Cold against Cold

Margaret Thatcher has certainly been called a lot throughout the years. The ‘Iron Lady’ has been nicknamed ‘cold’, ‘fearless’, and ‘very easy on the eyes’ (Just me??). But when the battle between this ‘cold’ individual and the Soviet Union in the Cold War was happening, the fearless Prime Minster certainly came out on top.

Although Ronald Reagan, president of the USA at the time has received all the praise in ending the Cold War in the 1980’s, Margaret Thatcher must be recognised for her considerable contribution. The Soviet Union believed they simply had to stick out the tough times in the war to be successful. Thatcher had other ideas. Margaret Thatcher understood the general public better than Mikhail Gorbachev (leader of the Soviet Union at the time). Thatcher recognised that the introduction of a more liberal economy, and the revolution of the Western economy would damage the Communist system. Once Thatcher, Reagan, and the Western world showed strength in liberalisation the Communist Soviet Union was doomed. Thatcher’s involvement in the Falklands war and the coal-miners strike played a huge part in promoting diplomacy and freedom, and ultimately, the end of the Cold War.

Thatcher’s demonstration of seeking peace through strength was a major player in the ending of this war, but would Information Systems have allowed Margaret Thatcher to leverage her vision in promoting this, or would modern technology benefit a communist economy?

We will start off with capitalism. As technology is advancing year on year, many jobs are being automated, such as robots taking the place of assembly line employees. This may seem like a bad thing for a capitalist society, as unemployment levels could drop — however it is the exact opposite. A study by Deloitte, which has looked at jobs in technology over the past 100 years, has shown that technology has created more jobs than it has destroyed. In countries such as England, where the education system is highly regarded, people are becoming more and more skilled. With continuous up-skilling, this shift towards technology will actually lead to higher salary jobs, and reduce overall unemployment. It’s a win win situation for technology, and Thatcher certainly would have used these new information systems to promote diplomacy, freedom and to bring the UK towards the capitalist economy she desired.

Ah if only it was that easy Margaret. Gorbachev is having a field day over in the Soviet Union with some of the new information systems available today. One thing that has become more and more prominent in the modern world is the amount of data currently being stored. Companies hold a huge amount of information on individuals — ranging from their personal information to credit card details. It is estimated that a cyber attack occurs every 39 seconds. Why are so many of these attacks successful? Companies choose not to / cannot afford to spend money on advanced cyber-security. Companies today are taking massive risks in an attempt to keep profits high. They are putting the personal data of millions of individuals at risk. Take a look at the recent Facebook example! But if we were living in a communist society, where companies are owned by the government, there would be an additional emphasis to take particular care with the information of the general population.

Oh how Gorbachev would have loved to view the vast number of cyber-attacks occurring today. Seeing companies getting hacked every day could have pushed his vision for total control of the Eastern World. However, maybe it is a good thing that technology has only advanced so rapidly in the past 10–20 years. What if the war was extended until 2015? Maybe it wouldn’t have remained so ‘cold’ after all….



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