Thatcherism: (Neo)liberalism or (Neo)conservatism? Cover Image

Thatcherizmus: (neo)liberalizmus vagy (neo)konzervativizmus?
Thatcherism: (Neo)liberalism or (Neo)conservatism?

Author(s): Gergely Egedy
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences
Published by: MTA Politikai Tudományi Intézete

Summary/Abstract: This study makes an attempt at analysing the components and character of Thatcherite conservatism. Its starting assumption is that Thatcherism represents a markedly new phase in the history of English conservatism. It can be argued that Thatcherism was a response to altered circumstances: faith in Keynesian demand management was undermined by mounting economic problems in the seventies. Thatcherite conservatism can be described as a peculiar mixture of neo-liberal and conservative elements. There were two principal strands. On the one hand Thatcherism certainly involves a revival of the basic ideas of laissez-faire liberalism, expressed more recently by such thinkers as Hayek and Friedman. The neo-liberal strand in Thatcherism stresses the importance of the free market, the minimal state and individual responsibility. On the other hand the Thatcherite New Right espouses such traditional conservative values as law and order, the protection of the family and the nation. The contrasting neo-liberal and conservative strands of Thatcherism have always provided a potential source of conflict. The paper’s conclusion is that to a degree, however, the two strands proved to be compatible; both implied hostility to corporatist tendencies, bureaucracy and trade unionism. From a neo-liberal perspective these involved unjustified interference with free-market forces, and from a neo-conservative viewpoint all these posed a threat to the authority of the state.

  • Issue Year: 2006
  • Issue No: 2-3
  • Page Range: 5-24
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Hungarian