Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Stuck in the Industrial Revolution

It isn’t surprising—indeed it is a positive sign, by and large—that the aging “just fade away.” One sign of that fading is failure to keep up with trends in all but a few areas that, once, were of great interest. The reason for this is that the final destination is drawing nearer; one becomes peculiarly aware of a separation from one’s aging body; and attention-capacity is limited. Hence I track events in the world of business in a kind of half-distracted way by scanning headlines, mostly, which tell me that the newest thing, never mind its actual importance in the scheme of life, is mobile communications, social networks, and the devices that make it possible. That’s where things are hot. Occasionally I’m forced to read a little more—because I don’t even recognize a hot new name. Zynga? What or who is Zynga? The headline, in today’s Wall Street Journal, says: “Zynga Reboots With Layoffs.”

My ignorance, today, made me read a few words more. They said: “Zynga Inc. is cutting to the bone. The online game maker, which struggled to build its mobile business…” That’s as far as I needed to read to be in the picture. My eye went on to the next headline. But a thought came as I did so. “You’re hopelessly stuck,” I thought, “hopelessly stuck in the Industrial Revolution.” That a mere game company should dominate a business paper’s business section (“Marketplace”) is part of the future I’m no longer interested in tracking. Industry, yes. I grew up with industry. Big, physical plants making all the things we need to have our kind of massive physical civilization. Materials and machines, rails and planes, chemicals and petrochems. The old world. I used to track it closely. Not that it is dying. But it is—fading away.

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