Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Icon of the 80's and Reaganomics

A huge icon of the 1980's is arcade games, possibly most notably Pac-Man which was first released on May 22,1980 in Japan and October 26, 1980 in North America. As with many of the new technologies in both the 1980's and contemporary culture, the game itself was written and produced in Asia. It is an entertaining thought that actually some of the most iconic 'American' objects actually did not and do not originate within the United States itself.

Pac-Man itself had a huge influence on American culture within the 1980's, as an example, Ronald Reagan supposedly sent a letter to a young boy congratulating him on setting a world record score of 6,131,940. This score has now been proven to be unachievable so the legitimacy of this is questionable but still possible.

Moreover it isn't simply that people had enjoyed playing Pac-Man but they loved it. The American people loved Pac-Man so much that by the end of the 1980's, the decade in which it was released, the game grossed over $1 billion in quarters. That was higher than the highest grossing film at the time, Star Wars.

There is perceived to be a 'golden-age' for arcade games, this is argued to have begun in 1979 and began its decline in 1983 and had ended within the next few years. It is believed that the release of Space Invaders really kickstarted the golden-age along with the release of the Vector Display, which was a new type of gaming display used in the arcade machines. This could be a possible reason for Pac-Man's popularity as it was released right in the middle of the arcade game boom.

Finally, the technology developments that went into producing the arcade games were all beneficial towards creating new technologies of which we see today. This is why it is easy to say that arcade games are a huge part of the 1980's American culture.

Pac-Man info:
Golden age:

Moving on to President Ronald Reagan and Reaganomics. Reaganomics was one of the single worst economic policies of any Presidency to date. Okay, this a fairly biased view but I am far from the only person whom believes that to be true. The principle policies of Reaganomics consist of cutting taxes, less government spending, more military spending and deregulating domestic markets.

Reading a website named 'Truthout' it contains an article named 'Revisiting the Reagan Nightmare', the title shows both contemporary issues and issues that were perceived at the time. It is clear that Reagan had good intentions for the short run but he and his administration had in no way thought about the long term or post-Reagan. 

The article written by Terrance Heath, says "Though we will be inevitably awash in conservative praise and hagiography of Reagan, his 100th birthday is also an occasion to remember how America's long economic nightmare began". Here Heath blames Reagan for crippling American economics, which is true. Due to Reagan's tax cuts which at its highest point reach a huge cut of over $1 trillion and his increased spending on the military led to ballooning deficits. Where did the deficit go? The Federal Reserve Board, the principle agency in charge of controlling the American economy, sold the debt to China mostly. Under Reagan the United States went from being the signle largest creditor country in the world to the single largest debtor. This means that the U.S. went from being owed the most money by other countries to owing the most.

Reaganomics was quite frankly a poor economic policy. Unfortunately it left America in a terrible economic state which even today America has never fully recovered.

Truthout article:

Reagan image 1:
Reagan image 2:

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