Context vs. "Trends"

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A typical journalist, courtesy of Pixabay.
An article at Inc. admonishes readers not to be fooled by three "trends" (i.e., examples of progress) that have been getting all kinds of coverage by journalists and pundits who are too busy pandering to fear of the unknown to notice that their big stories could easily be demolished by a helping of additional knowledge (historical or not) and a dash of integrative thinking. I'll highlight the third, because it shows that one needn't always necessarily have a knowledge of history to see that there is often no need to panic (or, conversely, become overly-excited) about the new and shiny. Here's the relevant excerpt on the "retail apocalypse":
Many are calling this a retail apocalypse, but look a little closer and it becomes clear that there is more to the story. Amazon has made a big push into physical retail, capped off by its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods. Others, ranging from Bonobos to Warby Parker, also opened physical stores. [links omitted, bold added]
Indeed, the executive summary of the article, which is still worth a read in its entirety, might consist of three sentences:
  1. What is so special about the latest wave of automation that it's going to make us all idlers when every other previous wave has failed to do so?
  2. Please name me a business that can operate without some form of access to tangible assets.
  3. If Amazon has shown that brick-and-mortar retail is dead, why did it buy Whole Foods? (But I repeat myself.)
I appreciate good journalism like this: It gives me something to think about, and learn from. And it gives me hope that there are journalists out there who don't buy the hype that, since panic sells, it's the only thing that can sell. To those journalists, I would say, although really only as encouragement: There is an audience out there for an objective presentation of relevant facts, integrated with other knowledge, and interpreted in a rational manner. We'd like more of the same.

-- CAV

No comments: