Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Did I miss the 1980s?

“LAISSEZ FAIRE economics was at the forefront throughout the 1980s here in the UK, as the theories of Adam Smith, Milton Friedman and Hayek were enthusiastically embraced by all and sundry.
The spirit of deregulation, the unshackling of controls and the encouragement of enterprise, permeated all aspects of our business life.”

(“Is there a dastardly plot against estate agents?”, 12 April, by Owen Llywelyn, Western Mail, Wales, UK.)

Did I miss something? I do not remember ‘all and sundry”, of which I include myself, enthusiastically embracing ‘laissez faire economics’ (apart from it not being a theory of Adam Smith’s) and while the government of the day (Mrs Thatcher’s) made several stabs at ‘deregulation, and the encouragement of enterprise’, I also remember that the great privatization programmes of her government (for which three cheers) that dismantled parts of the state that had no business to be run by the government in the first place, was also obsessed, under the direction of the Treasury, with selling state monopolies to become private monopolies, instead of breaking them (for which, shame on you, and sighs of exasperation). This conflicted somewhat with the views expressed by ‘Milton Freidman and Hayek’.

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