A term coined by William Keegan, a writer for the Observer and author of "The Spectre of Capitalism", in the early 1980s. At that time it was used to describe the policies associated with the rise in unemployment in Britain from one million to over 3 million in the then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's first term in office.

The term has been revived by the US commentator in the Financial Times, Gerard Baker, to describe the doctine of those urging the Federal Reserve in America to raise interest rates despite high unemployment.

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