Prince Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921) was the most outstanding anarchist thinker of his time. His writings, which combine revolutionary fervor with intellectual rigor, were influential far beyond the bounds of the anarchist movement. No mere propagandist, Kropotkin aimed to provide anarchism with a scientific base through research of dominant tendencies in society. Fields, Factories and Workshops (1899) is a meticulously researched and brilliantly argued outline for redirecting agricultural and industrial production In a world of shrinking resources and increasing human needs. More prophetic than utopian, this volume remains remarkably pertinent to economic conditions at the end of the twentieth century.
The analysis of trends at work in the United States, Japan, and China are of amazing predictive power. Kropotkin's farsighted vision of future industrial planning is today being fulfilled on a wide scale in regions of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Equally prophetic is his critique of mass production in which he anticipates contemporary calls for multifaceted job training and greater flexibility in the workplace. Fields, Factories and Workshops constitutes a valuable source of Inspiration toward the reinvigoration of the moral point of view in the discussion of economics and social justice. It will be of continuing interest to historians, economists, sociologists, and labor studies specialists.