Punchinello’s Chronicles

October 15, 2008

The Global Economy and Micro Economics

Filed under: Butterfly Wings — Punchinello @ 3:27 am
Tags: , ,

I’ve been noticing a strange and interesting thing lately, with the rapid emergence of online retailing (ecommerce). The more the whole wide world begins to consolidate into a global economy, the more we also have an increasingly individualized market. That sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it?

Consider newspapers. Way back a long time ago, a town or county would start to have settlers and more people would move into the area. Fairly quickly, someone would put together a newspaper so everyone could find out what was happening in the local area. There were newspapers everywhere, very localized, printed on paper.

Then came a time when newspapers were bought up, joined into groups, and became huge organizations. There were national newspapers, and they started selling overseas. I’m thinking of things like the New York Times.

Along the way, magazines started up, but because of the cost of printing, they tended to start as centralized products. A magazine would quickly move toward national distribution, or it would go out of business. Some cities are large enough that a magazine could survive within the urban community.

With computers and printers, changes in technology and so forth, I first noticed TV Guide starting to offer local programming. They were printing specific versions of the magazine to match the geographic distribution area. So the magazine was moving from a single, centrallized version into many different copies, separated by geography.

Newspapers began running into competition from television, and that also is a local demographic. But another major competitor to the newspapers has been the World Wide Web (the Web). At first, the papers put copies up on the Web. Then along came blogs and online references, as well as online magazines.

As I wander around the world of blogs, I’m starting to see that each one is like an individaul newspaper, created and published by 1 person (or very small groups), for whatever purposes that person might have. This blog is like a newspaper, with news that interests just me, or speaks to issues around where I live.

It’s pretty cool, actually. At the same time that everyone talks about the homogenization of everything into sameness, we’re getting more and more unique or individual newspapers, companies, startups, and entrepreneurial ventures.

More people are starting to think of online shopping as their first option, and not finding what they want in the Big Box chain stores and malls. Oneline ecommerce sites can fill an incredibly small niche, offering only a single product. If it’s unusual, that business can sell to the entire world, and compete in the global markets.

The more we get huge, the more opportunities for the single individual. The bigger the crowd, the easier it’s become for one person to stand out. That’s pretty counter-intuitive, I’d say! But very cool, all the same.


1 Comment »

  1. I work in the online industry. As it stands now, the internet is right behind cable TV as a form of national entertainment. Additionally, online shopping has exploded. In many ways, it is far more flexible than going to a store. For example, I tinker with mechanical things. I build racing vehicles. For many of these projects, I require specific parts such as gears, cogs, valves, chains, and other things.

    In the “old” days- say about 10 years ago, you could go to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, or Sears and buy replacement mufflers, lawn mower blades, wheels, belts, spark plugs, tires, and everything else. Over the last few years, these parts have dwindled to nothing. You would be lucky if they sold air filters or even oil. So for a person like me, Home Depot and Wal-Mart have generic appeal. I only go to those places for bulk items. For everything else, I find myself using a site like Mcmaster-Carr.

    Comment by bob — October 15, 2008 @ 11:38 am | Reply

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