Document 2D: Charles Fourier, "Of the Vices of Civilization," Théorie de l'Unité Universelle, (1822), reprinted in Selections from the Works of Fourier, edited by Charles Gide and translated by Julia Franklin (London: Sonnenschein, 1901, reprinted New York: Gordon Press, 1972), pp. 89-90.

        What is to-day the number of active and positive labourers? It does not amount to more than a third of the population. I have proved that a labourer, apparently useful, often performs only a negative labour, such as a wall of enclosure, which is not a real and positive production.

        In the parallel between the labours of civilisation and of Harmony, it will be seen that null or negative functionaries constitute TWO-THIRDS of the population; namely:


Domestic parasites.

1. Women.
2. Children.
3. Servants.
Social parasites.

4. Armies.
5. Fiscal Officials.
6. Manufactures.
7. Commerce.
8. Transportation.
Accessory parasites.

9. Stoppage.
10. Sophists.
11. Idlers.
12. Seceders.
Agents of positive destruction.
Agents of negative creation.

*       *       *

Domestic Parasites.

        1. Three-fourths of the WOMEN of cities and half of those of the country, through absorption in the labours of the household and in domestic complications. Accordingly their day is estimated, in economics, at only one-fifth of that of a man.

        2. Three-fourths of the CHILDREN, entirely useless in cities and of little use in the country, considering their unskilfulness and their mischievousness.

        3. Three-fourths of household DOMESTICS not cultivators, whose labour is only the consequence of complication, particularly in cooking, and half of the servants of the stable, servants of luxury and of the products of luxury, who, being necessary only by reason of industrial division, become superfluous in Association.

       These three classes composing the household form a class apart in the series of parasites. They will cease to figure there in the associative order, where judicious distribution, the proper employment of the sexes and of services, will reduce to one-fourth or one-fifth the number of hands brought into requisition to-day by the immense complication of separated households or inchoherent families.


| Documents Projects and Archives | Teacher's Corner | Scholar's Edition | Full-Text Sources | About Us | Contact Us |