Letter to Goldman Sachs
Dear Goldman Sachs:
In response to, “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” NYT, March 14, 2012, by Mr. Greg Smith, my thoughts follow. The law requires you to maximize your shareholders’ investments; the law does not require you to lie, steal, cheat, and tolerate those who do. The law also does not endorse your investment in illegal human trafficking, with a 16%-stake, as pointed up in NYT, “Financiers And Sex Trafficking,” dated April 1, 2012, by Nicholas D. Kristof. Does your Board of Directors know this? Are they too, complicit in your exploitation of such a marginalized and abused group: women and girls?
Think of the more than 800,000 people illegally trafficked across borders annually; 80% are women and girls. That’s some 640,000 women and girls trafficked, illegally, across borders annually to be sex slaves, sweatshop workers, unpaid domestic workers, etc. And think of the number of them raped and murdered. What about that works for you? How are you able to sleep at night, knowing that you are profiting from abused women and girls? What did you need that you didn’t get from your leaders, parents, etc., for your development? Please think about that.
With your swine-at-a-trough behavior, where do you think you’re headed, Goldman Sachs? Are you not behaving the same as you did prior to the last crash? “Every time history repeats itself the price of the lesson goes up” (Anonymous). So when you crash again, and I predict you will, think of the price of that lesson. So, you have created a culture of graft, greed, and deception, rather than a culture of creativity, accountability, and integrity. Many of your customers are just suckers for you, feeding your culture of graft, greed, and deception. It reminds me of T. Bar Greenfield who posits, “That organizations are accomplished by people and people are responsible for what goes on in them.” Of course, that proposition includes disingenuous practices of not being forthright when investors inquire about their investments, as noted among responses to Mr. Greg Smith’s letter.
Now, I know very little about the financial world; I do know a bit about leadership and organizational behavior. Of the 256 plus recorded definitions of leadership, yours doesn’t even come close to any of the definitions. And you call yourself leaders? That is not leadership, Goldman Sachs. And your organization’s behavior reminds me of “the smartest guy in the room.” Remember ENRON? They thought they were smart, systematically cheating customers. Look what happened to them. And yes, you are powerful; I predict, however, that your power will lead to your demise. And that will affect many innocent investors who had nothing to do with your greed, Goldman Sachs.
I often think of the way we were: “The Slippery Slope and Social Justice,” posted on www.theblackrascal.com. We were once a paragon to follow when it came to financial matters; we were a nation of growth and savings, production, advancement. People died to come here, lied to live here. We experienced hegemony, influence, dominance, pride. Look at us today: we’re almost like the grasshopper and the ant during summer; well, not too far in the near future, we can say “good-bye to the summer.” And that can be attributed to your institution’s behavior.
From a social justice view, institutions are public systems of rules, judged by their justness, their creators. The rules are agreements among relevant parties, who were at the table doing rule creation. Who was at the table when the rules were written for Goldman Sachs? Was there agreement to graft, greed, and deception among relevant parties? Were the illegally trafficked women and girls a part of rule creation? Were the investors who have tried unsuccessfully to get straight answers about their money part of the rules? And what was at the table when the rules were written? Was courage at the table? Was forthrightness at the table? Was integrity at the table? If these qualities were absent when the rules were created, then your institution, at a minimum, is financially flawed and socially unjust. Social justice demands that no one should be disadvantaged while another is advantaged. Is your behavior any different from Bernie Madoff’s, whose sentence is 156 years? Though our jails are overcrowded, I am sure there is room for a few more.