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Decades don’t usually have the courtesy to begin and end on the right year. The social and cultural revolution that Western countries think of when they talk of the ” ’60s” only got under way in 1962-63, and didn’t end until the Middle East war and oil embargo of 1973-74.

But this one has been quite neat: the “Noughties” began with the Islamist terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, and they ended with a global financial meltdown in the past year.

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