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Politicians - or, more broadly, government officials - have always played a role in the economy, but that role has been significantly downplayed in recent years. If free markets, free trade, and technological innovation have largely defined the modern era, one tends to forget that they owed some of their initial success and development to governments. In the early 1980s, President Ronald Reagan in the United States and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom triggered the worldwide trend toward liberalization, deregulation, and privatization.
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