Quit Trying To Stop The Corpse From Stinking

"There is nothing as difficult and as expensive, but also as futile, as tying to keep a corpse from stinking." I'm not sure to whom to attribute this quote to but I suspect it is from Peter Drucker.

I spent a good bit of time this weekend reading about the details of our Wall Street financial giants and this quote popped into my head. Are we about to spend trillions of dollars to try and keep a corpse from stinking?

Perhaps now is the time to allow these businesses to fail (just as Lehman was allowed to fail) and thus free up trillions of dollars to invest in an entirely new national initiative for the United States. I'm with Thomas Friedman who in his latest book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded envisions a new green economy utilizing America's greatest asset – its people – to save our planet and to save ourselves at the same time.

Friedman sets out the clean-technology breakthroughs we, and the world, will need; he shows that the ET (Energy Technology) revolution will be both trans-formative and disruptive; and he explains why America must lead this revolution—with the first Green President and a Green New Deal, spurred by the Greenest Generation. By the way, if you have not read, I heartily recommend buying or borrowing a copy as soon as possible.

Entrepreneurs and business owners risk it all and, in return, sometimes we win big and enjoy both monetary and personal rewards. Sometimes, we also lose it all only to pick up the pieces and start all over again. The Wall Street bankers and hedge fund operators risk nothing of their own. And, yet they believe they are entitled to riches that are beyond what most people can comprehend. They also believe that we should bail them out when they fail and when their greed allows them to sacrifice all of us.

I'm a capitalist. But, I'm also a realist and I am very definitely an entrepreneur. Nobody bails us out when we lose it all – even when it is due to unforeseen circumstances and beyond our control. Congress doesn't hold special sessions to pump billions into small businesses even though the economy we create is larger than these special interests.

I agree with Drucker that you never squander resources on the already dead. It's time to stop trying to keep the Wall Street corpse from stinking. It is time to say no to rewarding failure. To do so is only encouraging – no promising – to do more of the same.

4 thoughts on “Quit Trying To Stop The Corpse From Stinking”

  1. I totally am in agreement with your article.
    Who is going to bail out the middle class?
    Our tax dollars are defintely not working for us, but for the CEO’s and covering for their mistakes.
    How can government let this happen?

  2. OUr Irish government has just said that eveyone’s deposit in the bank is guaranteed (having increased it from 20,000 euro to 100,000 only last week, it obviously wasn’t enough to prevent a run on the banks). I totally agree with your article and it was all a disaster waiting to happen unfortunately.

  3. Plenty of people disagree and believe the bailout must happen. The market is in big trouble but it will recover. However, the market has also failed since it now requires excessive governmental intervention.
    I heard a story many years ago when I first started in business. I was asked what is the difference between someone who can’t pay back $10,000 to the bank and someone who can’t pay back a million dollars? The answer is the person who owes $10,000 is called a debtor by the bank and they will take everything they can from him to get their money back. The person who owes a million is called a partner.
    The amounts have changed but the story is the same. Can’t make your mortgage payment – too bad – you should have known better.
    Can’t pay off all the bad paper you sold to each other putting billions into your own pockets – no problem – we’ll just make the entire country partners in paying off our loans.

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