Lessons From the U.K. in the 1980s: And the Triumph of Thatcherism Over Keynesianism
When she came to power in May 1979, the British economy, by every measure, was in worse shape than the U.S. economy is today. Inflation was out of control. Unemployment was high and rising rapidly. Job creation had been at a total standstill for almost a decade and a half.
By sticking to her policies of lightened regulation, reduced trade barriers, privatization of a raft of publicly owned companies, reduced taxation, and the adoption of laws to prevent abuses of union power, Mrs. Thatcher achieved something few if any of today's economists have begun to consider. She achieved a genuine, productivity-led recovery that transformed Britain from perennial basket case into the Europe's most improved and vibrant economy.
U.S. policy makers and professional economists should study her example in order to turn this time of crisis into useful and enduring change. As she herself said, "Economics is too important just to be left to the economists." Thatcherite principles remain as valid as ever. The freedom of the marketplace is still the only effective mechanism for eliminating poor business practices, identifying productive investment, and providing long-term growth.
~Andrew B. Wilson in today's Wall Street Journal