Harriet Martineau has at last become mainstream. In her recent book entitled The Women Who Made Modern Economics, UK Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, identifies Harriet Martineau as a key person in enabling working people of her era to understand economics and economic theory. Whilst Reeves describes Martineau as a free marketeer whose ideas may seem on the surface similar to those of Margaret Thatcher, Reeves also acknowledges that Martineau also saw a role for government in eliminating or reducing social and economic inequalities.

Reeves ends her chapter on Martineau as follows:

Harriet Martineau stands out as someone whose impact transcends the economic sphere. Whilst she remains a central figure in the development of thinking on free trade, anti-regulation and economic individualism, she must also be remembered as a fierce anti-slavery advocate and someone at the forefront of the fight for women’s right to education. Before they were popular ideas, she understood  the importance of votes for women and working people and was prepared to go against the Church to support Darwin’s ideas on evolution. To only describe Harriet Martineau as an economist would be an injustice: she should be celebrated as a passionate champion for those marginalised by the society in which they lived.  Add to this that she opened up economic theory to the masses, and you have someone whose position as one of the great economic women of history feels in need of proper and solid recognition (pp28-9)

Details of the book can be found at: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-women-who-made-modern-economics/rachel-reeves//9781399807449?awaid=3787&utm_source=redbrain&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=css&gclid=CjwKCAiA7t6sBhAiEiwAsaieYtGni_I-FaUnIuengc_0gOGS_kNyvvxUL_seQ0_v40XrjI2HBq–PBoClmoQAvD_BwE