Integrity, Goldman Sachs and the Maccabiah


This New York Times op-ed by Greg Smith, published on the day the Goldman Sachs executive director quits, is setting the interwebs afire.

Most of all because Smith excoriates the investment bank for replacing a culture of doing what’s best for the client with a culture of win at any cost.

Here are the "money grafs" (nyuk):

It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.

What stuck out for me, though, was a couple of paragraphs down:

My proudest moments in life — getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics — have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.

You can’t help but wonder: Had Greg Smith ripped out a few eyeballs at the Maccabiah, might he have won the gold?

Here, by the wa,y is a contemplation of Goldman Sachs and how one writes and speaks about Jewish bankers, by Michael Kinsley, written two years ago for the Atlantic.

UPDATE: And here from the Daily Mash is Darth Vader’s perspective, including a reference to "mind control ping-pong at the Midi-Chlorian Games – known as the Jedi Olympics."

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