The Legacy of Margaret Thatcher—A Critical Assessment
Paul Stepney
University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland.
DOI: 10.4236/jss.2014.21013   PDF    HTML   XML   10,446 Downloads   18,004 Views   Citations


The recent death of Margaret Thatcher sparked some very strong and divided opinions throughout Europe, United States and across the globe. Her death made headline news, such was her notoriety as a person who not only sought to change history but was instrumental in reshaping it especially during the 1980s and 1990s. Although Thatcher may have passed away, the ideas underpinning Thatcherism are alive and well, and importantly, continue to exert a decisive influence on the wider political and economic landscape. The heart of Thatcher legacy is a fundamental contradiction neatly exposed by the current global economic crisis. Thatcherism, with its belief in the efficacy of the market and determination to roll back the frontiers of the state, ought to have been thoroughly discredited given that deregulation of the financial markets has led to many of todays problems. However, despite the financial crisis requiring massive government bailouts on an unprecedented scale, neoliberal thinking in the best Thatcherite traditions continues unabated. This is the paradox of Thatcherism. Now several months after her funeral is an appropriate time to make a rational assessment of her legacy, noting her achievements alongside the bitter controversy about the highly individualistic and divided society she helped to create.

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Stepney, P. (2014) The Legacy of Margaret Thatcher—A Critical Assessment. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 134-143. doi: 10.4236/jss.2014.21013.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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