The economy

While there are differences among conservatives over the extent to which the state should get involved in managing the economy,( One Nation Conservatism Neo-Liberalism)  how far it should redistribute some resources via taxation, and the degree to which the ‘invisible hand’ of the free market should dominate the economy, all conservatives are agreed on the following points about the economy.


The state should not seek to own or control all areas of the economy. Although there is a difference between traditional (one-nation) conservatives and the New Right over the power of the state, both would agree that the state is no substitute for individual ownership and private profit. A state-controlled economy will not only be less efficient, but it will also ultimately reduce the freedoms and creativity of the individual.

Redistribution of wealth is potentially immoral.( Robert Nozick ) Wealth inequality is both natural and desirable as it reflects individual effort and talents. 

Conservatives generally believe that free-market capitalism is an efficient and productive way of creating wealth. It links in with human nature: we naturally work harder if we know we will benefit personally from any reward or profit. Greed, or at least self-interest if not always good, is at least a natural and realistic aspect of human nature and should be embraced (and perhaps tamed a bit) rather than challenged and suppressed. Again, realism or pragmatism should prevail over idealism.

The prevailing mood of Thatherism and Reaganics was reflected in the 1980s film Wall Street.

For Conservatives private property is good in itself and also beneficial for society. The idea of the ‘sanctity of private property’ —  is a view shared by the classical liberals. It provides an individual with security and also means that they respect the private property rights of others. It is thus a way of encouraging discipline and order in society as a whole. All owners of private property are in that sense ‘stakeholders’ in society. This was the thinking behind property qualifications in voting ie the 20th Century only male property owners could vote. Also, this belief was behind Mrs Thatcher's sale of council houses as well as privatization. She believed in a property-owning and share-owning democracy. Owners of private property would be less likely to be attracted by left-wing politics.