A good example, which even the most forward-thinking of politicians may have to rescue, is the American auto industry. Currently, it teeters like the statues of overthrown revolutionaries. These companies have not learnt, even the hard way. Ford, of the three, has perhaps learnt the most since it adopted green production techniques and buildings earliest, but it never has crawled out of the financial hole that these changes were intended to rectify. Chrysler, for a while at least, was insulated by the weight of Daimler; thus, GMC, independent and prospering remained brazen in its devotion to SUVs and trucks (and suffers for it). Nevertheless, remember that these companies reaped the rewards of these strategies for a number of years. Unfortunately, like most current economic paradigms they were unsustainable; thus, like all the sub-prime signing bonuses, profits have vanished.
First let us get some perspective. One point that I heard on a recent radio interview needs to be repeatedly stated: bankruptcy does not mean that car production will disappear and all related jobs will disappear in North America. Furthermore, it does not mean that the brands will disappear (think of Nestle, Interbrew, and the unsavoury Altria). What it means is that these companies will be purchased at a stock price for which they are deemed profitable and will be trimmed to make this a reality. Thus, the real issue revolves around pride, and American pride should not be tied to unprofitable behemoths from another era of economic evolution. They have had their day in the sun. They convinced North American governments to build roads for their cars, opposite to train companies, and instilled a mindset of the unconquerable horizon. What could be better than letting them fall to their self-appointed fate and carefully blowing on their ashes so a flaming phoenix arises?