Henri de Saint-Simon, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, Date of Death


Henri de Saint-Simon

French early socialist theorist

Date of Birth: 17-Oct-1760

Place of Birth: Minas, Lavalleja Department, Uruguay

Date of Death: 19-May-1825

Profession: writer, engineer, politician, urban planner, economist, historian, journalist, sociologist, philosopher, civil engineer

Nationality: France

Zodiac Sign: Libra

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About Henri de Saint-Simon

  • Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon, often referred to as Henri de Saint-Simon (French: [?~?i d? s?~ sim?~]; 17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825), was a French political and economic theorist and businessman whose thought played a substantial role in influencing politics, economics, sociology and the philosophy of science. He created a political and economic ideology known as Saint-Simonianism that claimed that the needs of an industrial class, which he also referred to as the working class, needed to be recognized and fulfilled to have an effective society and an efficient economy.
  • Unlike conceptions within industrializing societies of a working class being manual labourers alone, Saint-Simon's late-18th century conception of this class included all people engaged in productive work that contributed to society, that included businesspeople, managers, scientists, bankers, along with manual labourers amongst others.
  • He said the primary threat to the needs of the industrial class was another class he referred to as the idling class, that included able people who preferred to be parasitic and benefit from the work of others while seeking to avoid doing work.
  • Saint-Simon stressed the need for recognition of the merit of the individual and the need for hierarchy of merit in society and in the economy, such as society having hierarchical merit-based organizations of managers and scientists to be the decision-makers in government.
  • He strongly criticized any expansion of government intervention into the economy beyond ensuring no hindrances to productive work and reducing idleness in society, regarding intervention beyond these as too intrusive.Saint Simon's conceptual recognition of broad socio-economic contribution, and his Enlightenment valorization of scientific knowledge, soon inspired and influenced utopian socialism, liberal political theorist John Stuart Mill, anarchism through its founder Pierre-Joseph Proudhon who was inspired by Saint-Simon's thought and Marxism with Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels identifying Saint-Simon as an inspiration to their ideas and classifying him among the utopian socialists.However historian Alan Ryan distinguishes certain followers of Saint-Simon, rather than Saint-Simon himself, as being responsible for the rise of utopian socialism that based itself upon Saint-Simon's ideas.
  • Ryan also distinguishes between Saint-Simon's conceptions and Marxism's, as Saint-Simon did not promote independent working-class organization and leadership as a solution to capitalist societal problems, nor did he adhere to the Marxist definition of the working class as excluded by fundamental private property law from control over the means of production.
  • Saint-Simon unlike Marx did not regard class relations, vis the means of production, to be an engine of socio-economic dynamics.
  • Rather the economic issue of concern to Saint-Simon was the form of management.
  • Furthermore, Saint-Simon was not critical of capitalists as exclusive owners, collaborators, controllers, and decision-makers.
  • Rather, he regarded capitalists as an important component of the "industrial class."Saint-Simon and his secretary Auguste Comte developed ideas that Comte would market as sociology. Alan Ryan further suggests that by the 1950s it was clear that Saint-Simon had presaged the "modern" understanding of industrial society.
  • Saint-Simon's broad conceptualization of industrial workers is "modern" in that 20th century conservative economics theory also refused to recognize class relations, exploitation, and expropriation, and instead reconceptualized everyone as getting out of the economy precisely what they contribute.
  • Where in the transition from feudalism, economists regarded land speculators as the parasitic rentiers, "modern" 20th century conservative economics shifted the term "rents" over to apply instead to social citizenship institutions, the welfare state, and the working class that required such redistributive mechanisms in order to participate as full members in capitalist societies. Saint-Simon's views also influenced 20th century sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen, including Veblen's creation of institutional economics that has included prominent economists as adherents.

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