Goldman Sachs – a shower of bastards?

So Goldman Sachs considers its clients a bunch of “muppets”.

“Anit-capitalist” types will, of course, have a field day with any smoking guns that help make their case. But the rest of us should be furious with a firm that exploits the systems and norms we all rely on for basic and essential day-to-day financial services. In Goldman’s case however, ‘exploits’ doesn’t begin to do justice to a toxic culture of rapacious greed, moral bankruptcy and ruthless cynicism.

At least, so say their own senior staff – just ask recently resigned poster boy and company veteran Greg Smith. The New York Times reported Smith as publicly saying:

At meetings at Goldman, on the other hand, “not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients,” Mr. Smith wrote. “It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. 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.”

In response, the firm have issued little more than casual PR boilerplate:

A Goldman Sachs spokesman responded to the piece early Wednesday: “We disagree with the views expressed, which we don’t think reflect the way we run our business. In our view, we will only be successful if our clients are successful. This fundamental truth lies at the heart of how we conduct ourselves.”

It won’t cut it – but then their lame response is surely less a sign of weak PR and more a symptom of a firm that feels untouchable.

What are the public to do considering how the response to the 2008 crisis, a crisis brought on by a financial sector that had far too much leverage over society, was public officials – who were largely past employees of firms like Sachs (and generally Sachs in particular) and with an eye, one could presume, on returning for post- “public service” employment in the future – granting, through consolidation and publicly financed bail outs, even fewer firms even greater leverage over any even more dependant and terrified public?

With solutions like that, is it any wonder they think we’re all muppets?

Strategic Communications Consultant, located in Washington, D.C.