AN ADDRESS DELIVERED BEFORE THE YOUNG MEN’S MERCANTILE LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, OF CINCINNATI, On Tuesday, February 1, 1848.
Owen’s lecture, supplemented with extensive footnotes, describes the condition of the working class in Great Britain and contrasts its situation to the more equitable economy of the late middle ages and to the situation of labor in America, where the presence of the frontier provides a temporary outlet and the existence of the slave labor power presents an extended threat. Owen calculates the tremendous increase in productive power attendent upon industrialization and decries the relative worsening of the position of labor resulting from overproduction and peacetime recession. Owen describes the role of war in continued industrial expansion and the relegation of labor to the status of a commodity.
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