Modern Science and Anarchism.
national estates, and the speculations in food during the war,
fully understood the dominating importance of that great attempt
which was made by the sansculottes, in 1793 and 1794, to
nationalise trade, by means of communal dep6ts.
The Commune, the free municipality—Fourier called it a
Phalanx—had thus, in Fourier's opinion, to offer the solution of
the great problem of Exchange and Distribution of Produce.
But this Commune would not be the owner of the stored produce:
it would only be a depositary—an agency for storing the produce
and distributing it, which realises no profit and levies no tribute
upon the consumers.
Fourier gave a further extension to his idea. He supposed
that all the families of a rural Commune constitute a Phalanx.
they put together their land, their chattels, and their agricultural
implements, and cultivate their land, or engage in industrial
pursuits, as if the land, the chattels, the machines, etc., were
their common property—a careful record, however, being kept of
every inhabitant's contribution to the working capital.
Two main points had to be kept in view in such an association.
There must be no disagreeable labour. All labour must be so
organised, so distributed, and so diversified as always to be
attractive. And no sort of coercion must be exercised. In a
society organised on the principle of free association, no sort of
coercion could be tolerated, and none would be needed. With
some intelligent attention to the needs of every member of the
Phalanx, and with its combination of agricultural, industrial,
intellectual, and artistic work, the members of the Phalanx would
soon recognise that even the passions of men, which under the
present structure of society often become a nuisance and a
danger, and are always an excuse for coercion—even the passions
can be a source of progress, if their exercise be recognised, and
a reasonable social outlet for them be given in the shape of new
ventures, risky enterprises, social animation, diversity, and so on.
As to how the commodities produced would be distributed,
Fourier—who, after the defeat of the Great French Revolution,
and during the awful reaction that followed it, was naturally
induced to advocate peaceful solutions only—insisted upon the
necessity of recognising the principle of association between
Capital, Labour, and Talent, Accordingly, the value of tbe
commodities produced by each Phalanx ought to be divided, in
his opinion, into three parts, one of which would remunerate
Capital, another would remunerate Labour, and the third would