Thursday, April 18, 2013

Does The Economist magazine portray the British economy in an intellectualy honest fashion? Not in my book! What do you think?

Thatcherism: Good or Bad for Britain?

by David L Griscom | April 17, 2012

The April 13th edition of The Economist magazine featured a picture of Margaret Thatcher on the cover together with the words "Freedom fighter." What did they mean by that?

Well, they said "She thought nations could be great only if individuals were set free." They clarified this thought as "...the right of individuals to run their own lives, as free as possible from micromanagement from the states."

The Economist goes on to say that when Tharcher took power "She privatized state industries, refused to negotiate with unions, abolished state controls, broke the striking miners and replaced Keynesian with [Milton] Friedman's monetarism."

This sounds to me as though the "individuals" being set free were solely those that held corporate personhood.

The Economist does mention that Thatcher had her critics: 
"Her reforms, it is said, sowed the seeds of the recent economic crisis."

This article further describes the nature of these criticisms in this way:  "Without Thatcherism ...Financial services would not make up such a large slice of the British economy and the country would not now be struggling under the burden of individual debt caused by excessive borrowing and government debt caused by the need to bail out the banks."

From what I have learned from the intellectually honest economists that I regularly feature on this blog, the preceding criticism is mostly correct ...except for failing to explain that the burden of individual debt is traceable to Thatcher's privatization of all utilities (see below).  In addition, one might add that "the need to bail out the banks" was due to Thatcher's total deregulation of banking -- a virtual invitation for bankers to speculate in caustic derivatives and credit default swaps, creating a bubble that was bound to blow up.

The Economist concedes that "Some of this [criticism] is true" but continues with the rationalization "but then without Thatcherism Britain's economy would still be mired in state control, the commanding heights of its economy would be owned by the government, and militant unions would be a power in the land."

My comment regarding this last "defense" of Thatcherism is that if she hadn't sold off the then-price-regulated, government-run utilities at fire-sale prices to greedy corporations, the British people would not now be shivering in their unheated houses, unable to afford the current kleptocratic prices of heat, electricity, and water.  This cruel state of affairs would never have come to pass if the "militant unions" were still "a power in the land."

But this is just my labor-sympathetic make. Watch the video below for the opinion of a female Member of Parliament and draw your own conclusion:

Glenda Jackson launches tirade against Thatcher in tribute debate 

 Published on Apr 10, 2013

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