It was 20 Years Ago Today ...

Tiananmen Square was a big event, but it didn't change the world.

Twenty years ago today, I was sitting on the international assignments desk at CNN in Atlanta on a Saturday morning.  I was a 19 year old college student and I had landed a neat summer internship.

Then, Mike Chinoy called and said that the soldiers were marching on the Tiananmen youth.  Millions around the world watched in amazement and the moment became frozen in time in many pictures.  

The time seemed ripe.  The Iron Curtain was falling and the USSR was crumpling.  South Africa was abolishing apartheid.  There was hope that totalitarianism was falling apart in every corner of the world.

As China crushed the demonstrators, there still seemed to be this feeling that it market a turning point for China politically.  In fact, it didn't.  Even with a political system that hasn't evolved one iota in 20 years, China has managed to produce its trinkets and chatchki in such quantity that they are now the most powerful economy in the world.

As Russia has gone boom and bust about 4 times in the intervening period and had political crisis after political crisis, Russia too now seems to be moving towards totalitarianism.

Twenty years later, we know that totalitarianism is bad.  We want to believe that it cannot work.  But, we see many economies flourish only with strong dictatorial political systems.

Our whole view of democracies is questioned, isn't it?

Ari Socolow
Ari Socolow: Ari Socolow is the Chief Economist and Editor-in-Chief at BestCashCow. He is particularly interested in issues relating to bank transparency and the climate crisis. Since co-founding this website in 2005, Ari has been frequently cited in the media as an expert on local and national savings accounts, CD products, mortgage and loan products and credit card rewards products.

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