The general view is that he'll be remembered as the Prime Minister who took Britain into the EEC, which I'd guess is true, but then there's talk of muddle and lacklustre economic management, which I think is a little unfair. He was, after all, the PM who had the Oil Shock detonate under him.
This was the event that really defined the seventies in economic terms. I've sometimes been known to argue partly on that basis that the sixties didn't actually end until 1973. In Britain, as far as I can tell, it was the most important economic factor affecting both Heath's government and the subsequent Wilson/Callaghan regime, making the trip to the IMF necessary and hobbling the economy until North Sea Oil started arriving right at the end of the decade. While the ongoing struggle between government and unions that had been going on since the sixties got far more publicity and generated more anger - particularly as it was emphasised by the press both at the time and in the years since - it wasn't as important economically as some would have us believe.
I've noticed that you can download figures on the economy going back to the fifties from the National Statistics site. At some point I must remember to investigate the conclusions of an article I read some years ago, which claimed that Thatcher's performance on management of the economy wasn't really up to much compared to other recent prime ministers, and that her first term of office was the only one since the second world war during which the economy contracted rather than grew. A very interesting contrast to the previaling point of view if so.
Following last week's poll result putting Karl Marx at the top of the current philosophy hit-parade, Francis Wheen has written another article on Marx's continuing importance in the modern world.
The billionaire speculator George Soros now warns that the herd instinct of capital-owners such as himself must be controlled before they trample everyone else underfoot. 'Marx and Engels gave a very good analysis of the capitalist system 150 years ago, better in some ways, I must say, than the equilibrium theory of classical economics,' [ . . . ] In October 1997 the business correspondent of the New Yorker, John Cassidy, reported a conversation with an investment banker. 'The longer I spend on Wall Street, the more convinced I am that Marx was right,' the financier said. 'I am absolutely convinced that Marx's approach is the best way to look at capitalism.'
[ . . . ]
In October 1997 the business correspondent of the New Yorker, John Cassidy, reported a conversation with an investment banker. 'The longer I spend on Wall Street, the more convinced I am that Marx was right,' the financier said. 'I am absolutely convinced that Marx's approach is the best way to look at capitalism.'