Tawney, Richard Henry (tôˈnē) [key], 1880–1962, British economic historian, b. Calcutta (now Kolkata). He was professor at the Univ. of London from 1931 to 1949. A leading socialist, Tawney helped to formulate the economic and ethical views of the British Labour party through his many essays and books, and he participated in numerous government bodies concerned with education, trade, and industry. As a scholar Tawney was a foremost expert on early modern capitalism. His works include the classic The Agrarian Problem in the 16th Century (1912), which describes the creation of capitalistic modes of production, of an enclosure movement, and of a vigorous rising gentry in rural England. Religion and the Rise of Capitalism (1926) examines the relationship between the Protestant ethic and early capitalism. Among his other significant volumes are The Acquisitive Society (1920), Equality (1931, 4th ed. 1952), and Land and Labour in China (1932).
See R. Terrill, R. H. Tawney and His Times (1973).