It starts with a web video from Big Think featuring Clayton Christensen, the famed professor at Harvard Business School and author of the seminal book on disruptive innovation in the modern era, The Innovator's Dilemma. When asked this question—"Who will be the biggest losers in the next economy?"—Professor Christensen gives the following response:
"I think the big losers on the other side of the recession will be Wall Street. It's easy for me to see that the locus of money and the decisions that are made on how to finance the world's business have been migrating, and are now almost being pushed, to places like Singapore and Hong Kong where they've had regulations that kept the financial institutions much stronger. So I think Wall Street is never going to come back to what it used to be."
What's happening here? Should the bankers be worried? Is there a scenario worth considering wherein consumer activism, food reform and this onslaught of transparent technologies marginalize that all-powerful investment banker to a supporting role? We asked a friend deep in the finance world and he readily admits that the glory days are over. To hear him put it, "Our fee structures are coming down. Those paychecks won't come back any time soon, if at all."
There's no point in suggesting that crowdfunders with $7,200 pledge campaigns can accomplish the equity financing necessary to launch the next big healthy snacks player on a mass scale... at least not yet.
What is worth suggesting is just a slight modification to Christensen's point above: Best case, Wall Street is not the big winner in the next wave of economic growth. Ask Jim Rogers, co-founder of the Quantum Fund with George Soros and a prolific commentator on CNBC Asia now that he's moved to Singapore.
"Finance is going to be a terrible place to be for the next 10 or 15 years," says Rogers. "All these guys getting MBAs are making a terrible mistake because there is not going to be much money in finance." Where does Rogers see a brighter outlook? In raw materials, in agriculture, in farmland.