So I see that the New York Times is carrying a piece from a senior exec inside Goldman Sachs who's shocked, shocked he says, to find that there are bad people running his firm. And even worse, they're doing it all for their own benefit and not focusing on what's good for the clients!
So, brave tower of virtue that he is, he's walking out on this outrage, to get by on the monkish life allowed by his millions of dollars, to use the might of his rectitude to smite the unworthy. And, you know, maybe do some consulting on the side and take the occasional speaking gig.
Oh, please. Here we go again. There's not a word in this piece that wasn't said about the industry in general and several firms in specific by Michael Lewis in Liar's Poker in 1989. And not a single language usage that John Train hadn't documented as typical long-standing Wall Street culture by the 70's. Hell, you could find spot-on cartoons about this kinda of smug, macho posturing by brokers about fleecing of customers in issues of things like Punch from the late 1700's. The Regency period was filled with this kind of thing.
Investment banking/Wall Street/money managers have been getting obscenely rich and then "suddenly discovering" this "brand new thing" about their companies and/or their industry for a very, VERY long time. But only, of course, once they, themselves are safely rich (or to use their own terminology, have their "fuck you money")
You know what game he's playing? This is the "it's just a few bad apples" ploy again. No, sweetie, these problems go as deep as magma.
And again, the plays of Voltaire and his English counterparts positively brim with these smug, lecturing hypocrites pontificating from their estates. And more have been popping up ever since. Betcha somebody with the historical research chops could pull an example of this from the literature of the 1500's, if not sooner. I'd guess that the first were born along with modern share-based capitalism in the 1200's in places like Venice. They are a predictable outcome of the system. Like lice outbreaks as an outcome of centralized childcare.
And this, not incidently, is why some of us are so insistent on things like the Tobin Tax, bigger per-transaction fees for the buying and selling of securities and all the speculative paper that go with them. A fee of one tenth of one percent won't mean a goddamn thing to the person who's buying a stock to hold it. But it will play merry havoc with the people who make their money by buying and selling and buying and selling literally billions of shares and making their money on the churn.
And yet we're always supposed to act like we're surprised and take them as virtuous for pulling a Clarence Thomas and simultaneously shitting on the things that got them rich and powerful while spouting crap about how much more ethical things were in their day.
His accomplishments and wealth "have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts"? Bullshit. Plenty have written elsewhere about the logical and ethical bankruptcy of that particular stylish claim of the very rich. I'm not going to dignify it with a point by point refutation other than to ask how much wealth is then "owed" to the slave laborers in Malaysia & elsewhere who built so many of his pretty toys for him and have worked far harder, far longer, under unspeakably worse conditions.
In short, fuck him. I'm glad to see something that may help a few more yahoos to think a little bit but afaic, he's further promulgating protective myths for himself and his rich buddies. "Oh, we were great virtuous benefactors to society. And are entirely blameless now. It's this new crop who are so terrible." Yeah, right.
If he wants me to see him as anything but scum, let him give away his wealth to the people Goldman and the rest of the industry scammed, attacked, and looted and then maybe we can start the conversation about his credibility. Though even that wouldn't begin to touch the vast luxury and privilege that's beribboned and cushioned his every day since he was first in the field.
Or, to make my response even shorter, tell me then, where are the customer's yachts?