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Sidney James WEBB


Sidney James WEBB, economist.


WEBB, Sidney James was born in 1859 in London, England.


Already established as a theorist of the Fabian Society, and a collector of social and economic information, his marriage in 1892 to Beatrice Potter began the extraordinary partnership which achieved so much in research and socialist politics. Their position was basically utilitarian, and they sought to achieve a socialist society by the replacement of private ownership with a range of public and co-operative forms of ownership. Gradual change was to be the means for this and the trades unions, co-operative movement and Labor Party were amongst the agencies they employed to spread their views.

The pamphlets of the Fabian Society best expressed their programme. Much of their research was in economic history, but their efforts on government commissions, including the Minority Report of the Commission on the Poor Laws (1909), were extremely influential. They later came to see Soviet communism as a vision of the society they wished for Britain, but violent revolution was never part of their programme.

Clerk, 1875-1878; Civil Servant, 1878-1891. Journalist, writer and politician.


  • Member, Executive Committee, Fabian Society. Founder London School of Economies and Political Science, London, United Kingdom. Member, London County Council, 1892-1910.

    Member of Parliament, 1922-1929. Member, Labour governments, 1924, 1929-1931. Created Lord Passfield, 1929.