Lead: Beginning in 1800, Welsh social reformer and industrialist, Robert Owen, tried to improve the lives of his Scottish mill workers. It was a great success that led to a great failure at the same time.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Entrepreneur, radical philosopher, educator, and visionary Robert Owen made a fortune in the cotton industry. Owen believed that improved living and working conditions for his employees would bring them out of poverty and increase their overall productivity and his profits. This directly refuted the classical economists, particularly David Riccardo, whose so-called “iron law of wages,” asserted that raising wages did no good. If you raise pay and improve shop and living conditions, workers get optimistic and just have more children, which means more workers and less money to pay them. Wages just go back down.