The death of Mrs Thatcher has met with mixed reactions. Probably never in recent British history has anyone inspired such deep hatred among some and yet profound admiration among others. Some will mourn, others will celebrate, her death. Whatever the attitude to this divisive personality, one thing stands out; this is her philosophy of Monetarism, called ‘Thatcherism’.
Greatly influenced by Friedrich von Hayek’s ‘The Road to Serfdom’ and the monetarism of his Chicago School disciple Milton Friedman, Mrs Thatcher thought that an economy could only work if it appealed to a base human instinct – the profit motive. Therefore, everything in the economy and life in general had to be ‘monetarised’. This is called economic liberalism, the rule of the market, according to which the poor did not matter because wealth would ‘trickle down’ to them through ‘the invisible hand’.
This was a reaction to the economic stagnation and decadence created in the UK by the post-War Keynsian Labour Party, whose inspiration was State regulation and State intervention, central planning. This was justified by the all too woolly concept of ‘social justice’, so open to the politics of envy, personal irresponsibility, selfishness and wastefulness. It demotivated, creating injustice, laziness and a ‘the State will sort it out’ attitude, which also bankrupted Communist countries.
In practice, Mrs Thatcher’s monetarism has meant a country run by accountants. Thus today, a generation on, accountants (’managers’) walk around hospitals (‘NHS trusts’) and decide which patients (‘bed blockers’) should leave and which should stay, regardless of their health, and other accountants (’executive head teachers’) walk around schools (‘academies’) and decide which good teacher will be sacked and which good course will be discontinued, regardless of human value. The profit motive reigns supreme over compassion, learning and eternal values.
This is the same Thatcherism – its greatest advocate being Mr Blair of the Arch-Conservative (‘New Labour’) Party – which bankrupted the nation, because it believed in the law of the jungle (‘deregulation’). Thus, within a generation, Thatcherism (also called Blairism) created an out of control (‘deregulated’) banking system, bankrupted millions, indebted students and blighted the lives of future generations in this country.
In the Gospel it is written that we cannot serve God and Monetarism (Mammon). In her last years Mrs Thatcher was extremely ill. We would hope that that illness brought her repentance, for that is what we all need. In that way she would have learned about the Gospel and that it is not money, money, money that makes the world go round. It is (the God of) Love Who makes the world go round.