The decade saw great socioeconomic change due to advances in technology and a worldwide move away from planned economies and towards laisse-faire capitalism. Many economists at the very least agree that the changing global economic trends of the 1980s can be somewhat attributed to the "Reagan Boom", which, in the 1980s was a record setting era that produced more jobs and more economic expansion than any other time in U.S. history.
As economic liberalization increased in the developed world, multiple multinational corporations associated with the manufacturing industry relocated into Thailand, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, and China. Japan and West Germany saw large economic growth during this decade. The AIDS epidemic became recognized in the 1980s and has since killed an estimated 39 million people (as of 2013).Global warming became well known to the scientific and political community in the 1980s.
The United Kingdom and the United States moved closer to supply-side economic policies beginning a trend towards global stability of international trade that would pick up more steam in the following decade as the fall of the USSR made right wing economic policy more popular.
The final decade of the Cold War opened with the US-Soviet confrontation continuing largely without any interruption. Superpower tensions escalated rapidly as President Reagan scrapped the policy of détente and adopted a new, much more aggressive stance on the Soviet Union. The world came perilously close to nuclear war for the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis 20 years earlier, but the second half of the decade saw a dramatic easing of superpower tensions and ultimately the total collapse of Soviet communism.