Margaret Thatcher passed away today.

In 1990 she gave this great explanation of the difference between capitalists and socialists while being questioned in the Commons.


An obvious socialist asked how she could defend policies that resulted in the gap between richest 10% and poorest 10% widening substantially. The poor were relatively less better off than the rich. How could she justify that?

Her devastating response:

All levels of income are better off than they were in 1979. But what the honorable member is saying is that he would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich. That way you will never create the wealth for better social services as we have. And what a policy. Yes. He would rather have the poor poorer provided the rich were less rich. That is the Liberal (British Socialists) policy. Yes it came out. He didn’t intend it to but it did.

Making the rich poorer would satisfy the yearning in the heart of a socialist to narrow the gap.

Which is the moral path: making both the top 10% and the bottom 10% richer or neither of them getting richer?

The second speaker at about 1:30 is a bit more honest. He starts his question with:

The Prime Minister is aware that I detest every single one of her domestic policies…

Her reply?

I think the honorable gentlemen knows that I have the same contempt for his Socialist policies as the people of East Europe who have experienced it (rest of sentence drowned out by cheers). I think I must have hit the right nail on the head when I pointed out that the logic of those policies are they’d rather have the poor poorer.

Totally apart from the qualitative difference, which of those approaches is moral?

Update:  Two sets of graphs that illustrate the concept described by Lady Thatcher – part 1 and part 2.


Robert Exley · June 21, 2013, 12:33 am at 12:33 am

An obvious socialist? Charles Hughes was in the SDP that split from Michael Foot’s far left Labour. Try doing some research before you open your mouth!

    Jim Ulvog · June 21, 2013, 6:35 am at 6:35 am

    Mr. Exley:

    I’m familiar with the historical affliations of extremely few British politicians. I am aware of the background of dozens here in the U.S. I will lean on the now-departed Prime Minister’s contemporaneous assessment of the political perspective of various politicians.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment.


Thatcher cartoon | Freedom is Moral · April 11, 2013, 7:44 am at 7:44 am

[…] you’ve read my two Thatcher posts here and here, you really gotta’ check out this […]

Graph to illustrate Thatcher’s comment that socialists want the poor poorer provided the rich were less rich – Part 1 | Freedom is Moral · December 15, 2013, 4:48 pm at 4:48 pm

[…] is a graph to illustrate previously mentioned video from Margaret Thatcher that […]

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