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Critically evaluate the effect that Thatcherism has had on the British Welfare state - Essay Example

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Critically evaluate the effect that Thatcherism has had on the British Welfare state

Reaganomics within the United States, Rogenomics within New Zealand and Economic Rationalism within Australia and Canada, it was Thatcher that most vocally touted the neo-liberal approach to the way in which she say that markets should be managed and the means through which government deregulation and laissez faire should be practiced. Moreover, as a direct result of the noticeable turn to the right that British politics took during Thatcher’s tenure in Parliament, and subsequent Prime Minister leadership, many critics have argued that Thatcherism played a fundamental role in shifting the way in which the British populace engaged and understood the necessity and role of the welfare state. In seeking to understand this impact, the following analysis will be concentric upon delineating what specifically Thatcherism represents, understanding the way in which Margaret Thatcher’s reforms and changes impacted upon the British system of governance, and delineating the way through which these practices and policies shifted understandings of what the welfare state was defined as what it can be expected to provide (Lister, 2010). It is the hope of this author that such a strong delineation of these factors will provide the reader with a more informed and actionable understanding of how Thatcherism not only impact upon the United Kingdom but also helped to spur similar movements and neoliberal ideology throughout many parts of the Western and developed world. Firstly, before delving into an in-depth discussion of what Thatcherism represents, it is necessary to engage with an understanding of what prompted the popularity and rise of Margaret Thatcher and her Conservative party. As a result of the Second World War, the United Kingdom, in addition to much of the rest of Europe was financially exhausted and industrially drained (Pierson, 1994). Massive amount of manpower had been extended upon seeking to counter the Nazi threat and sizable percentages of entire nation’s wealth had been spent upon defense related activity. Naturally, the United Kingdom was at the forefront of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany and expended a great deal of manpower and wealth as a function of countering the existential threat that it posed. As a direct result of this economic and physical exhaustion of resources, the United Kingdom began to experience a slow but steady retreat from its position as dominant player within the world. This was first evidenced with regards to the fact that the United Kingdom found it necessary to release many of its former colonies to independents (Dorling, 2011). Naturally, the drive for justice, independence, self-determination, and a host of other factors motivated this; however, it must be noted that without the weakened condition of the British Empire, it is doubtful if these changes were taking place at this exact time or indeed at the rate that they in fact occurred. As a direct result of the loss of colony and territory throughout the globe, the United Kingdom sought a drastic reduction in the overall level of international status and wealth that it had to draw upon. It does not take an in-depth analysis into the topic to understand that the colonial Empire was one of the means through which the United Kingdom was able to sustain itself economically and guaranteed low cost trade partners well into the future (Wilkinson & Pickett, 2010). ...Show more
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Summary

Like so many of the political movements/ideologies that make a definitive impact upon the policies, politics, and economics of the given region and/or nation, “Thatcherism” has often been cited as playing a pivotal role with regards to the way in which many individuals within the United Kingdom began to reconsider the role of the welfare state…
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