Archive for January 13th, 2012

Last week, the 131-year-old company Eastman Kodak was said to seek bankruptcy protection. This happened after Kodak had been the leading photographic company in the world for more than a hundred years. The company put photography on the map for millions of people and invented, for instance,┬áthe digital camera in 1975 – but never managed to capitalize on the new technology.

Why is that big news for an economics blog?

Because it can teach you a lesson about structural change, as Thomas Sowell explains in the Jewish World Review:

Thomas Sowell – Kodak and the Post Office

Great names of companies in other fields have likewise vanished as new technology brought new rivals to the forefront, or else made the whole product obsolete […]. That is what happens in a market economy and we all benefit from it as consumers.

Unfortunately, that is not what happens in government.

 

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