Margaret Thatcher’s recent passing has created an internet stir, and it sounds as if the release of her posthumous book will have us talking about Maggie for some time. While it’s generally tacky to cash in on a famous person’s death, this moment does give me pause.
As someone who studies the social policy and neoliberalism, I have a lot to say about Thatcherism and the damaging policies that she championed. Along with Reagan, she transformed the world as we know it, heralding low corporate taxes, privatization, and an assault on labor unions and the poor. In essence, the opposite of what I would have wanted any leader to do in the United Kingdom at that time (or really anywhere, at anytime).
I’ve already posted on the naive expectation that women leaders will necessarily be progressive leaders. There are plenty of Sarah Palin’s reality show episodes to remind you in case you have a moment of delusional optimism.
So how at Lady Economist should we recognize the passing of a leader with whom we very much disagree? Should we celebrate that Margaret Thatcher was the first British Prime Minister to be a woman and dominated in a man’s world? Or should we judge her not by her gender but by her policies?
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