Lanark Mill in Glasgow
    Founded a socialist colony at New Harmony, Indiana (1826)
    Wrote 'A New View of Society' (1813)
    He was able to improve conditions at his factory largely because he convinced fellow reformers, like Jeremy Bentham, to buy out his original business partners, thereby reducing the pressure to keep profits up.
    He advocated reforming society into groups of 500-3,000 people who would live in a single building, while communally sharing work and the resulting wages.
    He recommended taking children away from their parents at age three, to be raised by the community. (Although the parents and kids could still see each other at mealtimes.)
    His attempt to put his theories into action at New Harmony failed within two years.
    He lost about $200,000 on New Harmony.
    Late in life, he became a champion of spiritualism after a medium allegedly put him contact with Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
    He ended child labor at New Lanark.
    He started a company school to educate the workers.
    He established a factory commissary that bought quality goods in bulk and passed the savings on to the workers.
    New Lanark was a commercial success, providing an early example of 'doing well by doing good.'
    He advocated equal rights for women.

Credit: C. Fishel

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