Copies of two letters on Labour Exchanges

Scope and Content

Manuscript copies two bound letters on the subject of "Co-operative System" and the "Exchange of Labour". One is written by W[illiam] Pare, dated 11 August 1830, and appeared in the Weekly Free Press newspaper on the 21 Aug 1830 and the second is a reply from W. King, dated 4 September 1830, which was sent to the Editor of the Weekly Free Press but remained unpublished. Here King provides a copy of both the letters for Owen to read.

In his letter, Pare gives his thoughts on the scheme as proposed by W. King for Labour Exchange Bazaar. Pare is dubious of the validity of this scheme, with his main concern being the definition of the "useful articles or goods" to be exchanged, and how the practicalities of this will affect the members of his Co-operative Society in Birmingham who produce goods not readily traded for others.

In his reply, King acknowledges Pare's input as that of an "intelligent and active" individual, before explaining to him that the planned introduction of "Labour Notes" would remove many of the difficulties he mentioned. King also believes Birmingham, the "Toy shop of Europe", should be considered an "extreme case" and some of those specialised articles it produces are likely to become redundant in a time when "all mankind shall reside in Co-operative Communities".

King explains that the establishing of Bazaars would not replace the existing demand for any article (and therefore not threaten jobs), but would in fact create an extra market. A market that would allow, in King's view, people to exchange goods for ones they could not afford if required to buy them for money.

The letter continues at length detailing King's thoughts on how the exchange of Labour Notes would occur between the different trades, and also how use of the notes in exchange for the provision of education would encourage the creation of "new circumstances and forming superior Characters".

Note

Stamped number: 130