A bit more than 20 years ago, the United States had a recession that was associated with the end of the .com craze, where it seemed that in order to get mad stacks of money from gullible investors and venture capitalists that all it was necessary to do was have a business model that was short on profits or even income but long on attempts to disrupt businesses through the use of the internet in one’s operations. It is easy to mock such an age, but at least it must be recognized that some businesses were greatly disrupted by companies who stole their customers, revenues, and profits through internet-based marketing and distribution efforts. The problem was that in the midst of the hype it was hard for ordinary people lacking in the knowledge of how to separate hype from sound analysis and reading of balance sheets and prospectus literature to tell the difference between the few companies that were lasting winners and the many that were headed for bankruptcy.
Separating the wheat from the chaff, or the wheat from the tares, has always been an important task for people. Whenever something becomes profitable, there are going to be a host of imitators who seek to take advantage of any popular trend and ride its coattails for their own gain, seeking to promote themselves as being a comparable to what is experiencing success. This is true whether the trends are political, as in the rush of attempts at republics that began in the late 1700’s after the American Revolution or the rash of failed attempts at socialist states in the aftermath of colonialism, or whether they are musical, literary, or anything else. Forms can be copied, but the often specific factors that lead to success for some and not for others are harder to understand, and still harder to recognize. It usually takes time for the precious successes to be separated out from the more numerable failures, and when that time has been taken, one can see the factors that are essential for success for a particular model of thinking or behavior, and by then, the hype train has long since departed for other territories that are short on proven results and long on millennial expectations.
Where in the past there were examples of fairly lasting successes, the contemporary era has been much more filled with scams than it has been with actual business models that are worth following and that are made to last. The word sustainable gets tossed around far too frequently, but to the extent that anything is worthwhile about the term, it is in the fact that what is valuable and worthwhile is not made merely for today or merely for a short while, but is made to last. Far too little in this world is made to last, and much of that is deliberate. Yet those things that are not made to last are often not worth engaging with at all, since they will only break down and betray any trust that is placed in them. Even more than objects which at least will have some sort of value, a great deal of interest in contemporary crazes are for things like nfts and crypto that have not shown themselves to have any sort of value, and which are so dodgy and so absent of genuine wins that those who advocate them sometimes feel it necessary to manufacture hype through hacking in order to advertise their worthless products, a sign of bad faith if there ever was one.