Too Big To Fail
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A friend and I were
recently talking about the bailout programs the government
enacted and discussed how it was primarily targeted at big business,
little guys, which we thought was rather unfair. Over the last 100
years, Americans have come to believe that "Big" meant best, that
behemoths were generally regarded as invincible. If the recession has
taught us anything, it is this is certainly not true.
In my industry, I
remember when IBM was considered the giant you dared not trifle with,
that you would be steam rolled if you weren't careful. Arthur Anderson
was also considered a major force to be reckoned with in the consulting
and CPA fields. Times have changed though; for example, IBM is now a
mere shadow of its old self when it dominated an entire industry, and
Arthur Anderson evaporated as the "Big 8" shrunk and merged to become
the "Big 4."
A few scant years ago
it would have been unimaginable to see the American automotive and
banking industries coughing up blood like they are now, not to mention
the huge financial institutions in peril. It's no small wonder the
stock markets sit on shaky ground. Obviously, bad decisions were made
and one could argue greed played a significant role in this mess, yet
these are the companies we thought were impervious to anything. "Big"
does not necessarily mean best, nor does it make a company invincible,
which we should have known all along.
This points out a
couple of things; first, big business needs to be flattened in order to
move with the same ease as companies a fraction of their size. They may
be big, but they have to think small. Second, our government is
certainly not invincible
either. The same type of bad decisions made by big business can also be
made by our
government. The only difference is that it is unlikely that anyone will
bail us out.
We may be a great nation with a military second to none, but it is
simple economics that
can topple even the biggest and best of us. Doesn't anyone remember how
the Soviet Union fell?
This should be a
humbling experience to all of us, as well as an invaluable lesson.
Just remember the haunting expression, "As GM Goes, So Goes the Nation."
Let's hope not.
"I do not believe the
greatest threat to our future is from bombs or guided missiles. I don't
think our civilization will die that way. I think it will die when we
no longer care. Arnold Toynbee has pointed out that 19 of 21
civilizations have died from within and not from without. There were no
bands playing and flags waving when these civilizations decayed. It
happened slowly, in the quiet and the dark when no one was aware."
- Laurence M. Gould
About the Author
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of
Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and
has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He
can be reached at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-05-19 13:55:32 in Business Articles