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Summary of The Road to Wigan Pier 

Short summary

The Road To Wigan Pier is an account of George Orwell’s experience in the north of England, where he sought to discover the true nature of life outside the borders and scope of the middle-class. It is a critique of capitalism that highlights Orwell’s stern convictions about socialism. Orwell was on a mission to debunk and expose the poverty and unemployment statistics being under-reported. He also wanted to erase the ignorance of the middle-class as regards the unfair wage scheme of the poor. George Orwell was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. His work is characterized by lucid prose, biting social criticism, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism. “It is only when you meet someone of a different culture from yourself that you begin to realize what your own beliefs really are.” ~ George Orwell

Key points


Poverty can result from unfair economic systems; socialism exists to prevent such occurrences

Socialism is a political, social, and economic philosophy that covers various systems and is characterized by communal or governmental ownership of the means of production. It often involves the political theories and movements associated with such systems. Social ownership can be collective, cooperative, or a thing of equity. It was created in opposition to the capitalist system.
Socialism is a concept that gives the citizens more ownership of the country’s ventures.
George Orwell believed this was the solution to the prevalent poverty in England. He’s not alone in this mindset; there are many philosophers from the past, such as Vladimir Lenin, who shared this view as well. But unfortunately, the capitalist system favors a few and leaves a more significant percentage of people in abject poverty. So really, socialism is a means to balance the scales.
Poverty is a result of the inequality in the financial atmosphere set up by capitalism.
It was clear to Orwell that the prevailing economic system was unfair to the masses and only served to enrich a few people. In socialism, Orwell found the answer to rising unemployment and poverty rates. It is a utopian ideal and, often, when appropriately applied, boasts of substantial positive results. Countries such as China and Russia practice it to this day, with a relatively healthy economic atmosphere, on the surface at least.
There is a great need to find a cure to the plague of poverty by properly implementing workable financial systems.
The world is tormented with gross wealth inequality, a direct offshoot of a capitalist system. In the design, although it is known as a free market, the competition is fierce and unfair if a new player is without enough finances to stay afloat. Socialism seeks to eliminate these “survival of the richest“ tactics and offer a free but a level playing field for its people.

In the following chapters, Orwell explores socialism and how it can provide a more economically stable society. You will be exposed to the truth about poverty, inequality of wealth, and the imbalanced wage structure instituted by capitalism.
We are living in a world in which nobody is free, in which hardly anybody is secure, in which it is almost impossible, to be honest and to remain alive. ~ George Orwell

The life of low-end workers isn’t a glamorous one, and they do not get paid enough either

Orwell was convinced that the people of England lived much better lives than it was advertised; he believed that their impoverished state was a mirage. Orwell, however, needed to experience the truth for himself, so he took a trip to the mining communities. These communities represented, in most cases, the more extensive collection of the poor workers in the country.
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The poor have mostly been ignored because of prevalent myths about their actual economic states


The wage structure does not treat the hard workers fairly, paying them less even with terrible working conditions


Socialism is a promise of equality and utopian society if implemented correctly


Not everyone will accept socialism because they do not understand it



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