84 terms

Henri de Saint-Simon

Lifetime of Saint-Simon
Letters from an Inhabitant of Geneva
Takes the form of an exchange of hypothetical letters on a system to establish a new clerisy of savants.

Begins with suggesting a (relatively modest) plan for an organisation to sponsor excellence in the arts and sciences.

The reply is on implementation and justification: outlines how this system taking over government would be better for everybody, and enlarging it to a system of government, where spiritual power is given to savants, and temporal to the rich

The letters end with a vision from God promising an earthly paradise with the establishment of a new religion.
Sponsorship scheme (Geneva Letters)
A body elected by members (constituted like the Council of Newton). Celebrates and pays the living costs of the elected notables.

Frees 'men of genius' to contribute creatively and free from material need to human happiness, and to be compensated with glory.
Address to the three classes (Geneva Letters)
1) To the savants ('all men of liberal ideas'): calls on them to agitate. It is self-evident that this new system is best for them.

2) To property holders: Begins by noting that the rich possess 'superior enlightenment' and that property-holding reflects that. He calls on them to permit the enlightened poor join their ranks, and allow a higher rank of the most enlightened. This is justified to them by stability, not equality: if they don't the savants and the poor are likely to massacre them. Calls on them to endeavour to join the first rank.

3) To the crowd 'which rallies to the word equality': more enlightened government leads to a better off peasantry (he points to Russia and England as evidence). Calls on them to put pressure on the rich to establish the new system. Warns them off FR radicalism.
Vision from God in the Geneva Letters
Promises an earthly paradise with the establishment of the Religion of Newton and government by the Council of Newton.

Newton is the new prophet, Robespierre the new devil.

The council to govern the world, divided into four regions, each with a sub-council, governed by the English, French, Germans and Italians. They will 'liberate' the Greeks with 'armies of the fateful'

Regions will have temples of Newton and scientific establishments. Within the temple, the Councillors worship, and have their own forms of worship from those outside. Nobody else may enter without permission.

There is an offhand reference to space travel.
Disobedience in the Geneva Letters
Anybody who disobeys is to be treated as an animal. They are 'forced' to work for 'brotherly love.'
The Council of Newton
An elected (global/European) body of 3 mathematicians, physicists, chemists, physiologists, authors, painters and musicians. 21 members total.

Led by a mathematician
Saint-Simon on physiology
1802: recognises the conception of 'social relations as physiological phenomena' at the core of his plan
Saint-Simon an 'Equality'
He cares deeply about helping the poor, but is sceptical of 'equality' as such.

Supported revolutionary politics in 1789, but always resisted the claims of radical egalitarianism (Jacques Roux, le Enragé, sans-culotte radicalism; his opinions on Babeuf are not clear)

In 1802 Letters, he's dismissive of the claims of equality made by the third class, who he argues should support a epistocratic order. Equality led to bad government in the revolution
Saint-Simon on race
1802: 'negroes' are not of equal intelligence, mis-recognising the bases of equality is a fatal error.

'Hear this: Europeans are the Children of Abel. Asia and Africa are inhabited by the descendants of Cain.'
Extract on Social Organisation
Aims to reformulate the bases of society on the ideas of Condorcet

Proposes a 'parliament of improvement' of 45 physicists, mathematicians, astronomers, chemists, physiologists and authors (5 each), artists (5) and industrialists (10). Headed by a mathematician. (Similar in principle to the Council of Newton.)
Introduction to the Scientific Studies of the Nineteenth Century
1807-8; in contrast to his other Pan-European writings, he explicitly defines Britain as France's rival, and describes this work as a plan to

Aims to give an account of the development of a 'general science' until the 19th century.

Highlights the significance of both a priori and a posteriori reasoning. Socrates the first to do this and the founder of the general science.
Louis de Bonald
Religious and scientific ideas
Saint-Simon believes that religion tracks the dominant scientific ideas of the time. States this in 1807-8 (Introduction to the Science of the Nineteenth Century). Mirrors Dupuis's 1795 work on the origins of religions.
Definition of religion in the Introduction to the Science of the 19th Century (1807-8)
'the collection of applications of the general science by means of which enlightened men rule the ignorant.'
His religious recommendations in the Introduction to the Science of the 19th Century (1807-8)
'Physicism for the educated man, and deism for the ignorant.'

He even claims to be perfecting the religion himself, but is unable to share its precepts for fear of persecution.

Makes similar claims that their must be different doctrines for different classes in 1810. In 1813 he singles this out as a mark of progress.
Saint-Simon on morality in the Introduction to the Science of the 19th Century (1807-8)
Proposes that the general principle of the Gospels be replaced by 'man must work'

'The happiest an is the worker... and the happiest nation is the one with the fewest idlers.'

Argues that the legislator must remove all constraints on the use of property, and that the moralist must encourage the condemnation of all those who let their property fall idle.
On rentiers in the Introduction to the Science of the 19th Century (1807-8)
'Rentiers' are 'a burden on society'

He uses both phrases. Here he mirrors almost exactly Sieyes.
Saint-Simon on the clergy
1807-8: claims that 'clergy...means a body of scientists' and that to be respected, spiritual leadership must be entrusted to the most learned and moral. Scientists are both of these.
Sieyes on Rentiers
In 'What is the Third Estate?', he compares the rentier class to "a frightful disease devouring the living flesh of its unhappy victim."

The third estate, of workers, entrepreneurs, and professionals, IS the nation; oisifs are not
The division of history
1807-8: divides into two periods, each subdivided again: Genesis (-> Moses)->Socrates (-> Muhammed)-> present.

1813: divides it into 12 stages in the Memoir on the Science of Man
Second Prospectus for a New Encyclopedia
Presses the need for English and French scientists to collaborate on an encyclopedia, the text quickly loses sight of its encyclopedic goal and discusses the reasons for English and French superiority, and the nature of power.

Nonetheless shows his ambition to unify the sciences and his belief that the sciences are politically significant.
Saint-Simon's Mental Crisis
Memoir on the Science of Man

Praises Vicq-d'Azyr, Cabanis, Bichat and Condorcet for beginning the work on a positive science of man that follows the natural sciences. Based on 'observation', not 'conjecture'

Claims that he will here lay out the science of man in two parts: a) physiology (dealing with the individual) and b) psychology (dealing with 'man as a species.)

Physiology will be the central science in this, which will become the basis of education, and allow morality, politics and philosophy (ie. general science), to become 'positive.' This in turn will allow religion and society to be reconstituted.

He then outlines a new timeline of human history
Physiology in Memoir on the Science of Man (1813)
It functions as a 'master science' (Stedman Jones) that will show that virtue leads to happiness, reduce politics to a problem of 'hygiene,' reorganise the total understanding of the sciences, and thus allow religious reorganisation and a new spiritual authority.

Claims that physiology will show by analogy that intelligence correlates directly with physiological complexity.
Charles Dupuis
Cites his 1795 work on the origin of cults in the Memoir (1813)
Timeline of human history in Memoir on the Science of Man (1813)
Outlines 12 stages, which aren't obviously chronological. The stages are characterised by increased social complexity and, appropriately, growing intellectual capacities.

He regarded himself between 11 and 12: between the age of Charlemagne and the period in which social organisation would be reorganised around a central immutable law.
Study on Universal Gravitation
1813; dedicated to Napoleon, who he calls on to be a new Charlemagne.

Gravitation he takes as the single immutable law that must form the basis of a new society (as he claimed in the Memoir). He doesn't really justify this, but thinks that we could deduce from it all further sciences.

Napoleon had hobbled the papacy, Saint Simon wants a new one elected by scientists
Saint Simon on morality in 'Universal Gravitation' (1813)
'The system of morals will be based on this principle: experience has proved that every man who does not pursue happiness in a way which is useful to his fellow men is unhappy, no matter how prosperous he may appear to be.'

Society thus needs to be divided up so that everyone can serve a useful purpose, at very least as manual labourers.

Happiness consists in service to others.
The Reorganisation of European Society
1814 (with Augustine Thierry); addressed to UK and French parliaments

Credits peace in Europe to the religious consensus maintained by the Catholic Church, yet this outlived its usefulness. The Westphalian system then emerged, plunging Europe into war.

Calls on Britain to stop the war, join with France and establish a supranational European Parliament as the preeminent powers on the continent.

This change is inevitable and can only be sped or slowed
Comments on constitutional theory in 'Reorganisation' (1814)
'The King represents the interests of the whole state.' Sees the ideal constitution as reconciling the general interest with particular claims put by representative institutions. The Lords in England play a role of mediation. Prefers an 'elected Kingship' (a prime minister) to a hereditary.
Golden age in 'Reorganisation' (1814)
'The golden age of the human race is not behind us; it lies before us in the perfection of the social order.'
On the Establishment of an Opposition Party

An opposition required to stabilise the polity. Conflict managed within the bounds of agreed constitutional principles.

Claims political principles are just expressions of interest in a passing comment.

Takes a clear stand against violence: 'The only power that honest men can contemplate employing is the power of reason.'

Public opinion based on relating private to collective interest, and the stabilisation of the polities would raise the value of the bien nationaux. So property owners have an interest in forming an opposition to royalists, who alone would spell doom for the polity.

An early call for property-owners to take over government
Frank Edward Manuel on Saint-Simon in the restoration
A 'propagandist for the bourgeoisie.' Can be seen in 'Opposition Party' (1815) and 'To all Englishmen' (1815)
Letter to the Minister of the Interior
1815 (during the Hundred Days)
Wants France to have 'as LIBERAL a social order as the PRESENT STATE OF ENLIGHTENMENT will allow.' Worth relating to the liberal roots of the critique of political economy.

Calls to that end for a revolution in moral and religious education: all men, king or not, made and accountable to God for the happiness of all men.

Want politics to be taught so that people accept that moral principle.

Finishes: 'As a man, my Lord, you are devoted to the good of humanity.' Saint-Simonian altruism
To all Englishmen and Frenchmen who are Zealous for the Public Good
Calls again for Anglo-French cooperation, to propagate the doctrine 'most advantageous to those men whose work is most useful to society'

Notes European crisis beginning in the 15th C.

The industrials do not command, they agree by contract. (Difficult to see the socialism, but I think key to his account of industrialism as a regime arising directly from human physiology)

Wants scientists and industrials to make the law.
Plan for Union in 'To all Englishmen' (1815)
National independence preserved, but a common spiritual power, actively reward and document scientific progress.

Educate people to SHOW them that those who do the most useful work will be most amply rewarded with utility.

A hierarchical system of schooling (5 tiers), distributed in towns according to their prominence.

Outlines in some detail the membership of the leadership. The legislative body is an educative body, and laws are to be taught as truths. Made by scientists (12 studying organic things, 12 inorganic)

Requires members are rich; they go unpaid.

Temporal power in England and France differ according to local economic conditions and 'character' but run under substantially the same principles of electing representations of the professions: farmers, manufacturers, merchants, bankers. In practice this means the owners of these enterprises.

Will come about from the collective striking (in effect) of the industriels, who withhold taxes unless they are given the reigns of power.
The industrial regime and equality
In the 1815 letter 'To all Englishmen'
'Under the industrial regime, which is essentially a regime of equality, it is not desirable that the same families should keep wealth for several generations.'

'all capital must be continually employed' he abhors the inefficacy of aristocracy.

He claims it satisfies the need to increase well-being by promoting efficiency, and the demand for equality by placing scientists at the level of their deserved prestige.
Declaration of Priniciples
1817 (in L'Industrie)
A definitive statement of his early industrialiste views.
Features a number of definitions.
Outlines a constitution as the limits of the opinions of political writers, no work against which can be useful. He envisions political writers as a fundamental part of the industrial constitution, keeping the government in check and giving shape to its beliefs.
Definition of Society in the Declaration (1817)
'The ensemble and union of men engaged in useful work.'
Industrial liberty in the Declaration (1817)
'Liberty for them is to be unrestricted productive work, to be allowed free enjoyment of what they produce.'

It is 'true liberty, true public happiness'

FRev began as an industrial revolt, but collapsed into Jacobin tyranny.
Account of motivation in the Declaration (1817)
Motivated only by self-interest. Man is lazy by nature and only works to meet his needs and desires. Desires multiply in the modern world, so he must trade in order to meet them.

Idlers are similarly driven to consume, yet do not overcome their laziness: therefore they deprive industrials of their produce.
The role of government in the Declaration (1817)
Properly constituted, government exists for industriels, in order to safeguard the product of their labour from being stolen by idlers- thieves.

Beyond that, government interference is 'tyrannical' and each should be able to work for themselves as they please.

'If industriels are to be governed, it is not in their capacity as industriels.'
Letters to an American
1817 (in L'Industrie)
Declares his task 'to study the advance of the human mind in order subsequently to work for the improvement of civilisation.'
Role of government in the Letters to an American (1817)
Just powerful enough to 'prevent useful work being hindered.'

It will hand wage setting power to the market.

'Command' withers away.

Only industriels should have the right to set tax rates.
Passions and revolution in the Letters to an American (1817)
He notes the differences in the social conditions of the US and France, and that France has entrenched norms and structures that tend away from industrialisme.

In order to exorcise these norms, the passions are required, for moderation would compromise and thus preserve old norms. Total transformation is necessary.
Defines politics in the Eighth letter to an American
'politics is the science of production,' for the common interest of society and mankind in general, lies in the production of useful things.
J.B. Say
Jean-Baptiste Say
French economist, very influential in shaping the industrialiste views. Stedman-Jones has plent on that.

Saint-Simon cites him in the eighth letter to an American, finding (contrary to Say) that his political economy is, in fact, the basis of proper political organisation.
Letter to the Publicist
1817 (outlining volume III of L'Industrie)
The eighteenth century was engaged in 'anti-theology,' tearing down the edifice of clerical knowledge.

He proposes that L'Industrie reformulate the principles of 'terrestrial morality'
This involves an explicit denial of religious toleration.
Views on Property and Legislation
1818 (in L'Industrie), he puts forward the view that the political constitution is ultimately a reflection of the constitution of property ('the true basis of the social edifice').

So critiques traditional constitutionalism: Denmark and Turkey, he thought, had similar arrangements of offices, but vast different outcomes.
On Property laws (1818)
He argues that they ought to be established so as to maximise utility, which involves changing them with the progress of the human mind.

For France he proposes that agriculture be run capitalistically and be taxed as commercial industry is.

His aim is to give industriels a majority in the legislature so 'the nation' will be able to organise itself as it sees fit, putting 'idlers below workers'
On the Political History of Industry
1818 (in L'Industrie)
Outlines the history of industry in order to show that the establishment of the industrial regime is the natural continuation of its history.

One must study the past in order to understand the needs of the present, and to grasp the importance of having institutions conform to existing ideas.
Stages of industrial history outlined in 1818
1. Industry enslaved to a military caste in Rome

2. Industry freed from the immediate domination by end of the Roman Empire, as 'industriels' moved into towns and lived as burgers

3. The enfranchisement of the commons, ie. the liberty of towns, and the representation of boroughs. Still dependent.

4. The English revolution, placing the commons in sole control of the budget. The French revolution was a more decisive version of that. Gives industry control over the military. Remained dominated by the 'feudal spirit...of conquest.'

5. It now needs to reorganise society on the basis of coherent principles, and take power through organisation in the Commons.
Industrial principles (1818)
'The immortal [Adam] Smith' systematised them into the view that 'the only sensible aim for a nation' is to maximise production with minimal cost.

J.B. Say moves 'one step further' and formulates a political economy distinct from politics on which to base society.

He makes his debt to Say's Industrialisme clear.
Saint Simon on Revolution (1818)
'Insurrection... is absolutely contrary to industry's interests.'

It would destroy produce and interrupt production.
The Political Interests of Industry
Probably 1818

Decries that religion is still the basis of political institutions - worth noting, because he is generally pro-religion.

He wants to make it 'the crown of the social edifice instead of the base.'

That is to say, he wants politics to become a 'positive science' aimed at maximising 'purely human goods' and focussed on worldly happiness. He wants religion to serve this, adding that God will reward you in the next life for serving His (that) purpose in this.

At present, when we follow religion, we obey not God (who, it seems, would command utility) but the priest.

Notable as one of his excursions into religion, and one where he is explicit about its instrumental value
On M. Barthélemy's Proposal to the House of Peers
1819 (In Le Politique)
The short piece is a call to arms for the French bourgeoisie, threatened with a proposal to disenfranchise them.

Hopes that this threat will lead them to note that the nobles are opposed to the King and the Industriels. Cause them to lose their habit of servility.

Notes again that history delivers them to victory.

Claims that industriels, by their occupation, necessarily work for the general will.
Saint Simon on the King
He is strikingly royalist.

At various times, he associates the King with the industriels.

ie. 1819 Letter on Barthélemy;

Explanation: guess- the king is an officer who performs a crucial role, the nobles are not.
Saint Simon and 'liberals'
He refers to himself as liberal quite frequently, especially after the fall of Napoleon, when he becomes a propagandist for the French bourgeoisie.

Draws his economics primarily from Smith and Say.

Hard to see what is 'socialist' about that.
Comparison between the national and industrial party and the anti-national party
1819 (In Le Politique)
Producers better than consumers

More moral, more useful, wealthier, more numerous, better able to govern.

The aristocracy remain in power by 'habit and corruption' alone.
Prospectus fo L'Organisateur
The prospectus for the new journal he begins to publish.

The world is still in revolution, and he undertakes to fix that: he wants to systematise all the knowledge that has arisen out of the positive sciences into a governing philosophy.

His aim here is more political than in his 1810 prospectus for an encyclopedia. He wants to collaborate with scientists to find the principles on which order should be based, and then turn that into a 'doctrine' (presumably returning to his focus on ideas?) and then to gain public support and put its institutions into practice.
Saint Simon's conception of philosophy
It is a whole, symbolised in the encyclopedia (he was tutored by d'Alembert).

He undertakes at various periods in his life (1810, 1819 to name only 2) to attempt such a reorganisation, though in neither case did these projects yield a complete work.

His main criticism of Enlightenment philosophes its that their encyclopedia remained wholly critical, and put up no complete edifice of knowledge.
Political Parable
Proposes a thought experiment comparing two cases: in the first France suddenly loses hundreds of its best workers, writers, scientist, industrialists; the second, the aristocracy and the ministers of state all disappear (but not the King)

In both cases there is distress, but in the latter case they can all be replaced if that is even necessary. In the former case there is widespread disorder and the country collapses.

'Today is really a world upside down.'
'Incapable men are in charge of capable men.'

He was arrested for this tract, as early the next year the Duc de Berry (who Saint-Simon mentions in the text) was assassinated
Sketch of the New Political System
Outlines a new tricameral constitution, and, to a limited degree, how to get there.

Features an outline of the Saint-Simonian festivals he cares so much about: of hope and remembrance; and to celebrate the achievements of different social roles (mothers, fathers, girls, boys, workers, managers)

These are representative of his conviction that politics must tend to the passions. He also arrogates all power to the rich and divides education by wealth.

The reformation of motivations looks quite socialist, the actual social structure and the economics does not, and rests wholly in Smith and Say.
Constitutional outline in the 'Sketch' (1819)
Three chambers:
1. The chamber of invention: 200 civil engineers, 50 writers, 50 other artists. Makes the nation efficient and pleasant, and plans festivals to celebrate the achievements of industry, and to encourage them to work on further projects.

2. The chamber of examination: 100 'organic physicists,' 100 inorganic, 100 mathematicians. Responsible for education (for which he clearly has a physiological basis in mind), which is graded into three strata by wealth. Organise festivals which celebrate differentiated social roles: of men, women, workers, managers, etc.

3. The chamber of execution: the reorganised commons. 100 national members, and 50 international, with consultative votes. All rich and unsalaried, heads of industrial houses. It alone oversees the execution of projects and collects taxes.
Critique of parliamentary government in the 'Sketch' (1819)
Parliamentary government, on the English model, fills the chamber mostly with idlers: landowners or 'functionaries'

In both cases these people hope only to expand the state and thereby earn themselves more power, or to earn sinecures.

He proposes that the chamber should be filled with industrial chiefs, who care more about keeping expenditure low and oppose arbitrary rule. He argues that they will not use government to their advantage because business consumes all their time. //Seems to rest on Smithian assumptions about productivity (ie. government no help), and on a circumscribed view of politics' relevance, he only cares about the budget//
Process of constitutional change in the 'Sketch' (1819)
Elect a House full of industrialists, change the constitution, turning the House into the Chamber of Execution.

Invite the suggestion of new laws (especially as pertaining to the regulation of property) and defence projects, and establish a fund to reimburse those who have their interests harmed in the reforms.
Extract on Administration
Government must be reformulated on the basis of administration, as a science pursuing the uncontroversial goal of happiness

Justice simply arises as a matter of fact in such a system

Command gives way to the simple answering of 'positive' questions, answerable in principle.
Adam Smith
Jean-Baptiste Say
Two liberal economists, both of whom are essential for understanding Saint Simon.

He thinks the industrial class is characterised by consensual, contractual relationships, and thus that government can fall away, into a science of contracting dictated by economics, so that the appropriate level of rewards can be worked out and prescribed so as to maximise efficiency. All of this draws on Smith and Say
Considerations on Measures to be taken to end the Revolution
Calls for a new industrial political party, which should be put directly in charge by the King.

Gives a detailed list of proposals: a maritime council for the law of sea, a 25 man Chamber of Industry that advises on financial law, and membership of both.
On the proletariat in the 'Considerations' (1820)
The first concern of the government should be to 'secure the existence of the proletariat by providing work for all fit men, and relief for all sick.'
On the proletariat in 1822
To the industrialists he says of workers the 'are and should be your subordinates.'

The poor benefit from the rich being put in control, and their work towards creating jobs and prosperity.
Third Letter to the Industriels
Places industry above science

A pretty decisive statement in the history of his thought: a definite turn toward industrialisme. The high tide of that.
Du Systeme Industriel
One of Saint-Simon's main works. Published 1821-2.
Catéchisme des industriels
One of Saint-Simon's main works. Published 1823-4.
The New Christianity (book)
Saint-Simon's last major work
Unfinished, 1825.
The doctrine of 'New Christianity
Derives 'Christianity' from one central principle: 'men should treat one another as brothers.' Affirming an existing predilection for systemic unity, he takes this as the only principle.

Aims at the 'improvement in the moral and physical condition of the poor.'

This new religion will be global, and will not, render unto Caesar.

The role of the religion is to teach people to pursue the general good, and to have them believe that in working for others they work for themselves. Should use all the resources of art, music and eloquence to bring this ethos about. Criticises Luther for denuding religion of that.

Liturgy and dogma matter less than the morality imparted.
Shaping of character in the New Christianity
The primary role of religion is to teach people to perceive their interests in common, and to give people a zeal for the public good.

He even critiques Luther's biblical studies for focussing the faithful on old bible stories, and thus 'soiling the imagination' with knowledge of incest etc.
The politics of the 'New Christianity'
The religion is to rule in secular matters. Sees it essentially as a way of reforming the way people habitually act.

Aims to improve the condition of the poor, but critiques Luther for 'impracticable' equality- ie. makes it impossible for the best to rule.

He makes a throwaway comment about the economic potential of the Papal States, claiming that they could be productive because labour there is cheap. His Smithian economics never quite disappears.
Attempted suicide
Shot himself six times in the head and lived.
1825 Dialogue
A fictionalised dialogue between a scientist, an artist and an industriel.

They together overcome the antagonism of these classes to one another. Together they constitute the 'life of the social body.' They resolve to take over the government.

Artist takes on a leading role in bringing these ideas to life in the minds of industrials who come slowly to abstract ideas.
Claeys on Saint Simon
His 'main works' were composed between 1803-17. This excludes his most important works on religion

He is critical of the view that Saint-Simon actually did invent a new system of 'industrial' organisation.

Claims that Saint-Simon's greatest contribution was the understanding of the transition from military society to industrial.
Gareth Stedman Jones on Saint Simon's contributions
His most important contribution was in providing a significant place for religion in utopian thought.
Wokler on Saint Simon
Bases his politics on a 'science de l'organisation sociale' which took its cue from physiology (using organisation in the organistic sense)

His 'paramount commitment' was to 'social cohesion' based on physiology. Because of this commitment to order he often found himself agreeing with reactionaries like Bonald.

He could not share in the denigration of Middle Ages: they represented a time of harmony and, to a lesser extent, progress.

Makes him a synthesis of a variety of enlightenment thinkers, but largely marginalises the economic element in his thought.