Margaret Thatcher Analysis

      Chapter 8, Politics in Britain, Video: Margaret Thatcher Ousted (4 questions)

Margaret Thatcher once famously remarked, "There is no society; there are only individuals." How is this sentiment reflected in Thatcherism?

      In translation, if there is no society, there cannot be social welfare. Margaret Thatcher makes this statement to support her views against a large, expanded government. She disagrees strongly with “socialist” government aid, because it does not promote economic growth or competiveness. Thatcher has a strong “every man for himself” and “survival of the fittest” mentality; it just so happens that ‘the fittest’ these days refers to financial wealth. Many of her public policy reforms, referred to as Thatcherism, largely include the privatization of once-municipal functions, such as public housing, hospitals, even local public administration.
      Thatcher felt that privatization of public goods would create a more competitive market for Britain and therefore, more efficient and beneficial services. As a result of a more business-like, cost-benefit approach to governing, Thatcher succeeded in reducing the rate of inflation, but did little to aid the rise of unemployment.
      As a neoliberal and a free market advocate, Thatcher reduced personal income taxes to grant the individual more freedom, although she raised indirect taxes (i.e. excise taxes) to compensate. But this, of course, continued to benefit the wealthy and hurt the poor.
She has been criticized for not making significant strides to help the homeless; however, to be fair, she doesn’t feel anything needs to be done about homelessness. She treats government as a business, not a welfare program. The decisions she made as prime minister strongly reflect this sentiment.

Margaret Thatcher's policy reforms have tended to be deeply polarizing. Indeed, according to a poll conducted shortly after she was removed from office, 52 percent of the British public said that her...