ABSTRACT

This article was written for the quarterly publication of Anglo-Dutch conglomerate Unilever: Progress 42, no. 232 (autumn 1951): 13–16 (B&R C51.34). This hugely successful company was formed in 1930 from a merger of British soapmaker Lever Brothers with Dutch margarine producer Unie. Progress had been started in 1899 by William Hesketh Lever (1851–1925, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, 1917) as a medium of communication from the Lever Brothers management to its workers in the main production facility located in the company’s model village of Port Sunlight on the Mersey estuary, and in branch plants and offices in Britain and overseas. By the early 1920s the publication had attained impressive circulation figures of some 250,000 copies worldwide (see Black, Muddiman and Plant 2007, 134). Concerned first and foremost in its early years with “exhortation and advice to the outdoor sales force” (C. Wilson 1954, 1: 42), these narrow editorial horizons gradually expanded. By the 1950s Progress was keen to provide a platform to intellectual and public figures who thereby helped “to project an image of Uni-lever as a research-conscious and enlightened company” (Tunstall 1964, 160). Hence Russell’s expansive reflections on politics and economics were hardly out of place inside what began as an in-house journal pure and simple.