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By 1979, the British economy was in complete and utter disarray. Inflation was at record highs along with unemployment. The post-world war consensus was built off the idea of embedded liberalism, which stressed that the government must play a large and active role in regulating the markets and that it was in the government's interest to keep unemployment at its natural low. Similar to the United States, since the Great Depression the welfare state in Great Britain had been expanding. The post-war consensus proclaimed and exhausted the economic theories of John Maynard Keynes who believed in embedded liberalism and the idea that to pull the nation out of economic hardship, the government must boost demand among the people. But with consistent poor economic performance for almost a decade, trade union strikes that crippled the nation, and the failures of previous administrations to address these issues the British people were ready to try out the new neoliberal economic policies of Margaret Thatcher. In 1979 the Conservative party won an over forty-seat majority in parliament and Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first female Prime Minister. This paper will argue that Margaret Thatcher ushered in a new age in British politics, effectively breaking the post-war embedded liberal consensus and introducing a new age of neoliberalism to the United Kingdom. While Thatcher’s economic policies negatively affected certain sectors of the economy such as wealth inequality, the nation was better off economically after ten years of Thatcher's neoliberalism than it was prior to her election as Prime Minister in 1979.
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DeMarco, Carl J. Jr., "Thatcherism's Triumph: How Margaret Thatcher’s Neoliberal Policies Brought Prosperity to Britain" (2022). Student Publications. 1096.