The Observers: Teddy bears, Amazon, women, luck

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Thoughtful writers on matters that concern us all.

Adam Clark Estes. Is It Too Late to Stop Amazon? As the next decade arrives, it’s obvious that Amazon founder and chief Jeff Bezos has built some sort of grotesque post-capitalistic empire that makes Standard Oil look like a local firewood stand. Not only does Amazon dictate the future of retail in the United States and around the world; its sprawling cloud computing business all but ensures that, on any given day, you can’t use the internet without putting a penny in Bezos’s bank account.

Theodore Dalrymple. Teddies for All. Teddy bears have a glorious future ahead of them. They supply emotional comfort to an age in which people seem to have more difficulty than ever in forming true emotional bonds to others of their kind. A teddy bear, unlike a human being, will never let you down. It’s not quite true that it never answers you back, for it will answer you in your imagination, using the words of consolation that a real friend or adviser would have said by way of consolation, if such a person had been available.

The Z Man. Fear, Force & Convenience. In America, trust was always the force that kept local community together, while tradition kept regional identity together. America was always a big country with lots of room, so self-segregation smoothed over the rough spots. With the elimination of free association and the importation of millions of foreigners, social trust is rapidly breaking down and being replaced with state force. For now, trouble makers are sent to diversity training, rather than a labor camp, but the idea is the same.

David Warren. Darlings. A woman who has the management of a household, all the tasks associated with that, plus the charge of, say, four or more children, along with the home-schooling of each of them, is not a hero. She is called to be a heroine, as we say or said in good English. To make her gender-neutral is to diminish her, for she is doing something only she can do, and she is a she. A man would need assistance. To ask this woman also to hold down a job, in our feckless commercial world, is to ask the impossible.

Scott Barry Kaufman. The Role of Luck in Life Success Is Far Greater Than We Realized. A number of studies and books–including those by risk analyst Nassim Taleb, investment strategist Michael Mauboussin, and economist Robert Frank– have suggested that luck and opportunity may play a far greater role than we ever realized, across a number of fields, including financial trading, business, sports, art, music, literature, and science. Their argument is not that luck is everything; of course talent matters. Instead, the data suggests that we miss out on a really importance piece of the success picture if we only focus on personal characteristics in attempting to understand the determinants of success.

~ Sprachgefühl