L?on Harmel: Entrepreneur as Catholic Social Reformer


L?on Harmel: Entrepreneur as Catholic Social Reformer

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L?on Harmel is a penetrating study of the French industrialist who from 1870 to 1914 advanced social Catholic and Christian democratic movements by improving factory conditions and empowering workers. Joan Coffey s fascinating new book represents the first major study of L?on Harmel in English.

Harmel s model factory at Val-des-Bois demonstrated that mutual accord and respect were possible between labor and management. Harmel turned his profitable spinning mill into a Christian corporation. His ethical business practices captured the attention of Pope Leo XIII and inspired his encyclical Rerum Novarum. Harmel also encouraged his workers to make pilgrimages to Rome. The collaboration of Pope Leo XIII and L?on Harmel laid the foundation of enterprises that collectively became known as Christian democracy.

Drawing on extensive archival sources, including the Vatican Archives, Joan Coffey s work skillfully analyzes the personal relationship between Pope Leo XIII