business news in context, analysis with attitude

Responding to our piece about Walmart closing nine stores prompted the following email from MNB reader Andy Casey:

Closing 9 out of 4,700 stores across America doesn’t seem unusual and certainly not a big deal. As for only building 10 new ones, with 90% of the US population within 15 miles of a Walmart how many more can they possibly need?

I agree … my point was that it seems entirely possible that Walmart could close more US stores in 2019 than it opens. That may have happened before, but I’m not aware of it.

And yes, I agree … in the current competitive environment, how many bricks-and-mortar stores does Walmart need?

We had a story yesterday about a new Pew Research study that seemed to reflect a certain pessimism among the citizenry. For example, two thirds of Americans believe that country will get more politically divided … 60 percent believe that the United States will be less important in the world … and 73 percent believe the gap between rich and poor will grow.

I commented:

You can count me among the people who think the fabric of society is pretty much unraveling, and that much of the world, in the words of Raymond Chandler, is “as hollow and empty as the spaces between the stars.”

MNB reader Tom Hahn responded:

Wow – you’re usually a little more positive about the future. Maybe when we put all of our faith in Amazon and Starbucks and the like to keep the fabric “raveled”, well….we get what we deserve.

And from another reader:

“The fabric of society is pretty much unraveling???”  You read too much news every day!  The media love to focus on the bad news, and I can’t blame them because it sells.

I understand why people are so scared about things, but that’s why I like this website -, which shows how much better the world (as a whole) keeps getting every day.  Studies have shown that we seem to have a built-in pessimism, so in the 21st century now that most of us don’t have to worry about basic survival we can move on to other things that will destroy us all.

Have yourself a good burger, a tasty beer, and watch a movie, the sky isn’t falling!

First of all, I kind of have to watch and read the news. It is sort of important in terms of how I make a living.

But you’re both right … for some reason, I was being a little pessimistic, and was feeling like we were “in rats' alley, where the dead men lost their bones.”

Maybe I need a visit to Calmist?
KC's View: