April 13, 2013


'Crunchiness' Personified  : Margaret Thatcher rejected conventional wisdom in favor of hard truths. (Michael Barone, 4/11/13, National Review)

When Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, the consensus was that Britain was in inevitable decline. She hated that idea and proved that it was wrong. The great and the good never forgave her for it.

They also never forgave her for her suspicion of an ever-closer European Union and opposition to the creation of the Euro currency. Continental elites saw European unity as a way to prevent the horrors of another world war. American elites assumed a United States of Europe would be as benign as the United States of America.

Margaret Thatcher disagreed. She believed that the nation-state, with its long heritage of shared values, democratic governance, and economic practices, was the essential unit in politics and economics. A single European currency, she argued, could not work in a continent whose nations had different economies, cultures, and traditions.

Joe Weisenthal pointed out in Business Insider that, in her 1993 and 1995 autobiographies, Thatcher recounted the arguments she pressed on her successor, John Major. She noted that Germany "would be worried about the weakening of anti-inflation policies" and that the poorer countries would seek subsidies "if they were going to lose their ability to compete on the basis of a currency that reflected their economic performance." This has worked out exactly as she expected and warned. Fortunately for Britain, Thatcher's successors were stopped, perhaps fearing her disapproval, from ditching the pound and lurching into the euro as the great and good almost unanimously advised.

"Crunchiness brings wealth," wrote The Economist's Nico Colchester. "Wealth leads to sogginess. Sogginess brings poverty. Poverty creates crunchiness."

By crunchiness he meant "systems in which small changes have big effects, leaving those affected by them in no doubt whether they are up or down." In contrast, "sogginess is comfortable uncertainty."

Margaret Thatcher was crunchiness personified; that is what reporters are referring to when they say she was "divisive."

Posted by at April 13, 2013 8:10 AM

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