Comte De Saint-Simon


Author: Author’s name is Comte de Saint-Simon.  Saint-Simon is considered to be a French social theorist (Comte de Saint-Simon 1).  He was not in support of a Laissez-faire economy.  Instead, Saint-Simon wanted “an industrialized state directed by science,” (Comte de Saint-Simon 1).  Furthermore, Saint-Simon wanted industrialists to become enlightened and after their enlightenment, for he felt that they could help the poor.  He also fought in the American Revolution.

Context: The article does not say when exactly it was written, but on Encyclopedia Britannica they make mention of many of his works.  A few of his successful works were in 1803, 1814, and  1816-18.  It claims that his work in 1803 spoke to the importance of science, which this piece does. ((Encyclopedia Britannica, Henri de Saint-Simon)).

Language: Saint-Simon seemed to be challenging the way Europe currently stood economically when he wrote this piece.  The tone of his voice could be characterized as frustrated, for he was not happy with the way Europe continued to use this Laissez-faire attitude.

Audience: He claims that Europe relies on this Laissez-faire attitude and that it is considered to be “the inevitable solution,” (Comte de Saint-Simon 2).  Saint-Simon disagreed with this point and wants Europe to change their ways.  Due to the fact that St. Simon disagreed with this Laissez-faire mentality and constantly mentioned “honest and hard-working men,” (Comte de Saint-Simon 2) as “innumerable victims,” (Comte de Saint- Simon 2) it seems as though Saint-Simon was speaking to the masses, as he wanted them to change their line of thinking and stop going along with the Laissez-faire attitude.

Intent: As stated above, it seems that Saint-Simon’s intent was to encourage the masses to look around and see how they were being manipulated by the Laissez-faire economy and his piece showed a way in which they could improve the European economy.

Message: Laissez-faire is defined as, “policy of minimum governmental interference in the economic affairs of individuals and society,” ((Encyclopedia Britannica, laissez-faire)).  However, while many Europeans found this to be “inevitable solution,” Saint-Simon disagreed and stated that a Laissez-fair economy created a “struggle to the death,” (Comte de Saint-Simon 2) mentality amongst Europeans.  Furthermore, by creating this mentality, Saint-Simon claimed that while some individuals may be successful, “the price is the complete ruin of innumerable victims.”  In fact, because many working men become “innumerable victims,” Saint-Simon claimed that this caused people to go to the endth measure, for “more than honesty and hard work are needed,” (Comte de Saint-Simon 2).  Saint-Simon concludes that when working men see that hard work does not get enough done, they resort to deceitful tactics and become “lost to humanity,” (Comte de Saint- Simon 2).  Therefore, because working men, seeing that there hard-work was useless, turn to drastic measures and lose their humanity.  This, Saint-Simon argued, is a major problem occurring in Europe and will only be fixed if the Laissez-faire economy is done away with.

His solution to this, was, as the introduction stated, “an industrialized state directed by science, and an enlightened class of industrialists to address the needs of the poor,” (Comte de Saint-Simon 1).  While this solution had flaws, for Saint-Simon acknowledges these very flaws in his introduction, he believed that a state which was directed by science could not be any more flawed than a Laissez-faire economy, which continuously hurt the humanity of Europe and brought chaos to Europe.


*Once again, I had trouble with footnoting.  Below are the sources I used for the Context section and Message section.*

“Henri de Saint-Simon”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.       Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2015 (context section)

“laissez-faire”. Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., 2015. Web. 05 Feb. 2015. (message section)