It strikes me that there is a hidden truth, and a disguised fragility and vulnerability, in the argument that certain large corporations are “too big to fail”– one that, to a large degree, accounts for and explains the phenomenon of “marketing 3.0”.
If the giant dinosaurs had been capable of thought, they would probably have concluded also that they were “too big to fail”, and that the implicit logic of their evolution was driven by that principle. As an evolutionary strategy, “get big or get eaten” worked well for a while…. until it didn’t. Our current corporate dinosaurs are very much in a similar precarious situation.
Thinking of the mega-corporations in ecological terms, “too big to fail” simply represents a huge vulnerability in the event of any change in habitat or the social milieu. Any significant change in the habitat represents an uncertainty, and therefore a potential vulnerability. The existential imperative for the corporation thus becomes the necessity to regulate and manage the habitat — the social ecology, as it were — a constant monitoring of the social environment for any notable change that may signal an unpredictable and therefore a potential existential threat. You certainly see this motive in action in the case of the Koch Brothers and Koch Industries.
Controlling and regulating the social ecology and the habitat is an imperative for our corporate dinosaurs, which requires constant surveillance and monitoring, since any even little change could have unpredictable outcomes (“butterfly effect”) and therefore represent something potentially threatening, no matter how harmless it may appear at first glance. It accounts for the enormous amount of thought, time, and money that goes into lobbying, propaganda (advertising), the use of SLAPP suits, the use of buzz and guerilla marketing, the marketisation and commodification of everything, and so on. It’s not just to increase sales or win customers and brand loyalty. It’s mainly to preserve habitat, or to construct a habitat where none favourable currently exists.
Shaping habitat is the meaning of “technocratic shamanism”.
Consider, though, how a teensy-weensy mosquito now threatens to bring down the Olympics in Brazil. Big things often come in small packages indeed.
It seems a rule that the bigger you get, the more vulnerable you get as well, and the more vulnerable you feel, the greater the anxiety, and the greater the anxiety, the more intense the will to control and dominate everything — especially by magic. The rule seems amply evident in the fate of the Spanish “Invincible Armada”. The great galleons of the Spanish proved practically impotent against the smaller and lither English ships. Like Cassius Clay, the English ships floated like a butterfly but stung like a bee. And, of course, “too big to fail” was said about Titanic too.
Corporate dinosaurs seems like an appropriate way of thinking about the mega-corporation. Appropriate also in the proof evinced by the fate of the dinosaurs themselves — that nothing is ever “too big to fail”.