Perhaps what we need is some kind of formal liquidation event -- think of it as assisted suicide for companies in extremis -- by which they can easily distribute their assets to all stakeholders, shut their doors and hold a big, drunken "gone out of business" party. Then, those assets could be recirculated back into the economy to, in part, serve as investment capital for new start-up companies -- just as the employees would be returned to the labor pool, many of them bringing their experience to help run those start-ups.
The message of the Governor's Conference on Small Business and Entrepreneurship was that good times await us just over the economic horizon. But we have to get there first -- and that is going to take all of the entrepreneurial talent, innovation and investment capital we can muster. To leave all of those assets locked up in futureless companies is not only tragic, but it could even be deadly.
This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.
Michael S. Malone is one of the nation's best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation's first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world's largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling "Virtual Corporation." Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, "The New Heroes." He has been the ABCNews.com "Silicon Insider" columnist since 2000.