Amid the crush of Ronald Reagan tributes (they all go something like this: communicator + cold warrior + Iran-Contra = Reagan), I found an interesting paragraph in Time magazine’s coverage:
Under pressure from foreign competition, and with the antitrust lawyers looking the other way, Wall Street tumbled into a fever of mergers, leveraged buyouts, massive restructurings and corporate raids. It was painful, it was chaotic, it hurt a lot of workers, both blue and white collar. But in the end it seems to have produced a more competitive economy, with companies more nimble, more responsive to customers and more innovative, even if their workers felt less secure or loyal. The 1980s shakeout helped prime the economy for its leap into the high-productivity, technology-fueled boom of the next decade.
So, in the case of Reagan, did the ends justify the means? Was the 1990s boom worth whittling away the fundamental notion of job loyalty and security throughout the 1980s? In the current economy, are we, as Yogi Berra famously said, experiencing “deja vu all over again?”