Keep in mind where you’ve been, and where you’re headed

The Shoe Event Horizon is now a firmly established and rather sad economic phenomenon which, in future times will be taught as part of the basic Middle School Life, the Universe, and Everything syllabus. …

TEACHER: Stand up! Harsh Economic Truths, Class 17. You are standing up?
T: Good. You are living in an exciting, go-ahead civilization. Where are you looking?
S: Up.
T: What do you see?
S: The open sky, the stars, an infinite horizon.
T: Correct… You are living in a stagnant, declining civilization. Where are you looking?
S: Down.
T: What do you see?
S: My shoes.
T: Correct. What do you do to cheer yourself up?
S: I buy a new pair.
T: Correct! Now, imagine everyone does the same thing… everyone buys new shoes, what happens?
S: More shoes.
T: And?
S: More shoe shops.
T: Correct… and in order to support all these extra shoe shops, what happens?
S: Everyone must keep buying shoes.
T: And how is that arranged?
S: Manufacturers dictate more and more different fashions of and make shoes so badly that they either hurt the feet or fall apart.
T: So that?
S: Everyone has to buy more shoes.
T: Until?
S: Until… everyone gets fed-up with lousy, rotten shoes.
T: And then what?
S: Massive capital investment by the manufacturers to try and make people buy the shoes.
T: Which means?
S: More shoe shops.
T: And then we reach what point?
S: The Shoe Event Horizon! The whole economy overbalances. Shoe shops outnumber every other kind of shop. It becomes economically impossible to build anything other than shoe shops.
T: Now, what’s the final stage?
S: Um… every shop in the world becomes a shoe shop.
T: Full of?
S: Shoes no one can wear.
T: Result?
S: Famine, collapse, and ruin. Any survivors eventually evolve into birds and never put their feet on the ground again.
T: Excellent! End of lesson.

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