Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister, died Monday from a stroke. She was 87. Known as the “Iron Lady” for her strong and uncompromising leadership style, Thatcher led a conservative economic resurgence in the U.K. during the 1980s.
Thatcher, who served office from 1979 to 1990, reduced the power of labor unions, privatized state-owned airlines, car companies and other assets, and championed financial deregulation. As a result of the so-called “Thatcher revolution,” Britain became more entrepreneurial, and according to some, more efficient.
“She shook up and modernized Britain, perhaps more than any other British peace time leader in the twentieth century,” says Marketplace’s London Bureau Chief, Stephen Beard.
Yet Thatcher’s policies, while transformative, weren’t lauded by all. Shipbuilders, coal miners, and others in industries where her policies led to high unemployment, bitterly resented her economic influence. The recent financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 also raised new questions about Thatcher’s legacy. Even among those who supported the former prime minister, there is now a sense that she may have allowed Britain to become too dependent on banking and finance.
To hear more about Margaret Thatcher and her impact in and outside of the U.K., click on the audio player above.
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