As newspapers know all too well, the technological revolution that gave birth to the internet has resulted in a much broader societal revolution – one as profound as the invention of the printing press or possibly even more so.
The collapse of one of Scotland’s oldest department store chains, Watt Brothers, with the loss of more than 200 jobs, is one of the latest signs of the shift to online retail.
As anyone who has lost a job knows, it can be a very difficult time; the local economies around the stores will also suffer; and another empty space where a shop used to be will diminish high streets.
But we have to live in the real world, the modern world, and strive to find ways to make it a good one. Town and city centres are already changing with a shift towards restaurants, bars and places where people can enjoy themselves. It is also possible for premises to be used for small-scale manufacturing with a showroom to display the wares in an echo of medieval ‘high streets’ of blacksmiths and so on. The human story is filled with upheavals, we should not be afraid or daunted, but rise to the challenge they present.