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Godin, Jean Baptiste Andre

GODIN, JEAN BAPTISTE ANDRE (1817-1888), French socialist, was born on the 26th of January 1817 at Esqueheries (Aisne). The son of an artisan, he entered an iron- works at an early age, and at seventeen made a tour of France as journeyman. Returning to Esqueheries in 1837, he started a small factory for the manufacture of castings for heating-stoves. The business increased rapidly, and for the purpose of railway facilities was transferred to Guise in 1846. At the time of Godin's death in 1 888 the annual output was over four millions of francs ( 1 60,000) , and in 1908 the employees numbered over 2000 and the output was over 280,000. An ardent disciple of Fourier, he advanced a considerable sum of money towards the disastrous Fourierist experiment of V. P. Considerant (q.v.) in Texas. He profited, however, by its failure, and in 1859 started the familistere or community settlement of Guise on more carefully laid plans. It comprises, in addition to the workshops, three large buildings, four storeys high, capable of housing all the work-people, each family having two or three rooms. Attached to each building is a vast central court, covered with a glass roof, under which the children can play in all weathers. There are also creches, nurseries, hospital, refreshment rooms and recreation rooms of various kinds, stores for the purchase 1 of groceries, drapery and every necessity, and a large theatre for concerts and dramatic entertainments. In 1880 the whole was turned into a co- operative society, with provision by which it eventually became the property of the workers. In 1871 Godin was elected deputy for Aisne, but retired in 1876 to devote himself to the management of the familistere. In 1882 he was created a knight of the legion of honour.

Godin was the author of Solutions sociales (1871); Les Socialistes et les droits du travail (1874); Mutualite sociale (1880); La Republique du travail et la reforme parlementaire (1889). See Bernardot, Le Familistere de Guise et son fondateur (Paris, 1887); Fischer, Die Familistere Godin's (Berlin, 1890); Lestelle, Etude sur le familistere de Guise (Paris, 1904); D. F. P., Le Familistere illustre, resultats de vingt ans d' association, 1880-1900 (Eng. trans., Twenty-eight years of co-partnership at Guise, by A. Williams, 1908).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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