Complex Normalcy

This year's Double Eleven, I originally didn't plan to participate in this "shopping frenzy," but Shero won more than fifty yuan playing the Taobao cat game, which meant I had to spend it no matter what, so I went ahead and bought a pair of pants.

Pants are not essential, but I do need a pair of cotton pants to get through this winter. Since my purpose was clear, I opened Taobao and searched for keywords, briefly looked at a few styles, and once I found one I liked, I placed the order. During the process, I didn't pay much attention to coupons or discount information, so I can't be considered a qualified Taobao buyer.

It is said that the overall sales performance of this year's Double Eleven was not great. Some say that people have started to "downgrade" their consumption; others say that users are no longer interested in these tactics; some say that top anchors have gathered most of the traffic, leaving other small shops with nothing; and some say that the threshold is too high, reducing the enthusiasm of businesses to participate in Double Eleven.

Perhaps there is some truth to all of these, but it is definitely not caused by a single reason. It is the result of multiple factors influencing each other. Just like the discussion about power rationing before, the reasons are not just a single surface-level cause like reduced coal imports or insufficient production. The complexity behind the answer may already be beyond the comprehension of ordinary people.

To find out the more accurate answer, we need to keep digging deeper. For example, if people are starting to downgrade their consumption, or in other words, if the savings rate is increasing, why is that? Is it because of the impact of the pandemic, leading to a need for frugality, or is it because of the influence of policies on certain industries (such as online education)? And we can continue to dig deeper: why is the country controlling the education and training industry at this time? Is the increase in the savings rate related to the soaring housing prices... Various possible reasons intersect and influence each other, eventually leading to certain results that we see. When we try to attribute these results, we tend to lazily associate them with simple cause-and-effect relationships, which is a common practice among the general public.

When faced with such situations or when trying to make causal judgments, we should be cautious: establishing reliable cause-and-effect relationships is extremely difficult. Is this causal relationship reliable?

In today's increasingly complex world, these complex relationships will only become more and more numerous. In addition to maintaining a spirit of "questioning," we should also form a habit of considering it as a "normality."

Just like not shopping on Double Eleven - when discounts become a normality, Double Eleven loses much of its appeal.


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