Back in the day, the early '80s, actually, when 'that woman' was starting her 'reign', I became interested in economics - I know, I know, sad but thus it was. Pretty soon I was into Hayek, Keynes, Rawls, Landes, Gilder, Friedman et al. It was, at best, a rough and ready education because more frequently than I am prepared to admit, I didn't fully understand all the nuances of a 'science'(?) in which there seemed to be very few hard and fast rules. The notion that 'it all depends ...' seemed pre-eminent. Nevertheless, on the whole, taken in the round and by and large, I preferred the notion of 'free' markets to government-controlled markets.
But today, some 40 years later, the picture has become more than somewhat blurred. What system of economics do we have today? The answer appears to be as many systems as there are nations although, if you look closely there is not a lot of difference between them. The rise and rise of mega-global businesses have placed mere governments in subsidiary roles. "Do it our way," whisper the mega-zillionaires from whatever electronic platform they are hiding in, and governments tremble.
Even so, they may be 'masters of the universe', as they run rings round mere politicians, but they seem totally unable to control the ever-rising tsunami that will eventually swamp the lot of them - and us, too, actually! I refer to the astronomical levels of debt which, for the moment, broods like a dark cloud on the far horizon of a Summer's day. Everybody - and I do mean everybody bar perhaps a few Kalahari bushmen - owes everybody else! Thus, no-one, it seems to me, actually owns anything. You might think that someone like me who owns the freehold of my house really does 'own' something tangible. However, if when the tsunami of debt swamps the world then there will be nobody willing or able to buy my freehold which will then become worthless.
Now, my fellow Brits, just ask yourself this, do you think that our new Chancellor of the Exchequer, 'Spreadsheet Phil', ever thinks of this? Or you, my American buddies, do you comfort yourselves with the thought that your new president has the whole thing under control? Hmnnn, thought not!