When Giants Die
In the age of dinosaurs, reptiles were king. Mammals were tiny, insignificant, and threatened. Looked at objectively, they didn’t seem to have much of a future.
If our politicians had been around, dinosaurs would have been considered “too big to fail.”
Can’t you just imagine it? Politicians rushing to marshal all the resources of the planet to protect the dinosaurs from the catastrophic effects of the asteroid that struck Earth.
Can’t you just hear it? Dinosaurs must be saved! They are the apex predators. The entire ecosystem depends on them! They are too big to fail!
Luckily, our politicians weren’t around then.
So the dinosaurs did fail. And there was a period of ecological dislocation. Then the tiny, insignificant mammals started to grow and flourish. Eventually, of course, a new apex predator evolved: humanity (unfortunately, complete with politicians).
If we substitute “economy” for “ecology,” you have to wonder what would have happened if not only Lehman, but Goldman Sachs, AIG, and all the other “too big to fail” companies (who coincidentally, no doubt, just happened to be major political contributors) had been allowed to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Let’s take a moment to wonder if smaller, “insignificant” firms might not have grown to fill the vacuum. Or if there might not have been a new financial structure paradigm created. Would economic Darwinism have used the billions poured into the banks and auto giants more efficiently?
Marketers are, by and large, a practical bunch. Their idea of picking winners and losers must, by necessity, always be in the context of the real-world marketplace. Theory goes out the window quickly when confronted by customers and competition.
Perhaps we should replace our financial geniuses and economic gurus with marketers…