1.02.2009

2008 will be seen as a transition

It seems a day can't go by without bad economic news here in the Corridor. Just this week, Cryovac announced a plant closing in Cedar Rapids that will idle 260, while Lee Enterprises over in Davenport is close to delisting on the NYSE because it's stock is trading for too little. These are just the latest in a string of bad news.

Moving into a new year, I'm guessing that 2008 will ultimately be seen as a transitional year. It was tough -- and early 2009 promises to be as much so or more -- but likely marks the beginning of the true transition to a new economy. Looking at what suffered, it seems to be old, established entities, from newspaper companies to music labels to car companies. At the same time, however, the new things that are springing up to take their place (in the case of the first two, anyway), aren't exactly lighting up the skies just yet. Yes, the web has overtaken print as a place where people get their news (both still far behind TV, however) for example, but few are actually making any money at it.

But things will change. The hardship of 2008 will see to that. Those uneager to do so have little choice now. If 2008 will be remembered for all of the bad news, it is also likely to be recalled as the beginning of something new. What that is remains to be seen. There are plenty of people ready to say that print will die, record labels will fold, that anything not intensely local will move away. They may be right. It will be interesting to look back at this time next year to see.

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