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Time is precious. Time is money. Insert your cliché here. Humans and time are easily the two biggest inputs to economic progress, and nothing else comes close. Remember that the next time some pundit asks what “the Fed” or “Congress” or “President…” can do to stimulate growth. Governments can’t print humans or time, so when they promise you prosperity, they’re fibbing.

All of this and more came to mind while reading about Amazon’s planned rollout of another time-saving shopping innovation. Up front, Amazon sure is competitive for a company that is said to be a “monopoly.”

As for the innovation, it’s been reported that Amazon will soon offer its “wave of hand” advance to customers at all of its Whole Foods stores. Having endured interminable waits at grocery stores for all of my existence, this is very exciting.

So what is “wave of hand”? It’s technology which connects a print of your palm to a credit card that’s on file with Amazon. As is, shoppers at certain Whole Foods and Amazon Go stores can enter with their smartphones in order to shop sans checkout. The wave of the palm will just add to the convenience. Shopping without the lines is something that can’t happen soon enough.

Even better, it’s a matter of time before the competition emulates or exceeds what Amazon is offering, only for Amazon to continue to search for ways to improve on the competition. This is competitive markets (a redundancy) at work, and a reminder that they invariably redound to the customer. Futuristic as a wave of the palm is, it’s exciting to imagine what’s next.

For now, consider what this leap in shopping means for all of us. Precisely because governments can’t create or “print” time, it’s up to the profit-motivated to create ways for us to accomplish more in smaller time increments. There’s so much that we do that involves killing time, and that which kills time deprives us of what’s personally and economically precious.

In which case, give Amazon credit for relentlessly searching for ways that essentially expand the productive minutes in each 24-hour day. This, not government spending, is what powers actual economic growth.

Where it becomes even more interesting is in consideration of the future that entrepreneurs are relentlessly trying to create. As opposed to giving us what we want, entrepreneurs are out to help us discover wants we didn’t know we had. Amazon looms large here.

The simple truth is that before Amazon created online shopping, vanishingly few of us were demanding it. Amazon discovered a need that we had no idea we had. More important, Amazon is not harvesting past achievements. It knows it can’t because stasis in business is the path to obsolescence.

Please keep this in mind as the shallow in thought throw what they imagine to be a pejorative (monopoly) at Amazon. The joke’s on them. Not only does monopoly signal the discovery of a market that hadn’t previously existed (meaning, a compliment), Amazon plainly isn’t acting like the shallow imagine a monopoly would act. That it’s not implies an admission on Amazon’s part that unless it continues to improve, it will soon enough not be relevant.

That’s a long or short way of saying that convenient and time saving as online shopping is, it’s logically not the frontier of retail. Abundant capital and intrepid investment will continue its search for tomorrow such that someday (perhaps soon) online shopping will have primitive qualities. It’s hard to imagine, but true.

Amazon’s actions with “wave of hand” indicate it’s aware that tomorrow in retail is another country. Amazon knows what its critics don’t: it’s not a monopoly, which means it can’t act like policy theorists imagine it should.

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Vice President at FreedomWorks, a senior fellow at the Market Institute, and a senior economic adviser to Applied Finance Advisors (www.appliedfinance.com). His latest book is The Money Confusion: How Illiteracy About Currencies and Inflation Sets the Stage For the Crypto Revolution.

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