A Failed Analogy

Thu, 25 Aug 2011 14:20:52 +0000

I enjoyed this essay on the many failures of Steve Jobs, by Nick Schultz at NRO.  But I think he misses the point with this cautionary tale for Washington:

There’s a moral here for a Washington culture that fears failure too much. In today’s Washington, large banks aren’t permitted to fail; nor are large auto firms. Next up will be too-big-to-fail hospital systems. Steve Jobs is a reminder that failure is a good and necessary thing. And that sometimes the greatest glories are born of catastrophe.

The analogy would have more meaning if thousands of Steve Jobses of varying degrees of quality had been bundled and securitized in the most opaque of ways, given ratings by agencies that were on the take, and funded by enormous amounts of debt backed by minimal capital.  We didn't have that and thus we had very little to fear from failure on anyone of the many ideas Steve Jobs launched.