Last week, the mansion said to have inspired The Great Gatsby was bulldozed into memory. Going in its place? Five new homes at $10 million a pop.
The literati and preservationists are, naturally, in mourning. Sure, losing a bit of history is sad, but let’s not get carried away. After all, no one benefits from a dilapidated, uninhabited, $28 million shell. New homes may not be as fun as Daisy Buchanan’s dance floor, but new residents bring new revenue and new life to an empty space—all good things.
It’s not unlike that age-old market phenomenon, creative destruction. Throughout history, once popular firms and products have fallen by the wayside, making way for exciting, new developments. Old school gamers might miss the Atari 2600, but no one can argue the Playstation, Wii, and Xbox don’t offer a more complete gaming experience. Antiquarians cling to vintage typewriters, but what would life be without the personal computer—and all the information and convenience it brings? Innovation is our economy’s lifeblood. Losing old friends is sad, but it’s progress—and capitalism—at work.