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Owen Robert

Owen, Robert (1771-1858), Socialist philosopher, was born in Montgomeryshire, and entered young into a Liverpool merchant's office. At 18 he was managing a mill at Chorlton and then it cotton-mill at New Lanark, where he married the owner's daughter. In 1814 the business became a company of which he was managing director, other members being W. Allen, Joseph Fox, and Jeremy Bentham. It was managed on Socialistic ideas, all profits above five per cent. going to the benefit of the work-people or the community at large. In 1812 he published a New View of Society and Book of the New Moral World, and travelled in Great Britain and America to inculcate his ideas. Among them was a plan for exchanging all products by means of a paper currency of labour notes, goods being valued in terms of the labour it took to produce them. This had a partial trial, but he alienated support by his secularist views. He saw his communities tried and found a failure in America, Scotland, and England. In later times he adopted spiritualism.