CRF Blog

The Legacy of Margaret Thatcher

by David De La Torre

In No ordinary politician, The Economist’s cover story assesses the legacy of the former prime minister, who died on April 8.

Mrs Thatcher believed that societies have to encourage and reward the risk-takers, the entrepreneurs, who alone create the wealth without which governments cannot do anything, let alone help the weak. A country can prosper only by encouraging people to save and to spend no more than they earn; profligacy (and, even worse, borrowing) were her road to perdition. The essence of Thatcherism was a strong state and a free economy.

For Mrs Thatcher, her system was moral as much as economic. It confronted the “evil” empires of communism and socialism. Many things caused the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, but the clarity of Mrs Thatcher’s beliefs was a vital factor.

Her beliefs were fine-tuned in the political struggles of the 1970s and 1980s. But in effect they changed little from what she imbibed at her home in Grantham, a provincial town in eastern England, where she was born in 1925. The most important influence in her life was her father, Alfred Roberts, who ran the grocer’s shop above which she was brought up. [more]