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Socialist Fourier Charles and his ideas. Biography and works by Charles Fourier

The utopian Socialist Charles Fourier imagined an ideal society without a state monopoly of power. Despite the fact that the idea is unrealistic, Fourier's theory has had a significant impact on Marxism and socialist concepts.


April 7, 1772 in the family of a fairly wealthy merchant in Besançon appeared son - Fourier Charles. In childhood, the child was given great opportunities in comprehending various sciences and arts, he was noted for his penchant for dreaming alone, his favorite occupations were reading and music. Such childhood formed a philosophical and reflective mindset, which later determined the occupation of the boy. Systematic education of Charles had many lacunae, he studied in the Jesuit college, and later periodically studied various sciences until the time when life changed dramatically. His father died, and his deeds were not in brilliant condition. Therefore, the 18-year-old Fourier was forced to stand behind the counter in the shop to earn his money for food, although his soul did not lie to it at all.

Finding Yourself

Despite the need to work, Charles Fourier, whose biography has repeatedly made steep turns, always differed in his desire for knowledge and reflection. Several years of hard work, travel, gain and loss led to the fact that by 1793 Fourier was the owner of a store of colonial goods. But then the French Revolution broke out, and he lost everything, was drafted into the army, where he was demobilized in health and again had to start his way, now a clerk, and then a broker. But all this time he does not cease to strive for knowledge, learns new things, observes the world around him, and he has various ideas.


For many years working in different organizations, Fourier Charles is building various projects. Their impracticability or low utility allow us to call it a searchlight during this period. He is interested in everything, and everything he wants to improve. That Fourier Charles is submitting to the Ministry of Defense a plan to provide the front with food in a new way, then his idea is working on the creation of wooden and metal rails, he is working on a project to transport troops across the Rhine, then he is developing a project to create a special class of brokers. All his works most often cause only ridicule, but this does not stop the active thought of Fourier. By the age of thirty, he finally understood his vocation - to be a social reformer, and this he gives a lot of strength and time.

In 1803 he wrote a small treatise on colonial policy, in which he displayed originality of his views and prophetic abilities. Later, in 1808, he published the first significant work, Theory of the Four Movements and Universal Destinies, which became the harbinger of the integral Fourier theory. The book did not open for Charles the opportunity to live only with his scientific works, it did not receive a positive assessment of contemporaries. For some time he still has to fight for his livelihood. And only in 1822 he has a student and patron, who finances the publication of the next book.

The theory of universal unity

Even in his early work, Fourier formulates a societal plan for the transformation of capitalist society. Later the doctrine of the thinker is formulated in the theory of universal unity. The starting point of the doctrine is the idea that capitalism is not the last stage in the development of society, it is only a stepping stone to a society of universal harmony. He believed that society should consist of labor associations - phalanx, about 2 thousand people, they will live in phalanstery.

The distribution of labor and goods will be fair in accordance with the needs of people. He believed that such phalanstery can be created right now with the money of benefactors. The basis for the future of a harmonious society is the theory of passions, that is, the free attraction of people should become the basis for their satisfaction with work. Fourier proposed to change the entire structure of society, starting with the upbringing of children, which, in his opinion, is not enough only for family upbringing. The thinker was against the revolutionary change of the social system, he believed that capitalism would pass to a harmonious society thanks to the maturity of people. He saw the new society as free from coercion and class division.

Circle of like-minded people

In the twenties of the 18th century, Charles Fourier, whose ideas are spread and popular, forms around himself a small circle of like-minded people. They not only listen to the philosopher's thoughts, but also popularize his ideas. In different years there were several magazines, which covered the issues of Fourierism. The rich and well-known followers of the teachings, in particular the brothers Deva and the deputy Bode-Dulary, donate considerable sums to create a phalanx, but the idea turned out to be unfruitful. Since the community members did not have the skills of agricultural work and their plans were not destined to come true. In the second half of the 1930s Viktor Consideran came to the society, he undertook the restoration of the "school", he began to publish a new journal and spent a lot of resources on the dissemination of the ideas of Fourierism. The whole story knows about forty attempts to create phalanstery in Europe and America, but none of them managed to last more than five years.

Basic Ideas

Thinker Fourier Charles, whose works were perceived by contemporaries with enthusiasm, builds his theory on the following postulates. Capitalism is built on the unfair distribution of labor and wealth, so it will inevitably be replaced by a new type of society. The ideal society will consist of phalanxes, which are organized on the principle of a commune with elements of a joint-stock company, private property will remain in them, but it will not be a source of oppression. The main type of production is agricultural. Since the main goal - to get an excessive amount of products, so that there was no need to infringe someone in their distribution. The members of the phalanx contribute to the general fund certain amounts for which the means of production are acquired. Each person chooses the type of activity in accordance with their abilities and inclinations, therefore he works with bestowal and pleasure. The main thing in the future society is a reasonable organization of consumption,

The Meaning of Fourierism

Charles Fourier - a socialist, a utopian, who had a significant influence on Marx and Engels. They recognized that Fourier's utopian ideas allowed them to find the right way to create a society of equals. Marx's scientific communism grew out of the theory of "universal unity," overcoming some of its utopian moments.

At home, Fourier is considered one of the foremost thinkers of the 19th century, his studies are being studied at universities.

In Russia in the 40 years of the 19 th century, Charles Fourier's doctrine also finds many supporters, among whom were Butashevich-Petrashevsky and P. Annenkov. The Petrashevsky circle even intended to build a phalanstery in Russia, but this was hampered by the arrest of the head. The moral and pedagogical views of Fourier were favorably received by N. Chernyshevsky.

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