Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Why It Does Not Make Sense To Write A Book That Is Critical Of Wall Street Behavior

Greg Smith was a Goldman Sachs VP in Europe. He resigned and provided his reasons to the press.  He claimed that Goldman made a practice of ripping off its customers.  This violated the Goldman creed in which he believed.  He just published a book on this subject.  This article (via Manan Shukla) argues that the book has no merit because it is well known that Wall Street bankers put profit growth ahead of their customer's interests.  It suggests that it is pointless to be outraged against things that everyone already knows. Greg Smith is either writing a self-serving book or he is a sap for believing that Goldman really cares about its customers.  Personally, I can't think of anything more cynical than this form of criticism against Greg Smith.  It is easy to be lulled into complacency about behavior that is unethical when one is paid large sums of money to ignore it.  One's life style quickly becomes dependent upon maintaining the necessary funding.  In that case, life style maintenance trumps one's personal code of ethics. Wall Street critics of Greg Smith may have become inured to any conflict that might exist between their behavior and any ethical values that they hold. They don't want to be reminded of this by Greg Smith.

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