Robert Owen (1771–1858) was a Welsh social reformer and one of the founders of utopian socialism and the cooperative movement. He worked in the cotton industry in Manchester before setting up a large mill at New Lanark in Scotland. In 1824, Owen travelled to America to invest the bulk of his fortune in an experimental 1,000-member colony on the banks of Indiana's Wabash River, called New Harmony. New Harmony was intended to be a Utopian society.
In his early works Owen argues that, since individuals are wholly formed by their environment, education is the crucial factor in transforming them. Later he came to adopt far more radical positions, proposing nothing less than 'the emancipation ofmankind' and the creation of a 'new moral world', a full-scale reorganization of British society, major reforms of working practices and the Poor Laws and the establishment of co-operative model.