The true history of the U.S. since 1980, IMHO at least, is not Sean Wilentz's "Age of Reagan" but is instead composed of a half dozen or so deeper and broader tides, like:(via)
- The end of the Cold War
- Other winner-take-all factors that have, in combination with education, pushed American income polarization back to Gilded Age levels.
- The failure of American taxpayers to support their state and local governments in expanding funding for public education--and the impact of reduced public education effort in sharpening the distinction between rich and poor.
- The computer revolution in productivity growth.
- The rise of China (and soon, we hope, India) as industrial powers.
- The extraordinary social liberalization of America--if you had told any Republican in 1980 that 2008 would see (a) a Negro with an Arabic-Swahili name beating a veteran figher pilot in the presidential polls and (b) gay marriage as the big cultural issue of the day, said Republican would have blown several gaskets. And if you had said that this would have been the result of an "Age of Reagan" said Republican would have melted down completely.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
30 June 2008
The Age of Reagan