Industrial Society

  • Roger Williams
Part of the Studies in Comparative Politics book series (STCP)


It is because ‘technological society’ is represented as the future of ‘industrial society’ that it seems right as a preliminary to summarise some of the thought behind ‘industrial society’, itself a hypothetical construct. Saint-Simon was the first to focus on it for this purpose, though he himself was following the intellectual lead of Condorcet, whose achievement it was, according to Lakoff, ‘to synthesise the Baconian conception of the utility of science with the Rousseauistic and Lockean vision of a society of freedom and equality’.10 Saint-Simon was followed by the Saint-Simonian school, by Comte and by Spencer. The influence of Saint-Simonism has been much greater than is generally realised, partly because Comte has received much of the honour properly due to Saint-Simon himself,11 and Marx, Engels, Carlyle and Mill were all among those exposed to Saint-Simonian thinking. What Saint-Simon wanted was the placing of all social responsibilities with those individuals best fitted to discharge them in the general interest.12 He envisaged an industrial order which would have overcome the arbitrariness, incapacity and intrigue of existing political systems, and which, though having ‘brain’, ‘motor’ and ‘sensory’ classes, would yet have had no class domination or conflict. This would have been an integrated, planned, productive and internally secure society, fair too, one might say, but still hierarchical.


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Copyright information

© Government and Opposition 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ManchesterUK

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