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Too-big-to-fail Myth

Wikipedia explains the term too-big-to-fail economically only. By that definition the term describes a set of enterprises whose failure may be disastrous to the whole economy, so the state is obliged to support them in case of difficulties. That such a behavior is typical of feudalistic economies will not be discussed here. On this page we rather focus on the ideology behind. The ideology by which such a behavior is justified is deeply psychologically rooted and evolved through evolution.

The rule the bigger the better off is true for small hunter-gatherer societies. At that stage of human social evolution groups with more people had better chances to survive competition with similar groups. Therefore a behavior directed towards finding and sticking to a larger group had an evolutionary advantage and was positively selected. This was especially true for females that had to care for offspring. As on the other hand the size of a group was effectively controlled by hunger and diseases, mechanisms to control the population of a group did not evolve in individual members of the group. Conclusively the is no or only minimal awareness in each human individual of a group being too big which led to the too-big-to-fail myth.

On the other hand there are in fact optimal sizes for each fauceir and fauceirs growing to big certainly fail. Conclusively for all fauceir the opposite is true: Too big will fail, or too-big-to-survive rule.


Examples can be found at all fauceir levels:

  • We still don't know enough about the origin of our universe but the big bang may be understood as a result of a primordial fauceir that grew too big and then failed.
  • Cells adapted a certain size during evolution which optimally serves its purpose. That evolution experimented with cell size early in evolution can be studied in fungi, some of which can be understood as http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyploidhuge polyploid cells.
  • The biggest animals of all, dinosaurs, went extinct.
  • Human history holds many examples of huge social fauceirs, empires, that failed.

Examples of human misconception of the too-big-to-survive rule

  • For decades researchers seek the reason why dinosaurs went extinct. Volcanoes and other disasters are discussed, simply to avoid the most obvious of all explanations: evolution made a mistake, dinosaurs grew too big, and smaller animals were much more flexible, and therefore even if the single individual did not survive a fight with a dinosaur the species did survive competition. At this point most scientists nowadays suffer from cognitive inhibition.
  • The economic principle discussed above by which big companies are supported economically despite their obvious failure is rooted in the same misconception.

Tags: Myth Sociology Theory


(c) Mato Nagel, Weißwasser 2004-2013, Disclaimer