Events of the 1980's

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Events of the 1980's

The 1980's started of hope and optimism to a vision of a reborn America. After two decades of troubles, assassinations, urban riots, the agony of Vietnam and the disgrace of Watergate the nation was ready to move ahead. Here was the oldest man ever to serve as president, Ronald Reagan was in his 70'a yet this boyish grin and rugged good looks still projected the youthful vigor of his days in Hollywood (Time Life Book Editors, 1999).

Good luck as well as charisma helped sustain Reagan's popularity. Reaganomics was largely responsible for touching off the biggest bull market in Wall Street history. Of course on such person Ivan Boesky was known as Ivan the Terrible for is relentless wheeling and dealing in the stocks of companies targeted for acquisitions. Using huge sums of money Boseky bought out companies and then sold them off piece by piece squeezing a quick profit and typically at the cost of laid of workers.

In the movie Wall Street the character named Gordon Gekko captures the new mortality when he said, "Greed is good. Greed is right."

Pop demographers identified a new socioeconomic class infatuated with wealth and material possessions. These were the yuppies, an acronym that stood for young urban professionals. Hard driving overachievers, they worked out in chic health clubs and either possessed or were seeking an MBA degree.

Shopping malls had become the cathedrals of American material culture there than anywhere except home, job, or schools. Much of what they shopped for was microwave ovens, VCR's, cordless phones. Transcending all these prodigies of miniaturization was the personal computer, which in the 1980's became commonplace in homes and standard equipment in offices.

If heighten prosperity and a renewed national pride were the good news, there were also discouraging developments.