Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another

thescroll_header

About That Op-Ed

If I quit Goldman, can I get NYT real estate, too?

Print Email

The talk today has been of an op-ed published today in the New York Times in which the author announces his resignation from the venerable investment bank Goldman Sachs, accusing it of having lost its way. It’s a really weird piece: when one sees a big, Jerry Maguire-style statement in such a prominent, influential space—and when that space chooses to publish it—one expects a certain reckoning with fundamentals. In the case of a cri de coeur against Goldman, one anticipates an indictment of America’s financial system and of how Goldman exploits it to create massive profits for its executives, employees, and shareholders at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Instead, author Greg Smith drops buzzwords like “leadership” to accuse Goldman of some weird, un-Goldman character flaw. “Make the client the focal point of your business again,” he implores the Board of Directors. Occupy the Client! (Goldman’s top two responded to the op-ed.) If Smith wants to leave his lucrative career of making money off of money in a way that contains a questionable amount of social utility in favor of a lucrative career of consulting/writing jargon-filled books about business/trying to become the next Michael Lewis, then that’s his business. Why the Times is helping him is what I can’t surmise. At close of business today, winning bronze in ping pong at the Maccabiah Games remains something to be proud of. This op-ed is not.

Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs [NYT]

Print Email

COMMENTING CHARGES
Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

WAIT, WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY TO COMMENT?
Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

I NEED TO BE HEARD! BUT I DONT WANT TO PAY.
Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at letters@tabletmag.com. Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

Keynes, as I’ve learned reading Jerry Z. Muller’s brilliant and concise ‘Capitalism and the Jews’, had some retrograde ideas about the role of Jews as agents of social change. To the extent that investment banking is the handmaiden of the creative destruction that accompanies modern capitalism, it’s a double-edged sword, but is not without utility. Upstarts with new ideas need funding, and the benefits of their enterprise can be broad and far reaching, whether in medicine or information technology, as well as disruptive. But it has been an integral component of American economic success, from the outset.

The problem with Goldman now seems to be that it is no longer dedicated to serving that goal primarily, but rather exists to promote the enrichment of its executives, at the expense of its clients. Like them or not, there was a time when the firm produced a slew of public servants, Tim Geithner only being the most recent of them. And it’s hard not to conclude that whatever vestiges were left of the ethos of civic-mindedness evaporated when the firm went public, the bottom line now the only benchmark of performance.

Smith’s letter was a little idiosyncratic, but the traditional role of investment banking, the embodiment of the philosophy of enlightened self-interest, is still necessary.

Paul Brandon says:

In other words, Smith is a good capitalist, not a socialist. He simply wants the system, of which G-S is a good exemplar, to act the way it’s supposed to.

ha so true, this was a terrible op-ed. selling a newspaper > coherent, well-written content

2000

Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

About That Op-Ed

If I quit Goldman, can I get NYT real estate, too?

More on Tablet:

A Tour Through Poland as Seen in ‘Ida’

By Stephanie Butnick — Fans of the Oscar-winning film should start in the central Polish city of Lodz