Resurgence of conservative and anti-socialist thought in the UK, the USA, and other advanced industrial democracies that began in the mid-1970s. The term refers to a range of conservative and liberal ideas including principally a commitment to individualism and the primacy of capitalism and the free market in preference to state policies. Advocates of New Right theories were active in the UK and the USA since the early 1960s, but it was only after the economic crisis of 1973-74 and the electoral success of Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 that the expression became common.
The fundamental theories of the New Right became the basis for policies such as privatization of the public sector, reduction of the welfare state, deregulation, monetarism and, to some degree, conservative moralism. The New Right capitalized on disillusionment with national economic planning and an acceptance of the important role of incentives in stimulating economic growth. The Democrats in the USA and the Labour Party in the UK both needed to defend their policies in view of the spread of these arguments and were forced to revise their own programmes.
New Right ideas have had considerable influence on public policy in Western democracies. Use of the monetarist policy as the key means of checking inflation, and of the policy of privatization and deregulation to reduce the public sector, has been widely accepted. The trend in many Western democracies of engaging in extensive privatization programs became a strategy which has also extended to the new democracies of Eastern and Central Europe. The political influence of the New Right has also grown in France and Italy since the 1970s, and in Australia since the 1980s.
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