Capitalism is supposed to be a system of profit and loss, but in recent years, central bankers and central planners seem to have forgotten the part about losses. The push and pull every lever on the control board to try to make losses for the big players go away, which can be a bit like trying to stop a receding tide. The strategy cannot work over the long term. Economic law, eventually, prevails.
For this reason, the news that American Airlines has filed for bankruptcy — an actual large company that is finally throwing in the towel — comes like a blast from the past of the way things used to work (remember the failure of Lehman?). The tide receded, and nothing could stop it.
Not that the company didn’t try. But its capacity to adapt to new realities was hindered by its own hectoring unions, rising fuel prices, mounting debt and a blizzard of mandates and restrictions imposed by federal regulators. Whatever the reason, the company could no longer deny reality, as much its stockholders, managers and even paid-for politicians would like it to be otherwise.
The blessed power of economic law! It operates without anyone pulling levers. It imposes itself, even against the determined will of the world’s princes and potentates. It is what keeps the world honest and truthful about what is and is not possible. It keeps the material world on track, so that fallible people cannot do stupid things forever. It’s no wonder the political class hates it.