Too big to exist?

Simon Johnson, former chief economist at the IMF, on the current financial crisis:

I have yet to hear a single responsible official in any industrial country state what is obvious to most technocrats who are not currently officials: anything too big to fail is too big to exist. 

If the bankers were just stupid, as suggested by David Brooks, then regulatory fixes might make some sense.  But we know that bankers are smart, so it is their organizations that became stupid.  What is the economic and political power structure that made it possible for such stupid organizations to become so large relative to the economy?  Answer this and you address what we need to do going forward.

Paul Hawken, author of "The Ecology of Commerce", on the environmental crisis:

Either way, the sheer size of the largest corporations tends to grant them the political and economic power to externalize costs that should properly be absorbed by the company and therefore be factored into the price it sets for its product. [p. 95]

Have we created organizations whose size, vast reach, and political clout have outstripped our ability to regulate them? William McDonough has said that "regulations are signals of design failure". How do we design our society--our neighbourhoods and cities, our small and large businesses, our financial system--so that sustainable design is at its core and not something which needs to be enforced?