The Old Way vs. The New Way

Alex Kantrowitz
3 min readJul 20, 2022

The old way has tradition, circumstances, ceremony, and etiquette to keep those in power entrenched there. The new way says to hell with that. We’ll dress how we want, speak how we want, eat how we want, and act how we want — and it will be no barrier to success.

The old way is a product of years of evolution, the mighty building walls to ensure they remain mighty. The old way says that unless you spend time steeping in genteel culture you have a ceiling. A limit. The new way says no.

The old way builds physical, economic, and societal walls to ensure the old way remains the way. You can’t walk in if you’re wearing jeans. You must attend brand-name universities. You must be familiar with the ritual of fine dining. The new way says bring me your ideas, your competency, and I require nothing else.

The old way says any new business must struggle to break through. It likes that most new entrants fail. Those are its competitors. Better off dead. The old way institutes franchise fees, incorporation fees, quarterly tax requirements, and fees for processing those fees. They’re convenience fees, by the way. You’ll like them.

The old way puts loopholes in for the old way, but challengers pay every cent. The old way privatizes to maximize margins while squeezing the commoner. The old way dissolves the safety net so you’ll go for the ‘safe’ route, and of course, that serves the old way. The new way identifies these problems. But the old way adds complexity to stave off resolutions. It’s unsolvable. Too complex. That’s a lie. But it’s easy to believe.

The old way is the old way because in the olden days the old way was the only way. The old way expresses regret about others’ suffering but secretly — or not so secretly — doesn’t mind. The old way can’t persist without that pain. Oh, it’s a shame what happened to those poor people.

Every now and again, a disciple of the new way will challenge the old way. Momentum builds. People dream. Then the old way co-opts that person. It’s easy to rationalize joining forces. Hey, it’s the only way to get things done. Hey, nobody’s perfect. Hey, I must do what’s right for me at the end of the day. That was a nice five-star dinner, by the way. Thanks.

The old way says well, maybe it didn’t happen. Better that than reckon with the lessons. And treat the perpetrators with civility, please. We can’t live forever in the past. The new way says it did happen, and it will again without vigilance.

Power becomes entrenched because to taste power is unsatisfying. Those with it must consume it, course after course, consequences be damned. To achieve it is bliss but to persevere is divine. Yet, the new way is making headway. Finally. And last. As imperfect as it may be, here’s to the new way.

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Alex Kantrowitz

Veteran journalist covering Big Tech and society. Subscribe to my newsletter here: