In reason’s 20th anniversary issue in 1988, then-Publisher Robert W. Poole Jr. looked back at life in the year the magazine was born and declared “things are a lot groovier now” (for more, see Follow-Up, page 16). Poole, who was the first to use the word privatization with its modern meaning, is a former editor of reason and the founder of the Reason Foundation, where he remains director of transportation studies. Here he lists three ways the world has become groovier still in the last 20 years.
1.) The Collapse of Communism: “Even in 1988, the demise of the USSR, the liberation of the ‘captive nations,’ and the economic transformation of China were unimaginable. Freedom has increased for over a billion people, and socialism as an energizing idea seems to be on its last legs. While there are still nuclear threats, Armageddon no longer hangs over our heads.”
2.) The Internet: “It’s hard to imagine how different life was before the Internet and how quickly we’ve come to take it for granted. The globalization of information is one aspect of our globalized world, another mostly positive development.”
3.) School Choice: “In 1988 the public school monopoly was still intact. While it’s still powerful, large cracks have been opened up, to some extent by vouchers but far more by charter schools, a truly subversive idea. We have a long way to go on school choice, but the idea is no longer unthinkable, and that’s real progress.”