Chapter 29 Web Questions

Charles Fourier (1772-1837)

Below please find some questions on the utopian socialists about whom we read in Chapter 29. The questions are written by your classmate, Dinghua Zeng

1) What social and economic developments prompted some nineteenth-century critics to formulate ideas for alternative economic systems?

2) Have any nineteenth-century utopian socialist ideas ever been realized? Is it possible that there are some that might be realized in the future?

3) What was the overall significance of utopian socialist thought even though much of it seems unreachable?

6 Comments on “Chapter 29 Web Questions”

  1. Madiha Rao says:

    3) Utopian socialists aimed to organize society in a just and fair way. Utopian socialists tried to form an idealistic social society where workers didn’t overwork, children were able to get an education and people didn’t have to be forced to work but chose to work out of natural inclination. The utopian socialist system was significant because it looked at a different way of running a socialist society than the way that existed. The present socialist society had many problems. Pollution, diseases and unsanitary conditions were widespread. Some of the poor workers had to live in poor quality homes cramped with many other people. Children worked in factories for long hours and did not receive any education. The utopian socialist idea imagined a society that could be both socialist and fair. Utopian socialists such as Robert Owen and Charles Fourier built model communities. The overall significance of utopian socialism was that it envisioned people living healthy lives while working in factories and set examples of how such a society could operate.

  2. Anita Persaud says:

    Ques 2

    There were these two Utopian Socialists, Fourier and Owen. I don’t think that their ideas were ever been realized, if so maybe partly. Fourier hated the market system and wanted to have small communities which he could hold together with love. He wanted an ideal society. I think this idea would never work maybe in the future. On the other hand, Owen, who is a successful businessman, raised workers wages, and reduced their workday from seventeen hours to ten hours. He built spacious houses and open stores that sold goods at reasonable prices and the town was able to make profits. Young children were kept away from factories and sent to schools to have an education, but it worked only for a period of time before the economy encountered difficulties.
    I think their ideas may not fully realized but they play an important role in bringing about positive social changes. They allowed others to think about new possibilities that a better society could be achieved. I think the Civil Rights Movement and the welfare system and many other movements established to help societies were realized.

    source – text, Traditions

  3. Jemima Georges says:

    3) Before the revolution of industrialization, most of the individuals who benefited from their overflowing wealth were people who were already of high class or military aristocracy. But as the arms of industry inevitably crept its way into the merchant class and ultimately the family unit, social and economic norms had changed drastically. With everyone pitching in, and increased working hours, working families had to eventually succumb to separation where the close knit family structure became almost nonexistent. Women from the suburbs and rural areas found themselves in factories, and giving their service in domestic homes. Children too were sent to the factories to toil for long hours at a time, subjected to beatings and maltreatment. Many had no choice but to work for their family’s economic sake. Meanwhile, basking in the privileges of their positions the nouveau riche factory owners, “captains of industry and enterprising business people” were at the high end of the capitalist pool feeding off of the labors of their employees like parasites.

    Because of these new social and economic changes, people sought new systems of economy. Whether it was a utopian socialist- who believed in individuals working at their own comfort, no market competition, education for children, fair treatment in work and pay, and overall improving capitalist society; or a communist who wanted to eradicate capitalism altogether, and give the working class (proletariat) the upper hand- everyone agreed on a just system of labor that did not exploit women and children, and an equal distribution of wealth between laborer and owner.

  4. Lindsay Poulakos says:

    3) The formation of ‘utopian’ socialism served as a possible solution to the problems generated by the Industrial Revolution. This form of socialism addressed the workers’ emotions, rather than focusing on the amounts of production and profits. Socialists like Owen and Fourier believed that a society which enforced the education, health and well-being of it’s workers would in turn generate a harmonious and successful society. Although the various experimental communities failed to fulfill this theory, utopian socialism became a source of critique for later socialists, allowing them to build upon these ideas and approach make them more ‘realistic’.

  5. Sheri Greenbaum says:

    3)Utopian socialism is rooted in the belief of equality. They believed that it was necessary to have economic, political, legal, and social equality for communities to prosper. Charles Fourier and Robert Owen were advocates for utopian socialism and throughout their lives, planned model communities with systems that would create the perfect society. There is however a flaw in this school of thought: economic and political stability were not achievable. Despite the failure of utopian socialism as a widespread phenomenon, the overall significance of these ideas is that they inspired Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two of the most prominent men responsible for writing about and developing the concept of communism as a beneficial and necessary component for society. Ideas such as these led to major events in history where individuals took communism our of theory and in attempts to implement it, changed the course of history.


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