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Charles Fourier, 1772-1837 -- Selections from his Writings

fourier.gif (18125 bytes)Because Fourier's writings are lengthy and repetitious we are indeed fortunate that the French economist Charles Gide produced a one-volume edition of selections from Fourier's works, a volume which was then translated into English by Julia Franklin, and published as Selections from the Works of Fourier. The following selections come from Fourier's Théorie des Quatre Mouvements (2nd ed., 1841), Le Nouveau Monde Industriel et Sociétaire (3rd ed., 1848), Théorie de l'Unité Universelle (2nd ed., 1838), La Fausse Industrie (1835-36) and the Manuscrits de Fourier (1851). On the WWW, the Harmonic Series of Charles Fourier is an especially interesting site. A Fourier links page looks promising as well.



All those philosophical whims called duties have no relation whatever to Nature; duty proceeds from men, Attraction proceeds from God; now, if we desire to know the designs of God, we must study Attraction, Nature only, without any regard to duty, which varies with every age, while the nature of the passions has been and will remain invariable among all nations of men.

The learned world is wholly imbued with a doctrine termed MORALITY, which is a mortal enemy of passional attraction.

Morality teaches man to be at war with himself, to resist his passions, to repress them, to believe that God was incapable of organizing our souls, our passions wisely; that he needed the teachings of Plato and Seneca in order to know how to distribute characteristics and instincts. Imbued with these prejudices regarding the impotence of God, the learned world was not qualified to estimate the natural impulses or passional attractions, which morality proscribes and relegates to the rank of vices.

It is true that these impulses entice us only to evil, if we yield to them individually; but we must calculate their effect upon a body of about two thousand persons socially combined, and not upon families or isolated individuals: this is what the learned world has not thought of; in studying it, it would have recognized that as soon as the number of associates (societaires) has reached 1600, the natural impulses, termed attractions, tend to form series of contrasting groups, in which everything incites to industry, become attractive, and to virtue, become lucrative.

The passions, believed to be the enemies of concord, in reality conduce to that unity from which we deem them so far removed. But outside of the mechanism termed "exalted," emulatory, interlocked (engrenees) Series, they are but unchained tigers, incomprehensible enigmas. It is this which has caused philosophers to say that we ought to repress them; an opinion doubly absurd inasmuch as we can only repress our passions by violence or absorbing replacement, which replacement is no repression. On the other hand, should they be efficiently repressed, the civilized order would rapidly decline find relapse into the nomad state, where the passions would still be malevolent as with us. The virtue of shepherds is as doubtful as that of their apologists, and our utopia-makers, by thus attributing virtues to imaginary peoples, only succeed in proving the impossibility of introducing virtue into civilization.

We are quite familiar with the five sensitive passions tending to Luxury, the four affective ones tending to Groups; it only remains for us to learn about the three distributive ones whose combined impulse produces Series, a social method of which the secret has been lost since the age of primitive mankind, who were unable to maintain the Series more than about 300 years.

The four affective passions tending to form the four groups of friendship, love, ambition, paternity or consanguinity are familiar enough; but no analyses or parallels or scales have been made of them.

The three others, termed distributive, are totally misunderstood, and bear only the title of vices, although they are infinitely precious; for these three possess the property of forming and directing the series of groups, the mainspring of social harmony. Since these series are not formed in the civilized order, the three distributive passions cause disorder only. Let us define them.

10th. THE CABALIST is the passion that, like love, has the property of confounding ranks, drawing superiors and inferiors closer to each other. Everyone must recall occasions when he has been strongly drawn into some Path followed with complete success.

For instance: electoral cabal to elect a certain candidate; cabal on 'Change in the stock-jobbing game; cabal of two pairs of lovers, planning a partie carrée without the father's knowledge; a family cabal to secure a desirable match. If these intrigues are crowned with success, the participants become friends; in spite of some anxiety, they have passed happy moments together while conducting the intrigue; the emotions it arouses are necessities of the soul.

Far removed from the insipid calm whose charms are extolled by morality, the cabalistic spirit is the true destination of man. Plotting doubles his resources, enlarges his faculties. Compare the tone of a formal social gathering, its moral, stilted, languishing jargon, with the tone of these same people united in a cabal: they will appear transformed to you; you will admire their terseness, their animation, the quick play of ideas, the alertness of action, of decision; in a word, the rapidity of the spiritual or material motion. This fine development of the human faculties is the fruit of the cabalist or tenth passion, which constantly prevails in the labors and the reunions of a passionate series.

As it always results in some measure of success, and as its groups are all precious to each other, the attraction of the cabals becomes a potent bond of friendship between all the sectaires, even the most unequal.

The general perfection of industry will spring, then, from the passion which is most condemned by the philosophers; the cabalist or dissident, which has never been able to obtain among us the rank of a passion, notwithstanding that it is so strongly rooted even in the philosophers themselves, who are the greatest intriguers in the social world.

The cabalist is a favorite passion of women; they are excessively fond of intrigue, the rivalries and all the greater and lesser flights of a cabal. It is a proof of their eminent fitness ( for the new social order, where cabals without number will be needed in every series, periodical schisms, in order to maintain a movement of coming and going among the sectaries of the different groups.

12th. THE COMPOSITE.--This passion requires in every action a composite allurement or pleasure of the senses and of the soul, and consequently the blind enthusiasm which is born only of the mingling of the two kinds of pleasure. These conditions are but little compatible with civilized labor, which, far from offering any allurement either to the senses or the soul, is only a double torment even in the most vaunted of work-shops, such as the spinning factories of England where the people, even the children, work fifteen hours a day, under the lash, in premises devoid of air.

The composite is the most beautiful of the twelve passions, the one which enhances the value of all the others. A love is not beautiful unless it is a composite love, combining the charm of the senses and of the soul. It becomes trifling or deception if it limits itself to one of these springs. An ambition is not vehement unless it brings into play the two springs, glory and interest. It is then that it becomes capable of brilliant efforts. .

The composite commands so great a respect, that all are agreed in despising people inclined to simple pleasure. Let a man provide himself with fine viands, fine wines, with the intention of enjoying them alone, of giving himself up to gormandizing by himself, and he exposes himself to well-merited gibes. But if this man gathers a select company in his house, where one may enjoy at the same time the pleasure of the senses by good cheer, and the pleasure of the soul by companionship, he will be lauded, because these banquets will be a composite and not a simple pleasure.

If general opinion despises simple material pleasure, the same is true as well of simple spiritual pleasure, of gatherings where there is neither refreshment, nor dancing, nor love, nor anything for the senses, where one enjoys oneself only in imagination. Such a gathering, devoid of the composite or pleasure of the senses and the soul, becomes insipid to its participants, and it is not long before it "grows bored and dissolves."

11th. THE PAPILLONNE [Butterfly] or Alternating. Although eleventh according to rank, it should be examined after the twelfth, because it serves as a link between the other two, the tenth and the twelfth. If the sessions of the series were meant to be prolonged twelve or fifteen hours like those of civilized workmen, who, from morning till night, stupefy themselves by being engaged in insipid duties without any diversion, God would have given us a taste for monotony, an abhorrence of variety. But as the sessions of the series are to be very short, and the enthusiasm inspired by the composite is incapable of being prolonged beyond an hour and a half, God, in conformity to this industrial order, had to endow us with the passion of papillonnage, the craving for periodic variety in the phases of life, and for frequent variety in our occupations. Instead of working twelve hours with a scant intermission for a poor, dull dinner, the associative state will never extend its sessions of labor beyond an hour and a half or at most two; besides, it will diffuse a host of pleasures, reunions of the two sexes terminating in a repast, from which one will proceed to new diversions, with different company and cabals.

Without this hypothesis of associative labor, arranged in the order I have described, it would be impossible to conceive for what purpose God should have given us three passions so antagonistic to the monotony experienced in civilization, and so unreasonable that, in the existing state, they have not even been accorded the rank of passions, but are termed only vices.

A series, on the contrary, could not be organized without the permanent cooperation of these three passions. They are bound to intervene constantly and simultaneously in the serial play of intrigue. Hence it comes that these three passions could not be discerned until the invention of the serial mechanism, and that up to that time they had to be regarded as vices. When the social order for which God has destined us shall be known in detail, it will be seen that these pretended vices, the Cabalist, the Papillonne, the Composite, become there three pledges of virtue and riches; that God did indeed know how to create passions such as are demanded by social unity; that He would have been wrong to change them in order to please Seneca and Plato; that on the contrary human reason ought to strive to discover a social condition which shall be in affinity with these passions. No moral theory will ever change them, and, in accordance with the rules of the duality of tendency, they will intervene for ever to lead us TO EVIL in the disjointed state or social limbo, and TO GOOD in the regime of association or serial labor.

The seven "affective" and "distributive" passions depend more upon the spirit than upon matter; they rank as PRIMITIVES. Their combined action engenders a collective passion or one formed by the union of the other seven, as white is formed by the union of the seven colors of a ray of light; I shall call this thirteenth passion Harmonism or Unityism; it is even less known than the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth, of which I have not spoken.

Unityism is the inclination of the individual to reconcile his own happiness with that of all surrounding him, and of all human kind, to-day so odious. It is an unbounded philanthropy, a universal good-will which can only be developed when the entire human race shall be rich, free, and just.

Questions regarding gallantly and the love of eating are treated facetiously by the Civilized, who do not comprehend the importance that God attaches to our pleasures. Voluptuousness is the sole arm which God can employ to master us and lead us to carry out his designs; he rules the universe by Attraction and not by Force; therefore the enjoyments of his creatures are the most important object of the calculations of God.

I shall, in order to dispose others to share my confidence, explain the object of one of these impulses, accounted as vicious.

I select a propensity which is the most general and the most thwarted by education: it is the gluttony of children, their fondness for dainties, in opposition to the advice of the pedagogues who counsel them to like bread, to eat more bread than their allowance.

Nature, then, is very clumsy to endow children with tastes so opposed to sound doctrines! every child regards a breakfast of dry bread as a punishment; he would wish for sugared cream, sweetened milk-food and pastry, marmalades and stewed fruit, raw and preserved fruit, lemonades and orangeades, mild white wines. Let us observe closely these tastes which prevail among all children; on this point a great case is to be adjudged: the question to be determined is who is wrong, God or morality?

God, dispenser of attraction, gives all children a liking for dainties: it was in his power to give them a liking for dry bread and water; it would have suited the views of morality; why then does he knowingly militate against sound civilized doctrines? Let us explain these motives.

God has given children a liking for substances which will be the least costly in the associative state. When the entire globe shall be populated and cultivated, enjoying free-trade, exempt from all duties, the sweet viands mentioned above will be much less expensive than bread; the abundant edibles will be fruit, milk-foods, and sugar, but not bread, whose price will be greatly raised, because the labor incident to the growing of grain and the daily making of bread is wearisome and little attractive; these kinds of labor would have to be paid much higher than that in orchards or confectioneries.

And as it is fitting that the food and maintenance of children should involve less expense than those of their parents, God has acted judiciously in attracting them to those sweetmeats and dainties which will be cheaper than bread as soon as we shall have entered upon the associative state. Then the sound moral doctrines will be found to be altogether erroneous concerning the nourishment of children, as well as upon all other points which oppose attraction. It will be recognized that God did well what he did, that he was right in attracting children to milk-foods, fruit, and sweet pastries; and that, instead of foolishly losing three thousand years in declaiming against God's wisest work, against the distribution of tastes and passionate attractions, it would have been better to study its aim, by reckoning with all those impulses combined, which morality insults singly, under the pretext that they are hurtful to the civilized and barbarous orders; this is true, but God did not create the passions for the civilized and barbarous orders. If he had wished to maintain these two forms of society exclusively, he would have given children a fondness for dry bread, and to the parents a love of poverty, since that is the lot of the immense majority of mankind in civilization and barbarism.

In the civilized state, love of eating does not ally itself to industry because the laboring producer does not enjoy the commodities which he has cultivated or manufactured. This passion therefore becomes an attribute of the idle; and through that alone it would be vicious, were it not so already by the outlay and the excesses which it occasions.

In the associative state love of eating plays an entirely opposite role; it is no longer a reward of idleness but of industry; because there the poorest tiller of the soil participates in the consumption of choice commodities. Moreover, its only influence will be to preserve us from excess, by dint of variety, and to stimulate us to work by allying the intrigues of consumption to those of production, preparation, and distribution. Production being the most important of the four, let us first state the principle which must guide it; it is the generalization of epicurism. In point of fact.

If the whole human race could be raised to a high degree of gastronomic refinement, even in regard to the most ordinary kinds of food, such as cabbages and radishes, and everyone be given a competence which would allow him to refuse all edibles which are mediocre in quality or treatment, the result would be that every cultivated country would, after a few years, be covered with delicious productions; for there would be no sale for mediocre ones, such as bitter melons, bitter peaches, which certain kinds of soil yield, upon which neither melons nor peaches would be cultivated; every district would confine itself to productions which its soil is capable of raising to perfection; it would fetch earth for spots where the soil is poor, or perhaps convert them into forests, artificial meadows, or whatever else might yield products of good quality. It is not that the passionate Series do not consume ordinary eatables and stuffs; but they desire, even in ordinary things such as beans and coarse cloth, the most perfect quality possible, in conformity to the proportions which Nature has established in industrial attraction.

The principle which must be our starting-point is, that a general perfection in industry will be attained by the universal demands and refinement of the consumers, regarding food and clothing, furniture and amusements.

My theory confines itself to utilizing the passions now condemned, just as Nature has given them to us and without in any way changing them. That is the whole mystery, the whole secret of the calculus of passionate Attraction. There is no arguing there whether God was right or wrong in giving mankind these or those passions; the associative order avails itself of them without changing them, and as God has given them to us.

Its mechanism produces coincidence in every respect between individual interest and collective interest, in civilization always divergent.

It makes use of men as they are, utilizing the discords arising from antipathies, and other motives accounted vicious, and vindicating the Creator from the reproach of a lacuna in providence, in the matter of general unity and individual foresight.

Finally, it in nowise disturbs the established order, limiting itself to trial on a small scale, which will incite to imitation by the double allurement of quadruple proceeds and attractive industry.


There is no problem upon which people have gone more astray than upon public instruction and its methods. Nature has, in this branch of social politics, taken a malign pleasure in all ages in confounding our theories and their exponents, from the time of the disgrace incurred by Seneca, the instructor of Nero, to that of the failures of Condillac and Rousseau, of whom the first fashioned only a political idiot and the second did not dare to undertake the education of his own children.

It will be observed that in Harmony the only paternal function of the father is to yield to his natural impulse, to spoil the child, to humor all his whims.

The child will be sufficiently reproved and rallied by his peers. When an infant or little child has in the course of the day passed through half a dozen such groups and undergone their jokes, he is thoroughly imbued with a sense of his insufficiency, and quite disposed to listen to the advice of the patriarchs and venerables who are good enough to offer him instruction.

It will, after that, be of little consequence that the parents at the child's bed-time indulge themselves in spoiling him, telling him that he has been treated too severely, that he is really very charming, very clever; these effusions will only skim the surface, they will not convince. The impression has been made. He is humbled by the railleries of seven or eight groups of little ones which he has visited during the day. In vain will it be for the father and mother to tell him that the children who have repulsed him are barbarians, enemies of social intercourse, of gentleness and kindliness; all these parental platitudes will have no effect, and the child on returning to the infantile seristeries the following day will remember only the affronts of the day before; it is he who in reality will cure the father of the habit of spoiling, by redoubling his efforts and proving that he is conscious of his inferiority.

Nature endows every child with a great number of instincts in industry, about thirty, of which some are primary or guiding and lead to those that are secondary.

The point is to discover first of all the primary instincts: the child will seize this bait as soon as it is presented to him; accordingly, as soon as he is able to walk, to leave the infant seristery, the male and female nurses in whose charge he is placed hasten to conduct him to all the workshops and fill the industrial reunions which are close by; and as he finds every where diminutive tools, an industry in miniature, in which little tots of from two and a half to three years already engage, with whom he is anxious to associate, to rummage about, to handle things, at the end of a fortnight one may discern what are the workshops that attract him, what his industrial instincts.

The phalanx containing an exceedingly great variety of occupations, it is impossible that the child in passing from one to the other should not find opportunities of satisfying several of his dominant instincts; these will exhibit themselves at the sight of the little tools manipulated by other children a few months older than himself.

According to civilized parents and teachers, children are little idlers; nothing is more erroneous; children are already at two and three years of age very industrious, but we must know the springs which Nature wishes to put in action to attract them to industry in the passionate series and not in civilization. The dominant tastes in all children are:

1. Rummaging or inclination to handle everything, examine everything, look through everything, to constantly change occupations;
2. Industrial commotion, taste for noisy occupations;
3. Aping or imitative mania.
4. Industrial miniature, a taste for miniature workshops.
5. Progressive attraction of the weak toward the strong.

There are many others; I limit myself to naming these five first, which are very familiar to the civilized. Let us examine the method to be followed in order to apply them to industry at an early age.

The male and female nurses will first exploit the mania for rummaging so dominant in a child of two. He wants to peer into every place, to handle and examine everything he sees. He is consequently obliged to be kept apart, in a bare room, otherwise he would destroy everything.

This propensity to handle everything is a bait to industry; to draw him to it, he will be conducted to the little workshops; there he will see children only two and a half and three years old using little tools, little hammers. He will wish to exercise his imitative mania, termed APING; he will be given some tools, but he will want to be admitted among the children of twenty-six and twenty-seven months who know how to work, and who will repel him.

He will persist if the work coincides with any of his instincts: the nurse or the patriarch will teach him some portion of the work, and he will very soon succeed in making himself useful in some trifling things which will serve him as an introduction; let us examine this effect in regard to an inconsiderable kind of labor, within the reach of the smallest children, the shelling and sorting of green peas. This work which with us would occupy the hands of people of thirty, will be consigned to children of two, three, four years of age: the hall is provided with inclined tables containing a number of hollows; two little ones are seated at the raised side; they take the peas out of the shell, the inclination of the table causes the grains to roll towards the lower side where three tots are placed of twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five months, charged with the task of sorting, and furnished with special implements.

The thing to be done is to separate the smallest peas for the sweetened ragout, the medium ones for the bacon ragout, and the largest for the soup. The child of thirty-five months first selects the little ones which are the most difficult to pick out; she sends all the large and medium ones to the next hollow, where the child of thirty months shoves those that seem large to the third hollow, returns the little ones to the first, and drops the medium grains into the basket. The infant of twenty-five months, placed at the third hollow, has an easy task; he returns some medium grains to the second, and gathers the large ones into his basket.

It is in this third rank that the infant debutante will be placed; he will mingle proudly with the others in throwing the large grains into the basket; it is very trifling work, but he will feel as if he had accomplished as much as his companions; he will grow enthusiastic and be seized by a spirit of emulation, and at the third seance he will be able to replace the infant of twenty-five months, to send back the grains of the second size into the second compartment, and to gather up only the largest ones, which are easily distinguished.

If civilized education developed in every child its natural inclinations, we should see nearly all rich children enamored of various very plebeian occupations, such as that of the mason, the carpenter, the smith, the saddler. I have instanced Louis the XVI, who loved the trade of locksmith; an Infanta of Spain preferred that of shoemaker; a certain king of Denmark gratified himself by manufacturing syringes; the former king of Naples loved to sell the fish he had caught in the market-place himself; the prince of Parma, whom Condillac had trained in metaphysical subtitles, in the understanding of intuition, of cognition, had no taste but for the occupation of church-warden and lay-brother.

The great majority of wealthy children would follow these plebeian tastes, if civilized education did not oppose the development of them; and if the filthiness of the workshops and the coarseness of the workmen did not arouse a repugnance stronger than the attraction. What child of a prince is there who has no taste for one of the four occupations I have just mentioned, that of mason, carpenter, smith, saddler, and who would not advance in them if he beheld from an early age the work carried on in blight workshops, by refined people, who would always arrange a miniature workshop for children, with little implements and light labor?

No attempt will be made, as is the case in existing educational methods, to create precocious little savants, intellectual primary school beginners, initiated from their sixth year in scientific subtleties; the endeavor will by preference be to secure mechanical precocity; capability in bodily industry, which, far from retarding the growth of the mind, accelerates it.

If one wishes to observe the general inclination of children of from four and a half to nine years of age, he will see that they are strongly drawn to all material exercises, and very little to studies; it is right then, that, in accordance with the desire of nature or attraction, the cultivation of the material should predominate at that age.

Why this impulse of childhood toward material exercises? Because Nature wishes, above all, to make man husbandman and manufacturer, to lead him to wealth before leading him to science.


The announcement does, I acknowledge, sound very improbable, of a method for combining three hundred families unequal in fortune, and rewarding each person--man. woman, child--according to the three properties, capital, labor, talent. More than one reader will credit himself with humor when he remarks: "Let the author try to associate but three families, to reconcile three households in the same dwelling to social union, to arrangements of purchases and expenses, to perfect harmony in passions, character, and authority; when he shall have succeeded in reconciling three mistresses of associated households, we shall believe that he can succeed with thirty and with three hundred."

I have already replied to an argument which it is well to reproduce (for repetition will frequently be necessary here); I have observed that as economy can spring only from large combinations, God had to create a social theory applicable to large masses and not to three or four families.

An objection seemingly more reasonable, and which needs to be refuted more than once, is that of social discords. How conciliate the passions, the conflicting interests, the incompatible characters, in short, the innumerable disparities which engender so much discord?

It may easily have been surmised that I shall make use of a lever entirely unknown, and whose properties cannot be judged until I shall have explained them. The passional contrasted Series draws its nourishment solely from those disparities which bewilder civilized policy; it acts like the husbandman who from a mass of filth draws the germs of abundance; the refuse, the dirt, and impure matter which would serve only to defile and infect our dwellings, are for him the sources of wealth.

If social experiments have miscarried, it is because some fatality has impelled all speculators to work with bodies of poor people whom they subjected to a monastic-industrial discipline, chief obstacle to the working of the series. Here, as in everything else, it is ever SIMPLISM (simplisme) which misleads the civilized, obstinately sticking to experiments with combinations of the poor; they cannot elevate themselves to the conception of a trial with combinations of the rich. They are veritable Lemming rats (migrating rats of Lapland), preferring drowning in a pond to deviating from the route which they have decided upon.

It is necessary for a company of 1,500 to 1,600 persons to have a stretch of land comprising a good square league, say a surface of six million square toises (do not let us forget that a third of that would suffice for the simple mode).

The land should be provided with a fine stream of water; it should be intersected by hills, and adapted to varied cultivation; it should be contiguous to a forest, and not far removed from a large city, but sufficiently so to escape intruders.

The experimental Phalanx standing alone, and without the support of neighboring phalanxes, will, in consequence of this isolation, have so many gaps in attraction, and so many passional calms to dread in its workings, that it will be necessary to provide it with the aid of a good location fitted for a variety of functions. A flat country such as Antwerp, Leipzig, Orleans, would be totally unsuitable, and would cause many Series to fail, owing to the uniformity of the land surface. It will, therefore, be necessary to select a diversified region, like the surroundings of Lausanne, or, at the very least, a fine valley provided with a stream of water and a forest, like the valley of Brussels or of Halle. A fine location near Paris would be the stretch of country lying between Poissy and Confleurs, Poissy and Meulan.

A company will be collected consisting of from 1,500 to 1,600 persons of graduated degrees of fortune, age, character, of theoretical and practical knowledge; care will be taken to secure the greatest amount of variety possible, for the greater the number of variations either in the passions or the faculties of the members, the easier will it be to make them harmonize in a short space of time.

In this district devoted to experiment, there ought to be combined every species of practicable cultivation, including that in conservatories and hot-houses; in addition, there ought to be at least three accessory factories, to be used in winter and on rainy days; furthermore, various practical branches of science and the arts, independent of the schools.

Above all, it will be necessary to fix the valuation of the capital invested in shares; lands, materials, flocks, implements, etc. This point ought, it seems, to be among the first to receive attention; I think it best to dismiss it here. I shall limit myself to remarking that all these investments in transferable shares and stock-coupons will be represented.

A great difficulty to be overcome in the experimental Phalanx will be the formation of the ties of high mechanism or collective bonds of the Series, before the close of the first season. It will be necessary to accomplish the passional union of the mass of the members; to lead them to collective and individual devotion to the maintenance of the Phalanx, and, especially, to perfect harmony regarding the division of the profits, according to the three factors, Capital, Labor, Talent.

This difficulty will be greater in northern than in southern countries, owing to the difference between devoting eight months and five months to agricultural labor.

An experimental Phalanx, being obliged to start out with agricultural labor, will not be in full operation until the month of May (in a climate of 50 degrees, say in the region around London or Paris); and, since it will be necessary to form the bonds of general union, the harmonious ties of the Series, be fore the suspension of field labor, before the month of October, there will be barely five months of full practice in a region of 50 degrees: the work will have to be accomplished in that short space.

The trial would, therefore, be much more conveniently made in a temperate legion, like Florence, Naples, Valencia, Lisbon, where they would have eight to nine months of full cultivation and a far better opportunity to consolidate the bonds of union, since there would be but two or three months of passional calm remaining to tide over till the advent of the second spring, a time when the Phalanx, resuming agricultural labor, would form its ties and cabals anew with much greater zeal, imbuing them with a degree of intensity far above that of the first year; it would thenceforth be in a state of complete consolidation, and strong enough to weather the passional calm of the second winter.

We shall see in the chapter on hiatuses of attraction, that the first Phalanx will, in consequence of its social isolation and other impediments inherent to the experimental canton, have twelve special obstacles to overcome, obstacles which the Phalanxes subsequently founded would not have to contend with. That is why it is so important that the experimental canton should have the assistance coming from field-work prolonged eight or nine months, like that in Naples and Lisbon.

Let us proceed with the details of composition.

At least seven-eighths of the members ought to be cultivators and manufacturers; the remainder will consist of capitalists, scholars, and artists.

The Phalanx would be badly graded and difficult to balance, if among its capitalists there were several having 100,000 francs, several 50,000 francs, without intermediate fortunes. In such a case it would be necessary to seek to procure intermediate fortunes of 60,000, 70,000, 80,000, 90,000 francs. The Phalanx best graduated in every respect raises social harmony and profits to the highest degree.

One is tempted to believe that our sybarites would not wish to be associated with Grosjean and Margot: they are so even now (as I believe I have already pointed out). Is not the rich man obliged to discuss his affairs with twenty peasants who occupy his farms, and who are all agreed in taking illegal advantage of him? He is, therefore, the peasant's associate, obliged to make inquiries about the good and the bad farmers, their character, morals, solvency, and industry; he does associate in a very direct and a very tiresome way with Grosjean and Margot. In Harmony, he will be their indirect associate, being relieved of accounts regarding the management, which will be regulated by the regents, proctors, and special officers, without its being necessary for the capitalist to intervene or to run any risk of fraud. He will, therefore, be freed from the disagreeable features of his present association with the peasantry; he will form a new one, where he will not furnish them anything, and where they will only be his obliging and devoted friends, in accordance with the details given regarding the management of the Series and of reunions. If he takes the lead at festivals, it is because he has agreed to accept the rank of captain. If he gives them a feast, it is because he takes pleasure in acknowledging their continual kind attentions.

Thus the argument urged about the repugnance to association between Mondor and Grosjean, already associated in fact, is only, like all the others, a quibble devoid of sense.

The edifice occupied by a Phalanx does not in any way resemble our constructions, whether of the city or country; and none of our buildings could be used to establish a large Harmony of 1,600 persons--not even a seat palace like Versailles, nor a great monastery like the Escurial. If, for the purposes of experiment, only an inconsiderable Harmony of 200 or 300 members, or a hongrée of 400 members is organized, a monastery or a palace (Meudon) could be used for it.

The lodgings, plantations, and stables of a Society conducted on the plan of Series of groups, must differ vastly from our villages and country towns, which are intended for families having no social connection, and which act in a perverse manner; in place of that class of little houses which rival each other in filth and ungainliness in our little towns, a Phalanx constructs an edifice for itself which is as regular as the ground permits: here is a sketch of distribution for a location favorable to development.

The central part of the Palace or Phalanstery ought to be appropriated to peaceful uses, and contain the dining-halls, halls for finance, libraries, study, etc. In this central portion are located the place of worship, the tour d'ordre, the telegraph, the post-office boxes, the chimes for ceremonials, the observatory, the winter court adorned with resinous plants, and situated in the rear of the parade-court.

One of the wings ought to combine all the noisy workshops, such as the carpenter-shop, the forge, all hammer-work; it ought to contain also all the industrial gatherings of children, who are generally very noisy in industry and even in music. This combination will obviate a great annoyance of our civilized cities, where we find some man working with a hammer in every street, some dealer in iron or tyro on the clarionet, who shatter the tympanum of fifty families in the vicinity.

The other wing ought to contain the caravansary with its ballrooms and its halls appropriated to intercourse with outsiders, so that these may not encumber the central portion of the palace and embarrass the domestic relations of the Phalanx.


In the civilized mechanism we find everywhere composite unhappiness instead of composite charm. Let us judge of it by the case of labor. It is, says the Scripture very justly, a punishment of man: Adam and his issue are condemned to earn their bread by the sweat of their brow. That, already, is an affliction; but this labor, this ungrateful labor upon which depends the earning of our miserable bread, we cannot even get it! a laborer lacks the labor upon which his maintenance depends--he asks in vain for a tribulation! He suffers a second, that of obtaining work at times whose fruit is his master's and not his, or of being employed in duties to which he is entirely unaccustomed.. . . The civilized laborer suffers a third affliction through the maladies with which he is generally stricken by the excess of labor demanded by his master.

He suffers a fifth affliction, that of being despised and treated as a beggar because he lacks those necessaries which he consents to purchase by the anguish of repugnant labor. He suffers, finally, a sixth affliction, in that he will obtain neither advancement nor sufficient wages, and that to the vexation of present suffering is added the perspective of future suffering, and of being sent to the gallows should he demand that labor which he may lack to-morrow.

Labor, nevertheless, forms the delight of various creatures, such as beavers, bees, wasps, ants, which are entirely at liberty to prefer inertia: but God has provided them with a social mechanism which attracts to industry, and causes happiness to be found in industry. Why should he not have accorded us the same favor as these animals? What a difference between their industrial condition and ours! A Russian, an Algerian, work from fear of the lash or the bastinado; an Englishman, a Frenchman, from fear of the famine which stalks close to his poor household; the Greeks and the Romans, whose freedom has been vaunted to us, worked as slaves, and from fear of punishment, like the Negroes in the colonies to-day.

Associative labor, in order to exert a strong attraction upon people, will have to differ in every particular from the repulsive conditions which render it so odious in the existing state of things. It is necessary, in order that it become attractive, that associative labor fulfill the following seven conditions:

1. That every laborer be a partner, remunerated by dividends and not by wages.
2. That every one, man, woman, or child, be remunerated in proportion to the three faculties, capital, labor, and talent.
3. That the industrial sessions be varied about eight times a day, it being impossible to sustain enthusiasm longer than an hour and a half or two hours in the exercise of agricultural or manufacturing labor.
4. That they be carried on by bands of friends, united spontaneously, interested and stimulated by very active rivalries.
5. That the workshops and husbandry offer the laborer the allurements of elegance and cleanliness.
6. That the division of labor be carried to the last degree, so that each sex and age may devote itself to duties that are suited to it.
7. That in this distribution, each one, man, woman, or child, be in full enjoyment of the right to labor or the right to engage in such branch of labor as they may please to select, provided they give proof of integrity and ability.

Finally, that, in this new order, people possess a guarantee of well-being, of a minimum sufficient for the present and the future, and that this guarantee free them from all uneasiness concerning themselves and their families.

We find all these properties combined in the associative mechanism, whose discovery I make public.

In order to attain happiness, it is necessary to introduce it into the labors which engage the greater part of our lives. Life is a long torment to one who pursues occupations without attraction. Morality teaches us to love work: let it know, then, how to render work lovable, and, first of all, let it introduce luxury into, husbandry and the workshop. If the arrangements are poor, repulsive, how arouse industrial attraction?

In work, as in pleasure, variety is evidently the desire of nature. Any enjoyment prolonged, without interruption, beyond two hours, conduces to satiety, to abuse, blunts our faculties, and exhausts pleasure. A repast of four hours will not pass off without excess; an opera of four hours will end by cloying the spectator. Periodical variety is a necessity of the body and of the soul, a necessity in all nature; even the soil requires alteration of seeds, and seed alteration of soil. The stomach will soon reject the best dish if it be offered every day, and the soul will be blunted in the exercise of any virtue if it be not relieved by some other virtue.

If there is need of variety in pleasure after indulging in it for two hours, so much the more does labor require this diversity, which is continual in the associative state, and is guaranteed to the poor as well as the rich.

The chief source of light-heartedness among Harmonians is the frequent change of sessions. Life is a perpetual torment to our workmen, who are obliged to spend twelve, and frequently fifteen, consecutive hours in some tedious labor. Even ministers are not exempt; we find some of them complain of having passed an entire day in the stupefying task of affixing signatures to thousands of official vouchers. Such wearisome duties are unknown in the associative order; the Harmonians, who devote an hour, an hour and a half, or at most two hours, to the different sessions, and who, in these short sessions, are sustained by cabalistic impulses and by friendly union with selected associates, cannot fail to bring and to find cheerfulness everywhere.

The radical evil of our industrial system is the employment of the laborer in a single occupation, which runs the risk of coming to a stand-still. The fifty thousand workmen of Lyons who are beggars to-day (besides fifty thousand women and children), would be scattered over two or three hundred phalanxes, which would make silk their principal article of manufacture, and which would not be thrown out by a year or two of stagnation in that branch of industry. If at the end of that time their factory should fail completely, they would start one of a different kind, without having stopped work, without ever making their daily subsistence dependent upon a continuation or suspension of outside orders.

In a progressive series all the groups acquire so much the more skill in that their work is greatly subdivided, and that every member engages only in the kind in which he professes to excel. The heads of the Series, spurred on to study by rivalry, bring to their work the knowledge of a student of the first rank. The subordinates are inspired with an ardor which laughs at all obstacles, and with a fanaticism for the maintenance of the honor of the Series against rival districts. In the heat of action they accomplish what seems humanly impossible, like the French grenadiers who scaled the rocks of Mahon, and who, upon the day following, were unable, in cold blood, to clamber up the rock which they had assailed under the fire of the enemy. Such are the progressive Series in their work; every obstacle vanishes before the intense pride which dominates them; they would grow angry at the word impossible, and the most daunting kinds of labor, such as managing the soil, are to them the lightest of sports. If we could to-day behold an organized district, behold at early dawn thirty industrial groups issue in state from the palace of the Phalanx, and spread themselves over the fields and the workshops, waving their banners with cries of triumph and impatience, we should think we were gazing at bands of madmen intent upon putting the neighboring districts to fire and sword. Such will he the athletes who will take the place of our mercenary and languid workmen, and who will succeed in making ambrosia and nectar grow upon a soil which yields only briers and tares to the feeble hands of the civilized.

[Source: Albert Fried and Ronald Sanders, ed., Socialist Thought: A Documentary History ( New York: Columbia University Press, 1964), pp. 129-151.]

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