Robert Owen  

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Robert Owen (14 May 1771, Newtown, Powys17 November 1858) was a Welsh utopian socialist and social reformer. He is considered the father of the cooperative movement.

Owen's socialistic philosophy was derived from three fundamental pillars of his thought. First, he believed that no one was "responsible for his will and his own actions" because "his whole character is formed independently of himself." Owen firmly believed that people were the product of their environment, which fueled his support for education and labor reform. His views made Owen a pioneer in the promotion of investment in human capital. Owen's second pillar was his opposition to religion. Owen felt that all religions were "based on the same absurd imagination" which he said made mankind "a weak, imbecile animal; a furious bigot and fanatic; or a miserable hypocrite." [However, he did embrace spiritualism towards the end of his life (O'Hara, 2006, p.75).] His third pillar said that he disliked the factory system, and supported the cottage system.

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