As noted here last fall, one of the key dynamics that is delaying the recovery of financial markets is the resistance of many societal forces to allow the markets to allocate the risk of loss among the various investors in failed businesses.
Inasmuch as private capital will not invest in even a potentially viable business until that company’s financial condition is likely to reward such an investment, the liquidation of unviable companies is an essential part of the process that has allowed market-based economies to generate the most wealth and jobs throughout modern history.
Despite the foregoing, the beneficial aspects of liquidating unprofitable businesses remains often unappreciated. A scene from the 1991 Norman Jewison film "Other’s People Money" illustrates this truth wonderfully, first as Gregory Peck’s character demonizes the forces of liquidation and then as Danny DeVito’s "Larry the Liquidator" shatters the myths upon which such demonizing rests. Enjoy.