Archive for December, 2017

By R.C. Seely

THE MEDIA HAS REPORTED that “malls across the country are dying off.” The supposed culprit for their demise is the internet and it’s impact on the business models. I don’t think so. The internet simply demonstrated the vulnerability of big business, they over extended themselves. 

    At times of excess before the great recession of 2008, the biggest retail organizations in the United States just kept building while ignoring the looming change in business. The internet did what mail order did and gave the customer more options; in areas with few brick and mortar stores, this proved to be a saving grace; in areas with more stores losses were inevitable. 

    And with both additions to the market, the “big boys” complained about the competition, but ignored the fact they were responsible for the damage by not adapting when they should have. So they had to perform massive scaling back measures closing many stores and cutting the jobs. That’s the bad news. 

    The good news is that the internet has made it easier for the little guys to fill the niches. Online commerce has proven to be the leveler of the market that had been distorted by big corporations, all thanks to the minimal regulations and restrictions on the “information superhighway.” The internet is mostly tax-free on products, and fees for advertising and selling are minimal, making it ideal for growth.

    The internet was sent up in the 1980s, and started showing the signs of the coming changes in the nineties. By the early 2000s if you didn’t have an email address for your business you were behind the curb, the big companies least affected by the web already designed a solid online infrastructure. Target, Walmart and Home Depot, didn’t lose as many stores as the other large corporations. They welcomed the new manner in doing business and fewer local economies were hurt. 

    The damage done wasn’t due to the internet but short-sightedness on the part of the large companies who foolishly believed the internet was simply a fad–a similar sentiment about mail order, I’m sure. It’s a fairly effective way to avoid culpability for your failures, and make the other guy look bad for doing so.

    Many of us do business almost entirely online thanks to Amazon. All my books couldn’t be possible without the services of Createspace, one of Amazon’s subsidiaries. That doesn’t mean I agree with everything the company does, but they perform services along with selling discounted products that benefit the consumer and that can’t be denied. 

    Amazon has also given another point of consideration, while many are shutting down their brick and mortar stores, this retail giant recently opened it’s first one. Clearly they don’t see this as the end of malls and they have been pretty accurate in their predictions so far.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books on pop culture the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.

By R.C. Seely

CRITICS OF CAPITALISM ARE eager to point out the hypocrisy of us capitalists statement of “Communism (or Socialism, or Progressivism, or any other isms) has killed X number of people.” They point out that many have died from capitalism. Since capitalism doesn’t make the promises of perfection that the other mentioned isms do, that’s a false comparison but it’s not the only problem. It also discounts the lives that have been improved or saved because of capitalism.

The instinct to assist perfect strangers in disasters in one such example. Charity is a free market concept, the isms are by force, hence not true charity.

Now take that and multiply it and you have the potential for good that a company is capable of. During the natural disasters–the hurricanes Harvey and Irma, for example–one of the first organizations to help out is also one of the largest, The Home Depot. Volunteerism is a large part of the core culture of the company and it’s not by government force but free market forces. At the end of the day, it’s charity and because of their name recognition that to they act. Two concepts of the free market.

It’s not only because of the need from natural disasters that innovations are born. One such innovation was mentioned in CanadianBusiness.com:

    “Canadians are pretty good at flying things into tough-to-reach places. We’ve produced iconic backcountry aircraft such as the Twin Otter, the Dash 8 and the Beaver, and if Jay Godsall’s plans play out, the Caracal, the Chui and the Nanuq will soon join that list. These three “buoyantly assisted aircraft” are designed to go where traditional transportation can’t (at least, not easily). And they do it using a small fraction of the fuel that a traditional jet would need.  

Developed by Godsall’s Toronto-based company, Solar Ship Inc., these aircraft gain lift from a wing that pairs buoyant helium gas with aerofoil geometry. Powered by fuel that can be offset with energy drawn from photovoltaic solar panels, the unique aircraft have been dubbed “hybrid hybrids.” They can take off and land in a few hundred metres and come packaged with all necessary storage, energy and communications infrastructure. “You could be dropped off with it anywhere, and you’d have everything you need to get out again,” Godsall explains. No airports, access roads or power lines needed.” 

    The ways that such an aircraft could save lives isn’t difficult to imagine.

    From Cambridge Massachusetts, a startup has developed a form of wearable technology with numerous health implications–the Biostamp. The practically invisible sticker stretches with the skin and is mostly used for monitoring body temperature and hydration of the wearer. But the future innovations planned are for digestible and surgically applied tech. One specific development is that of contact lenses for monitoring diabetics blood sugar levels.

    According to a Pew Research study the number of people lifted from poverty–living on $2.00 or less a day–between 2001-2011 was 700 million. Poverty is and has been a global killer. GMOs help since they can be grown anywhere but are there other options as well. Yes, there’s an app for that. SokoText, is tackling that problem.     

    The for-profit is handling the issues by buying below and selling low, buying at 30% below retail and selling at 20% below to vendors. “By aggregating individual purchasing orders, SokoTech can obtain produce on behalf of local fruit and vegetables vendors at wholesale prices,” reports Canadian Business.com. Just like so many other tech company this text-message-based firm generates it funding through mobile phone ads.

    These are all fairly recent companies, so the true scope of their impact is yet to be felt. But they are following in the footsteps of many others who have offered us more options, which make our lives better if not saving them entirely. From amber alerts that make children’s lives safer, to the innovation of lamp oil that cut back on whaling for whale oil. 

    Medical tech, communications, entertainment, food and everything else was brought to you by the “selfish” self-interest of its inventor. Whether for profit, notoriety, or charity the motive was some form of gain for the actor. That is the Quintessential Virtue of Greed.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books on pop culture the most recent Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.