The Corporate Law Gorilla Award for 2011
The last question in tonight’s Republican debate was, essentially, “what important threat to national security aren’t we talking about enough.” This was a useful question — and it produced surprisingly illuminating answers. (I’m with Newt– EMP!) It reminded me of an occasional tradition here at Co-Op, the Gorilla Award. As I explained in 2005, the award is named for this famous video demonstrating the phenomenon of “inattentional blindness.” The gist was to recognize corporate law crises on the horizon. 2007’s lone entrant, Ben Barros, won by default and by retrospective acclimation:
“If the big bond insurers like MBIA and Ambac get downgraded because of the subprime mess, there could be a big ripple effect throughout the markets. A lot of investment-grade securities get their rating from the insurance policy (or “wrap”) that the bond insurers place on the issue. If the insurers get downgraded, a lot of debt instruments might also get downgraded. Among other things, entities that can only hold investment-grade instruments might be forced to sell lots of this stuff at the same time.”
The floor is open for nominations. The criterion: what stuff is happening now that is likely to cause an important set of problems for corporate/financial regulatory law in the next 12-18 months, and which is not being talked about enough. So, in my view, that excludes the European debt crisis, corporate political contributions, anything to do with credit swaps or mortgages, and (of course) the continued regulatory overhang from Dodd-Frank. Basically, anything that comes to first to mind. You can see why the Award is so prestigious — it requires out-of-the-box thinking!
What do you think?