Tuesday, September 05, 2006

What Mutualism Was-III: "A Mutualist" of 1826

This is the third in a series of explorations of the mutualist tradition—or, perhaps more appropriately, traditions. The particular perspective they present is, as I've said, somewhat revisionist. It has been some time since I've posted in this series. My decision to tackle some of Proudhon in the original French has created productive delays. In the meantime, allow me to present...

Or, Practical Remarks on the
Social System of Mutual Cooperation.

In the first entry in this series, I mentioned this series of five letters to the New Harmony Gazette, which Bestor notes as the first published use of the word mutualist. It took some time to transcribe the material, and a bit more to mentally process it. It's significance for the genealogy of mutualism is that it confuses a rather perplexing history just a bit more—and delightfully so. The work begins with a quote from John Gray's Lecture on Human Happiness, which had just been published. Gray is supposed to have talked about mutualism, although so far I have not found the references. But it appears that the term mutualist had some currency in circles not far removed from him. And while the assimilation of Warren to the mutualism of Proudhon and Greene may still be largely retroactive, we can now at least place Warren very close to an even earlier debate using the term.

Look for a time-labor currency scheme in bare bones form. Again, the early history of the labor note still requires elaboration.

In any event, it is very nice to have this early and interesting text online. Read it in pdf form now.

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