Victor M Rosado vrosado at ic.sunysb.edu
Tue Apr 9 14:13:24 MDT 2002

Socialism Turned Back

NARRATOR: Britain has changed. Today, less than 3,000 work in the mines.

KEN CAPSTICK: I feel devastated by what I see. Grimethorpe had
considerable reserves of coal when it was closed, plenty of work for those
miners to continue to do to keep their families. You can see the
wasteland; you can see the social deprivation that it caused. The children
that are coming along -- no prospects, no future; people despairing
because they can't find employment and the dignity that employment
brings. It's the market forces gone mad.

MARGARET THATCHER: The political consequences of the failure of the strike
were incalculable.

GORDON BROWN, Labor Finance Minister: The coal-mining strike of the early
1980s was a tragedy for so many of the mining families that were involved
in it.

NARRATOR: Perhaps the greatest political impact was on the Labor Party
that had all along opposed Thatcher's free-market policies.

GORDON BROWN: I came into politics as someone who lived in an area which
was an old mining community. The problem for the left in the past was that
they equated the public interest with public ownership and public
regulation, and therefore they assumed that markets were not therefore in
the public interest. What we have had to explain both to ourselves and to
the country -- and now I believe it's possible to explain this to the rest
of the world as well -- is that markets are in the public interest.

DANIEL YERGIN: One of the most important things that the government of
Margaret Thatcher does is invent this thing called privatization; that is,
taking these state-owned companies, these nationalized industries, and
selling shares to the public.

NARRATOR: One by one the Thatcher government put the commanding heights of
the British economy up for sale: electricity, telephones, oil, gas, coal,
steel, trains, and planes -- even water. Before long, two-thirds of the
state-owned industries were removed from government control and sold off
into the private sector. Who should control the commanding heights --
governments or markets -- in britain? That battle was over.


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