Gabriel-Desire Laverdant, “Of Property” (1846)



Translated for the Harbinger.





Attractions are proportional to Destinies.

The Series distribute the Harmonies.




I. Unity, the Fundamental Principle.

The theory of Association is true simply because it is true that Attractions are proportional to Destinies. It is upon Attractions that the great Social Architect has framed the edifice of our terrestrial destiny. In other words, the Phalanstery is made in the image of Man.

What constitutes the supreme science of Fourier, is the thorough knowledge of man and of his attractions. What constitutes the discovery of Fourier, is the Series, which is the mode of distribution of functions, adapted to the human soul.

Fourier responded to the precept of the Greek philosopher: know thyself; and, man once known, the true social organization was developed to the sublime thinker.

Serial institutions are nothing, under a certain point of. view, but images of man raised to different powers. [1] For so the law of universal analogy requires it.

This proposition of the necessary unity between the motive spring and its mode of action, between the passion and the series, can cause no question in the School. Besides we have not here to demonstrate the truth of Fourier’s psychology. No one is a Phalansterian in earnest, if he has not penetrated this science of the soul, and if he does not take it for the basis of his doctrines and of his ideas. We say further: whoever admits the Phalanstery, whoever approves simply the industrial organization of the Phalanx, the same admits, by implication, our psychology, since the Phalanstery is but the mechanism essentially adapted to the soul as it is described by Fourier.

There are those, perhaps, who say they take the Phalanstery, but reject the psychology. We will wait until it shall be given, by some special grace, to these indolent intelligences to ascend back from effects to causes.

Others, we are aware, accept the Phalanstery only as an excellent transition. These (we take a pleasure in informing them,) do accept the psychology of Fourier, whether they care about it or not, whether they are conscious of it or not. It is simply another Monsieur Jourdain, who spoke prose without knowing it. Would these provisional Phalansterians, then, admit provisionally our psychology? Then it would remain to know whether a psychology can be transitory; whether the human soul is radically made over by successive substitutions, or whether it is simply transformed through a gradual process of amelioration, according to a uniform plan.

For ourselves, we should not know how to get along with a provisional psychology any better than we should with a French philosophy. We believe that the soul is One in its essence and in time. When once this soul is recognized in its essential elements, when once the passions have been analyzed in their double [direct and inverse] action; we shall have the bases of the true philosophy, we shall have the bases of social science, of definitive and settled polity.

It is understood then that we assume as the first principle of all social truth, of all order, the passional analysis produced by Fourier. Let us see in general terms what this analysis gives us.

II. Love is Man Himself.

Man places himself in relation with nature, by his senses; with the laws of universal order, by his intelligence; with his fellows, by his heart. The measured ensemble [or blending in true proportions] of these different forces, places man in communion with God. But what is the principal and inmost thing in man, which constitutes the man himself, is the affective force. Man may be defined as “a love served by the senses and by an intellect.”

In the familiar language of all nations, in the inspired word of poets, even in the imperfect books of the savans, it is said that the region of the heart, that the heart is the focus of desires, of affections.

The organs of the senses are all on the circumference. The limbs part from the trunk and tend to the lower sphere; and, by the feet, which are the passive organs of touch (as the hands are the active organ,) we hold in a permanent manner to the ground. On the contrary, the focus of intelligence, the brain, placed in the upper part, is as it were in contact with the heavens. The heart is in the centre of the human being. The organ of light, the eye, lies close to the intellectual centre; but the vital warmth has for its focus the heart.

The human countenance, at once directed towards the heavens and commanding the earth, sums up the entire man. There the senses come together, there the forehead rears its symbol of intelligence, there the sentiments shine forth in all their power and their mobility. The seat of the soul is still a subject of investigation; assuredly, whatever may be the post at which it concentrates its interior action, its exterior manifestation is summed up in the race. There again it must be remarked, the predominating feature is the expression of the sentiments; the affections of the heart, hatred and love, sufferings and happiness, radiate especially from the central portions of the face.

Such is man. And it is the object of this hasty picture to establish to the reader’s satisfaction, that without going into any consideration of functions, simply looking at external signs, at the way in which his physical organization is distributed, what is central, what is principal in man is the Affective part; it is sentiment, it is Love.

III. Principles of the Cardinal Passions, and their Correspondence with the necessary Functions.

Fourier, as every one knows, distinguishes, in the first degree of analysis, four sorts of love, which he names the four Cardinal Passions. [2] Let us assure ourselves, by a succinct analysis, of the reasonableness of these distinctions. If we cast a general glance upon humanity, what do we behold? In the first place a great mass. Do we wish to penetrate farther into this whole? Let us analyze, distinguish, divide; let us seek Variety in Unity.

All the elements of the human family have their reciprocal attachments. These necessary ties we are about to deduce from necessary functions; the nature of these attachments will be revealed to us by the very conveniences and fitnesses of our terrestrial destiny. Terrestrial destiny has three objects, corresponding to the three spheres of human activity. First, to develop and refine the body, to cultivate and embellish the globe, the domain of man, the body of the planet. Next, to open and strengthen the understanding, to acquire the integral science which shall reveal to the human mind the laws of universal life and the wonders of the worlds. And in the third place, to enlarge the heart, to per feet it by love, to render the soul of Humanity worthy to elevate itself in the scale of existences and to be united with the Divinity. These three objects of Destiny in their religious unity, are admirably expressed by these simple and sublime words of the Catholic catechism: To serve, to know, and to love God. Happiness is added as a sanction to the accomplishment of this triple destiny, this triple duty. [3]

Thus: To live,— cultivating and refining the individual and collective body, illuminating the mind, and perfecting the heart,—in order thus to unite ourselves with God.

The first term is undoubtedly the least noble; but the culture of the soil, whence he derives his nourishment, is for man the most powerful of wants, of duties. Moreover, all is so harmoniously connected in the universe, that in interrogating this material act of Destiny, we shall necessarily see the spiritual life spring forth from it.

What are the fundamental material functions of the human race upon the globe? There are two general ones:

  1. Production, consisting in the culture and government of the domain.
  2. Reproduction of the species, in order that this work of administration may be perpetuated.

Fourier qualifies these two functions as major creation, and minor creation.

As soon as men want to act, they combine; and this first very general tie which forms between them, takes no account of sex or age. This tie is expressed in language by the words companionship, fellowship, friendship. Among companions, among fellows, among friends, all is on a fooling of equality; the union is free and confused.

If man wants to exercise his government with force for greater production, the confused equality of the group of friendship no longer suffices, and he distributes himself in sects and corporations; he organizes power. The human group then takes another essential character. Confused independence is replaced by a hierarchy.

With these two forms, friendly union and hierarchical organization, man can act and govern; but, that his administration may continue, the reproduction of the species is necessary. Then a new tie intervenes; then, in the human mass, free or organized, you distinguish two contrasted terms, the man and the woman. Love conies with its acts of tenderness and blind fanaticism, to unite these two elements; and from their contact springs soon another sentiment, a new attachment, that of the family, which welcomes and adores the infant and prepares him by education for the function of major creation.

Thus then, in correspondence with the general functions of the species, we see produced four different modes of ties, or of affections. These are in fact the four passions which attach man to his fellows: Friendship, Ambition, Love, and Familism.

That the government of the domain may reach its maximum of development, that collective Humanity may be (tied for its functions in the world of Humanities, in the universe, just as the individual man performs his functions in his terrestrial sphere; societies must be organized, political Unity must be constituted; men must be all fraternally united with one another till they become as one;till they feel the need of union with superior beings and with God, and of perpetuating themselves in an eternal life. This supreme tie, this universal and religious attachment, is Unity-ism, the potential accord of the four cardinal passions.



I. The Series proportional to Love.

If Attractions are proportioned to Destinies, it is evident that each of the cardinal passions bears in itself a certain type of order. Since these passions embrace all the mutual relations of men, it follows with rigorous exactness that they themselves determine the law of these relations; and, if among the forces of the soul they hold the rank of cardinals, if they are the focus of the social life, if they are the man himself, then it is incontestable that in their natural requirements we ought first to seek the principal laws, the necessary conditions of essential order. In a word, if Attractions are proportional to Destinies, and if the Series distribute the Harmonies, then these four passions, all and each, contain and imply the forms of the Series, and it is from their profound study that we must demand the revelation of Harmony and of Destiny.

II. Principles of the Four Kingdoms [4] Laws of the Distribution of Elements in Nature.

Fourier did not content himself with the laws revealed by the human functions, with the indications furnished in the analysis of the soul; he also sought for confirmation in the outward phenomena and laws of Nature.

 Let us follow the master in his rigorous method, and, having analyzed the four passional groups, let us interrogate the four groups of the terrestrial creation. Let us seek in the kingdoms of nature what are the apparent characters, the forms which life affects; in short, what are the laws of variety in these different unities.

The substantial or rudimental state of every kingdom, is a confused aggregation of elements, such as is offered us in the mineral. The elements, similar to each other and similar to the mass, are confounded without any relative superiority resulting from their composition and their arrangement. In the crystals of the same variety, the facets form among themselves constantly the same angles. The mineral masses have not organs; but, on analyzing them, we find them composed of integrant molecules, that is to say of parts distinguished from each other or individualized in an equal manner.

When science shall have penetrated further into the aromal kingdom, when the imponderable fluids shall be better known, we shall see every where displayed, in this domain, the principle of duality. Already the observations which have been collected upon light, heat, electricity, authorise us to lay down the law of polarity as characteristic of the aromal movement. Here the parts individualize themselves, and the mass divides into two organs or foci of attraction, which are married or set opposite to each other in symmetry or in contrast.

See now the vegetable rising from the soil. On a principal stalk there opens laterally a bud, then another on the opposite side; these are the brandies balancing each other on a common trunk. Here we have a centre and two wings. Frequently, in the tree, at a distance, the mass of the branches and the foliage seems to efface the trunk; but, on closer observation, you can easily recognize the predominant character, the pivotal property of this hidden trunk. It is tins which equilibrates the branches. In the vegetable kingdom, the different parts of the being, individualized, married, contrasted, are balanced upon a pivot.

In the animal unity, not only are the parts individualized, married, opposed in contrast and equilibrated; but they are measured; that is to say, they are assembled and put together in a determinate number, conjugated hierarchically about a centre which stands out in strong relief. The quantities, constant in each species, are easily counted by analysis, even by the eye.

Man sums up in himself all these laws of combination, all these conditions of variety. In him, the elements assembled, individualized, every where married and contrasted, measured, are stir-compounded, raised by their arrangement to superior powers, and constitute, in their perfect unity, the type of the created order.[5]

Each one may complete this comparative analysis of the kingdoms for himself. We have been obliged to limit ourselves to some general distinctions useful to our subject.

III. The Serial Types.

Now, we are going to beg the reader to make of all these analyses a synthesis. Let him sum up in his thought the characters of the four kingdoms, the properties and functions of the four cardinals as they are expounded in the books of Fourier, and especially under the form of analysis which we have chosen; let him demand, moreover, of the mathematical sciences, the properties of the conic sections; and instantly analogy will exhibit to his eyes the successive forms which Variety affects in the great fundamental Unities. He will have before him, taught at once by mathematics, by nature and by the human soul, the general principle of the distribution of forces; in other words, the principle, the bases and the different types of the Series.

Fourier has named several modes of Series:

Simple, Composite, Mixt;

Free, Measured, Potential.

But it is difficult to find in his books a methodical analysis and classification of all the forms of the Series. It seems that he was pleased to leave our minds in uncertainty upon this point. Was this a calculation of bad “humor on his part, as some have suspected; or was there not some providential reason for this premeditated lacune? However this may be, Fourier, who brings all back to psychology, who demonstrates every truth by adapting it analogically to the passional type,—Fourier has not applied ostensibly this process to the demonstration of his nomenclature of series. For the rest, in the thought of the Master, this nomenclature, although left incomplete, has not the less its scientific value. We may detect in it the reasons of functions; for it is even easy to refer his free, measured, and potential series, to the two major elements together with the pivot of the passional gamut. The modes which correspond with the minor elements only, are omitted.

This, then, is the way, according to us, in which the table of the serial mechanism must be filled out, and brought into passional correspondence.

Friendship bears in itself the free series, of which the dominant principle is equality; where each unity is equivalent to every other, where every individuality is equal to the others in the free and confused mass. It is the circular group of friends; it is the identity and non-arrangement of the integrant molecules in the lump of earth; it is the constant angle in crystals; it is the musical notes without regular connection, the promiscuous sounds of the human voice.

Love bears in itself the series which we shall call dual or contrasted, of which the dominant principle is duality; where all the parts attach themselves to two foci of attraction, which form a contrast and produce symmetry. It is the ellipse; it is the group of lovers; it is the two poles of the aromal movement; it is the modes in music, the major and the minor, with their accent and their contrasted shades.

Familism bears in itself the series which we term balanced. The analogy of the balance, which renders this term clear and picturesque, indicates at the same time that its principle is equilibrium, and its type, two wings upon a pivot. There is no better affective image of this series to be found, than in some Holy Family of Raphael where the infant Jesus forms the equilibrium between the tenderly inclined figures of Mary and of Joseph. We shall find its principle also in the form of the plant, the tree; in music, in the perfect chord, where two notes pivot or repose upon a third. The balanced series is a type of mechanism, already very fruitful; so too the perfect chord is a stable accord and the basis of all musical harmony.

Ambition bears in itself the measured series, where all the elements, determinate and clawed. borrowing their value from their rank, concur to render prominent the pivot; where all obeys freely the principle of a hierarchy. — It is the sect, the corporation, the political group, strongly constituted; it is the precise and powerful organization of the animal, where life, in its two great movements, is concentrated and summed up in those important foci, the heart and the brain; it is moreover the diatonic gamut, with its two tetrachords, the one of three, the other of four tones, and of which the complete scale, in developing itself, brings out vividly a superior pivot, or the octave. [6]

Finally, the four cardinals, multiplied in their forces by the three mechanizing passions, give Unity-ism; and Unity-ism bears in itself the potential series, of which the principle is Unity, harmonized integrality. — It is the integral chromatic gamut; it is man, the compendium of the world, the image of God; it is the organized phalanx; it is humanity constituted into one vast political family, humanity at peace with itself, governing its globe by love, and communing with Deity. [7]

The reader will remark how naturally spring from our analysis the sacred numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 12, which serve as the bases to the different serial types. If we were anything of a mathematician, we might develop here the analogy of these numbers with the geometric types.

Let us sum up these analyses in a table.

To complete this study, we should show how the series borrow their character also of the intellectual passions. In each of the modes, in fact, the Mechanizing passions appear, to play their capital part. The Cabalist gives to the free series the principle of distinction, of opposition; the Composite, that of accord, of alliance to the dual series; the Papillon represents, in the balanced series, the principle of alternation, of balance, of equilibrium. All three of them intervene concurrently with the four affective springs in the measured series.

The qualities of simple, mixt and composite, often designated by Fourier, apply, as we think, to the whole serial scale. A free series may be composite: thus, a double circle, such as is made in the rounds of children, or in the figure of the Mazurka. The chromatic gamut, doubled by distinguishing the major and minor semi-tones, is a composite contrasted potential series.

IV. Characters of the Potential Series.

Some persons, who have not penetrated far enough into science by study or by sentiment, have sometimes a tendency to think that the Potential Series, the type of order sui generis, has nothing to do with the principles of the other series, and that it excludes the inferior forms. From this idea, from this confusion results a double inconvenience. To some, for example, who sympathize to enthusiasm with the principle of equality, the superior type of order, as thus comprehended, seems oppressive. Some unitary fanatics, only moderately enlightened, encourage themselves thus willfully to go the whole length of individualism and equality. Half-science is always full of injustice and danger. Let us endeavor then to establish more precisely the characteristics of the Potential Series.

The Potential Series is not an order composed of elements entirely new; on the contrary, it only combines in itself the principles of all the others, which it resumes in a superior unity.

In the scale of series, each degree assimilates to itself the inferior degrees. As soon as the molecular principle, in the creation, is produced, — the principle of individualism, of equality,—it becomes a necessary part of all new movement. The principle of duality, which characterizes the aromal movement, manifests itself in the vegetable kingdom under different modes: as trunk and root, absorption and resorption, sexual organs, the waking and sleeping of plants. This progressive assimilation extends to the whole scale.

The essential principles of the series, if they are isolated in the creations of human genius, remain unfruitful, and sometimes become hurtful. Apply them in parallels, contrast them, interlock them, alternate them, know how to combine them all in a strong unity; in short, employ them serially, and all and each of them will appear to you endowed with a sovereign fecundity. But try to establish a mechanism, a living organism with the sole principle of equality, and you will produce nothing but disorder; and yet what an important part the free series plays in nature!

Never imagine, therefore, that the free serial type disappears in the Potential Series. What are the notes, in the musical gamut of the third degree? What are the hairs, the skin, the tissues, the fleshy parts, the capillary vessels, in the human body? They are nothing but simple unities with relation to pivotal functions, to organs. In the modern theatre, which is quite a Potential Series, do we not find the free series represented and playing a very active part in the gallery and the parterre?

The potential order, then, does not exclude any of the inferior elements; it makes use of them all. It takes, in the first degree, the units and the equalitary mass; in the second, symmetry and contrast; in the third, equilibrium; in the fourth, precise measure and hierarchy; and it is from the combination of all these powers that it creates in itself the most perfect Unity in the bosom of the most extended Variety. Take away one of these elements, and the Variety is diminished, Liberty is restricted, the Series is less supple, and from that time the Unity, more severe and more oppressive, is more and more threatened with dissolution.

Before closing this chapter, let us make one more remark.

If we observe the human organization, this little world, man, this image of God, we find that the free and confused elements, that the parts which represent the free series are placed particularly on the surface of the body, scattered as it were, at a distance from the ruling organs; and, to all appearance, having but a secondary interest in the great movements of life. From this law of distribution we might infer a veritable inferiority of the free series compared with the others. Nevertheless, a more attentive study reveals the important office of even the most superficial parts in the human economy; let it suffice to mention the functions and the sensibility of the skin. This phenomenon, in the general theory of Fourier, is explained by the law of the contact of extremes.

We shall have to take account, then, of this law in all our researches, and in all our works; we must not fear, in any organization whatsoever, to give all its special importance to the free series; and we must nut be astonished if this term of the serial scale offers points of con tact with the pivot.



I. General Principles.

We shall now apply the principles just explained to the question of Property. Man is the monarch of creation. To him the earth has been entrusted; the soil and its riches are his. property. In this great Unity, we have to seek Variety. When we consider this general term of property, the earth, it is evident that we shall find nothing like individual appropriation. The entire globe is divided into empires, kingdoms, provinces, communes, which are distributed among races, nations, phalanxes or townships. This first degree of distribution is in some sort the skeleton of property in humanity.

Let us go down into the commune or township; there, we still admit that the immovable soil belongs to the Species represented by the Phalanx, which is a perpetual being.

Upon this domain, cultivated in a unitary manner, it is man’s mission to develop life and riches; man incessantly appropriates to himself physical nature. And God has given him an immense Attraction for this function of appropriation, which is at once the recompense of labor, the incitement to a new activity and the source of creation: the moans of enjoying and the means -of producing. Appropriation,—that is the whole industrial man.

Treasures evermore increasing, then, are brought forth by the power and genius of man. It is in this movable mass that we have to seek Variety; it is in this clement of things produced, of fruits, values and immaterial riches, that we have to seek by what laws the individual acquires, what part returns to him in the general creation.

Property has been defined: “That which is proper to each one, that which belongs to one to the exclusion of others.” This definition is narrow; we do not accept it. We shall say in terms more general: “Property is what belongs to man.” It will instantly appear bow important the shade that separates these two definitions.

Every man ought to be, every man is a proprietor. Assuredly this great necessary fact should have its fitting lawn, should translate itself into institutions. We limit ourselves here to a discussion on the primitive manners of acquiring, on the principal modes of participation in the social riches.

Since the right belongs to all, these modes must be such that they shall never constitute a privilege for some to the detriment of others; and, on the other hand, they must guarantee an exercise of the right as extensive as the legitimate desire. What principles shall guide us in determining these modes of participation? Shall we have recourse to the analysis of actual facts in order to conclude that these facts are wrong? Shall we press to shipwreck certain true principles with their vicious application? Shall we set out with an a priori of civilized wisdom? Shall we invoke vague principles, as justice, fraternity, and so forth, principles so poorly understood even by those who have the best intention? Shall we arrange things according to reason? But we have the reason of M. Portalis, the reason of M. Guizot, of M. Passy, of M. Troplong, of M. Laferriere, of M. Dupin, of M. Agni&s, of M. Proudhon, of M. Vidal, of M. Pecqueur, of M. Cabet, without counting those of other countries, without counting the dead. Which reason is right? (Quelle raison aura raison?)

In truth, in this world of simplists, we should be almost sure of wandering from confusions into confusions. Let us address ourselves to a higher quarter. Let us recur to fixed principles, to universal laws. To all the reasons of the reasonable and of the reasoning, in my opinion it is better to prefer the science of man. I leave to those who are more fortunate the sphere of abstract and mathematical proofs, and confine myself to the domain of the active faculties.

Where shall we find a better principle of analysis than in the bottom of the human soul? What surer guide to regulate human relations than the nature of man himself? We have established, as an incontestable axiom, that social institutions can only be the image of man himself, one as to the unity of his being, various as to his different springs. Just institutions, we have said, are the mechanisms adequate to the soul’s forms of activity, and they are necessarily analogous in their principles to the principle of the forces whence they emanate.

We have seen that in the first degree of analysis, Love (the source of all social relations) has four special modes of action; and we have shown how to each of these modes of action there corresponds a species of series, from the free mode to the potential, which combines and synthetizes.

Since property is the industrial man, if there be economy of means and unity in the laws of the living world, the modes of participation in the collective social wealth must correspond to the forces of the soul; in other words, if Attractions are proportional to Destinies, and if the Series distributes the Harmonies, the institutions of property must agree with the cardinal passions, and the modes of appropriation must be based upon the series.

II. Manners of Acquiring, corresponding with the Necessary Functions, with the Wants and Rights of Man.


We say that there exists a manner of acquiring, a mode of participation, which corresponds to Friendship and which is based on the free series. The reasons of necessary functions, and the supreme law of fitness, go to confirm this a priori.

That man may live and fulfill his destiny, it is necessary that he be placed, from the day of his birth, in the conditions of a full development of his organization and of all his faculties. That is incontestably the will of God.

Let us carry ourselves back to the day of Creation. Tradition, reason, science, all indicate that the first men appeared upon the globe in the fullness of their powers. A true representation of man implies a series of contrasted ages, since in no other manner could each find his own functions. Thus, at the moment when the children of God were left to themselves, they found themselves, for the most part, provided and brought up. This education exceptionally completed, although elementary, was the divine legacy of Adam.

And let it not be said that this great anthropogonic fact contains simply a lesson for fathers, that it offers the type of Family duty and nothing more. Assuredly, the just God, in his universal providence, had, with one unitary breath, developed all the forces, all the faculties, all the vocations, of which the germ was deposited in each creature. To this all-powerful inspiration, each note of the human scale, equally impregnated, returned a different sound; but each resounded in all its intensity and in its perfect purity. Each character found itself harmoniously developed at one burst. [8] How, then, can we suppose that the Creator wished man to expect hereafter his integral development from the divided, contradictory, feeble impulsions of the individual family? No, God does not wish that the aid given to man, in order to be efficacious, should be thus strewn about at random. In committing to man the direction of social movement, God designed his own place to be worthily supplied, and it is not from him that this miserable shiftlessness and monstrous inequality proceed, which now preside over the rearing and education of children. Nevertheless, after so many centuries of errors and of sufferings, society seems at last to be deciphering the sense of the divine mystery; the children of the poor are adopted, (witness the public nurseries (crèches) and halls of asylum,) the principle of gratuitous unitary education is proclaimed. But how far still from comprehending its mission is the university, which every year has itself solemnly addressed as alma parens! How very moderately Catholic and Christian it is! How little do its cold and narrow lap, its literal lessons, take the place of the paternal and maternal care at once, in which the first human beings were all nourished, of that vivifying breath by which the earth saw Adam spring forth in his power and in his beauty!

Every one then should be able to take freely around him whatever is necessary to this essential want of development which makes him man. Material and spiritual nourishment; an education such that the body may attain its full growth, such that all the sentiments may be expanded, all the faculties developed, all the vocations called out; and finally, the means of interchanging these sentiments, of applying these faculties, of rendering useful these vocations, the instruments of labor: — here is the minimum which society owes to all its members, here is the first right of every one. This is the principle of Communism.

It will be seen that we go further than certain communists who, in their embarrassment, not daring to proscribe property, define it: “The right of the individual to the thing exclusively produced by himself.” Man, in a harmonic society, appropriates to himself, by right, as we have just shown, every thing that is indispensable to his normal development, without there being any account taken of his part in production, and even before he is able to produce anything. And more than this: even after a man has completed his education, after he has acquired the rank of citizen, [9] he still finds opportunity to glean at liberty, to appropriate to himself a certain quantity of common things, which society leaves strown about, as it were, upon its surface. It is the extension of the right to the minimum; it is the principle of tolerance written in this verse of the gospel: “And it came to pass that the Lord went through the corn-fields, and his disciples plucked the ears of corn and did eat.”

Such is the first degree of participation, the first manner of acquiring, which rests absolutely on the principle of equality, and corresponds to Friendship. Among friends, every thing is common. This is appropriation in the confused mode. Let us see whether this principle of equality, so just and so necessary in its origin, can continue to control exclusively the act of appropriation.

Suppose man, under a unitary integral education, developed according to the designs of God;—what next? The unfolding of the soul is perfect, its exercise is free; it is then the Creator who proceeds to speak. Every where, to our attentive reason, inequality displays itself. Equality was in the first place necessary in order that man might produce himself entire; and from the bosom of this equality immediately springs hierarchy. Physical beauty, intellectual power, moral grandeur, every thing is different, and every thing distributed on a progressive scale. All these forces, when you come to put them in action, to apply them to the creation of riches and the government of the terrestrial life, produce unequal results; their works have different values. Thus, in human labor, the co-operation of some is more productive than that of others.

There is in this superiority, no doubt, the sign of a celestial gift, and consequently more responsibility and loftier duties; but, with the responsibility and duty, should there not also be a greater recompense? Will any one pretend to quote the authority of seminaries and academies of moral and political sciences, and oppose to us the exclusive doctrines of humility and abnegation, referring men to heaven to seek there a remuneration refused to them on earth? Certainly, we will not permit these simplistic advocates of equality to refer us to these pitiable errors, under the pretext of a social ideal. Responsibility, then, to the moat productive, to the most able; but so too a proportional recompense: and recompense in the two spheres, material and spiritual, riches and glory; for so the law of Unity requires.

To what do labors lead, directly and indirectly? To production, to appropriation. Out of this mass of wealth produced, each will have therefore (besides the minimum) a part proportional to what he has contributed, to what he has done; [10] and this part will be awarded to him by the judgment of his peers; his right will be measured and determined practically by election.

Here then is the second right of man in regard to property; here is the second manner of acquiring, which corresponds to Ambition, to the measured series. This mode is the hyper-major; this right is the fruit of the capital act of the material administration of the globe, of creation, and it is consecrated by the free election of the series, by justice itself. In the ratio of the superiority of this source, and of this sanction, more extended prerogatives are due to it. So, when the question shall arise for Social Science to determine the limits in this order of facts, to produce the special treatise upon property, it will perhaps be necessary to remember the principle uti et abuti, and to award its recompense to the right of appropriation hyper-major.


We know then now, the natural and just basis of a double right of individual appropriation. It is understood that each individual takes in the first place, freely and equally, what is necessary to his normal development; and that each, besides this, having a right to a share in the production to which he has contributed, receives from his peers a remuneration proportional to his general share in the productive forces. The minimum and the proportional retribution, analogous to Friendship and Ambition, are of the major order. Are there not other sources of appropriation? Let us look, Continuing to analyze the wants of man and the rights which correspond to these wants.

If man appropriates anything to himself, evidently it is in order to use it; if he gains anything, it is to dispose of it. Will he make what he possesses only serve the satisfaction of his physical and intellectual wants, his individual fantasies and pleasures? Will he not know how to make some use of it outside of himself. Will his right of disposing of it be simple, or will it be composite? In this world of Harmony, where all is leagued together to realize unity, will there be division, schism between the industrial and the affective man? In a society whose creed is Love, will the capital act of the appropriation of physical nature be of no profit for the heart? No, property should be an instrument of collective and of individual accords, material pleasures themselves concurring in the union of souls. Man has a need of giving, of expanding over his fellows the treasure of his riches as well as the treasure of his affections. Man therefore can transmit what belongs to him, can alienate the acquisitions of his right of property. Let us see what will be the natural modes of alienation, of transmission. By this digression we shall come more easily to know what are the two manners of acquiring of the minor order.

In Harmony, the child, exercising in the superior or religious function of Friendship (Little Hordes) abandons all [11] that he produces to the community. la this manner of disposing of property, we find the universal character which we have remarked in the appropriation of the minimum. These two modes spring from the cardinal passion of Friendship, of which they reflect the properties. We see, it is like an exchange, an advance between childhood and the state. The state makes advances, for which it is remunerated afterwards. Childhood takes and lets who will take; it satisfies its own wants and consecrates its right of alienating to the support of Unity.

In the group of Ambition, in the series of repartition, where all receive what is proportionally due to them, each one freely gives up one part of his own, which goes to make up the budget of the Regency.

There are two other manners of disposing, and consequently of acquiring, which we shall qualify by the term minor. These belong especially to sentiment, they connect more directly with individualism than with unity-ism. One is donation. “To give is to love,” said an amiable and sincere philosopher;” to receive, is to learn to love. In delicate souls, it is loving already, and that deeply.” The gift has the spontaneousness of Love; it is a want more of the hyperminor group than of any other. [12] A lover would like to have the disposal of the whole world, that he might give it away. It is in like manner the property of the ellipse, that every thing which sets out from one of its foci is referred to the other; that between the two every thing reflects and divides itself with a vivid impulse. —The other manner of acquiring, which springs from the right of using in a composite mode, is inheritance. Just as man transmits his blood, his intelligence, his soul, so it is a want and a happiness to him to bequeath this other part of himself, his property.

But it will be objected, to accept a legacy, a donation in the combined order, is to leave free field to fantasies, and to unjust caprices; it is to encourage avarice with some, narrow and blind affections with others. There is a larger way than this of deriving from the spirit of property a profit for the heart. Let every man return all that he possesses to the State: [13] is not this an exercise of the affective passions? This is giving oneself away, surely, this is expanding oneself over the bosom of the great fraternal family, without the inconvenience of little preferences and unmerited favors.—We reply, if property, once recognized, accrues entirely to the state, we see not where there exists for the individual the free exercise of the right of disposing, of it. The individual will have the right to do his duty, the right to be obliged to give to the universal, to transmit himself perforce to all his brothers.—No, no. You cannot mask by empty words the privation of the individual right. It is necessary to me, to myself, that my spontaneity, my whole liberty should be preserved. I wish to be able to dispose of what is mine in favor of all, if it suits me; in favor of some, if it is the desire of my heart; and if it is my pleasure, even enthusiastic impulse and blind fantasy shall be the reason and the measure of my gifts. Since “human nature is good,” since “reason was not made to contradict in us the propensities which lead us to form the very legitimate desire of happiness,” [14] by what right can you deny, contradict, repress the pious attractions of familism and of love, the charming attractions of favoritism?

You wish inheritance done away with, [15] because, in our false state of society, the miser guards to the last day his useless treasure, and would bury it with him in his tomb. True science is that which knows how to turn to good, forces which are perverted or injurious. Avarice transformed, becomes a precious social faculty. There are amongst human characters, in their relation with created riches, two types, both essential. One spends, throws away, destroys; the other saves, collects, preserves. In other words, it is the spirit of progress and the spirit of social conservation; it is radiation and absorption. With the first character, impatient to use a thing, incessantly in quest of new things, every thing would be squandered, every object would disappear before exhausting its useful service; there would be no handing down. The other type forms happily the equilibrium to this. The pure conservative does not believe that any one can save things and take care of things as well as himself. In Harmony, these individual characters will extend also to collective unities. There will be Phalanxes celebrated for their spirit of order; there will be others skilful to consume brilliantly, and famous for prodigality; and such a collector or amasser of treasures in the Isle of France, not finding around him an heir worthy of his genius, and mistrusting the spendthrift ardor of the Creoles, his compatriots, will choose for his legatee the illustrious Phalanx of Fourmis, or of Judea.

But shall we stop at the uncertain objections of civilized reason, when the commandments of God are echoed in our hearts? It is a law, a law of universal life, which condemns these tendencies to exclusive equality, to confused unity; it is Attraction. God does not wish that every heart, with equal passions, shall contain an equal love for all; for he has placed in our souls the fabulist and the Papillon with Favoritism; God wishes the free and flexible fraternity of friendship, the elective ardors of love, the determined affections of the family, the hierarchal ties of ambition, the potential exercises of the successive degrees of Unity-ism; and not the compound communism of souls, the stifling of life in mere identity. Social institutions, therefore, should permit man’s natural preferences to manifest themselves in all things, if these institutions profess to realize social destinies proportional to attractions. The Series, which distributes the harmonies, [16] commands that we should expand our possessions as well as our soul in varied and hierarchal modes, or in the serial mode.

Attraction is so far from attaching us to the ideal of Communism or of Saint-Simonianism, in which all things are confounded in the mass, or in power, that when we interrogate the general fact and the sentiment which inspires it, we remark this: that the spirit of disposal or of alienation follows, since it is in the minor order, an inverse progression to that of the principle of Unity, which draws all towards the pivot; that each individual has a particular attraction to rob himself in favor of the beings who are nearest to his feelings. In a general formula, we may distribute the want of disposing by legacy and by testament, according to the following decreasing scale:

Donation: lovers, children, friends, sect; the State.

Testament: children, lovers, sect, friends; the State.

Admirable foresight of the Supreme Organizer, who does not permit Unity to absorb the individual, and who derives perfect order from the equilibrium of the two forces, the centripetal and the centrifugal. And so ought Science to encourage the attraction of the heart, instead of oppressing individual liberty. [17] In the state of social subversion in which humanity has lived thus far, it has required the compelle intrare, the law of constraint in all degrees to protect the principle of, Unity; in Harmony, on the contrary, the savans will be continually occupied with seeking delicate combinations to balance the universal and enthusiastic action of Unityism by the action of favoritism, to sow the surface of social life with the charms of surprise and of capricious fancy.


We have counted four manners of acquiring and of disposing: two major, more especially determined by reason, by the principle of order; and two minor, particularly inspired by sentiment and by liberty; all together realize justice. — These modes of participation in the social riches: the minimum, donation, proportional retribution, and inheritance, correspond to the cardinal passions, Friendship, Love, Ambition, Familism; and to the serial types: the free, the dual, the measured, and the balanced.

It remains to find a manner of acquiring, a mode of participation, having the pivotal character and corresponding to Unity-ism, and to the potential series.

This central source, from which each may draw and appropriate to himself in a unitary mode, is the Associative Treasury. From this focus of public riches descends over all the members of the Phalanx the right of property under its pivotal form. The unitary mode of appropriation consists in each one’s taking part according to his degree, in the means of enjoyment concentrated in the Phalanx.

This unitary participation, by virtue of the law of contact of extremes, offers relations with the minimum. The Communists, faithful to their principle of promiscuous equality, so much so that they do not seek to distinguish things from one another, have not failed to confound all things under the name of common goods: houses, streets, theatres, museums, cities, libraries, ball-rooms, horses, equipages, furniture, jewelry, canals, routes, rivers, laboratories, fetes and solemn galas, &c. To them, all this is identical, and all the members of association share in all these goods equally and identically. This is an error, and with a little attention, if we are guided by principles of order and harmony, we shall easily distinguish the things which society abandons promiscuously to common use, the museums, libraries, laboratories, rail-roads, public squares, &c. &c., from things equally accessible to all, but of which the whole society finds it just and useful to hierarchalize the enjoyment, so to speak. Thus, in Association, lodgings in the Phalanstery, places at the theatre, and at festivities, horses, equipages, the robes and paraphernalia of honor, the banners, every thing which we now call the furniture and jewels of the Crown,—all these things will be occupied and assigned according to an order of legitimate precedencies, in proportion to each one’s recognized rights to functions, grades, social honors and favors.

Thus, then, the public revenue is, for each one, the source of a unitary property. There is established, at the centre, a composite movement, a double harmonic vibration: the Regency receiving from the diverse ad always free contributions of the whole a considerable portion of the wealth produced, which in its turn it transforms into means of enjoyment, and places at the disposal of the whole. The Treasury of the Phalanx, how is it constituted, of what elements is it formed? From what sources can this appropriation, governed by the Regency, proceed, if it be not from the very same which nourish individual appropriation. The Regency, that is to say the phalanx considered in its collective permanent unity, takes, receives, like an individual, a proportional part, and enriches itself by when the donations and by legacies. The minor modes, as we have said, are not the most productive for the State; the Treasury accrues principally from the products of labor freely abandoned by childhood, and from the impost freely voted by all the citizens in the series and general assemblies. These four modes of appropriation which form the public revenue, have, no doubt, at this pivotal degree, their particular character; but they are analogous with the individual manners of acquiring; like them, they correspond with the four, cardinal passions; or to state it better, the public revenue in its unity, the Treasury, corresponds to Unity-ism, and, like it, it sums up in itself the four fundamental terms of the Potential Series.


Laws are the necessary relations springing from the nature of things.— Montesquieu.

We believe that human nature is good, and that there is unity in the laws of universal order. To find out social institutions of divine origin, therefore, we have examined the nature of man, his destiny, his functions, his wants, his attractions; we have analyzed the springs of his activity, that is to say his passions, their characters and their properties.

From this study of man we have deduced the essential types of order, we have methodically determined the principles and forms of the Series.

To confirm these deductions, we have looked to the kingdoms of nature for the laws of the distribution of forces, and we have found these laws conformed to the characters of human groups and to the properties of the mathematical types.

Then applying this mode of investigation to the question of property, we have Bought what modes of appropriation have naturally sprung from necessary functions. These functions, as well as the attractions of the heart, have taught us that in the matter of participation in the social riches, order results from the Series.

And thus does Unity shine out in all things.

In the question of appropriation, Science, supported upon solid bases, upon divine reasons, gives the following conclusions:

The globe belongs to the entire human species. The landed property of the township belongs to the entire Phalanx. The wealth produced is all that can be appropriated. Appropriation seeks four modes, two major and two minor. Of the two major modes, one is confused, based on the principle of equality, which is the minimum; the other is regulated, based on the principle of hierarchy, which is retribution proportional to capital, to labor, and to talent. After man has acquired riches, he uses and disposes of them freely, according to the attractions of his heart. From this right of alienating result the two minor modes of acquiring property, donation and inheritance. Finally, man participates in the public riches by drawing, each according to his degree, from the associative treasury, which accumulates in the hands of the Regency, and in conformity with the general will, after the same modes which nourish individual appropriation. In other words, we will say, man acquires:

In the major mode, { that he may have power to act — in proportion to his wants.

for having acted—in proportion I to what he does.

In the minor mode, { in proportion as he is loved.

in proportion as he loves.

Man acquires: from the commonwealth, which abandons and awards; from the individual, who gives and bequeaths.

Man acquires as a brother, as a member of a group, as an object of love, as a son and heir; and finally as a citizen.

Friendship abandons freely to every one what he wants; Love gives with tender entrainement and blind fanaticism;

Familism bequeathes affectionately, but with deliberation;

Ambition awards with reflection and according to the law of strict justice. Unity-ism distributes according to the divine laws: economy of means, distributive justice, universality of providence, unity of system. The administration of the public Treasury has for its function to balance the two terms of acquiring and disposing, and also to balance the individual and the unitary modes of action (the me and the neighbor), terms and modes of action which it sums up in itself; for the Regency is nothing but a being which receives and transmits eternally.

Let us here recall the analogical table already presented, only adding the modes of appropriation.


Such then is the ensemble of our system of appropriation of the social riches. What is wanting in this system? Can you mention a legitimate desire which it does not satisfy? And yet upon this question of property, the Associative School is continually misunderstood and calumniated. By some it is accused of wishing to annihilate all rights; others affirm that it tends to perpetuate all privileges. Which shall we credit? On both sides rash judgment is formed, and the School is condemned without a hearing.

That we should be calumniated, in the name of order, by people who are frightened by every thing new, and who have never opened a book of Fourier, is easily conceived; but that the doctrines should he misunderstood by the enlightened friends of progress and of liberty, is strange and deplorable. The author of De la Répartition des Richesses is certainly, of all writers not Phalansterian who have judged the theory, the most kindly disposed, we might say the most sympathizing. M. Vidal has read through from beginning to end the Treatise on Universal Unity; M. Vidal lives in old relations of intimacy with several Phalansterians; and yet M. Vidal does not understand the associative theory which he allows himself to judge and to condemn in the most friendly manner in the world. We shall proceed to prove in two words how far this writer is still from having penetrated the theory.

M. Vidal has comprehended so well the formula of capital, labor and talent, that he seems to have seen in it the entire basis of participation in the social wealth in Harmony. One must have read very slightly to be ignorant that this is only one of the modes of appropriation, the hyper-major, analogous to Ambition, and that this formula applies only to the repartition freely voted in the series, and proportional to the direct productive agency of each citizen. Does not Fourier speak at every page of legacy, of donation, of gratuitous education, of the proportional minimum, of unitary enjoyments furnished by the Phalanx? Certainly. Why then keep fighting windmills? Why oppose to us the gratuitous education of children, and free access to theatres, to museums, to libraries, to laboratories, and all these marvellous things of Communism—which many Communists have perceived for the first time—in Fourier? Why write these phrases, which we cannot take seriously?

“The Laborer (in the Associative system) will have to live upon the generosity of the rich, and submit to the humiliation of receiving alms. And thus we shall see misery, servitude, prostitution; yes, hatreds, crimes, vices and scourges without number. . . . Capital continually detaches from the mass of the collective riches a portion which it will never restore to the community; it creates an hereditary class of idlers who live upon their income; it diminishes by just so much the number of laborers, it charges the support of this unproductive class to the laboring class. . . . I maintain that the most intelligent, the most able, the most capable has not a right to deprive the feeble or the incapable and to take the lion’s part himself; I maintain that the strongest owes his succor to the weakest, the most intelligent to the most inert. Intelligence and capacity, intellectual force, should not give a man the right to exploit his fellow man, any more than corporeal force or the power of gold We shall have wars springing up (says M. Vidal) between men who lived in peace, as soon as we undertake to divide men into separate categories, to make some first and some last, to judge, to class, to number individuals. Always there will be crosses of self-love, humiliations, and wounds incurable! . . . . If you attempt to create shares, and if the shares are to be in the ratio of capacity, then will each, from self-love, from vanity, lay claim to the largest: one will claim it in the name of his talent; another in the name of force; another perhaps will demand equality, and discord will soon arise. The moment the question of sharing is raised, Association is broken up; there is no longer one simple interest, the interest of all; face to face you have particular interests; there is the meum on the one side and the tuum on the other, and between them war! . . . . So true is it that there are [18] other relations possible besides those of equality!”

To complete this picture of the profound critic, we should have to cite still twenty passages about the hostility of classes in Harmony; passages in which the laboring classes are opposed to the capitalists; in which it is said that ” the Phalanxes have never any excess of production above their own general wants,” and that “they have nothing to sell to strangers and no profits to realize,” and that “the objects produced or created have no value,” and that ” it would be absolutely necessary that each should spend his whole dividend in the course of the year,” and a thousand other absurdities. Especially should we have to notice the ingenious calculation from which it results that an individual, who should advance ten millions in the year 1850 for the foundation of a Phalanstery, would find himself in the year 2020, merely by the accumulation of compound interest, the proprietor of the sun.

We might ask our distinguished critic if it is rational, if it is sane to apply to Association, calculations which, even in. our society of privileges, can be only child’s play. What! It is in a family of a thousand ties that you suppose these fantastic accumulations of capital possible! Verily, these are but the faux pas of the equilibrist, this is not serious analysis.

But our quotations will amply suffice to edify the reader. We ask if they can be legitimate judges of the theory, who ran not see in the minimum, in proportional repartition, in the Treasury of the Regency, in donation and legacy, any guaranties against the divisions of society into castes, against the exploitation of the laborers by the rich; who have no suspicion of the effects of the organization of labor, of the serial mechanism; who know nothing of the properties of variety and of engrenage or interlocking in the functions and in series,— and yet they demand of us what would become of the feeble and the infirm? Have we not the proportional minimum, that increasing social dowry, which is extended to the feeble and to the sick who are placed on the same footing with children? [19] Have we not, in the budget of the Phalanx, a chapter especially consecrated to religious wants? Finally, do you not feel, if you have the instinct of love in your heart, that in Harmony it will be the feeble and the infirm especially who will be the objects of pious tenderness, and who will find themselves adopted and loaded with gifts and legacies? Thus, individuals will share with the State the cares and watchful providence of devotion.

But it is objected: if there is room for any preference in retribution, it is to good will that it is due. Do you suppose then that good will is counted for nothing in the Phalanx? Do you think that the most painful labors, other things being equal, will not be paid the highest? Assuredly it is not the product which we talk of recompensing here, but it is in reality devotion. It is true that Fourier, distrusting the power of the material motive, confides to the disinterested ardor of the Little Hordes the most repugnant necessary duties. Fourier often omits the pivot in his analyses. When he says: Retribution to capital, to labor and to talent; that is to say, to the three spheres, passive, active and neuter, the pivotal sphere is necessarily understood. This, doubled, gives two new agents of production, namely, devotion and the charm of favoritism, of which account is always taken in voting the distribution of profits. It may seem strange to the communists that, in the retribution proportional to production, we still leave room for favoritism. He answers with common examples. Have you ever taken a voyage at sea? Have you observed the group of sailors at the ropes? One of them uses his voice, and his cadenced song, which diminishes somewhat his own effort, helps essentially the effort of the whole. Have you seen, in a group of laborers, some gay companion, some Pique-Vinaigre, losing his own time and strength in his recitations and his songs, but animating the group whose industrial enthusiasm grows with their gayety? This is the element of favoritism, which they will never fail to turn to good account in Harmony.

These questions of repartition will be a charming study, and they will afford occasion, in the series, in the courts, in the council of the Regency, for very deliberate and very beautiful operations, which will require the especial co-operation of woman in politics. We should like to know what political part the women in Community will find to play in the question of repartition , but doubtless this is an indiscreet question; the communist authors never occupy themselves with women except to offer them the prospect of a year’s imprisonment for some infidelity. (M. Vidal, p. 384.) Civilization is less severe; it remembers better the tolerance of Christ.

We should like, in our turn, to discuss the theories which they oppose to ours. But where can we take hold of these intangible bodies? There are as many Communisms as there are Communists. Shall we take that expounded by M. Vidal, and in which he communes with M M. Villegardelle and Louis Blanc, invoking as their patron saint, Morelly? What confusions and contradictions!

The Morellian church speculates about native kindness. It thinks that “self-love is the motive which urges us to good,” and that ” reason ought not to contradict in us the propensities which lead us to happiness.” By this it means “to base order upon destiny, which they say is happiness; to give complete satisfaction to all the natural wants, moral and physical, in the individual and in the species.” Moreover, the Morellian church proclaims the principles of Unity. “Psychology” it says “and physiology, instead of repelling and excluding each other, are the complement of one another. Between philosophy (the science of moral wants) and social economy, there should be relations and intimate connection. Economy has for its object to render the satisfaction of the moral wants and moral faculties possible. There should be an a priori identity between beauty, truth, and justice, and where this identity does not exist the scheme is: bad.” Certainly, these are excellent principles; but wait till you have seen the end. The first care of these Communists is completely to forget their principles. Thus, we see that the laws for the union of persons are not the same as for the association of productive forces. (p. 383, 384) Thus the principle of the hierarchy, judged excellent in the repartition of spiritual goods, is rejected as detestable in regard to material goods. Ambition, in the major mode, (love of glory) is good; ambition, in the minor mode, (love of riches) is bad. (p. 369, 373, 374, 379) In organizing their social ideal, they do not for a single instant consult destiny and the moral and physical necessities of man. So far from that, they only think of contradicting nature, or the will of God revealed by attraction and by liberty. They recognize and proclaim the truth that men are naturally unequal in forces, in faculties, in wants, in works; and yet say they should be equal in acquired rights.

Finally, we seek in vain in their system for unity, for respect to the passions of the soul, for agreement of institutions with our physical and moral wants. In place thereof, we find a plenty of maxims borrowed of Fenelon, of Seneca, of Spinoza, about contempt of riches, et ad coercendas libidines:and this truly refreshing little passage about costume: ” In these days, all men, from the prime minister to his lowest clerk, are made equal in a saloon by the monotonous uniformity of a black dress; the robe no longer makes the monk. It will be quite another matter in Association, when all men brought up together, living side by side with one another, shall know each other perfectly! People will no longer be appreciated according to their dress; rich robes will add nothing to the worth of individuals, and create no illusion for any one. The associates will adopt an elegant and convenient costume; they will make luxury consist in the extreme of neatness, in conforming to the current taste; ridicule mill do justice to the exquisites and incroyables.” Here is something to edify the artists! What a part must art play in the system of communism!

One must read the third, fourth and sixth chapters of the third part of M. Vidal’s book, if he would see to what the ideal which they oppose to us reduces itself. It is nothing less than complete insufficiency. Of any system whatsoever of organization, there is not a word said. Yet it would seem as if the mechanism would need to be perfected by those who retrench one very important motive of activity. They do not even know positively whether labor can or can not be rendered attractive, (p. 367 et passim.) To resolve their doubt on this point, they wish to wait for an experiment of the system of Fourier. Fourier organizes labor and industry; they have not thought of such a thing. Fourier, in this organization, at once learned, delicate and imposing, utilizes all our physical and moral wants; they, in the absence of all mechanism, retrench the motive of personality, of property and the love of riches at one’s own disposal. We say: interest, honor, pleasure, duty; they say: duty, honor, fear. We are, as Fourier says in some of his sublime bursts of enthusiasm, the advocates of the twelve passions;they reduce the five sensitive passions to a competent allowance, to the modest habit in black, and to the black broth of perfectibility; they diminish the force of Ambition by half, disdain Love and Familism, shut the door upon the Cabalist and the Papillon, and treat Favoritism as the inspiration of the devil. The model par excellence which they would offer us, is the civilized family and the manners of the actual household, (p. 351 and 379: opinions of M M. Vidal and Louis Blanc.) But as they are very properly aware that family tenderness does not suffice in the social mechanism, they decide to introduce in the gentlest manner possible the compelle intrare. And they must necessarily come to this, since they admit the hypothesis that labor may not become attractive. On every page we find this means in reserve, this principle of constraint. ” In an emergency, it is said, the associates will be subjected to the recruiting law. They will decree, that every citizen, from eighteen to twenty years, without exception, shall be bound to serve in the corps of public utility.” O inflexible logicians! here then we have the bottom of the bag; here the “Committee of Public Safety” shows the tip of its ear, and under your mantle of socialism, we ran fancy that we see the sincere but stern figures of Robespierre and Saint-Just.

Meanwhile we cannot refuse our sympathies to the Communists, for they have a true devotion to the poorer classes. [20] They are men who live almost exclusively in Friendship, and who never feel at home except with the idea of fraternity and the principle of equality. Pure republicans, starting from the same principle, tend, no doubt, to the same result in Communism. Their mistake is, having adopted the sacred motto: liberty, equality, fraternity, to subordinate every thing to the second term, and to neglect the first, which, philosophically speaking, is the most important. From their point of view, they doubtless are inspired. It is undeniable that the first end to be attained, the minimum, corresponds to equality, and Fourier has not forgotten, in his highest order of supreme combinations, that our planet corresponds to friendship. But in the mechanism of the distribution of wealth, to restrict oneself to this, is to dream of an order incomplete, oppressive, and unstable, since it is overlooking the demands of the two minor and the hyper-major passions. You seem to see a universal fellowship, an immense circle where all hands are joined, where the electric spark runs in a living chain, but where the hierarchal relations of ambition, where the preferences and most intimate tendernesses of love, and the embraces of the family are not counted. Since some power is necessary, they have decided to place it in the centre of the fraternal circle, isolated, severe and full of rudeness. Do you not feel how destitute of charm this puritanical world would be, and how irksomeness, ennui, coldness, would penetrate very quickly into this monotonous round, where art and love and fantasy find nothing to do?

If you push the principle of equality a little rigorously, it leads to absurdity; it is what occurs with every simplistic principle, and for this reason it is just to say: Excess is injurious in every thing. But you may push the Series to the end, to the utmost limit, and into the infinite; still it engenders only order; you will never derive from it anything but Unity and Harmony. In a word, the Communists are simply this: people who are weary of the present evils, and who seek to escape from them by the way which seems to them the shortest and the easiest. M. Prudhon, without insisting otherwise upon the absolute value of his principles, frankly avows that he wants to make an end of them; others have not the same frankness, or, making to themselves scientific illusions, they qualify their notion of a social ideal, after taking care to pocket the difficulties of the problem. At bottom, they have meditated so little upon the reasons of things, that they will tell you, for example: “The Communists would willingly accept the Phalanstery, but on the condition of modifying the respective rights of the associates and of distributing the products in some other way;” that is to say, the Phalanstery without the series, without unity. They will tell you moreover: “Ah! if instead of proposing the association of men and of things, the disciples of Fourier had proposed directly the association of individuals, then capital, the supreme element of discord, would not have existed, the series would have distributed the harmonies!” (Same work, pages 453 and 455.) We are truly grateful for this kind advice, but we cannot change the principle of the Series at the will of our own gratitude; we cannot make the Series to be other than it is. Unhappily we are not permitted to return courtesy for courtesy to the Communists, for a peremptory reason: it is because the only thing which positively constitutes their school, the simplistic love of equality, excludes the Series. Let us sum up in a few words the Communist idea of appropriation. This idea almost entirely absorbs three terms out of the five which constitute the soul in its cardinal character; it only speculates upon friendship and unity-ism, and (what is more) it overlooks the inverse pivot. Does one of the four necessary passions singly produce Unity? Can you make musical harmony with do, Do (octave,) as well as with do mi sol si Do, without counting all the other notes of the gamut, the passional correspondences of which we have not discussed? Thus the Communist idea, in its organization, leaves room only for the free series and for a bastard sort of potential series. The Communists affect us very much like children well-disposed and intelligent, who, playing with the cone, turning it round and round, have remarked indeed that it forms a unity and that it rests upon a circular base, (which is more than their papas, the political economists, had seen,) but, inexpert at analysis, they have not thought to cut the cone and to investigate its interior properties. Their science, altogether juvenile, stops at the surface.

The Associative School does not fear to front the difficulties of problems. It does not evoke the fallacious image of an equality impossible, and oppressive even if it could be for a moment realized. It consults sentiment as well as reason; it satisfies complete liberty as well as perfect order, Individualism as well as Unityism. In short it founds its whole theory upon nature and upon the soul.

One final objection remains to be considered. If you accept donation, inheritance, individual appropriation, the privileges of favor, and so forth, what is there that is new in your doctrine? — We shall reply (and let our word be beard by those who cry out that there is nothing new under the sun,) we shall reply: There is nothing new in this world, except it be Integrality, or the free, large, intelligent acceptation of the supreme dogma of Variety in Unity.

Humanity, creating to itself institutions in proportion to its development, could only find their principle in these essential forces of the soul. The different modes of appropriation, successively engendered in the great historical periods, had then their necessary correspondence with the cardinal passions.

Edenism had its first sketches of Harmony, where no doubt the social institutions gave combined satisfaction to all the passions. In Savageism, society sinks, through want of industry, into an unlimited Communism with regard to territory; but with exclusive appropriation of the fruits harvested and the animals slain. Soon, as society tries to settle down and subdivide its elements, man wishes, before he dies, to perpetuate his force and substance; hence inheritance and legitimacy and the right of age: this is the conservative, traditional principle, which constitutes Patriarchalism. From inheritance and from the right of the firm occupant, which appears when human activity takes the land by main force, results the abusive concentration of riches in the sole hands of the Barbarian chieftain, who, alone rich and alone master, gives exclusively to his favorites, according to the attraction of his heart and his own good pleasure. Finally, Civilization attempts to apply the principle of proportional retribution; it organizes a false hierarchy. Each of these periods borrows the institutions before established, modifying them according to its own character; but the harmonic repartition is as yet far from being realized: divisions of men into castes, servitude, slavery, hired labor, such are the consequences of these false, incomplete and oppressive systems. Civilization, in spite of the influences of Christianity, has often only legalized all the anterior abuses, in consecrating them by the pretended reasons of sacred rights. Have we not seen this very year an assemblage of important men, very civilized and very Christian, call in question and take away in part from the poor the right of gleaning, raking, picking up and appropriating, — those vestiges of the right to the minimum, which Barbarism and Patriarchalism had respected?

Seeing this, these brave little hordes, as it were, of social science, plunge forward with audacity, protest against abuses and against the principles which cause them, blaspheme against the passions as the first sources of evil. In short, they see no other way of triumphing over the present false system of property, but by overturning property itself, riding roughshod over principles, and mortifying the human soul.

But the genius of Fourier has illuminated the world. The sovereign science tells us: The forces, the springs of the soul, are essential, and always the same; only the manifestation, only the modes of this activity vary. To misunderstand or repress the passions, the principles of all activity, of every idea and of every form, is madness; the only wise way is to make them useful. The institutions of property which the world has thus far produced, are faulty; they must be transformed so that they shall become harmonic instead of continuing oppressive; but do not reject the principles from which they emanate. They are the natural sources of truth. If you would realize harmony, the kingdom of God, do not forget any one of the fundamental passions, do not suffer any right to sleep. You will have order and happiness, it you know how to apply to your terrestrial government, universality of providence and unity of system, those, essential attributes of the divine power. Would you know the modes of appropriation, seek them in the essential principles of the passions and conform them to the series. The manners of acquiring practised in the forms of society which have existed thus far, are false merely by their exclusiveness and by excess, the necessary consequence of simplism. Bring these different modes together and combine them in an equilibrium and in a hierarchy; and you will have the natural system. Integrality is unity, is harmony itself.

Such is the mission of science: to destroy not principles, but their abuses; to transform, to perfect, to render unitary. This mission is religiously accomplished by Fourier and by his School. The question of participation in the social riches, we resolve, then, by the unitary combination of all these modes: the minimum; retribution proportional to capital, to labor and to talent; donation; inheritance; and the Associative Treasury. In other words, as faithful interpreters of Attraction, seeing man revealed to us in his cardinal passions, Friendship, Love, Familism, Ambition, Unityism, we cannot solve the social problem of appropriation otherwise than by the series, which arrives at Unity only by the harmonic distribution of Variety.

D. Laverdant.

[1] By different powers, the writer means the successive ramifications of the same series into a greater and greater number of elements. Thus we begin with Unity. This unfolds first into Three primary elements, which are a series of the first power. These unfold again into Seven and Twelve, the numbers of the musical octave, which Fourier calls indifferently the series of the second power; these unfold farther into Thirty-two, the series of the third power, and so on. Now man is a series of elements, whether we regard his passional nature, the series of motive springs, or impulses, or attractions, in him; or whether we regard him as a combination of physical members, bones, muscles, nerves, &c.; or whether we regard the internal constitution of each of these. Every thing in nature out of man, and every thing in the contemplated serial order of society called Association, takes therefore a form which is one of the powers of that original series. the type of all others, which exists in the passional or spiritual elements of man.—translator.]

[2] “The sacred four, source of nature and model of the Gods.”—Pythagoras.

[3] The principle and rule of Duty reside entirely in the accomplishment of general Destiny. The two terms, Collective Destiny and Duty, arc the two poles, objective and subjective, of the same idea.

[4] It is known, that shortly after the publication of his work of 1808, Fourier, taking a step beyond established science, gave the Aromal a place among the great movements of Life, and disengaged the Passional as pivot. Henceforth we can no longer count three kingdoms in nature; there are four, besides the pivotal or Hominal kingdom, which correspond to the four movements: the material, the aromal, the organic, the instinctual;  X the passional.

[5] One trait, among external forms, characterizes the supreme unity of human races among themselves. On the plant, on the tree, the branches and the roots are very dissimilar and of indeterminate number; in the feet, the claws, the fins of different animal species, the fingers, the articulations vary in number and very sensibly also in their form. Among the species of the nominal kingdom, the fingers, which, in the unitary plan of the creation, figure the roots and branches, are every where, alike in their number, their articular distribution, and their general form.

[6] M. Vidal, in his book on the Repartition of Richets, wishing to demonstrate that all social functions are equal in value and ought to be equally rewarded, says: “It would be as absurd to discuss the utility, the social value of different functions, as to discuss the utility of La or Mi.” The socialist writer, surely, is not a musician, if he thinks to attribute an equal value and importance; to all the notes of an indeterminate gamut.

[7] We might, by doubling the pivot, name here also the series of favoritism, where all fixed principle is contradicted, and all rule broken by caprice.

[8] Hugh Doherty says that Adam is nothing but a swarm of colonizers from the upper worlds. This hypothesis, which the laws of analogy render very rational, is equally favorable to our proposition.

[9] We need not state that we wish to be understood as speaking here of woman, as well as of man, and that in Harmony, the rights of citizenship, election, government, &.c., pertain to both sexes.

[10] This is the principle of Fourier: Proportional Repartition to Capital, to Labor and to Talent. This principle is found mutilated and perverted in the Saint-Simonian formula: “To each according to hit capacity, and to each capacity according to its work.”

[11] Let as remember that all, in the phraseology of movement, always understands an exception. Here are Fourier’s words about the retribution of the Little Hordes: “Although their labor is the most difficult from the want of direct attraction, yet the Little Hordes receive the lowest remuneration of all the Series. They would not accept anything, if such a refusal were admitted in Association. As it is, they take only the smallest part, which does not prevent each of their members from gaining the first lots in other occupations; but, true to their character of congregation, of unitary philanthropy, they have for a statute the indirectcontempt of riches, and devotion to the repugnant functions which they exercise as a point of honor.”

[12] It is a rare thing that one ruins himself for his friends, his corporation, or even for his children: but nothing is more common than a man committing such follies for his mistress, especially than a woman sacrificing every thing to her lover or her husband. It is a rare thing that one ruins himself for his friends, his corporation, or even for his children: but nothing is more common than a man committing such follies for his mistress, especially than a woman sacrificing every thing to her lover or her husband.

[13] Morelly, whom the communists seem to accept as their master (so far as a communist can recognize any superiority,) Morelly says in a concise way; “There belongs to man of the products of his industry only the part which he uses; the rest belongs to humanity.” A singular mixture this of materialism, egoism and of universal fraternity!

[14] Morelly, M. M. Vidal, Villegardelle, and all the communists. The Saint-Simonians also acknowledge these just bases.

[15] We need not say that we do not defend the right of age, the spirit of caste, the privileges of education and other monstrous forms of inheritance, which patriarchalism has handed down to civilization. In view of the actual abuses, M. Eugene Sue has reason to exclaim: “Inheritance, that great iniquity!” But the illustrious socialist writer has too much justice to condemn a principle on account of the abuses which have been derived from it. As well condemn possession itself; as well proscribe the spirit of family from which the whole evil proceeds.

[16] Here let us make an important observation. We must not believe that every Series distributes every harmony. When Fourier makes use of the general terms Series and Attraction, in these two sacred propositions: the Series distribute the harmonies; Attractions are proportional to destinies; he means to say integral attraction, the series par excellence, the series of series. This is evident from the following phrase in his last manuscript published in La Phalange: “We come to nothing by studying the free series; the whole secret of nature is concealed in the measured series; they are the only echoes of the laws of Unity.”

[17] Victor Considerant said one day: “If individual appropriation, if inheritance and donation did not exist, it would be necessary to invent them in order to perfect social harmony.” This property of a harmonic bond, which capital possesses in Association, has been expressed a thousand times in the most formal manner by Fourier. It was altogether gratuitous therefore in M. Vidal to write: “Fourier has not, like the Saint-Simonians and other socialists, broken openly with capital and inheritance. He has circumvented them, he has turned them, rendering them in some sort useless in the future.”

[18] The misprint which we reproduce from the text is charming. We can imagine it done treacherously and on purpose by some intelligent corrector of the press.

[19] In rain will civilization attempt to realize justice in the repartition of wealth, to long u it does not recognize the minimum. The minimum is the necessary basis; without it, donation and inheritance are, as we have said, social iniquities.

[20] M. Vidal. whose ill-founded criticisms and narrow doctrines we have animadverted upon, is otherwise a distinguished, erudite, impassioned writer, the most energetic adversary whom the political economists, have encountered since Fourier. He knows very well bow to combat error when he addresses himself to that. For the rest, be will have rendered a true service to the Associative School, in forcing it to develop ideas which it is not every one that knows how to seize precisely in the books of Fourier.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.