CHAPTER 12 Too big to fail?: the great financial disruption

While everyone knows that certain industries are ripe for change, there are others that may seem too big, too powerful and so omnipotent that they can cruise right through the shift to the technology era. It wouldn’t be whimsical to think that the banking and finance industry is one of those because they’re so ensconced in all that we do commercially and in life that we can’t do without them — or even to think that they’re too big to fail. We may even have thought that about the media, the previous purveyors of all that the world knows. The global town criers. The arbiters of timely information. And we already know how that’s panning out.

Their own private Napster

The banks have already had their Napster moment. Although the mechanics of what happened to them were different, it was a sign that their size and greed makes them believe they’re infallible. They’re clearly wrong. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) brought many banks to their knees financially. It was a moment that proved they weren’t the smartest guys in the room. The behaviour from the finance industry has dramatically eroded it’s long-held fiduciary position of trust and stewardship. It tends to specialise in private profits and public losses. A more courageous government outfit would have let the industry fail so that a more appropriate financial species may emerge. After the GFC dust had settled, they went right back to their pre-GFC playbook.

They ...

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