I was going to ask you this but I posted on Yahoo Answers and got a stupid response. Brick and mortar stores and restaurants are dropping like flies. I was actually referring to Radio Shack at first. Well, today, Quiznos just filed for bankruptcy. The only one near me was turned into a Little Caesar’s. So I’m asking you anyway if this depression is caused by the internet with the web and people buying things online instead of real stores with real workers and across the country instead of a central location called Amazon?
You’re basically asking “Is the internet directly responsible for our economic problems?”
In my opinion: absolutely not! Things are certainly changing, but that’s nothing new. Things have been changing well before the internet came along.
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I’m no economist, but as you can tell, I do have a few opinions and I can go on about this for quite some time. I’ll try and control myself.
The changing role of brick-and-mortar
You said that brick and mortar stores are “dropping like flies”. You know, I sure don’t see that. Yes, there is the traditional churn of stores closing, typically followed by new stores opening. And yea, there are particularly depressed economic areas where things are pretty bad.
But there are also thriving areas where things are going quite well.
This all is nothing new.
Let’s take a look at the largest examples that people point at all the time: the auto or steel industries. There are areas that have been seriously hurt because of their previous dependence on those specific industries. When those markets changed, for any number of reasons (reasons which we can argue about all day long but are essentially beside the point), those areas got hurt, big time. This has nothing to do with the internet and like I keep saying, this is nothing really new.
I’m sure that horse-drawn buggy manufacturers went through something similar as they saw the underlying technologies of transportation change. That some industries might be impacted by the internet doesn’t surprise me in the least.
Radio Shack was wonderful, but …
I’m not surprised, for example, that stores like Radio Shack might be having problems. As a consumer, I can get a much better selection at better prices with better service in less time by going online.
Businesses have always needed to deal with new forms of competition. They either improved such that that gave their customers something worth paying for or driving to; or those businesses went out of business.
I know I’m a broken record on this, but this isn’t anything new.
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