Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Fighting Complexity

Between the wash and the spin cycle there’s a story to be told. It’s a tale of progress, lack of imagination and sadly, an overt attention to the bottom line.  Two examples probably tell it best.

The first example is our washing machine in Palm Springs. We bought it about ten years ago, a top of the line Maytag we were told. Last year the mother board went out and we had to get it fixed. OK, you say, things like that happen. True, but I would add that we only use it for six months out of the year and then about once a week when we’re in town. Now compare that to our older (as in 40 years older) Maytag washer and dryer in Apple Valley that are still going strong. Sometimes newer isn’t always better.

Welcome to our ever-changing world where nothing ever remains the same. The only constant is change and in our capitalistic society the illusion that newer is better. Alvin Toffler wrote about these phenomena years ago with his best-selling ‘Future Shock’ and ‘Third Wave’ books. Riding on the coattails of those social and cultural benchmarks were several books examining the slow demise of the American Dream?

Not to be undone, there was recently an article written in Financial Advisor Magazine that warned about ‘The Coming Shock That Will Transform the U.S. economy’. The basic gist of the article was that there is a new wave of transformative change sweeping over the U.S. economy. Think of it as ‘Future Shock,’ ‘Third Wave,’ and ‘Death of the American Dream’ all on steroids. This teleshock, or the rise in telecommunications, is the major impetus for these changes.

There seems to be a pattern here. Another social, economic and cultural change is happening in the country. In this case, the author states that ‘among the big losers will be the American upper middle class, especially those with jobs connected to information technology and those who can work from home.’ The article then adds on a less than hopeful note that ‘The teleshock is likely to continue for a considerable period of time, perhaps longer than the China Shock.’ To add a little icing on that cake of despair, the article ends with: ‘It is conventional wisdom that “software is eating the world.”’

Now, don’t get me wrong, because I think much of what the author says is true. My only complaint is his implied conclusion that this means the end of the world as we know it. Telecommuting is happening, hiring practices are changing and jobs may become even more competitive. Welcome to the new world of commerce. The same goes for manufactured goods.

While it’s true that many appliances go out long before they should, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them. The cliché that ‘they don’t make them like they used to’ is probably true. If you asked any good auto mechanic or appliance repair person they could probably tell you which products are good and which items are just plain crap. All it really means is ‘carpe diem’ or buyer beware.

If ever there was a need for due diligence on the part of consumers, now is the time. Cars, machines, computer technology, foods and personal health all become one’s personal responsibility to accept, reject or chose selectively. Granted, it gets really scary when you think about the Boeing 737 that needs a Harvard PhD in computer technology to fly.

While you can’t return to days of old, you can learn to live smarter and better if you tone down the hype that many media sites are spouting forth each day. Lifestyles are personal choices and the consequences follow in remarkably familiar patterns.

  • ·       Several lines were taken from an article in Financial Advisor Magazine entitled: ‘The Coming Shock That Will Transform the U.S. Economy’ by Tyler Cowen. November 4th, 2021.


Luciano Ramirez said...

I enjoyed reading your blog today. I haven't read any of your books yet.

Luciano Ramirez said...

I see that you write a lot aboutthe Apaches, are you Apache?

Author Denis J. LaComb said...

Once again, thank you for your kind words.
I’ve always had an interest in the Apache wars of 1848-1886.
My concern when writing the trilogy ‘Apache Death Wind’ and
‘Apache Blue Eyes’ was to respect the Indian culture and way
of life and NOT make them the villains in my stories. I believe I did just that.

Unknown said...

Eleven years ago while moving from or house next door to our new one, we asked my son and daughter-in-law whether they would like our old washing machine and dryer that we had for about ten years. Of course they said no, they wanted large stainless steel machines , heavy duty, shiny, etc. We took them with and have had zero problems. They on the other hand have had service people over at least twice, if not more. They ask to use ours for large items like comforters which their large machine can't handle.
Have you seen "Don't Look Up'? on Netflix? An interesting movie.

Author Denis J. LaComb said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll look it up on Netflix.

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