Margaret Thatcher speaking at the Conservative Party Conference in 1986:

This Government has rolled back the frontiers of the State, and will roll them back still further.

So popular is our policy that it’s being taken up all over the world.

From France to the Phillipines, from Jamaica to Japan, from Malaysia to Mexico, from Sri Lanka to Singapore, privatisation is on the move, there’s even a special oriental version in China.

The policies we have pioneered are catching on in country after country.

We Conservatives believe in popular capitalism—believe in a property-owning democracy.

And it works!

In Scotland recently, I was present at the sale of the millionth council house: to a lovely family with two children, who can at last call their home their own.

Now let’s go for the second million!

And what’s more, millions have already become shareholders.

And soon there will be opportunities for millions more, in British Gas, British Airways, British Airports and Rolls-Royce.

Who says we’ve run out of steam.

We’re in our prime!

The great political reform of the last century was to enable more and more people to have a vote.

Now the great Tory reform of this century is to enable more and more people to own property.

Popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade to enfranchise the many in the economic life of the nation.

We Conservatives are returning power to the people.

That is the way to one nation, one people.

9 Responses to “[1791] Of popular capitalism is nothing less than a crusade”

  1. on 27 Sep 2008 at 19:51 anon

    Haha, I remember this one – my personal hero, indeed :D

  2. on 27 Sep 2008 at 20:49 sigma

    “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone.” – John Maynard Keynes

  3. on 27 Sep 2008 at 21:59 anon

    Keynesian ideas have done a lot of harm to this world. Including the current financial crisis.

    Capitalism is about individuals taking responsibilities for their lives, and having the freedom to live their lives as they see fit. And it’s the closest system that we have thus far which actually RESPECTS the laws of economics – which are akin to, say, the law of gravity. For similar reasons, socialism (which is really a milder form of fascism) and communism always FAILS.

    That is the economic argument – but there is also the issue of individual freedom and liberty. Economics and freedom are intertwined.

    Whenever government intervenes, it ALWAYS messes things up. Every government intervention in the economy benefits group A, by penalizing group B. Naturally, this raises questions of whether such actions are MORAL – and there are repercussions for individual liberty.

    “The most terrifying words in the English language are – ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” (Reagan)

    The lessons of the financial crisis can be summed up as:

    1. In the event of massive, systematic economic failures – the real bad guy is ALWAYS the government and central banks.

    2. In an existence of uncertainty, we have the certainty that governments and central banks will continue to throw things out of whack – and if you’re not careful you’ll be dragged down into the vortex as well.

    But swerving back to Maggie…

    When she started her privatization craze in the 80’s, one of the first things she did was to give full title to those who lived in council flats and houses – overnight increasing the material wealth of hundreds of thousands of people (especially those on the lowest salaries) and empowering them.

    And the privatization of British industries – sure, there were a few hiccups (some natural monopolies which shouldn’t have been privatized i.m.o.), but by and large people enjoy far greater standards of living.

    I’m not against all forms of ‘socialism’ – e.g. when it comes to education, and to a lesser extent, health care – but these have to be done with the understanding that you’re trying to DEFY NATURE. There are CONSEQUENCES.

    Thatcher is a classical liberal in every sense of the word, and the ONLY decent politician to have done anything good. Conviction politicians deserve our respect regardless of our affiliations anyway. But the masses are duped by the commies/left-wing nuts (e.g. Noam Chomsky) who prefer to remember her as an evil, fascist witch.

    My favorite Thatcher quote:

    “I think we’ve been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it’s the government’s job to cope with it.

    ‘I have a problem, I’ll get a grant.’ ‘I’m homeless, the government must house me.’ They’re casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.

    And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour.

    People have got the entitlements too much in mind, without the obligations. There’s no such thing as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”

    And an excerpt from an old Lee Kuan Yew speech during Thatcher’s official visit to Singapore:

    “For nearly four decades since the war, successive British governments seemed to assumed that the creation of wealth came about naturally, and that what needed government attention and ingenuity was the redistribution of wealth. So governments devised ingenious ways to transfer incomes from the successful to the less successful. In this climate, it requires a prime minister with very strong nerves to tell voters the truth – that creators of wealth are precious members of society who deserve honour plus the right to keep a better part of their rewards… We have used to advantage what Britain left behind: the English language, the legal system, parliamentary government and impartial administration. However, we have studiously avoided the practices of the welfare state. We saw how a great people reduced themselves to mediocrity by leveling down.”

  4. on 27 Sep 2008 at 22:01 anon

    *only decent politician IN RECENT MEMORY

  5. on 28 Sep 2008 at 09:16 sigma

    “And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families.”

    The reason I disagree with the pure capitalist’s mindset.

    “That creators of wealth are precious members of society who deserve honour plus the right to keep a better part of their rewards…”

    I see, so Rupert Murdoch’s son is a ‘precious member of society’ huh? Is it because of his terrific business acumen? Or his searing intelligence? Or his hard work? Or maybe just because his last name’s ‘Murdoch’?

    Why I don’t share your Maggie Thatcher’s enthusiasm for capitalism:

    1. The demand and supply equilibrium reached by the free markets are not always desirable or rational. For example, why is there more money and effort poured into production of drugs to help old men stay erect, compared to let’s say, the production of cheap drugs to prevent third world diseases? Because serving poor Africans ain’t as lucrative as serving rich horny old men.

    2. “I hope we shall… crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of
    our country.” –Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816.

    Corporations are usurping the levers of power from the people. These entities and the CEOs and management behind them have absolutely no mandate from the people. Yet with their money and lobbyist, they pressure governments to legislate for them and against the common people. This is where capitalism will take us.

    3. Pure, unadulterated capitalism makes the rich, richer and the poor, poorer. It creates circles of privileges in which the rich will continue to enrich themselves and block others from doing the same. And not just the poor people. The middle-class would also not be welcomed into that circle, if not for govt intervention to eliminate those barriers. A rich man’s son would get sent to a posh school, a posh university, and a posh job. A poor/middle-class man’s son will never be able to break into those barriers without government intervention to bring more equality of opportunities to people.

    4. The government represents the will of the people, and therefore government intervention equals the people’s intervention. Why shouldn’t the people exercise their right in directing the direction of their country? I voted for my government, not for Lehman Brothers, or McDonalds, or Citibank, or Nike.

  6. on 28 Sep 2008 at 12:33 anon

    Much of what passes as ‘capitalism’ is actually ‘socialism for the rich’ – but most people fail to distinguish between the two. You are confusing the two, and you fail to fundamentally understand that: CORPORATIONS CAN ONLY WIELD THE POWER/MONOPOLY/CLOUT THEY HAVE ONLY IF THEY ARE PROTECTED BY GOVERNMENT.

    If a corporation happens to be earning obscene profits over obscenely long periods of time – that could lead you to suspect that it is really ‘socialism for the rich’, not ‘capitalism’. However, I am not making a generalization here.

    When the government is active in the market to ‘regulate’ specific aspects, it always favours one group at the others. And these ‘phony capitalists’ (who are actually feudal lords of a socialist system) like tax, because they can get tax breaks (whilst the workers can’t), government-backed loans, state subsidies and grants, government contracts (like building weapons). They champion central banking, and state controlled fiat currency systems.

    True capitalists are the opposite.

    Big businesses (oil companies, big banks, etc) love Big Government, because they can get state protection (from competition), have govt impose ‘regulations’ and market restrictions (to penalise competition and erect barriers to entry), eventually leading to state-protected cartels and monopolies.

    Why do influential lobby groups have the influence they have, and why are there entry barriers?

    Answer: Government.

    (plenty of cut-and-paste from here on)

    On the foundations of economics – which in turn would show why a command economy (e.g. socialism, communism) is bound to fail; and why capitalism, through rewarding individual effort, is the BEST WAY to help the poor:

    “You have to go right back to the beginning and consider the nature of man — Man has freewill and that freewill chooses selfishly—i.e. that is to say, ‘in his own self interest’, his ‘self interest’ being what that individual has chosen to value in his own mind. Each individual is different. For e.g. Person A with $5 might buy a magazine, Person B a can of beer, Person C might buy some flowers for his mum—it all depends what the individuals VALUE at that particular time and thus makes his choices (chooses to ACT—in this case TRADE) to allocate his given resources accordingly.

    This is called making choices or acting ‘on the margin’, and the logic of human action is called praxeology, and this is why the Customer is King, in the sense that it is his wants, desires, needs and values which need fulfillment which drives the DEMAND in a free economy.

    I’m going to skip many steps as my time to explain this is limited, but will place some links for those who are interested in the praxeological basis for markets.

    In a market there are millions, if not billions of demanding individuals who have needs, wants and desires all requiring fulfillment. It is of course IMPOSSIBLE to fulfill all those requirements instantly because resources have to be allocated to CREATE the goods and services to serve the customers.

    In that society, almost every customer is himself a PRODUCER of goods and services. For e.g. a cab driver supplies his transport services, he earn money which he exchanges for food for his family, however he doesn’t produce the food—someone else does—a complete stranger.

    So you get a situation with all the demands of individuals and also their ability to produce. Many of those individuals also have cash which they will invest in the businesses producing the goods and services. What you get is a SPONTANEOUS ORDER, much like any other eco-system found in nature. And all of this is because man has freewill, and therefore chooses his VALUES and then seeks to have those VALUES ‘serviced’ (so to speak), all driven by SELF-INTEREST.

    As always, any attempt to interfere with the natural order of things without concern for the ‘environment’ or the players that environment is bound to have adverse effects. This is NATURE (the spontaneous order of the market) we are talking about. Nature has its own ‘laws’ and behaves accordingly.

    Man of course can control certain aspects in nature (in limited contexts)—we couldn’t have civilisations if our species didn’t or couldn’t do that. BUT as long as he OBEYS natures ‘laws’, he is ok and his quality of life improves. However if he attempts to short-circuit the natural order of the Universe, he gets the appropriate ‘feedback’. Remember, the universe behaves PERFECTLY all of the time. Just a reminder, I know I’m getting into ‘spiritual’ territory, but you see, every thing is interwoven into each other. That is the nature of SPONTANEOUS ORDERS.

    People fear the market because they don’t understand NATURE. Nature has made it such that NONE OF US have ALL THE KNOWLEDGE or ALL THE SKILLS. we also don’t have ALL THE TIME—we have 24 hours in the day and we are mortal. We really have NO CHOICE but to depend on each other to get our needs fulfilled—and depending on who demands what and by how much determines how and what resources will be allocated to produce those goods and services.

    The ‘signal’ is of course profit and loss. Resources at any given time are FINITE. When profit and loss signals come in, they tell the entrepreneurs that resources and the methods used for production are the ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ choices. By using the signals of profit and loss, businesses can shift and change to meet demand. There is no other way to tell. ALL BUSINESSES BEGIN BY SPECULATING on what their customers need. Of course that ‘speculation’ is backed up by market research etc. However, a customer can change his mind anytime. what he wanted yesterday may not be what he wants today or next month. **Therefore when you encounter any privateer who is rich, give him credit—that person is one awesome human being and deserves a lot of respect**

    Monopolies fail because they can and do neglect the profit/loss signal mechanism. Why bother? There is no competition—customers have to buy form a monopoly or miss out totally. Without the profit/loss mechanism, resources will be mis- allocated and you get either under or over production.

    Without proper market signals, it is impossible to do economic calculation. What happens when you need to replace plant and equipment? How do you calculate? How many workers do you hire? What kind of processes would you have them do? How much does each process cost and what is the impact on the business and the customer?

    Having market competition is HEALTHY. from the customers point of view, they get businesses competing for their dollar, and thus the quality of products go UP and the prices go DOWN—i.e. the customer gets ‘value for money’ and INCREASES his wealth in real terms.

    The free market produces goods and services which are high value and relatively low cost/price. E.g: watches, pens, clothing, shoes, food, furniture etc etc. Look at it this way: modern man works about 40 hours a week, yet he is able to have LIFESTYLE which costs BILLIONS of dollars to produce in terms of houses, vehicles, medical services, insurance, appliances, clothing, education, clean water, electricity, cheap telecommunications and IT, entertainment and leisure… and on it goes.

    We OUTSOURCE nearly everything in our lives, to total strangers ALL OVER THE WORLD. Fantastic huh? Thank the free market for that.

    These are the economic arguments. There is also the issue of individual FREEDOM and LIBERTY which is not covered here. A COMMAND economy severely limits freedom and liberty, and that has disastrous consequences on the psychology of individuals because, again it goes against NATURE (the nature of man) by short-circuiting FREEWILL and man’s self-interest (which has a bad reputation due to misinterpreted religion and spirituality).

    Command economies also breed CORRUPTION. The business which are favoured or socialised/nationalised by the ‘central command’ are virtually protected by absolute executive power. For e.g. the HUGE military-industrial complex of the US, or the US Federal Reserve (a bunch of private bankers who control the US currency and virtually the money-supply of the entire world).

    It is COMMUNISM/SOCIALISM that makes the claim of ‘equality’ and ‘egalitarianism’ — and eventually FAILS to deliver the goods in a sustainable manner. No capitalist worth his Ferrari will ever claim that ‘equality’ is possible between humans.

    And quite rightly so: we are all unique individuals, and special in our own way. There is no way that we possess or even are capable of achieving the same level of skill, endurance, motivation, and creativity. And some people will thus be naturally ‘better’ than others in particular contexts.

    When the state steps in to try and iron out the NATURAL differences between individuals, expect trouble, and rest assured that INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM and PRIVATE PROPERTY is under serious threat.

    What a free market does is it tends to rise everyone up, but never to the same level, and never by the same amount. It rewards the super-talented, but even average talents who are willing to apply themselves do OK too. You don’t have to be Bill Gates to make money in the computer industry.”

  7. on 28 Sep 2008 at 12:59 anon

    So most big corporations aren’t really for ‘free markets’. If what you’re really against is ‘socialism for the rich’, then I’m your side – solution? Roll back the frontiers of state, as Thatcher puts it; leave the economy alone.

    Your Jefferson quote is taken out of context. Jefferson would be a strong advocate of REAL capitalism.

    “The government represents the will of the people, and therefore government intervention equals the people’s intervention.”

    This statement is so wrong on so many levels.

    Of course, states and their statists like to believe they are endowed with ‘extra special’ intelligence, which allows them to predict the future and the consequences of government intervention. Sorry, the laws of economics are against that.

    The same Jefferson which you adore said: “In a Democracy 51% of the population have the ability of voting away the rights of the remaining 49%”. Which is why the word ‘democracy’ never once appears in the American Constitution. The Founding Fathers of the USA knew the distinction between democracy and freedom — contrary to popular belief, they are not the same and entirely DIFFERENT ideas.

    “Being extremely suspicious of ‘democracy’, and knowing that once it is in it will grow, the Americans wrote themselves a Bill Of Rights designed to LIMIT the powers of the govt (democratically voted and installed) such that the minority, especially The Individual (the individual is the smallest minority) would be protected from the whims of the mob, and their agents – the government.

    The reality of political democracy is that the unsuspecting masses get manipulated. It is a suspect system – it is full of contradictions and ‘time-bombs’. Democracy is majority rule, which means if you can corrupt the majority, you WIN.

    Which is why I personally don’t believe in political democracy. The only place democracy should exist is the free market, but never in social institutions like religion and politics.

    Democracy purports to guarantee freedom and fairness and justice for individuals and societies. It failed – spectacularly!

    It has been shown, time and again, that democracy can be corrupted and the power of the people usurped, then swiftly turned against them in some form of tyrannical monster.

    Also, invariably some unsavoury character will be voted in by the “hypnotized” majority. Every despot in modern history has been installed by some democratic process: Soekarno, Soeharto, Marcos, Thaksin, Kim Jong Il, Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pinochet, Castro… even Hamas. Shining examples of the expression of People Power – and they all “bought votes” by mesmerising the majority of their citizens, and turning their passion into political support.

    The best way to corrupt the majority is to offer them ‘goodies’ in terms of ‘something-for-nothing’ (Obama-style)… Actually it is not merely ‘nothing’ – they want your vote. So they buy it with the promise of goodies, anchored fast to some idea of ‘moral high ground’, which gives validity and a sense of ‘nationalistic’ purpose to their ‘social plans’. Thus begins the xenophobia, bigotry and jingoism.

    Democracy ‘works’ because the party who gives away the most BELIEVABLE free gifts wins the election.

    Every vote is BOUGHT. Democracy is delightfully corrupt by nature. And the funny thing is people believes it is MORAL.

    An election gives everyone in the political realm, the opportunity to ‘write their own cheque'”. Leverage the people’s ‘needs’ – essentially based on their fears rooted in uncertainty, a sad lack of faith, and the inability to evaluate anything critically. In other words, too scared to stand up for oneself, so lets go for GROUP POWER – where we can ‘support each other’, ‘identify with each other’s common interests’, ’empathise with one’s fellow man’…

    And it is as such that the sheeple are led to the slaughter.”

    I have some reservations about capitalism (not the left wing nuttie ones however)- but that’s for another day ;)

    Some resources:

    Economics in One Lesson
    http://jim.com/econ/contents.html
    (lives up to its title; highlights the rationale behind free markets, deregulation, low taxation, and reduced government interference)

    What Has Government Done to Our Money?
    http://mises.org/money.asp
    (the truth behind the current monetary/banking system)

    Money, Banking and the Federal Reserve
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=iYZM58dulPE
    (40 minute documentary; covers similar ground as in the previous one – less detailed but highlights different aspects of history)

  8. on 28 Sep 2008 at 17:21 veon szu

    Margaret Thatcher will remain one of my favorite political leaders of all times. Ronald Reagan is another. Together both of them, not only changed the fate of their people of their respective countries, more importantly they changed the course of history.

    Great video clip and great speech. Great discussion here as well.Bravo!

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