Socialism, the doctrine that society ought to be reorganized on more harmonious and equitable principles. Communism and cooperation are its principal divisions or varieties. Communism and socialism are sometimes used as synonymous; but generally the former term specially refers to the plans of social reform based on or embracing the doctrine of a complete community of goods. Cooperation is understood to be that branch of socialism which is engaged exclusively with theories of labor and methods of distributing profits, and which advocates a combination of many to gain advantages not to be reached by individuals. Viewed as a whole, socialistic doctrines have dealt with everything that enters into the life of the individual, the family, the church, or the state, whether industrially, morally, or spiritually. The origin of all is to be sought in the desire to ameliorate the condition of the less favored classes, and in the attempt to overcome by association the deprivations to which individuals, especially those without rank, culture, and capital, are exposed.
After many experimental attempts in recent times to effect a radical modification of society in all its parts, the simplified socialism of the present day mostly aims only to protect the laborer in his rights, or to shield him against the oppression of capitalists. - The history of socialism runs parallel with that of property. Wherever the power of individual proprietors became oppressive, communistic doctrines usually arose. Such was the origin of the schemes of the ancient Greeks. Pha-leas of Chalcedon expected gradually to remove the disparities of property by making a law that the rich should give but not receive dower in marriage; and in order that none should be intellectually superior to others, he desired that all should receive the same education. Plato's ideal republic was to consist of three classes: the educated, who are the law makers and rulers; the common people, including agriculturists and other laborers; and the soldiers. The state was to assign to every one his rank and sphere of activity; the soil was to be the property of all, and its fruits were to be equally shared by all. The women also were to be common property, as well as the slaves.
Communistic doctrines more or less evolved from peculiar religious views, and advocating the founding of isolated communes, existed among the ancient Hindoos and Egyptians. Among the earliest attempts at socialistic life was that of the Jewish sect known as the Essenes, who had established themselves on the western shores of the Dead sea about the 2d century B. C. Though there are few trustworthy accounts of their teachings and practices, it may be accepted as certain that they held their property in common, and discountenanced marriage, without really prohibiting it. (See Essenes.) The Carpo-cratians, an early Christian sect, which continued to exist until the middle of the 6th century, also practised community of goods and of women. Many features of the monasticism of the middle ages are more or less communistic. Societies of women were formed for the relief of the sick and poor in the 11th century, possessing at first nothing of the later conventual type. They had clusters of houses and gardens, whose inmates supported themselves by their own labor, grouped round a hospital and similar institutions. In time the dormitories, refectories, and work rooms were also occupied in common.
Such was the origin of the beguinages of the Netherlands. Later, various ascetic communistic societies arose, as the "Brethren and Olerks of the Common Life," founded by Gerard Groot about 1378 in the Netherlands, whose members, chiefly priests, supported themselves by manual labor and. by teaching and preaching. Along with these existed communities whose members indulged in the wildest license, and were finally extirpated by the authorities; such were the Adamites, who walked about naked.and had a community of wives. At the reformation a communistic tendency was wide-spread in Germany, and it led to a revolt of the serfs against their lords, a movement of social reform avowedly based upon the doctrines of the New Testament. (See Peasants' War.) Some of the Anabaptists, the movements begun by Storch and Munzer (see Munzer), the familists, the levellers, and numerous other fanatical sects of this period, all show more or less of the same spirit of hostility to the rich, of a desire for a better distribution of property, and a strugglo to realize an ideal social state. In the same period appeared the first works which, depicting a more or less fanciful or ideal community, may be considered the precursors of the more recent scientific socialistic schemes.
The first edition of Sir Thomas More's "Utopia," an account of an imaginary commonwealth, where there are only good and happy citizens and the government is perfectly paternal, was printed in Latin at Louvain in 1516, and it was soon translated into English, French, Dutch, and Italian. Another Utopia was depicted by Campanella in his Civitas Solis (1623). A vast hierarchy of officials assign and direct the duties of the people; four hours a day are devoted to labor, the women performing the lighter tasks; the rest of the day the people are trained in philosophy and the sciences. Similar schemes were sketched by Hall in his Mundus Alter, Fenelon, Morelly, Defoe in his "Essay on Projects," and Bacon in the "New Atlantis." In 1656 Harrington published his " Oceana," of which Hume said that it was the most valuable model of a commonwealth hitherto offered. The first complete plan of an industrial community intended for immediate adoption was John Beller's scheme of a " College of Industry" (1696). The shareholders were to divide among themselves the profits of the college, but the laborers were to be guaranteed all things necessary in case of sickness, for the education of their children, for the maintenance of their widows, and the like.
In France there have been at various times small communities in which work was divided according to the capacity of the members, who received equal shares of the profits, and elected a master of the community, vested with full power of command, and constituting their legal representative. In the United States there are about 70 communistic societies, all based on a religious belief of some form. The Shakers were established in the northern states about 1780, and in the west about 30 years later; the Rappists were established in 4805, the Zoarites in 1817, the Eben-Ezer or Amana communists in 1844, the Bethel community in 1844, the Oneida Perfectionists in 1848, the Icarians in 1849, and the Aurora commune in 1852. Though the Icarians reject Christianity, yet they raise to the position of a creed their doctrine of brotherly love, or their communistic idea. In the Bethel and Aurora communes unselfishness takes the place of a religious system. Community of women is practised only by the Perfectionists (see Noyes, John Humphrey); the Shakers and Rappists are celibates; and at Icaria, Amana, Aurora, Bethel, and Zoar the family relation is held in honor.
Only the Perfectionists are of strictly American origin; the principles of the Shakers, though first established here, originated in England; the Icarians are French, and the others are German. The Shakers are the most numerous. - After the reign of terror in France, Babeuf and his friends formed a conspiracy to overthrow the state. They taught that all men had equal rights in all property and in the enjoyment of it; every exclusive appropriation of the soil or of a branch of industry was a crime; all persons should receive the same kind and degree of education; the functions of the government should be to superintend the division of labor, the collecting of the produce in public stores, and the distribution of it to communities and individuals. The marriage relations and religious subjects were not specially discussed by them. Babeuf perished on the scaffold, and his doctrine seemed to have perished with him; but in 1834 Buonarotti revived it, and by means of pamphlets and the Moniteur Republicain, the Homme Libre, and other journals, it was again propagated.
After some vain attempts at instituting social equality by insurrectionary means, the Babeuvists were content to continue as secret organizations, many of them developing the original doctrine, and the tra-vailleurs egalitaires going to the extent of abrogating marriage as being a species of personal property, of wishing all towns destroyed as the natural hotbeds of tyranny, etc. In opposition to the travailleurs egalitaires Cabet (1788-1856) wrote his Voyage en Icarie, advocating a comparatively innocent communism, a small model of which he established in this country. - Saint-Simon (1760-1825) gathered about him men of science, and travelled in order to enlarge his views; gave balls, dinners, and festivals, to extend his knowledge of mankind; and finally, when his wealth had been scattered, found himself abandoned to the most painful privations. He was thus fitted, as he thought, by a trial of all the conditions of humanity, to become their exponent and their reformer. He contrived what he denominated a new Christianity, or a scheme for the reconstruction of the religion, politics, industry, and social relations of mankind. .To each man according to his capacity, to each capacity according; to its works; such was the grand formula of the St. Simonian gospel.
But the author did not live to witness its propagation. It was reserved for Rodrigues, Enfantin, Ba-zard, Buchez, and others to disseminate it over France. By their lectures and a journal established by them called Le Producteur, it soon gained many disciples, and at one time seemed on the point of absorbing the best youthful mind of the nation. Many men, who have since attained distinction, as statesmen and men of letters, took part in the famous expositions of the rue Taranne, Paris, where the new school had its academy. But Saint-Simon had left his doctrine in the vague state of an aspiration or a sentiment rather than a system. His followers began to differ when they began to define. Sects arose in the bosom of the new faith. A common family was established in the rue Monsigny, but the order of functions had not been arranged in a satisfactory way. An open quarrel between two of the chiefs, Enfantin and Bazard, led to other dissensions. The finances of the general association failed, and the police interfered with its meetings, which had become, in consequence of the vivacity of the discussions and the appearance of women on the tribune, more attractive than the theatre.
Enfantin collected his friends again at a patrimonial estate which he held at Menilmontant, where a multitude of laborers were organized into groups of industrials, artists, priests, etc.; but the experiment could not be made to pay, Enfantin was seized and imprisoned, and the new family gradually dispersed. In spite of its want of practical success, the school of Saint-Simon exercised and continues to exercise a powerful influence over the French mind. - Charles Fourier (1772-1837) saw very clearly what his predecessors had not seen, that society was a growth, and not a construction; he saw that as it had followed fundamental laws of development in the past, so it must follow the same laws in the future; these laws, he also discerned, must be in analogy with the other laws of the living universe; and he concluded that the science of society must be the flower and consummation of all other sciences. But not satisfied with these grand generalizations, and the practical applications to which 'they inevitably lead, he assumed the character of a universal social philosopher and legislator, and lost himself in magnificent a priori speculations as to the formation and propagation of worlds, and the future destinies of all humanity.
His vigorous thought procured him many disciples in France, England, and the United States; many efforts have been made to reduce his more practical maxims to practice, but no signal or decisive result has anywhere been achieved. (See Fourier.) - While Fourier and his disciples intended to carry out their socialistic reforms by their own exertions and without receiving any material aid from the government, Louis Blanc wanted the government to undertake the regeneration of society by the "organization of labor," holding that the evils of large capital and destructive competition could and ought to be cured by means of the state, the largest capitalist of all, from which every laborer that needs it has a right to demand employment (droit au travail). The government should purchase or gradually absorb the large industrial institutions of the country, and eventually render it more profitable to every laborer to join the large governmental workshops than to follow his calling on his own account. The wages of a]l laborers should be equal.
As soon as the state had succeeded in becoming the only and general controller of production in the country, and the workmen had had sufficient opportunity to appreciate the abilities of individuals among them, the governmental administration should be superseded by the self-government of the laborers, on democratic principles. Louis Blanc opposed to the maxim of Saint-Simon, "To each according to his ability," his own, "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The revolution of 1848 put him in a position to experiment with his scheme. The provisional government erected public workshops, and paid wages to hundreds of thousands of laborers; but these were productive only of confusion, and contributed toward the socialistic insurrection of June, which ended in a crushing defeat. - Proudhon (1809-'65) desired to carry out his reforms without the aid of the state, and argued in opposition to Louis Blanc that the state not only should not, but could not inaugurate new social systems. In fact, Proudhon was opposed to systematic socialism of any sort. Though himself a Utopian, he combated the Utopias of everybody else.
The infallibility which he claimed for his own doctrines he rendered still more odious in the eyes of his opponents by his peculiar manner of expressing his ideas. In one of his earlier principal publications, Qu'est ce que la propriete? (1841), he seemed to attack all property as being a kind of theft, while his intention was only to demonstrate the illegality of incomes received without labor. Similarly, his expression that he wanted to reduce the state to "anarchy" utterly obscured his real meaning, which was that the artificial centralization of the French government should give way to a government controlled by the masses. Like most socialists, Proudhon considered the application of justice in the distribution of the wages of the labor and the profits of the capital employed in production to be the most important problem of political economy. The means proposed by him for making wages and profits proportional to each other were, that each citizen should unite in his own person the four necessary factors of production : laborer, capitalist, merchant, and employer.
To bring this about, he held that employment should be guaranteed to the laborer, and that there should be a reorganization of the credit system, which he himself attempted by establishing the banq.ue du peuple in 1849. This bank was an association of 20,000 laborers, who pledged themselves to take the paper issued by it in lieu of cash. Proudhon believed that a conventional sign of this sort, costing but little labor to produce, could take the place of gold and silver coins, the production of which requires a large amount of labor. The bank advanced to any member, on articles produced by him, four fifths of their value in its own notes, and demanded no interest for the loan. On security being given, it would advance upon work not yet done. Proudhon expected that this gratuitous credit, enabling men to consume at any time the wages of their labor, would be the means of inciting the members of the association to as great industry as the hope of accumulating interest-bearing capital, since their means of present enjoyment would depend upon their energy.
The government soon closed the bank for violation of the laws of trade, and Proud-hon's followers maintain that his scheme has never had a fair trial. - Robert Owen (1771-1858), in England, was arousing the public mind to the necessity of a new order of society at the same time that Saint-Simon and his disciples were preaching in France. They proceeded, however, on wholly different grounds. Owen's fundamental axiom was that man was made entirely by his external circumstances, so that, to form his character, and to produce his entire happiness, nothing was requisite but a change in his external relations. Possessed of great wealth, he established a manufacturing colony at New Lanark, in which his principles were applied to the laboring classes. Justice in the payment of labor, vast domestic economies, and a thorough system of infant and adult education gave it for a time great and increasing prosperity. Statesmen and churchmen alike admitted the success of the attempt, and the system, or parts of the system, were in a fair way of being introduced into other manufacturing districts. But Owen was encouraged by the promise of his plans to step forth as a philosopher.
He taught in pamphlets, speeches, letters, and books, his doctrine of the omnipotence of circumstances and of human irresponsibility, attacking at the same time all religions and all governments, and thus provoking the earnest hostility of the clergy as well as of politicians. Other establishments were subsequently erected at New Harmony, Indiana, and Orbiston, Scotland, but they failed. His popularity declined rapidly, except among a portion. of the laboring classes, and he accomplished nothing beyond his earlier success. He had travelled over the world to indoctrinate it with his principles, but the world remained to the end of his life stubbornly incredulous. Nevertheless he has a just claim to be considered the originator of modern cooperation. - In 1869 England alone numbered 1,308 cooperative societies, under general regulations prescribed by act of parliament; 749 of these sent in their returns to government at the end of 1870, from which their condition appears to have been as follows: number of members, 249,113; share capital, £2,034,261; loan capital, £197,128; average stock in trade during the year, £912,127; value of buildings, fixtures, and land, £962,276; dividend to members, £467,164; to non-members, £16,-523; allowed for educational purposes, £3,775. The most successful experiment of the English cooperators is that of the Rochdale " Equitable Pioneers' Society," established mainly on the principles of Owen. Its primary object was the founding of a store for the sale of the necessaries of life, which was opened in December, 1844. In 1847 the pioneers opened a drapery department, in 1850 a slaughter house, in 1852 shoemaking and tailoring establishments; and after a history of continuous success, in the last quarter of the year 1870 they numbered 5,560 members, and had a share capital of £81,232. Similar stores and associations now exist in various parts of Europe, America, and Australia. The varieties of cooperation so far developed are numerous, but they are all founded upon the original idea of associated as opposed to isolated efforts.
The power which the joint-stock principle places in the hands of small capitalists, the cooperative system places in the hands of the smallest capitalists; it even enables the man without capital to accumulate it. Morier describes cooperation as "the child of socialism, rescued by the economists from the dangerous custody of its parents." In Germany this movement on the part of the laborers was urged forward by Schulze-Delitzsch in opposition to the socialism of Lassale and Marx, which led to the formation of the " International Association." (See International Association.) Schulze-Delitzsch originated a new form of cooperation, which has been successful in Germany to an extraordinary degree. He devised a people's bank, or cooperative credit bank, from which the members can borrow small sums up to 1,000 thalers. The capital is derived from the entrance fees and subscriptions of the members. The shares are fixed at 40 thalers, and may be paid by instalments. A 40-thaler shareholder may borrow 60 thalers without security; money is borrowed by the society at a low rate of interest; members on leaving receive the amount paid up on their shares, and are relieved from all liabilities after two years.
In 1870 the number of loan or credit banks in Germany was estimated at 2,000, and numerous associations of a similar nature are now established in Russia, Denmark, Italy, France, and England. There is in Germany a political party of socialists called Socialdemokraten, another development of the same movement which produced the international association, mainly composed of workingmen and their friends. This party aims to establish complete liberty, equality, and fraternity, by uniting all the working classes in associations, and securing to all the same rights and opportunities to work; there are to be no favored classes or individuals, and the whole world is to form one great solidarity. The so-called Katheder-socialisten are not socialists in the ordinary sense of the word, but a school of political economy opposing the free traders. - See, besides the works named in the biographies of the principal socialists, Stein, Der Socialismus und Communismus des heutigen Frankreich (Leipsic, 1844), and Geschichte der socialen Beicegung in Frankreich (3 vols., Leipsic, 1849-'51); Bluntschli, Die Communisten in der Schweiz (Zurich, 1843); Schaffle, Kapita-lismus und Socialismus (Tubingen, 1870; English translation by Kaufmann, London, 1875); Noyes, "History of American Socialisms" (Philadelphia, 1870); Diihring, Kritische Geschichte der National-Oekonomie und des Socialismus (Berlin, 1871); Le Play, L'Organisation du travail (Paris, 1871), and La reforme sociale en France (Paris, 1872); Nordhoff, "The Communistic Societies of the United States" (New York, 1875); and Holyoake, "History of Cooperation" (London, 1875).