The region is getting sick on empty growth calories
With the announcement of yet another national restaurant franchise coming to Western New York, one has to wonder if our area is becoming a casualty of elevated levels of economic cholesterol. It is something we seem to crave as we celebrate the arrival of any activity that promotes food consumption and/or drinking.
The supposed “experts” oftentimes chide people for their high-cholesterol diet while ignoring the fact our development is based on planning that is chock full of economic cholesterol, which promotes consumption and recreation rather than manufacturing and research.
Many stalwarts of our fabled “manufacturing and service” economy are vanishing, such as mall retailing, as people replace impulse buying with impulse shipping. As more businesses promote home delivery of groceries or curbside pickup at department stores, the age of “electronic shanty towns” is becoming the norm.
I’ve noticed that many young people nowadays move into an apartment with nothing more than a mattress, a microwave and an iPhone. This “electronic shanty” is all that they need for they can always find a fast-food restaurant or food truck to provide the necessary daily subsistence.
I oftentimes chuckle at politicians and economists lauding the virtues of increased productivity due to digital technology, knowing that the flip side of a digital economy, the “electronic shanty town,” is darker as people only need an iPhone, an address to receive deliveries (or an open public area to receive drone deliveries), and a nearby food truck or chain restaurant to live out their daily existence.
Matthew R. Powenski