19th-Century Labor Money Schemes, Self-Realization through Labor, and the Utopian Idea

Robert C. Hauhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In 19th-century European socialist political economic theory, the money system was
widely viewed by reformers as the root of social evil. Robert Owen (1771–1858) and Joseph
Proudhon (1809–1865), among others, proposed replacing existing money systems with a currency
based on labor time instead. This type of social scheme, which tried to reform both social labor
and economic relations by introducing equitable labor exchange, was called “labor money” and
became popular among 19th-century European utopian socialists. Often, equitable labor exchange
programs were joined with the idea of self-realization through work in proposals for utopian
communities. While the “labor money” concept has only enjoyed modest intellectual, political,
or economic life over the last 150 years, the idea is revived periodically by those seeking a more
cooperative way of life. In the 1980s Dr. Edgar Cahn wrote a book proposing “time dollar” exchange
programs and a labor credit system is at the heart of the United States’ most successful secular
intentional community, Twin Oaks Community, Louisa, Virginia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-190
Number of pages14
JournalWorld Review of Political Economy
Volume3
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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self-realization
money
labor
credit system
economic relations
political theory
way of life
economic theory
intellectual
social economics
dollar
community
reform
economics

Keywords

  • labor money
  • utopian societies
  • 19th-century monetary systems
  • socialist societies

Cite this

19th-Century Labor Money Schemes, Self-Realization through Labor, and the Utopian Idea. / Hauhart, Robert C. .

In: World Review of Political Economy, Vol. 3, No. 2, 2012, p. 177-190.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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