The Bernie Sanders campaign posted the following graph on Twitter (I wish I could give better credit).
It is an extraordinarily vivid image of what happened to our economies under Thatcherism which, internationalized, morphed first into trickle-down theory, then neo-liberalism (including “globalization” and the Blairite Third Way) and finally into “austerity”.
Under Eisenhower and MacMillan in the 1950s, and under Harold Wilson’s White Hot Technological Revolution and Johnson’s Great Society in the 1960s, the economic structure — indeed the very ethos of the system — ensured that workers became middle class and felt they were an integral part of the general rising prosperity.
During the early part of the 1970s, it was bourgeois intransigence from both left and right that brought about the collapse of the system first in the UK. It was Margaret Thatcher who seized the opportunity of a dysfunctional economy to strip down the system and rebuild it in her own image: she brought the unions to their knees with utter ruthlessness, began a remorseless privatization of government services, greatly strengthened the financial powers of the City of London, and restored pride in a jingoistic militarism.
Thatcher sold her opinions and systems to those backing Ronald Reagan in the United States and from him to the Tea Party. They were also adopted wholesale by Blair and Sarkozy, albeit with a smiling face stuck on the front to make it more acceptable (at least for a while). David Cameron, Canada’s own Stephen Harper, and Angela Merkel’s pan-European austerity are all derived from Thatcherism.
And Bernie’s chart above is the result.