Saturday, June 27, 2009

The turning point that was 1979!

Freakonomics points to a superb article by Christian Caryl on the year 1979 that saw Ayatollah Khomeini's ascent to power and the rise of militant Islamic nationalism in the Middle East (aided by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the infamous Iran hostage crisis), Margaret Thatcher leading the Conservative Party to power in the UK and setting the stage for three decades of liberal free-market orthodoxy as the ruling ideology of the world economy, Pope John Paul II's pilgrimage to communist Poland that sowed the first seeds of the backlash that swept away communism, and the start of Deng Xioaping's experiment with capitalism in China that has today dramatically reversed the global economic balance of power.

He writes that 1979 (and not 1968 or 1989) was the definitive turning point in the "politicized religion, post-communist globalization, and laissez-faire economics" that has defined our modern era.

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