To either "adapt or die" is a fact of economic life in a free-enterprise system, and that’s what the merger of Kmart and Sears is about — an attempt of two struggling retailers with a notable past to adapt to new realities of American life.
That means finding ways to cut costs so prices can be cut, of offering an enticing range of wares when customers want them, of affording consumer convenience at every turn, of further motivating employees and of organizing so as to be seamlessly efficient and intensely alert every day of the year, year after year.
Some analysts say the merger is a terrific idea that will enable the two retailers to reduce expenditures through consolidation of operations and afford still more advantages, while other analysts argue the point, saying the combination of two weak businesses will produce logistical confusion and one very large but still weak business.
Watch all of this, and you might be disturbed: Change means loss of the customary, which has its comforts; it means dislocation, even disorientation. But the sort of change that is challenging Kmart and Sears and leading them to change is that without which no economy continues to thrive.
While there’s no wish here to take sides among competitors, there is a wish that the merger will work, for the sake of employees, investors and customers — and for the sake of competition itself.