Thursday, November 17, 2005

Applied Natural Selection

Darwin Exhibit Champions Evolutionary Theory

Above is straightforward headline. It wouldn't raise many eyebrows, though. What else would a Darwin exhibit champion? Now, if the headline said Darwin Exhibit Champions Creationism, the news producer would no doubt attract a huge amount of attention.

There seems to be a general malaise in the news business these days. The New York Times has undergone two layoffs recently, and the Los Angeles Times has just announced a layoff. I can see why. No imagination.

Also, times are changing. There was a time when the three big industries in America were steel, automobiles and railroads. Books of the 1950's predicted how the rulers of these industries were going to take over American society, its economy and then the world. The industries are still around, but considerably weakened. The world does not seem overly concerned about being consumed by their CEOs.

We get our news in different ways, now. It is dished up with lots of flavors. The single-source control of news has lost out to multiple sources. People who think in "steel-automobile-railroad" terms of the old days are gradually losing out to the modern world.

Note that steel, automobiles, and railroads are all union-dominated industries. So is the news business. There are probably a few typesetters around, getting paid to set type for newspapers that ignore them and use computers to do the actual work. It is part of the contract to keep them busy. In some industries union domination was an omen that marked their decline.

But it is not the fault of the union or the worker that the industries declined. They probably contributed, but the lack of imagination of the industry leaders counted most.

That and natural selection in the evolution of economies.

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