English economic historian, social critic, and reformer. He had a great influence on the Labour Party, especially during the 1930s, although he never became a member of Parliament. His Labour and the Nation was the party's manifesto for the 1929 general election. His other books include the classic Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926).
After leaving Oxford University, Tawney taught for the Workers' Educational Association while working on The Agrarian Problem in the 16th Century (1912). He helped found the Economic History Society in 1926 and became the joint editor of its journal, the Economic History Review.
A committed Christian, Tawney based his socialism on moral values. Religion and the Rise of Capitalism examined morals and economic practice in England in the years 1588–1640. One of his most widely read books is The Acquisitive Society (published in 1921, and later abridged as Labour and the Nation), in which he criticized capitalism because it encourages acquisitiveness and so corrupts everyone. In Equality (1931), he argued for urgent improvements in social services to deal with some of the glaring inequities of the class system.