6/05/2019

Thatcherism at 40

"Love her or hate her, Thatcher is still now – and will be for a while – remembered as the most committed free marketer among Westerner leaders. That is certainly due to what she did. I would say that Thatcher’s main and longer lasting legacy is privatisations: from “Right to Buy”, that is: allowing people to buy the government-owned “council” houses that they lived in, to British Telecom, British Gas, British Airways and the then-nationalised automobile sector, she privatised big and bold. That choice benefited the economy in a number of ways: allowed for lower prices and eventually more consumer choice, brought a substantial chunk of the business sector back into the capitalist fold, enabling the emergence of better governance practices for those very industries, fertilizing the financial sector. But it was also a most visible way to show people that the state could be rolled back. As Lord Tebbit puts it in PBS documentary “Commanding Heights”, “One of Margaret Thatcher’s extraordinary achievements was that she changed the whole perception of the way our economy is run”."