The decade, known as the Excellence Eighties and the Moderation Decade, saw a dominance of conservatism and free market economics, and a socioeconomic change due to advances in technology and a worldwide move away from planned economies and towards laissez-faire capitalism compared to the 1970s.
- What was really so bad about the ‘80s was an excess of personal freedom. [...] Think of gridlock on the freeway: everybody free to drive but nobody able to move. The trick will be finding the courage to give up a little individual freedom so that all of us can be freer together--of the consequences of neglected children, for example. That is a tall order; the campaign season that just ended showed how adept our political system has become at telling us what we want to hear. What we don’t want to hear about, especially those of us who can afford it most, is sacrifice.
- Daniel Akst, The Real ‘80s : If You Think It Was Just a Decade of Greed, You Missed the Revolution, Los Angeles Times, 13th November 1994
- At the beginning of the 1980s the world community faces much greater dangers than at any time since the Second World War. It is clear that the world economy is now functioning so badly that it damages both the immediate and longer-run interests of all nations... The problems of poverty and hunger are becoming more serious; there are already 800 million absolute poor and their numbers are rising; shortages of grain and other foods are increasing the prospect of hunger and starvation... Between 20 and 25 million children below the age of five die every year in developing countries... A number of poor countries are threatened with the irreversible destruction of their ecological systems while many more face growing food deficits and possibly mass starvation. In the international economy there is the possibility of... a collapse of credit with defaults by major debtors, or bank failures... [and] an intensified struggle for influence or control over resources leading to military conflicts.
- Willy Brandt, Attributed in "Are We Nearing Armageddon?", article on The Watchtower magazine, 1980, 10/15.
- Encyclopedic article on 1980s on Wikipedia