Robert Tressell

The ragged trousered philanthropists - Robert Tressell

A Marxist critique of society dressed up as a novel, Ragged Trousered Philanthrophists follows construction worker Frank Owen trying to convince others about socialism, a figure based on Tressell himself. He would face rejection and death before his work was published, but when it was it found instant popularity amongst UK workers.


1   An Imperial Banquet. A Philosophical Discussion. The Mysterious Stranger.

The great money trick - Robert Tressell

The passage from Robert Tressell's 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists' in which one of the characters cleverly outlines how the use of money under capitalism enriches capitalists and exploits the working class.

‘Money is the cause of poverty because it is the device by which those who are too lazy to work are enabled to rob the workers of the fruits of their labour.’

‘Prove it,’ said Crass.

Owen slowly folded up the piece of newspaper he had been reading and put it into his pocket.

‘All right,’ he replied. ‘I’ll show you how the Great Money Trick is worked.’