The Stamp World is not the Only One That Has Changed

Get a group of sixty year old doctors together, and you are sure to hear complaints about managed care and capitation and MBAs that get between doctors and patients. Lawyers have similar issues. People in the printing and publishing business lament the Internet. And independent booksellers now all seem to work for Barnes and Noble for $8 an hour. Every business and avocation has changed dramatically over the last thirty years. Philatelists, with our view of history, should be more understanding of this. Change has always affected all hobbies and occupations. Certainly the Internet and all that technology has opened up to us has dramatically changed our world. But have these changes been more dramatic than the changes that the electrification of the world between 1880 and 1920 caused? Are the changes now more overwhelming than how our lives were altered by the great transportation revolution of 1920-1960 which was facilitated by cars and planes? My daughter lives in California. A hundred years ago I could have expected to see her again perhaps only a few times.
So the question is not whether philately has changed; everything changes, but has our hobby changed for the better? On the negative side, we have a smaller hobby than stamp collecting once was with fewer collectors and magazines and lower prices. But the positive side of the changes to our hobby is enormous and has all been brought about by computers and the Internet. Any collector today can almost instantly unload his duplicates for cash, purchase stamps from an almost unlimited number of dealers, and be in contact with thousands of like minded collectors instantaneously. Some of us lament the lack of personal contact that is part of modern stamp collecting, including the demise of stamp clubs and the near extinction of philatelic publications. However, the modern philatelic world is in most ways better than the old one, and compared to many other fields, the inevitable changes that time brings have been kind to us.
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