An interesting resignation letter from Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith today in the NYT.
To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money.
I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients.
If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.
It’s blindingly obvious the infection to which Smith speaks goes far beyond the culture of Wall Street. Goldman cares little about its clients and is motivated by greed and self interest. But isn’t Goldman’s personality profile identical to that in all the key institutions of capitalism? How many corporate meetings take place in which a single minute is spent asking questions about how average workers can be helped rather than exploited for profit? Or in the gold and marble palaces of politics? How often do the interests of the vast majority outweigh those of wealth and money?
The most important point to take from Smith is that the greater population isn’t part of the thought process at all. Except to the extent it can be exploited.