Radical Heroes

Beatrice Webb

Beatrice WebbMartha Beatrice Webb, Baroness Passfield (née Potter; 1858-1943) was perhaps the central figure in the creation of the British labor movement, the Fabian Society and the London School of Economics, as well as a prominent figure in shaping the British Labour party into a dominant force in politics. Along with her husband and eventually constant collaborator Sidney Webb, she developed many of the central ideas of and rationales for the trade unionism and helped create the field of labor economics. Granddaughter of Richard Potter Sr., one of the leading Radical members of parliament, and lover of leading Radical liberal Joseph Chamberlin, Webb never lost her appreciation for the power of markets or the value of liberal reforms. However, she saw them as ultimately insufficient to free labor from the power of capital or create true democracy which she believed had to extend beyond government to industry.