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By Richard Wade (auth.)

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Additional resources for Conservative Party Economic Policy: From Heath in Opposition to Cameron in Coalition

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Friedman claimed to have provided empirical support for the importance of money in determining economic activity in his history 28 Conservative Party Economic Policy of monetary developments in the United States, which he co-wrote with Anna Schwartz (Friedman and Schwartz, 1963). The work also offered a radical reinterpretation of the Great Depression. Far from it being the result of inadequate fiscal policy, the central cause of the Great Depression in America from the perspective of Friedman and Schwartz was gross negligence on the part of the United States Federal Reserve Board in the conduct of monetary policy (Friedman and Schwartz, 1963: 299–419).

This concept was later to be renamed by economists as the non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU). Should a government attempt to push the level of unemployment below the natural rate by increasing the money supply, output would initially expand. This would happen because people would enjoy higher cash balances than they wished to hold and would spend the excess, leading to increased spending and greater output. Conservatism, the Conservative Party, and Its Political Economy 29 But short-term gains in output would result in firms increasing prices, due to higher demand for their goods.

This was very much in keeping with Heath’s way of approaching problems. Indeed, it was said that he believed any problem to be solvable if subjected to sufficient rational analysis (Campbell, 1993: 239). Heath therefore rejected Powell’s attempts to open a debate on underlying philosophy and Angus Maude, the Conservative shadow aviation spokesman, was later sacked for writing an article in The Spectator which argued that policy making needed to be less technocratic (Garnett and Hickson, 2009: 73–4).

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