This time of year just wouldn't be complete without ‘It's A Wonderful Life’ – that quintessential Christmas movie, which never fails to reduce First Round to a blubbering teary wreck.
For those of you who haven't seen it, deepest sympathies for plumbing such depths of cultural destitution. But what happens, basically, is that suicidal hero George Bailey gets to see – courtesy of an angel (second class) called Clarence – what the small town he has come to hate so much would be like if he'd never been born, learning all sorts of life-affirming lessons in the process.
You’d be forgiven for wondering whether First Round has a point. Well, it's not just small town American bank managers that could do with a dose of Capra-esque just-the-right-side-of-mawkish counter-factualism. Private equity does too, according to some of our US chums.
After another round of private equity-related controversy hit the headlines in October, Mark Heil of fund administrator PEF Services tried to drum up support for a campaign of private equity advocacy along the same lines as ‘It's a Wonderful Life’. To wit: he wants to remind the good citizens of the US exactly what they'd be missing out on if it wasn't for private equity.
“What if private equity had not been here for the last 25 years? What would America look like? Would Google, Apple or Facebook even exist? Would we still be dependent on major corporations for employment? How many more factories would have closed? What would the labor force look like? Would we have made the strides in health care technology that we have? Would Americans be migrating in search of opportunities?”
First Round salutes this noble cause. Now it knows what it’s gonna do tomorrow, and the next day, and the next year, and the year after that…