Talk:Robert Owen

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Hello. I don't think this photo can be of Robert Owen, who would have been in his seventies when photography proper came in. It looks more like Thomas Carlyle.



Actually I think it's an engraving. It came from the University of Texas collection; they cite Helmolt, H.F., ed. History of the World. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902 as their source. (I tend to trust them being an alum. *grin*) - Hephaestos|§ 14:01, 13 Mar 2004 (UTC)

About the "Portrait of Robert Owen (1771 - 1858) by John Cranch, 1845". The article on John Cranch states that he died in 1816. How did he paint this? He didn't say. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:23, 15 February 2010 (UTC)

hi but i dont know what you are talking about but that does not look anything at all like thomas carlye and it is robert owen !!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Day of dying[edit]

Encyclopædia Britannica in hebrew claims that Owen died in November 7th. SHIMONSHA

That is probably a typo on their part. I've consulted several authorities and they agree he died on 17 November 1858. Pinkville


I was looking for a factual article about the causes of failure of Owen's experiments at New Harmony. The author of this article (1911 Brittanica or whomever) clearly has a sympathetic view of Owen's beliefs.

The article is HIGHLY apologetic and forgiving about Owen's failures, and far too laudatory and lavish in praise otherwise. I know little more about the man than I learned in high school years ago (which was in itself fairly little) so can someone with more knowledge clean up a mite? No they can't. 21:43, 12 January 2006 (UTC)


Robert Owen did have faults the main was that in America his new city was abused and the people that moved to work there where not the industrious people who appreciated his benevolence. Robert Owen failed in the American New Harmony because he did not see the problems a less than motivated workforce would produce. The good of principals were let down by the reality of Humans trying to get something for nothing. The move to succeed in the USA by UK companies still remains difficult and Owen did not expect the inherent differnces and therfore could not plan and foresee the relocation problems as it had not been undertaken before. Owen must have believed as the formulae had been succesful in New Lanark it would have no problems in the USA.

By the time he realised the project was flawed it was too late. But the work he undertook laid the foundations for many good things that had would not have been undertaken so quickly and showed that the inhuman excess the Industrial Revolution produced were not required for business to prosper and that employees should be treated as human beings. A new philosphy that made the world of employment as we know it today and we all must look to as a touchstone for the coming Globalisation producing the world-wide comglomerates who seem set on shaping the world and its workers to fit their strategies.

Though flawed the work done by Robert Owen improved the workers conditions then and now. We perhaps need another Roberty Owen faults and all to stop us falling into the Globalisation revolution without any alternative.

NPOV! The article reads like a paean to the man. Excerpts:

"In all these plans Owen obtained the most gratifying success." " According to the unanimous testimony of all who visited it, the results achieved by Owen appeared singularly good."

It also is a bit quaint and outmoded; as pointed out, it sounds like it could be from the 1911 Brittanica. I mean, "This population, thus committed to his care, Owen now set himself to elevate and ameliorate." Really? Not to mention there are a few first-person references in the article ("As we have said,...").

In consideration of these things, I'm marking the article POV-Check. Chris 19:34, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

You could try rewriting the parts you think are slanted. Tom Harrison Talk 19:40, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Yes, this article is a bit pious in tone and somewhat antiquated in style, as if it relies heavily on some old-fashioned hagiographical work. But it contains much useful info. I corrected the style a bit, linked "truck system", and added dates for the Truck Acts.pmr 11:05, 8 September 2006 (UTC)

Does anyone think this term here is a little subjective "crotchety, wrongheaded enthusiasts" (talk) 21:33, 22 August 2009 (UTC)


Many European History textbooks call Owens Scottish. Anyone care to comment on the source for his Welsh nationality here? M. Luke Myers 02:22, 26 January 2006 (UTC)

According to Norton's The Revolutionary Era: 1789-1850 Owen's was born in Wales and bought a cotton mill in New Lanark, Scotland.

Indeed, Owen was born in Newtown, Powys and moved at the age of 10. He returned to Newtown at the end of his life and died there. There is a museum and statue to Owen in Newtown

So what was his nationality??

In "The History of Socialism in the 19th century", Owen's parents were both Welsh. He also called himself a Welshman in his written Westminster Review(1839).

New Harmony[edit]

The section on its formation is questionable given that the New Harmony Historical Society website ( states it was originally a German Lutherian community which failed and was rescued; another useful resource for consideration of the validity of the content is user:ianguy

The Photo which is attached to this section is titled 'New Moral World', However it is the same photo that is used for the page on New Harmony. Which one is correct?

I believe this section needs a bit of a rewrite - the tone lacks neutrality: "Neither of them was a pauper experiment; but it must be said that the members were of the most motley description, many worthy people of the highest aims being mixed with viagrants, adventurers, and crotchety, wrongheaded enthusiasts, or in the words of Owen's son 'a heterogeneous collection of radicals... honest latitudinarians, and lazy theorists, with a sprinkling of unprincipled sharpers thrown in.'" --Vince 16:25, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

For your section on the Owen experiment at New Harmony, Indiana, you might want to consult wikipedia's article on New Harmony. You are accurate in stating that the utopian experiment failed; however, New Harmony was a significant center of scientific research due to the presence of Owen's sons and the scientists that Robert Owen brought to the community on the famous "Boatload of Knowledge." Additional information about the history of New Harmony can be found on a site maintained by the University of Southern Indiana: --Gr1909 (talk) 22:47, 2 March 2008 (UTC)


11/19/06 The article looked like a starstruck middle school student wrote it. The grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc. was atrocious and very archaic. I fixed most of the problem areas. You'll find that the original meanings are wholly intact; the old wording has simply been improved. --Smilingsuzy 21:19, 19 November 2006 (UTC)

~ Useful work, Smilingsuzy, but you seem to have "corrected" several spellings that are authorised by the Oxford English Dictionary. pmr 15:51, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Labour vouchers[edit]

I note that this article doesn't mention Owen's invention of labour vouchers. I'm not terribly familiar with Owen's treatment of them myself, so perhaps someone who is can add this information to the article (and also to the labour voucher article, which I have started as a stub). —Psychonaut 14:10, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

The article does mention the Truck Acts. These post-date Owen at New Lanark and the reference should not be in this article. In fact Owen favoured and operated a Truck/voucher system with vouchers redeemable in the Company Shop. So the point is misleading.

The feature of Owen's system was that (unusually for these schemes) his Shop offered good value. This fact was used by David Ricardo (as an MP) to oppose the Truck Acts. -- 17:33, 27 April 2007 (UTC)


There is no mention in the article about the alleged authorship of the seven principles of spiritualism. Any reason for this? Is the S.N.U. website proof enough for me to alter the article? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:38, 24 February 2007

Richard Dale Owen[edit]

More information about Robert Owen's son Richard Dale Owen can be found at the following site: --Gr1909 (talk) 22:38, 2 March 2008 (UTC)

Cottage system[edit]

The article states that one of Owen's 'intellectual pillars' was his belief in the cottage system. No evidence is presented in support of this. Is there any? His achievement at New Lanark was to show that the factory system could be the basis of a decent life for working people, not to turn back to cottage-based production. If I am missing something, please fill the gap. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Numero60 (talkcontribs) 23:42, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

i think that it is very hard worded and hard to understand, i dont like this at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:08, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

But I do. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:19, 24 July 2016 (UTC)

No personal responsibility[edit]

No wonder that Antioch College, based on his principles, was an utter failure. (talk) 20:12, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Two points[edit]

1) The link to footnote 10 now seems to be - but I can't see how to access 'Reflist 2' to change this;

2) There is a significant question to be asked - maybe it's been raised on other pages:and

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) uses the hyphenated forms of co-operation, co-operative, co-operator, co-op etc - including its own name.

(Notably - and confusingly, Google (and other web-based searches eg at the Chapters/Indigo catalogue) returns different results depending on the search term co-operation/cooperation. This makes for highly misleading literature/web searches for students and so on.

For convenience, I pronounce the unhyphenated form 'cooper -/- ation' rather than the etymological - and historically accurate pronunciation 'co -/- operation' to make the ambiguity in usage that is described below.)

Indeed, the US usage of the (unhyphenated) term 'cooperation' is ambiguous - as in 'thank-you for your cooperation' (as a cipher for 'your compliance is expected - or else there will be unpleasant, likely violent, consequences for you'). Worryingly for educators, and others, this also finds use in ambiguous terms such as 'getting your child to cooperate (with you)' as a cipher for 'getting your child to comply (with your demands)'.

(Notably - this is also the case in most dominant/dominating culture/capitalist publication and wider usage, where the unhyphenated form is used without discrimination as to these alternative meanings - something that the most recent versions of the Oxford English Dictionary, most regrettably, have decided upon - despite the contrary evidence.)

So my discussion point is:

Should Wikipedia use the ICA hyphenated forms of co-operation, co-operative, co-operator, co-op etc? I'd say yes. Views? None.

John courtneidge (talk) 17:16, 28 January 2011 (UTC)


The article assigns Owen to the category Welsh people of Dutch descent, but doesn't provide a source. There is no mention of it in the biographical section of the article and no mention of it in his autobiography. EricWR (talk) 22:57, 10 November 2015 (UTC)

The 1907 biography of Owen by Frank Podmore mentions a tenuous connection with Dutch labour colonies at Frederik's Oord. But I can see nothing about any Dutch ancestry. I think it is a mistake. Martinevans123 (talk) 23:08, 10 November 2015 (UTC)