Hiking Highlight (Segment)
Owen was born the youngest son of a saddler in Newtown. He worked as an apprentice in a textile business.
Owen worked his way up to the factory manager in the cotton industry. Early on he studied the social conditions of industrial work and conducted an experiment in 1799 in his cotton mill in New Lanark for more decent working conditions. He tried to prove that wage slavery and oppression of workers is not a prerequisite for effective production. Therefore, he reduced the working time to 10.5 hours, compared to the then usual 13 to 14 hours in other factories. He set up health and old-age pension insurance, he built bearable dwellings and granted rental concessions. The everyday goods were traded at low but profitable prices. The trade of alcohol was restricted on the factory premises. Owen did a lot for the children, so he called in three parliamentary laws prohibiting child labor or limiting it to six hours a day for under 12-year-olds and that entering any manufacturing facility with only basic schooling (the ability of reading and writing, as well the first four arithmetic rules) should be allowed and the girls at least be able to sew.
Owen's action was also a great success for him: productivity in the factory increased dramatically, the number of thefts went down, punishment within the factory was no longer necessary. The successes were also due to the technical skills Owens: New Lanark new production techniques were introduced, the competition could not yet implement.
August 21, 2017
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