The co-op bookstore for avid readers
Book Cover for: Building a Social Science: 19th Century British Cooperative Thought, Kirsten Madden

Building a Social Science: 19th Century British Cooperative Thought

Kirsten Madden

Just as the Industrial Revolution in Britain suggested a promise of abundance, David Ricardo, Robert Malthus, and their colleagues formalized classical political economy with its emphasis on scarcity, self-interest, and private accumulation of capital. At the same time, Robert Owen took a different path arguing that the new technologies open a new world. In effect, his ideas turn classical political economy on its head. Building this new social science, Owen emphasizes abundance, public spiritedness, and communal accumulation of capital. Although the history of the cooperative movement is well documented, the social psychology, architecture, and logic of its economics stand in need of reappraisal.

This book describes, often restates, and in places reconstructs the social science of British cooperative writers-from Robert Owen, through William Thompson and Anna Doyle Wheeler, J.S. Mill and Harriet Taylor Mill, the Christian Socialists, the consumer cooperative movement, the Women's Cooperative Guild, William Morris, and the Guild Socialists. Each of these writers makes theoretical assumptions concerning social psychology, proposes institutional structures, and then derives consequences for the material economy, happiness, and human development. Some postulate a feedback mechanism strengthening and stabilizing an enlarged self-interest. Sparked by the intellectual optimism and fellow feeling of the early British cooperative theorists, Madden and Persky start to rebuild their humane social science. While enriching our understanding of intellectual history, Building a Social Science carries insights relevant to the present concerning employment relations, persistent inequality, and low levels of human development.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publish Date: May 10th, 2024
  • Pages: 344
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00lb
  • EAN: 9780197693735
  • Categories: Economic HistoryEconomics - General

About the Author

Kirsten Madden serves as a professor in the Economics Department of Millersville University. Her two major emphases have been quality teaching and maintaining an active research agenda. Over her career, her research publications span four main subjects: methodology in the history of econometrics, economics pedagogy, the history of women's economic thought, and most recently, the history of cooperative economic thought and ethics. She served as lead editor for The Routledge Handbook of the History of Women's Economic Thought.

Joseph Persky is a Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research has been largely in two areas: history of economic thought and urban/regional economics. In both fields he has tried to focus on questions of inequality and the struggle for a more just society. His most recent book is The Political Economy of Progress: John Stuart Mill and Modern Radicalism, also in the Oxford Studies in the History of Economics. Over many years, he has worked with unions and community groups.

Praise for this book