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History   >   Britain – Thatcherism, 1979-90

What were Margaret Thatcher's economic views?

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Britain – Thatcherism, 1979-90

In this course, Professor Pete Dorey (Cardiff University) explores the impacts of Thatcherism from 1979-90. In the first lecture, we think about Margaret Thatcher’s economic views and their origins. In the second lecture, we think about some of Thatcher’s key policies. In the third lecture, we think about how Thatcher’s governments approached government intervention in economic affairs. Next, we think about how Thatcher managed her cabinet and ministers. In the fifth lecture, we think about how Thatcher managed ministers who did not agree with her policies. In the sixth and final lecture, we think about how Thatcher managed Conservative loyalists.

What were Margaret Thatcher's economic views?

In this lecture, we think about Margaret Thatcher’s economics views, focusing in particular on: (i) Thatcher’s belief that only capitalism could provide economic growth, prosperity and political freedom; (ii) Thatcher’s belief that communism was inefficient and didn’t provide political freedom; (iii) Thatcher’s admiration of those who start their own business, as they generate the wealth for the country; (iv) Thatcher’s view that people are naturally motivated by self-interest and the desire to acquire wealth; (v) Thatcher’s views on individualism and their inspiration from the economist Adam Smith and his book An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations; (vi) Adam Smith’s baker analogy, which posits that the individual and society can both benefit by an individual making money through the production of goods; (vii) Thatcher’s view that competition empowers the consumer; (viii) Thatcher’s view that competition gives a failing business three options, to lower prices, improve quality or diversify production, all of which empower the consumer; (ix) Thatcher’s belief that equality was neither achievable nor desirable and that equality through socialism was inefficient, as well as impoverishing people and taking away their freedom; (x) Thatcher’s view that people who were poor were often lazy and lacked a good work ethic; (xi) Thatcher’s view that the post-war British welfare state was too generous and rewarded people for being lazy; (xii) Thatcher’s admiration for self-made successes like Richard Branson and Alan Sugar; (xiii) Thatcher’s view that wealth creation and the trickle-down effect of wealth went hand in hand, therefore causing her to tune her economic policies to help the rich stay rich; (xiv) Thatcher’s view that those who advocated for equality, such as socialists, were promoting the politics of envy; (xv) Thatcher’s alignment with Churchill’s quote that the poor don’t get richer by making the rich poorer; (xvi) Thatcher’s humble beginnings as the daughter of a shopkeeper; (xvii) Thatcher’s key economic principles, inspired by her experience working in her father’s shop; (xviii) Thatcher’s economic inspiration from Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Dorey, P. (2024, April 05). Britain – Thatcherism, 1979-90 - What were Margaret Thatcher's economic views? [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Dorey, P. "Britain – Thatcherism, 1979-90 – What were Margaret Thatcher's economic views?." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 05 Apr 2024,


Prof. Peter Dorey

Prof. Peter Dorey

Cardiff University