Commanding Heights
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1911 China


Chinese Revolution topples Manchu dynasty, throwing China into economic chaos


1914 Europe


Terrorist assassination in Sarajevo triggers World War I; first era of economic globalization ends


1917 Russia


Russian Revolution leads to USSR, world's first socialist state


1919 France


Treaty of Versailles: Terms will lead to German economic collapse and rise of fascism


1922 Russia


Faced with economic disintegration, Lenin propounds "commanding heights" doctrine


1923 Germany


Hyperinflation destroys the German and Austrian middle class


1929 Russia


Stalin launches first Five-Year Plan to industrialize the Soviet Union


1929 United States


Stock market collapse sparks Great Depression and critique of unfettered markets


1933 Germany


Hitler becomes chancellor, later "Fuhrer"; Nazi economics favors command and control


1933 Italy


Mussolini's fascist government entrenches state ownership with IRI holding company


1933 United States


Bank failures result in 25 percent unemployment; Roosevelt becomes president; New Deal begins


1936 United Kingdom


Keynes publishes "General Theory," founds macroeconomics and new approach to managing capitalist economies


1939 Europe


WWII begins; state-dominated war economies prevail around Europe and U.S. after 1941


1944 United Kingdom


Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" criticizes economic planning by state, will influence only a minority for three decades


1944 United States


Bretton Woods Conference establishes World Bank, International Monetary Fund, pegs all currencies to gold


1945 Germany


Potsdam Conference divides Europe; Soviet-occupied countries will adopt command economies


1945 United Kingdom


Attlee/Labor Party victory starts nationalization of major industries, establishes welfare state


1946 France


Planning pioneered in non-command context, spurs mixed economy, "Thirty Glorious Years"


1947 Germany


U.S. implements Marshall Plan to avoid repeating WWI treaty mistake, sparks German economic "miracle"


1947 India


First major decolonization: India seeks to meld Western democracy and socialist planning


1947 Switzerland


Friedrich von Hayek creates Mt. Pelerin conference to combat economics of central planning


1948 Germany


Erhard defies Allies, abolishes price controls, succeeds in reviving market economy


1949 China


Communist revolution founds People's Republic of China; collectivization begins


1949 Europe


Coal and Steel Community unites six countries in free trade of key goods; first step toward European Union


1957 Italy


Treaty of Rome establishes European Economic Community


1958 China


Great Leap Forward attempts forced industrialization; will fail in two years, bringing misery


1961 South Korea


General Park coup launches state-driven fast industrialization


1964 United States


Johnson administration launches War on Poverty, expands social programs even as Vietnam War escalates


1966 China


Mao launches Cultural Revolution to radicalize People's Republic and purge intellectual resistance


1968 Czechoslovakia


Soviet tanks destroy Prague uprising, crushing "socialism with a human face"


1971 Tanzania


"Ujamaa" collectivist strategy for "African Socialism" is enforced; will fail, bringing deprivation


1971 United States


Nixon "goes Keynesian," but price and wage controls bring shortages instead of stopping inflation


1971 United States


Nixon abandons gold standard, ends Bretton Woods system, sparks modern currency markets


1973 Chile


Pinochet topples Allende; military regime makes things worse before turning to Chicago-style free-market reform


1973 Middle East


OPEC instigates oil crisis, triggering global inflation and vast wealth transfer to oil-producing nations


1974 United Kingdom


Coal miners' strike brings blackouts, forces election, Labor Party victory


1974 Sweden


Friedrich von Hayek awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics; Milton Friedman will follow in 1976


1975 United Kingdom


Thatcher becomes leader of Conservative Party, with Keith Joseph seeks new economic vision


1978 United Kingdom


"Winter of Discontent" marks nadir of Keynesian economic policies in Britain


1978 China


Deng becomes principal leader, launches decollectivization in agriculture


1979 United Kingdom


Election of Margaret Thatcher starts "Thatcher revolution"


1979 Iran


Revolution turns against Westernization, offers Islamic alternative, sparks second oil shock


1979 United States


Inflation reaches 13.3 percent; Paul Volcker takes over Federal Reserve; tight-money policy triggers recession


1980 Poland


Solidarity movement begins in shipyards, will become main labor force in toppling communism


1981 France


Mitterrand election brings experiment with nationalization and "delinking"


1981 United States


President Reagan introduces supply-side economics, breaks air controllers' strike, deregulates markets


1982 Mexico


Default on international loans sparks global debt crisis and "lost decade" for developing nations


1983 France


"Relinking" and nationalization rollback ends experiment, sets tone for new European social democracy


1984 United Kingdom


First major privatization of a state-owned industry: British Telecom


1984 United Kingdom


Thatcher breaks the miners' union, closes money-losing mines, putting thousands out of work


1985 Bolivia


Rampant hyperinflation cured with radical market liberalization and reform, pioneering "shock therapy" method


1986 Russia


After becoming the USSR leader in 1985, Gorbachev begins glasnost and perestroika


1987 Europe


Single Market Act approved; next step forward to European Economic Union


1988 Japan


Japan "miracle" peaks as Tokyo Stock Exchange capitalization matches NYSE


1989 Germany


Berlin Wall comes down; "Iron Curtain" falls; Cold War ends


1990 Chile


Elected government replaces dictatorship, retains reforms despite misgivings about their origins


1990 Germany


Reunification restores Germany: market West must now assimilate socialist East


1990 Poland


"Shock therapy" used in Bolivia is repeated successfully in Poland; Walesa becomes president


1990 Japan


Japanese market bubble deflates; inertia blocks reform of banking system and subsidized domestic sector


1991 India


Prime Minister Narasimha Rao confronts payments crisis, begins major reform of "Permit Raj"


1991 Russia


USSR disintegrates: Russia is main successor state


1992 Russia


Price controls end; privatization of Russia's state industries begins


1992 China


Deng protects reforms from challenge with publicized "Southern journey" (Nanxun)


1992 United States


NAFTA treaty passed over labor, environmental objections, launches decade of free-trade activism


1994 South Africa


Apartheid falls, ending closed economy; Mandela's socialist ANC launches market reforms


1994 United States


After health reform fails, Clinton refocuses on centrist "New Democrat" economic program, welfare reform, globalization


1994 Mexico


U.S. Treasury intervention staves off Mexican economic crisis, prevents default on international debt


1995 United States


Republican House "Contract with America" to reduce government brings budget impasse and backlash


1996 United States


Clinton balances budget, proclaims "Big government is over"


1997 United Kingdom


Tony Blair completes centrist remake of Labor Party with resounding election victory, reelected 2001


1997 China


Party congress endorses "Deng Xiaoping Theory," dismantling state-owned industrial sector


1997 Thailand


Speculative boom triggers run on Thai currency; ensuing collapse signals end of "Asian miracle"


1997 Indonesia


Spreading Asian crisis takes social, political toll in region's largest, poorest country; Suharto deposed


1997 South Korea


IMF and U.S. forced to organize bailout of South Korean banks to prevent further spread of Asian "contagion"


1998 Russia


International financial instability spreads to Russia, which defaults on international loans; ruble is devalued


1999 United States


Contagion reaches Wall Street: Long-Term Capital Management hedge fund fails, endangering banking system


1999 United States


Seattle WTO summit crystallizes potent global opposition to institutions and politics of global integration


2001 United States


Terrorist airliner attack destroys World Trade Center in New York City, rocks global financial markets


2001 Qatar


WTO meets in remote Qatar to initiate new round of global trade talks


2002 Europe


Euro replaces national currencies of Germany, France, and 10 other European nations


2002 Japan


Deep interest-rate cuts fail to revive economy; value of yen sinks to new low against other key currencies


2002 Argentina


Argentina defaults on billions in debt; social and political unrest leads to resignation of two presidents in two weeks


2002 United States


After WTC attacks, Bush reverses course, creates new agencies, reintroduces Keynesian methods


2002 South Africa


AIDS pandemic threatens economic future of most nations in sub-Saharan Africa


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