The 1980s was a decade that began on January 1, 1980, and ended on December 31, 1989.
The time period saw great social, economic, and general change as wealth and production migrated to newly industrializing economies. 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 are the most notable developed countries that continued to enjoy rapid economic growth during the decade; Japan's would stall by the early 1990s.
The United Kingdom and the United States moved closer to laissez-faire economic policies beginning a trend towards neoliberalism that would pick up more steam in the following decade as the fall of the USSR made right wing economic policy more popular.
Developing countries across the world faced economic and social difficulties as they suffered from multiple debt crises in the 1980s, requiring many of these countries to apply for financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Ethiopia witnessed widespread famine in the mid-1980s during the corrupt rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam, resulting in the country having to depend on foreign aid to provide food to its population and worldwide efforts to address and raise money to help Ethiopians, such as the famous Live Aid concert in 1985.
Television viewing became commonplace in the Third World, with the number of TV sets in China and India increasing 15 and 10 fold respectively. The number of televisions in the world nearly doubled over the course of the decade from only 561 million in 1980 to 910 million in 1987 and around a billion by 1989.
Major civil discontent and violence occurred in the Middle East, including the Iran-Iraq War, the Soviet-Afghan War, the 1982 Lebanon War, the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Bombing of Libya in 1986, and the First Intifada in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Despite a peak in tensions in the early part of the decade, by the late 1980s the Cold War was coming to an end. In the eastern bloc hostility to authoritarianism and the rise of nationalism in communist-led socialist states, combined with economic recession resulted in a wave of reformist policies instigated by Mikhail Gorbachev in the USSR - such as perestroika and glasnost, along with the overthrow and attempted overthrow of a number of communist regimes, such as in Hungary, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China, the Czechoslovak "Velvet Revolution", Poland and the overthrow of the Nicolae Ceauşescu regime in Romania and other communist Warsaw Pact states in Central and Eastern Europe including the Fall of the Berlin Wall. It came to be called the late 1980s' "purple passage of the autumn of nations". By 1989 the Soviet Union announced the abandonment of political hostility toward the Western world and the Cold War ended with the USSR's demise after the August Coup of 1991. The changes of the revolutions of 1989 continue to be felt today.
The 1980s saw the development of the modern Internet, starting with the specification of File Transfer Protocol in 1980 and ARPANET's move to TCP/IP around 1982-83. Approximately 1.1 million people (86% of them in the United States) were using the Internet at the end of the 1980s. Tim Berners Lee created a hypertext system called ENQUIRE in 1980 and began his work on the World Wide Web in March 1989; after its first demonstration at the end of 1990 it was released to the public in July 1991 and by approximately 1995 became widely known, beginning the ongoing worldwide boom of Internet use.
People born in the 1980s are usually classified along with those born in the 1990s as part of the Millennial generation.
The issue of global warming first came to the attention of the public in the late 1980s, largely due to the Yellowstone fires of 1988.