On Jan. 28, 1981, President Ronald Reagan lifted the federal government’s remaining domestic petroleum price and allocation controls in the United States, helping to end the 1970s energy crisis and begin the 1980s oil glut.
The deregulatory move had been begun by Democrats in Congress, particularly Sen. Ted Kennedy, but had been placed on a gradual schedule, and the whole effort clouded with talk of “windfall profits” and a tax on those allegedly unfair returns on investment.
On January 28, 1912, Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari died. One of the last major economists of the French Liberal School, heir to Frederic Bastiat, and a prominent advocate of free trade, Molinari’s last book, The Society of To-morrow (the only one of his many books to be translated into English in his day) envisioned a future of extremely limited government, and argued against the growing tide of socialism and war that was becoming all too apparent as the future of Europe.
Indeed, the old liberal order of Europe ended with the beginning of the Great War, exactly two and one half years after Molinari’s demise.