Joe McKendrick's paraphrasing of James Governor's remarks about averting the subprime mortgage crisis and subsequent economic meltdown and his further commentary almost convince me that proper application of architecture and technology approaches could have saved the day and kept us from the financial meltdown we're currently in the midst of.
However, there are a couple of problems with that assertion: 1) There was a surplus of capital generated by foreign countries sloshing around the globe looking for a home; and 2) SOA, or any other architectural approach or technology cannot overcome, by itself, human nature - those natures specifically being greed, fraud, and false assumptions, for starters.
The first problem is well-documented and I will make my explanation brief: the US - both its government and people - rang up enormous debts over the past 2 decades that were fueled in large part by the capital provided by countries selling to us, such as China and other far-East countries. We bought, consumed, and consumed some more, thinking that our real estate values and projected economic growth would generate enough income to cover the debt; or that the debts would be refinanced, perhaps multiple times over. As we now know, that was a fallacy, and millions are paying the price.
The second problem, that of the use of any specific technology or techno-functional approach can avert what has happened, is flawed because it fails to address the fact that entities and people will almost always act primarily in their economic self-interest above all. So, if that meant that mortgage broker Bumstead made $500K home loans to people with $35K/year in income because: a) he immediately sells the loan (and risk) and collects his fee; b) he could get away with it; and c) his greed glands are working in overdrive; that's what he's going to do, and as long as the approval process he was subjected to allowed it, the fact that technology existed to somehow mitigate or not approve those transactions didn't matter, never would, and most likely never will.
Why? Because we have to get the processes right first. And any process, no matter how cleverly or completely designed, can be gamed or otherwise abused for adverse purposes - the law of unintended consequences being what it is. While we can reduce greed, fraud, and outright blunders along these lines, we can never completely eliminate them.
I don't think that Joe and James - intelligent guys, both - are advocating that SOA, or any other technology, would have helped us avoid this mess in and of itself. However, it does lend credence to two things: process does matter; and when economic situations arise such as cheap money and outlandishly soaring real estate prices, people are going to behave in ways that feather their nests first, and everything else be damned.
And while technology may mitigate these problems, they will never eliminate them.