Birth of John Atkinson Hobson, economist, social scientist and radical thinker

A Liberal until his opposition to the First World War led him to join the Union of Democratic Control and later the Independent Labour Party, Hobson most famously helped develop the New Liberalism of the 1890s and 1900s and was particularly associated in this with L T Hobhouse. New Liberalism made the case against classical laissez-faire Liberalism and in favour of state intervention to relieve poverty, ignorance or disease and paved the way for the radical social reforms of the Liberal government after 1908. Perhaps Hobson’s most significant contribution was in his linking of capitalism with the drive to empire in his influential book Imperialism: A Study which was quoted approvingly by Lenin. Hobson died in 1940 aged 81.