Learning From Kodak's Demise

What the end of a blue-chip company can teach us about the 2012 election.

The human brain is capable of memorizing 67,890 digits of pi, composing side two of Exile on Main Street, and inventing a dog-to-human translation device called the Bowlingual. Yet, we often-brilliant, always-innovating bipeds find it impossible to imagine changing the trajectory of the world we think we live in by more than a few degrees at any given moment. Whatever dominates today we assume will dominate tomorrow. This is true for our private lives, this is true for commerce, and this is especially true for politics.

Tectonic shifts in the course of human events are almost never predicted ahead of time, even by the very people who stomp on the cracks. When asked in August 1989, only a few months after the electrifying demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, whether the communist East Bloc would ever be democratic and free in his lifetime, Czech economist Vàclav Klaus said no. Less than five months later, he was the first finance minister of a free Czechoslovakia. Morgan Stanley trader Howie Hubler lost $9 billion on a single stock market bet in 2007, not because he didn’t think the bubble of mortgage-backed derivative securities would pop, but because he couldn’t conceive of the price reduction exceeding 8 percent. For all but the last 10 days of 2007, the famed Iowa Electronic Markets (IEM) trading system for predicting major-party presidential nominees established as its clear Republican favorite the famous ex-mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. Yet, when it came time for people to actually vote in the primaries and caucuses, Giuliani lost in more than 40 states to Ron Paul, an obscure obstetrician/congressman whose name never even showed up on IEM’s 2008 election trading board despite his ending up with the fourth-highest number of delegates. Massive, fast-paced change, whether liberational, destructive, or just plain weird, is always and everywhere underpriced.

You may have heard of confirmation bias, whereby people choose to notice and believe whatever rumors, news stories, and quasi-academic studies confirm their basic worldview. Well, get your mind around existence bias, where the mere fact of a person’s, business’s, political party’s, or country’s existence is taken as unspoken and unchallenged proof that the same entity will exist in largely the same form tomorrow, the next day, the next month, the next decade, forever and ever, amen. This despite the fact that the Western world, and the United States in particular, stands out in the history of Homo sapiens as the most vigorous producer of constant, dynamic change.

Dig up the time capsules for every decade preceding us, and you’ll find retrospectively laughable anxieties about seemingly intractable threats that no longer exist. At the dawn of the new millennium, for example, the overwhelming majority of media observers agonized over how mere mortals could cope with the advent of the new Big Brother–style corporate behemoth called AOL Time Warner. As it turned out, the company set new records for financial losses before disbanding altogether. A decade before that, the question wasn’t whether the Japanese would own and operate the U.S. economy but whether the American workplace would be free of insidious group calisthenics led by Toshiro Mifune types. The graduating class of 1980 could not imagine a world without high inflation and the growing communist threat, and its 1970 counterpart forecasted constant Southeast Asian war fed by an endless military draft.

In 2012, it’s tempting to give in to the pessimism and existence bias of the moment. Unemployment and underemployment have remained at levels not seen since the 1978–1982 recession, and unlike in that era of Federal Reserve Bank–imposed austerity via heightened interest rates, the economy has not been dosed with any medicine that hints at a better tomorrow. Indeed, debt and deficits are reaching levels not seen since World War II, when, as you might recall, we were fighting a world war. Against Hitler. And as bad as the current fiscal picture looks, there is rare unanimity across the discipline of economics—as well as inside the administration, from President Barack Obama on down—about one singularly unhappy fact: As the first wave of the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 starts to retire and goes on the public dole, things will only get much, much worse.

Yet there is a glowing ember of real hope in this gloomy picture, and it lies, paradoxically, right alongside our inability to detect it. The same revolutionary forces that have already upended much of American commerce and society over the past 40 years, delivering us not just from yesterday’s bogeymen but into a futuretastic world of nearly infinite individual choice, specialization, and autonomy, are at long last beginning to buckle the cement under the most ossified chunk of American life: politics and government. A close if idiosyncratic reading of recent U.S. history gives us a blueprint for how to speed up that process of creative destruction in the realm of public policy. Because it’s not true that nobody predicted such history-altering innovations as the Internet, nonviolent resistance to totalitarianism, and the home-brewing renaissance, among a thousand other happy developments in the modern world.

If we listen carefully to the theoreticians and practitioners who helped midwife these giant leaps toward the decentralization of power and the democratization of mankind, they have some surprisingly consistent things to say about changing or working around restrictive regimes, and—above all— altering the mindset that tolerates and perpetuates them. As any revolutionary will testify, there are structural impediments galore to our personal and global pursuit of happiness. Before we can sweep those roadblocks away, we have to declare our independence from the forces that conspire to keep us less than free and recognize that the status quo has no inalienable right to keep on keeping on.

Nothing in 21st-century life seems as archaic, ubiquitous, and immovable as the Republican and Democratic parties, two 19th-century political groupings that divide up the spoils of a combined $6.4 trillion annually in forcibly extracted taxpayer money at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels. While rhetorically and theoretically at odds with one another at any micro-moment in time, the two parties manage to create a mostly unbroken set of policies and governance structures that benefit well-connected groups at the expense of the individual. Americans have watched, with a growing sense of alarm and alienation, as first a Republican then a Democratic administration flouted public opinion by bailing out banks, nationalizing the auto industry, expanding war in Central Asia, throwing yet more good money after bad to keep housing prices artificially high, and prosecuting a drug war no one outside the federal government pretends is comprehensible, let alone winnable. It is easy to look upon this well-worn rut of political affairs and despair.

But what if that's the existence bias talking? What if the same elements that extend the incumbents’ advantage threaten to hasten their demise? Luckily, economists have a particular fondness for studying what Democrats and Republicans have become: the longest-lived duopoly in American history. But while researchers have done interesting work explaining how duopolies collude with one another to carve up captive markets, they generally fail to address the most interesting moment of all: how customer-unfriendly collusion and customer-empowering technology combine to produce an inevitable consumer revolt, sweeping one or more of the dominant players into the dustbin of history.

In a widely circulated 2009 paper surveying the vast economic literature on the topic, the late Larry F. Darby presented a list of classic duopolies for discussion. Tellingly, several no longer existed, including MCI and AT&T (MCI, then known as WorldCom, became history’s largest bankruptcy in 2003) and Macy’s and Gimbels (Gimbels was the country’s—and the world’s—dominant department store chain in the 1930s; it ceased to exist in 1987). As such examples illustrate, there is nothing inherently stable about two organizations dominating a particular market in the hurly-burly of modern American life. In fact, there is plenty of reason to suspect that such arrangements are, if anything, unstable—particularly when technology allows captive consumers to flee.

It’s worth taking a closer look at a single such case, one of the duopolies on Darby’s list: Kodak and Fujifilm. Like the Democratic Party with the House of Representatives, Kodak was for much of the 20th century synonymous with color photography. Memories captured on film were “Kodak moments.” Eastman Kodak was a bedrock member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for more than seven decades. At one point the company enjoyed an amazing 96 percent share of the U.S. market for photographic film. Such was its dominance that the federal government sued Kodak for antitrust violations not once but twice, producing out-of-court settlements in 1921 and 1954. As recently as 1994, long after Japan’s Fujifilm had entered the scene, the Justice Department argued that the antitrust settlements should remain in force, since Kodak had “long dominated” the industry, still enjoyed a U.S. market share of around 75 percent, and could “greatly outsell its rivals despite charging a higher price.” (Careful observers of and participants in capitalism may notice in that latter claim a wonderful market opportunity.)

Fujifilm began competing with Kodak globally in the 1970s and seriously in the United States after the 1984 Olympics. Though always the junior partner on Kodak’s home turf, the conglomerate held its own enough that the duopoly soon attracted academic studies such as “Entry, Its Deterrence, and Its Accommodation,” “Vertical Restraints and Market Access,” and “Advertising Collusion in Retail Markets.” The underlying assumption was that you could assume the duopoly’s equilibrium for the foreseeable future. Even those who noticed Kodak faltering in the late 1990s at the dawn of the digital age were still apt to say, as Fortune magazine did, “The Kodak brand remains solid gold, and its quality is not in dispute.” No one could conceive of a photography world without Kodak playing its customary leading role.

This, stunningly, is no longer true. Eastman Kodak share prices tumbled from $60 in 2000 to $40 in 2001, to $10 in 2008, and under the $1 threshold by the end of 2011. The Dow Jones kicked the stock off its bedrock industrial average in 2004, and the New York Stock Exchange threatened the company with de-listing. Kodachrome—subject not just of a hit Paul Simon song but of the 1954 antitrust settlement that the federal government was trying to maintain four decades later—vanished from stores in 2009, and developers stopped processing the stuff for good on New Year’s Day 2010. The company closed scores of plants, laid off more than 10,000 employees, and has now filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

What happened? Technological advances gave consumers choices that Kodak’s fat bureaucracy was unwilling to provide. Writing in the Wall Street Journal in November 2006, William M. Bulkeley explained how the implications of this insight ranged far afield from the world of processing photographs:

Photography and publishing companies shouldn’t be surprised when digital technology upends their industries. After all, their business success relied on forcing customers to buy things they didn’t want. Photo companies made customers pay for 24 shots in a roll of film to get a handful of good pictures. Music publishers made customers buy full CDs to get a single hit song. Encyclopedia publishers made parents spend thousands of dollars on multiple volumes when all they wanted was to help their kid do one homework paper. The business models required customers to pay for detritus to get the good stuff. . . . Eastman Kodak and Fuji Photo Film had a highly profitable duopoly for 20 years before digital cameras came along. They never dreamed customers would quickly abandon film and prints.

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  • "Furious" Styles||

    OT: Please, can the Pro Bowl have the same future as Kodak?

  • NFL Officials||

    If there's a better football game that allows intentional grounding, we haven't heard of it.

  • Peyton Manning||

    You make it sound like "Pro Bowl MVP" doesn't amount to shit. Fuck you, Brady-fellator!

  • Xenocles||

    I'd like to know what idiot approved the move of the Pro Bowl date. I didn't believe the game could become less relevant, but they proved me wrong by arranging it such that the two conference champions can't participate!

  • MLB||

    I propose that the winner of today's Pro Bowl decides who wins all coin tosses in the Super Bowl!

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  • ||

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  • CatoTheElder||

    Another dead dog of the Dow.

    Brought to you by incoherent government regulation, insane intellectual property law, and inept corporate management.

  • Wow||

    insane intellectual property law

    Kodak died because of "insane intellectual property law"?

    How so?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I'm guessing something about processors holding some legal rights rather than photographers or owners. Stuff that everyone ignores.

  • ||

    In the late 1980s Kodak tried to get into the instant photo market but got raped by Polaroid in a patent infringement suit. The damages awarded to Polaroid were a record amount at the time, iirc.

  • Wow||

    Kodak...got raped by Polaroid

    But who had the legitimate property rights?

  • ||

    Well that's debatable, I suppose. But it does provide the connection to IP.

  • ||

    About the only thing of value that Kodak still has is its IP portfolio.

    IP didn't kill Kodak; digital photography did.

  • Uncle Pfizer||

    Independent: A vocally right-winger so embarrassed by the Bush administration that they claim to be an "independent" while taking every opportunity to bash Democrats.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    What's not to bash about Democrats?

  • killazontherun||

    Democrats are so concentrated on being on the wrong side of economic policy, they don't put any effort or time being on the right side of anything else.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Like I've said before... the only things Democrats don't want to regulate/make illegal, are abortion and being gay.

    Pretty much every other facet of everyday life, they're just as ban-happy and nannyist as Team Red.

  • ||

    Democrats only support the WoD, WoT, and the indiscriminate bombing of other countries (with or without Congressional approval) cause the Republicans force them to.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Basically, yeah.

  • davidst||

    What a hopeful view. Too bad it's completely bogus. Kodak could have continued doing just fine if they had the power to suppress the existence of digital cameras.

    People aren't the customers of governments, powerful monied interests are. And they still get what they pay for and happily continue purchasing it every election cycle. Unless our ability to recognize the problem increases faster than their ability to rig the game, they will maintain the duopoly.

  • Bee Tagger||

    Unless our ability to recognize the problem increases faster than their ability to rig the game, they will maintain the duopoly.

    The bigger problem is the notion that the two parties are different in any meaningful way. As long as a large number of people are fearful that the other party will gain power (and the assumption that this will be vastly different), there is a small hope of a meaningful third party on the national stage.

  • IceTrey||

    You mean like how they suppress the existence of flying saucers?

  • Mo||

    Kodak didn't die because they couldn't imagine a future with digital camera. Kodak developed one of the first digital cameras and in the 80s sold high end ones. They created the first mega-pixel sensor in the 80s. The problem they ran into was pretty standard bet on the wrong horse behavior. In the mid-90s, when it came to decide on how much to invest in digital cameras, they underinvested because their research showed that there wasn't a big demand for it. By the time they were able to get, they had lost significant ground and their products sucked.

    While it's a pat story to say that Kodak was a buggy whip manufacturer that failed to adapt to the times, it's totally false. Kodak helped usher in the new era, but go beat because at heart, they weren't an electronics companies, and those companies were able to provide superior products.

  • o3||

    but the libtoidz are on a roll here...like when bluto alQaeda bombed pearl harbor. just keep ur hands n feet away from their mouths

  • Killazontherun||

    I'll toss you a bone 'cause you're al'right most days. It looks like Rep. West is going nuts in public again given this Drudge headline:

    Rep. West Torches Obama, Reid, Pelosi: 'Get the Hell Out of USA'...

    I recall the Mad magazine bumper sticker pull out from when I was kid: If I Just Like the US, Can I Live on the Boarder?

  • Killazontherun||

    I'm sure the boarder would find that somewhat uncomfortable -- border!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    West went a tad over the line, but only a tad.

  • ||

    My Kodak zi10 HD camcorder is EXCELLENT and far outperforms similar products available from Sony (and formerly available from Flip)

  • Xenocles||

    So it's as if the largest buggy company invented the IC engine and said "Isn't that neat? Maybe someday we can find a use for that."

  • Mo||

    No, they made and sold digital cameras, but they didn't do it well. Their film cameras blew too. That didn't matter because they could still make money on the film. With digital cameras, they had to learn how to make electronics and cameras well and they couldn't.

    The transition for a company like Canon or Olympus was easy. They made the best selling film cameras and could outsource the electronics to someone else and pop them in the same basic bodies. Fuji survived by sticking to their core competency and built on their chemical expertise.

  • Paul||

    You kind of, in a roundabout way confirmed Xenocles' statement.

    Essentially, you're saying that Kodak was the Xerox Parc of film companies. They invented this great technology, and in saying, "Isn't that neat", they didn't do it very well and got smacked by the companies that said, "This is the future".

    The ultimate point being that if Kodak had looked at their own inventions and said, "Holy fucking shitsticks! This is the damned future... RETOOL!!11!" they might be around today.

  • ||

    When I bought my first digital camera, I didn't know much about them, but I trusted Kodak so I bought one of theirs.

    <waits for laughter to die down>

  • ||

    This. Saying Kodak should have just "adapted" to digital photography is like saying the guys who built carburetors should have just learned to program fuel injector computers.

  • ||

    ^win

  • Justin||

    ^Concur. Win.

  • Paul||

    This. Saying Kodak should have just "adapted" to digital photography is like saying the guys who built carburetors should have just learned to program fuel injector computers.

    Kodak's bankruptcy attorney agrees!

  • richfried||

    Let me posit the existence, in 2013, of harsh treatment of debtors if the Republicans win, and harsh treatment of everyone else if the Democrats win. Therefore, I hope yinz is right!

  • ||

    Western Pa?

  • ||

    To be fair, my last camera was an 8-megapixel Kodak, and it was the best camera I've owned.

  • ||

    How the fuck did this end up here?

  • smartass||

    How the fuck did this end up here?

    It all started with whips which naturally led to chains. Which led to leather and black things and then some other things came up, naturally.

    By the time it was all done the squirrels had take over the universe. With whips and chains and leather and stuff like that.

    You may not like it, but the squirrels are having a grand time.

  • smartass||

    My current pocket camcorder is also a Kodak and also the best I've ever owned. Better than Flips had degraded too, easier to work with and cheaper peripherals than Sony offers, and unfortunately Canon aimed for the ditch somewhere in recent years too.

    But pocket sized camcorders are so yesterday. You know, like horses and buggys and whips and chains and, well, then again if anything is eternal maybe it's whips and chains.

    If only somebody had told Kodak before it was too late.

  • ||

    I agree with Mo. Basically, Kodak lost because the key to making the best digital cameras is being able to make the best integrated circuits. (A race for megapixels and storage) In other words, companies accustomed to making computers and consumer electronics had the technological edge on them. Kodaks only edge was in lenses.

  • Mo||

    Actually, even then they relied on Leica on the lens stuff. If Kodak is a case study in anything, it's that even doing your damnedest to adapt and innovate with the times is no guarantee for survival. Sometimes, you just lack the requisite competency and need to leave your market for something adjacent.

  • Paul||

    Isn't this kind of like saying that if I were a better athlete and a faster runner, I'd be a track star?

  • ||

    Yes. Much akin to saying that if my grandmother had had balls, she would have been my grandfather.

  • Paul||

    In other words, companies accustomed to making computers and consumer electronics had the technological edge on them. Kodaks only edge was in lenses.

    And Tandy Leather Company's edge was in leather products. See my post below.

  • Dave||

    Two words: Punctuated Equilibrium.

  • Huh?||

    One word: what?

  • rather||

    All product manufacturing has a vanguard to inutility cycle, regardless of politics. I don't get the government customer service reference to Kodak's self-inflicted demise

  • ||

    When asked in August 1989, only a few months after the electrifying demonstrations in Tiananmen Square, whether the communist East Bloc would ever be democratic and free in his lifetime, Czech economist Vàclav Klaus said no.

    When asked whether the Western press would one day stand together to hail or disdain Klaus as the "Thatcherite" he claimed to be, despite all evidence to the contrary, Klaus replied, "To nevim, asi yo."

  • ||

    Also it's Václav, not Vàclav Klaus, if you want to do diacriticals why not do them correctly?

  • ||

    Potato, Potahto...

  • A Stretch||

    Like the Democratic Party with the House of Representatives, Kodak was for much of the 20th century synonymous with color photography.

    Oh, OK.
    Thanks Nick 'n' Matt!

  • Tip O'Neill||

    Dude! Nick 'n' Matt are right!
    Have you ever seen me in color?
    Dude! Look at me.
    Look at me!

  • smartass||

    Actually Kodak has managed to put out some decent consumer grade products in recent years. But to just keep that alive they'd have to get sma-sma-sma-small-eeeerrrrr.

    The Fonz would admit he was wrong long before a corporation would get sma-sma-smallaaarrrrhh.

    Anyway we'll still have whips and chains so everything will be okay.

  • El Commentariosa||

    Is this the China Thomas Friedman keeps talking about?

  • ||

    Friedman's the Gaddafi of punditry; a confused, fucked-in-the-head, upside-down retard. Not even worth the frustration anymore.

  • ||

    I briefly tried to place Krugman on these axes. It hurt too much.

  • Andrew||

    It's too bad that Dwayne's shut down Kodachrome development though understandable given the uncertainty of chemical supply. I found a roll of Kodachrome a couple of months ago that I forgot to send in. Never know what's on it.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    It seems Kodachrome can still be processed, at least in black and white. Do some internet research if you are interested.

  • Yup||

  • Andrew||

    Thanks Col! I've only got 1 roll so I might try one of those labs.

  • Jason||

    I found a roll of Kodachrome, too, but it's unexposed. :-)

  • Schadenfreudist||

    I'm just happy that they are gone!
    Whew!
    One more symbol of American achievement that I may gleefully grind beneath my heels.
    Pass the salt substitute.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I still shoot film. Supplies get more expensive but there's no unavailability. Places still process. Self processing is an option. No big deal.

  • Tonio||

    Not for Kodachrome. Home-developing of K-chome was never an option. Even the smaller labs were shut out of this. Kodak processed the huge majority of KC, and there were only a few non-Kodak facilities that had k-chrome labs: Dwaynes, NatGeo, CIA (rumored), and a handful more.

  • David Starke||

    The problem is government is not at all like a business in this way. This is truly a one-party state (the Demopublican party) which put on a show of fighting each other depending on the popular wave at the time, but, in fact, continuing the same old MONOpoloy of power. They will ruin this country rather than change.

  • dj kumquat||

    doh! i thought they were republicrats! sneaky, that one party...

  • ||

    OK, you have to ask yourself, who comes up with that stuff.

    www.pc-privacy.tk

  • Killazontherun||

    Fran Drescher has still got it. For 54 (or 34), wow.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix.....68x747.jpg

  • El Commentariosa||

    until she talks.

  • Killazontherun||

    Her voice makes me weak in the knees, and her chuckle makes me spring a woody. Everything about her is like magnet to my steel.

  • HA!||

    ROTF

  • V.I. Lenin||

    ROTF? Roll on the Floor Farting?

  • Colonel_Angus||

    This article is hard to skim through. Its subject is all over the place.

  • Agree||

    I agree

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Do what I do and skip straight to the comments.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    For the first time in recent memory, participants in the political process, many of them newly engaged, are openly imagining and pushing for a world other than the one they currently live in. A certain spell is on the verge of breaking, with impacts we can only guess at.

    I submit that those of us who were born post WWII have lived our lives in a historically unique situation, leaving us with correspondingly skewed expectations. The spell you see breaking is merely the process of the world returning to it's normal condition.

  • ||

    There's a fundamental difference between Kodak and the government. Kodak cannot legally prohibit competition and people can take their business elsewhere when a better competitor arrives. Kodak can't force them to finance their business.

    Not so with government. Government declares itself the compulsory monopolistic ruler and arbiter of all conflicts within a certain territory including those involving govt. and its agents. Secondly, the state has a territorial monopoly on taxation. It tells all of us what we will pay it for it "services" whether we want them or not.

    The problem as I see it is not the bleeding duopoly of the political parties but the legal
    monopoly the state over the services of law and order, prohibiting competition and forcing we people to support it.

    We are being bled and our society is dying because we won't rid ourselves of this vampire and subject the people who run the state to same market forces of free competition and voluntary exchange the rest of us are required to live by.

  • ||

    "Art Thomas|1.29.12 @ 10:48PM|#

    There's a fundamental difference between Kodak and the government. Kodak cannot legally prohibit competition and people can take their business elsewhere when a better competitor arrives. Kodak can't force them to finance their business."

    For now. In the future that may not be true. Think about it, government has this monopoly because it's assumed that there are certain things that large governmental organizations do better than any private organization does. But is that true? Does the USPS deliver mail better than UPS or FedEx could? Do you think that insurance companies would do a better job of licensing drivers than the DMV? How about a voucher system as compared to our current public school. Medical vouchers as compared to city hospital systems system? National parks leased to the Sierra Club - or if they didn't want to pay - an Oil company. We already have privately run prisons. And we're heading toward being able to buy utilities from any provider. Indeed, it seems the only thing we really need government for is National defense and security - something they are currently failing at because they doing so many other things badly. If the Republicans had the sense that God gave a rock, they would have long since have promised to privatize enormous parts of our government and reduce our overall tax burden.

  • SIV||

    The graduating class of 1980 could not imagine a world without high inflation and the growing communist threat

    As a member of the graduating class of 1980 I must say everything costs a fuck of a lot more and we're well down the road to socialism.

    At least back in '80 my savings from a part-time job were earning a huge interest premium and I drove by a John Birch Society billboard every day on my way to school.

  • Ann Page||

    The A&P supermarket chain—if you’re under 40 years old, or from the West Coast, you probably haven’t even heard of it

    Are you serious?

  • ||

    Existence bias means that Americans can't imagine their country turning into a third world police state.

  • smartass||

    Give it a few more minutes, they'll get the idea.

  • ||

    I imagined it several decades ago, but it was more like I saw it coming.

  • dj kumquat||

    /\this!

  • ||

    Considering that the two major reform movements in the wake of the Bailout Era have been retired people who think the government should be just small enough to provide them with a comfortable retirement and premium medical care in perpetuity and freshman liberal arts college students who think the government should be just big enough to provide them with an education and job until they become aged enough to get on the government dole like their stodgy old tea party grandparents, respectively, I don't hold much hope for meaningful reform of government via insurgent third party and "independent" voting blocs. America is poised for change alright - into a European-styled social democracy. The era of small government, such as it was, is over.

  • @AgoristDon||

    "We have all witnessed and participated in this revolutionary transfer of loyalty away from those who tell us what we should buy or think and toward those who give us tools to think and act for ourselves."

    People are realizing that libertarians are the true pragmatists.

    http://tirelessagorist.blogspo.....tists.html

  • paul hughes||

    "the two parties manage to create a mostly unbroken set of policies and governance structures that benefit well-connected groups at the expense of the individual. Americans have watched"

    Existence bias, anyone?

  • Yet Another Dave||

    While it seems that digital photography may have been what killed Kodak, the interesting thing is that they were actually pioneers of professional digital photography. I have in my office an old boat anchor that was one of the early viable digital cameras - the DCS 410 - and it happens to have a Kodak label on the digipack part of the system.

    It's one thing if you're a company like Nikon that poo-pooed the coming of autofocus cameras and then digital bodies (and as a result, surrendered their position at the top of the heap to Canon), but Kodak was there at the beginning. Why aren't they more of a player in the market than they are today?

  • Paul||

    It's one thing if you're a company like Nikon that poo-pooed the coming of autofocus cameras and then digital bodies (and as a result, surrendered their position at the top of the heap to Canon), but Kodak was there at the beginning. Why aren't they more of a player in the market than they are today?

    Because the game changed, and Kodak didn't change with it.

    Or, after 100 years of being top shotputters they suddenly found themselves in a foot race and couldn't compete.

    I'm not sure I get this whole, "But... but... they were pioneers in the field but couldn't possibly become experts in integrated circuits!!11!"

    What, no one remembers Tandy Leather Company? A company that made LEATHER PRODUCTS BECAME ONE OF THE TOP ELECTRONICS COMPANIES!

  • Yet Another Dave||

    You're missing my statement. It would be one thing if Kodak was all about film and never switched to digital photography at all, but that's not the case. Some of the earliest digital SLRs being toted by pro shooters were built by Kodak. Kodak was building digital systems before Nikon or Canon was.

  • Jason||

    Tandy is still around, selling leather to hobbyists.

  • ||

    Management. When digital began to take off with smaller processeers it was time for Kodak management to use their huge cash position to purchase an inroad to the new tech. When they failed to do so the market share clock began to tick past midnight. There were any number of smaller Japanese electronic companies they could have had reletively cheaply, but they bet digital photography was a flash in the pan.

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