By Richard E. Noble
It has been decided by many and diverse people that the world was going to Hell in a handbag and drastic steps had to be taken to straighten it up. Owen and Marx were really of this ilk. Owen had a lot of positive ideas and by example proved that things could be made somewhat better by just treating people better.
Marx decided that Ricardo's rent collecting class had to go. Actually, property, Capitalists, bankers, entrepreneurs, traditional marriages, Religion, farmers everything had to go. All that could stay was exactly what a man could produce with his own hands, and then this had to be charged for appropriately or divided up evenly. God forbid that there should be any surplus value laying around anywhere.
Edgeworth, Leon Walras, and W. Stanley Jevons reduced all of economics to a form of Utilitarian mathematical formula. Earlier, there was a guy named Bernard Mandeville who tried to turn everything inside out by twisting vice into virtue and morality into iniquity. He published a book "Fable of the Bees" which was declared a public nuisance in 1723.
He might be considered the father of the present day Tea Party Movement.
Count Henri de Rouvroy de Saint-Simon was a French aristocrat. He fought in the American Revolution. He was put in prison during the French Revolution but somehow escaped with his head. While in prison he had a visit from Charlemagne (a dead relative) who told him that he was to become a great philosopher. Naturally he figured that he had better start reading some Philosophy. He read about it and then he wrote about it, but he couldn't sell any of it or even get many people to read it for free. This can be very discouraging especially to a man who is destined to become one of the greatest Philosophers who has ever lived. I know exactly how he felt.
Trying to become the greatest philosopher who has ever lived isn't easy, and it isn't cheap. He was nearly bankrupt when he finally decided that it would probably be best to just shoot himself.
So he did it.
He shot himself ... but, he missed.
He only succeeded in blinding himself in one eye. Obviously, he was always a little off the mark. But he wrote and said a lot of great things even if nobody bought them or read them. Here's one ... “Remember that in order to do great things, one must be impassioned.” Naturally with such an impassioned life as this, there were a lot of people who thought that his life could be a good example for a religion. So they opened up the Saint-Simonian Church. I think that I would like to join that church. I'll bet that I could try and shoot myself and miss entirely, if I put my mind to it.
Saint Simon had another good analogy. What if ten or twelve of the greatest scientific minds in France were to be lost tomorrow? What would happen to the French Nation? He asked. (He didn't wait for an answer, because unfortunately no one was listening. I'm sure glad he wrote it all down, aren't you?)
Why, France would be devastated, he suggested. But what if France, on the other hand, were to loose its King and Queen or its entire upper crust for that matter? What would happen to the Nation and its people?
Why nothing. Any bonehead off the street knows how to be rich.
Wow, I like this guy. But I've got an even better one. What would France do if it lost all it greatest World War II
Nothing. The people would just have to find somebody else to surrender.
Sorry, old German joke.