Saturday, January 29, 2005

What's Old is New Again

Fashion trends come, and fashion trends go. What was hot last year on New York designer runways is now passe and on the discount rack in Filene's Basement. However, if you held onto your kitsch clothes from the 80's, well, you're in luck -- and a real fashion trendsetter.

It seems like the business world is jumping on the retro bandwagon. Back in the Reagan era, the "call to arms" for business was breaking up the monopolies and deregulation of those industries suffering under the thumb of oppressive government oversight.

The snowball that started this whole business trend was AT&T - in 1982, a court ruling forced the breakup of AT&T into many separate smaller companies. The reasoning was that one mega-company controlling the communication infrastructure in the country was not a good thing, and stifled development and competition, which were both the holy grail of consumerism.

So, AT&T was broken into regional "Baby Bells", of which Bell Atlantic and Southern Bell were two of the resultant companies. And while the concept of de-monopolization seemed to play out for awhile, the end result is kind of like how the liquid metal, new and improved "T-1000" coagulates back together after being blown into 10,000 pieces. More than 20 years after the AT&T breakup, monolithic megacorps are all the rage again - this time named Verizon and SBC. And, in a strange twist, SBC is making a bid to buy AT&T.

The circle is complete.