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An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth most conducive to Human Happiness. A New Edition by William Pare
London: Wm. S. Orr and Co.. The corners stronger bumped but this extremely rare Volume in overall very good condition with only minor signs of external wear. The second edition of special interest because of the editors lengthy preface in which he talks about Thompson's philosophy, biography and his early decision to turn vegetarian and abstinent ! The editor, William Pare is of great interest to us.. London, Wm. S. Orr and Co., 1850. Octavo. XXXII, 463 pages. Hardcover (contemporary, blindstamped cloth covered boards with new, matching spine). The corners stronger bumped but this extremely rare Volume in overall very good condition with only minor signs of external wear. The second edition of special interest because of the editors lengthy preface in which he talks about Thompson's philosophy, biography and his early decision to turn vegetarian and abstinent ! The editor, William Pare is of great interest to us. William Thompson (1775 ?- 28 March 1833) was an Irish political and philosophical writer and social reformer, developing from utilitarianism into an early critic of capitalist exploitation whose ideas influenced the Cooperative, Trade Union and Chartist movements as well as Karl Marx. Born into the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy of wealthy landowners and merchants of Cork society, his attempt to will his estate to the cooperative movement after his death sparked a long court case as his family fought successfully to have the will annulled. According to E. T. Craig, this decision to will his estate to the cooperative movement was taken after a visit to the pioneering Ralahine Commune. Born in Cork, William was the son and heir of one of the most prosperous merchants of that city, Alderman John Thompson, who held, amongst other offices, that of Mayor in 1794. William inherited the small trading fleet and landed estate near Glandore, West Cork after his father's death in 1814. Rejecting the role of absentee landlord commonly led by those of a similar situation, William based his living quarters on the estate and despite many travels, invested much time with the tenants on the estate introducing agricultural innovations, services and education for children aimed at improving the welfare and prosperity of the families present. Victim of weak health from an early age, Thompson became a non-smoker, teetotaller and vegetarian for the last 13 years of his life. These abstemious habits, he explained helped him in concentrating on his reading and writing. Nonetheless, by the 1830s he was suffering from a chest affliction that finally killed him on 28 March 1833. He had never married and left no direct heir. An enthusiastic student of the writers and ideas of the Enlightenment, particularly Condorcet, Thompson became a convinced egalitarian and democrat. His support for the French Revolution earned him the label of "Red Republican" from Cork society and his support for advocates of Catholic emancipation in elections further alienated him from the rest of his wealthy Protestant kith and kin. Thompson was greatly impressed by the utilitarianism of Jeremy Bentham with whom he corresponded and established a friendship, later staying at the English philosopher's house for several months in 1821?-22 while visiting London. As well as Bentham, Thompson read and corresponded with other utilitarian contemporaries such as James Mill and was influenced, both positively and negatively, by William Godwin and Thomas Malthus. His desire to overcome the limitations of Godwin's "intellectual speculations" and Malthus's "mechanical speculations" led him to propose a new synthesis: social science ?- Thompson was the first to introduce this term ?- would combine political economy's concern with scientific materialism with utilitarianism's concern with rational morality. It was the contrasting ideas of Godwin and Malthus that spurred Thompson into the project of research into the role of distribution in political economy that led him to London and, in 1824, the publication of "An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth most conducive to Human Happiness" . Thompson had also become acquainted with the work of the French utopian socialists including Charles Fourier, Henri Saint-Simon and the economist Sismondi. In the Inquiry, Thompson follows the line of the labour theory of value put forward by Adam Smith. However he characterises the appropriation of the lion's share of surplus value by the capitalist owner of the tools of production as exploitation. He rejects the Malthus/Mill proposition that any increase in the wage of the workers can only result in their further immiseration, noting the self-serving nature of this theory for capitalists pressing for legislation to outlaw workers efforts to raise their wages. By applying the utilitarian principle of "the greatest good for the greatest number" to the existing and possible alternative schemes of distribution, Thompson comes down on the side of an egalitarian distribution of the product. One of Thompson's colleagues in the Cooperative movement, John Minter Morgan, made the observation that he was the first to coin the term competitive to describe the existing economic system. The case for the originality of this work is further made by Max Nettlau who states: "[Thompson's] book, however, discloses his own evolution; having started with a demand for the full product of labour as well as the regulation of distribution, he ended up with his own conversion to communism, that is, unlimited distribution." In 1827 fellow "Ricardian socialist" Thomas Hodgskin published Labour Defended which also characterised the appropriation of the lion's share of the fruits of production by landlord and capitalist as exploitation defrauding the worker of the full product of their labour. However, Hodgskin proposed that the road to economic justice for the labourer was through a reformed competitive system. Thompson replied with Labor Rewarded defending cooperative communism against Hodgskin's unequal wages. Although he rejected the political and economic implications of Malthus' essay on population, Thompson recognised that, particularly in Ireland, unrestrained population growth did pose the threat of rising poverty. As such he was like Bentham and Francis Place an advocate of the benefits of contraception. Thompson's development of a critique of the contemporary status of women was most strongly influenced by his long-term close friendship with Anna Wheeler. He had met Wheeler while staying with Bentham and they moved in those utilitarian circles that included James Mill. It was the publication of the latter's "On Government" which called for the vote for men only, that aroused the fervent opposition of both Wheeler and Thompson and to the rebuttal in Appeal of One Half the Human Race... Thompson and others of the Cooperative movement have tended to be somewhat unfairly subsumed under the political label of Owenism. In fact, although his writings and social experiments at New Lanark had helped to bring the cooperative movement together, many, Thompson included, were critical of Owen's authoritarian and anti-democratic tendencies. Thompson further distrusted Owen's courtship of rich and powerful patrons, believing that the rich as a class could be never be expected to be in favour of any project of emancipation for the labouring poor as this would threaten their privilege. He also believed in the necessity of the workers in any co-operative community having eventual security of ownership of the community's land and capital property. He gained a considerable following within the cooperative movement for these positions and it was to distinguish themselves from Owen's positions that this wing of the movement began to adopt the label of "socialist or communionist" (Letter to "The Cooperative Magazine", London, November 1827, cited by OED as first documented use of socialist) rather than "Owenist". These differences led to open confrontation between Thompson and Owen at the Third Cooperative Congress held in 1832 in London. Owen, perhaps discouraged by the failure of his attempted community at New Harmony, maintained that it was necessary to wait for Government and Stock Exchange support and investment into large scale communities. Thompson and his supporters contended that they must move towards establishing independent small scale communities based on the movement's own resources. The argument was not resolved at that congress and by the following one Thompson was unable to attend probably as a result of the illness that was to lead to his death in another five months. Karl Marx had come across Thompson's work on a visit to Manchester in 1845 and cites it in passing in The Poverty of Philosophy (1847) and also in Capital itself. However the same can be said of other of the proto-socialist political economists such as Thomas Hodgskin, John Gray, John Francis Bray. It seems surprising then, that the likes of Beatrice and Sidney Webb would characterise Marx as "the illustrious disciple" of Thompson and Hodgskin. Sentiments also echoed by the likes of Harold Laski and other British historians of socialism. In this they were accepting the earlier thesis in Anton Menger's Right to the Whole Produce of Labour (1899), amalgamating all the aforementioned into a homogeneous category of Ricardian socialists which obscured the important differences between Thompson's communist critique of Hodgskin's "market libertarian" position. (Wikipedia) ______________________ PARE, WILLIAM (1805-1873), co-operator, son of John Pare, cabinet-maker and upholsterer, of Birmingham, was born there in 1805. He was apprenticed to his father, but became a reporter. He subsequently engaged in business as a tobacco and cigar retailer in New Street, Birmingham. Early in life he helped to found a mechanics' institution in that town, and joined the small group of men who were trying to obtain a reform in the parliamentary representation. He also took part in the agitation for the repeal of the test and corporation acts, and for Roman catholic emancipation. On the formation of the 'Political Union in 1830' he became a member of the council, when he advocated extension of the suffrage, shorter parliaments, and vote by ballot. On 7 Aug. 1832 he drafted and moved in the parish church three resolutions against the payment of church rates. The petition, then adopted and sent by him to Hume, was the last presented to the unreformed House of Commons. When the 'Reformers' Registration Society' was established in 1835, Pare became secretary. He was the first registrar of Birmingham under the act legalising civil marriages (6 and 7 Will. iv. c. 85). As a member of the charter committee appointed in 1837, he actively promoted the incorporation of the town, and was a member of the first town council. Meanwhile Pare had become widely known as an able disciple of Robert Owen [q. v.] Converted to his teaching by William Thompson of Cork, Pare was one of the founders in 1828 of the first Birmingham co-operative society, at the anniversary of which he presided on 28 Dec. 1829. In the following year he attracted notice by the lectures he gave in support of co-operation at Liverpool, Manchester, Bolton, Chester, and other places. From May 1830, when the first co-operative congress was held at Manchester, until 1838, he constantly attended the congresses as one of the secretaries. From 1832 he advocated the establishment of labour exchanges, and mainly through his efforts the one at Birmingham had some success. He was one of the trustees of the property bequeathed for co-operative purposes by William Thompson of Cork in 1833; and when the heirs-at-law instituted an action in the Irish court of chancery, he went to Ireland to watch over the interests of the trustees, lecturing at various co-operative centres on the way. He was vice-president of Owen's society, 'The Association of all Classes of all Nations,' of which the central board was established at Birmingham. He continued an active member of the board until its removal to London in 1840. Forced to resign his registrarship in consequence of his socialistic opinions, he left Birmingham in November 1842, when he was presented with a public testimonial. From 1842 to 1844 he was acting-governor of Owen's community at Queenwood, Hampshire. He removed to London in 1844, and as a railway statist he was frequently employed to prepare reports for presentation to parliament for some of the principal lines projected in England, on the continent, in India, Algeria, and in many other countries. From 1846 to 1865 he lived near Dublin, engaged in the management of ironworks at Clontarf, Liverpool, and Chepstow. On Owen's death in 1858 he became his literary executor. He was honorary secretary to the committee by which the co-operative congress was called in 1869, and afterwards to the central board. He presided at the Owen centenary in 1871, and gave an address on the life of Owen. He died, after a long illness, on 18 June 1873, at the house of his son, Ruby Lodge, Park Hill, Croydon, and he was buried on 23 June in Shirley Churchyard, near Croydon. By his will he left all books, papers, and pictures in his possession relating to social subjects, together with 50/., to any institute or trust founded on the model of an Owen institute suggested by him. Pare published: 1. ?'The Claims of Capital and Labour, with a Sketch of practical Measures for their Conciliation,?' London, 1854, 8vo. 2. ?'A Plan for the Suppression of the Predatory Classes,?' a paper read before the third department of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science; reprinted from the ?'Transactions,?' 1862, London, 1862, 8vo. 3. ?'Co-operative Agriculture: a Solution of the Land Question, as exemplified in the History of the Relahine Co-operative Association, County Clare, Ireland,?' London, 1850, 8vo. He also edited William Thompson's ?'Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth most conducive to Human Happiness;?' 2nd ed. London, 1850, 8vo. He was a frequent contributor to co-operative newspapers. At the time of his death he was engaged in writing the life of Robert Owen from the correspondence and other materials in his possession. Pare married Ann Oakes of Market Drayton, Shropshire, by whom he had issue John Clement, Caroline, and Emma Amelia; the last-named married Thomas Dixon Galpin. Mrs. Pare died in 1886. (Wikisource)
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