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Pre-Marx socialists

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While Marxism had a significant impact on socialist thought, pre-Marxist thinkers (before Marx wrote on the subject) have advocated socialism in forms both similar and in stark contrast to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' conception of socialism, advocating some form of collective ownership over large-scale production, worker-management within the workplace, or in some cases a form of planned economy.


Early socialist and proto-socialist philosophers and political theorists:

  1. Gaius and Tiberius Gracchus, ancient Roman statesmen who advocated heavily for policies in the interest of the Plebeians. These policies included land and wealth redistribution and subsidized grain to help the poor.
  2. Gerrard Winstanley, who founded the Diggers movement in the United Kingdom[1]
  3. François-Noël Babeuf, French revolutionary and journalist
  4. Charles Fourier, French philosopher who propounded principles very similar to that of Marx[2][3]
  5. Louis Blanqui, French socialist and writer[2][3]
  6. Marcus Thrane, Norwegian socialist[4]
  7. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Genevan philosopher, writer and composer whose works influenced the French Revolution[2]
  8. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, French politician and philosopher[2][3]
  9. Pierre Leroux, French religious socialist[2]

Ricardian socialist economists:

  1. Thomas Hodgskin, English Ricardian socialist and free-market anarchist[5][6]
  2. Charles Hall
  3. John Francis Bray
  4. John Gray
  5. William Thompson
  6. Percy Ravenstone
  7. James Mill
  8. John Stuart Mill, classical political economist who came to advocate worker-cooperative socialism[3]

Utopian socialist thinkers:

  1. Sylvain Maréchal
  2. Claude Henri de Saint-Simon[2][3]
  3. Wilhelm Weitling[3]
  4. Robert Owen[3]
  5. Étienne Cabet[2]
  6. Frances Wright

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Murray Bookchin (1965). Ecology and Revolutionary Thought (PDF). Retrieved 28 December 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Corcoran, Paul E. (1983). Before Marx: Socialism and Communism in France, 1830-48. The MacMillan Press Ltd.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Weisbord, Albert (1937). The Conquest of Power: Liberalism, Anarchism, Syndicalism, Socialism, Fascism, Communism.
  4. ^ "Marcus Thrane". The Promise of America.
  5. ^ Braudel, Fernand (1979). The Wheels of Commerce: Civilization and Capitalism 15th–18th Century. Harper and Row.
  6. ^ Hodgson, Geoffrey (2015). Conceptualizing Capitalism: Institutions, Evolution, Future. University of Chicago Press. p. 252. ISBN 9780226168005.