So, Wall Street, what have you learned the last five years? What is the lesson?
According to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein there is no lesson and the only problem with Wall Street crashing the economy, using their political power to get a bailout, and then paying themselves bonuses with that bailout money was that the ignorant masses did not appreciate the ameliorative power of capitalism. No, I’m not joking.
“I would say to Occupy Wall Street, that business has helped lift more people out of poverty than philanthropy,” Blankfein said in a Wednesday afternoon panel at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting…
“We should educate the public more about how business and its core activities have lifted people out of poverty,” Blankfein said.
Where to begin. Well saying that at the Clinton Global Initiative was appropriate given recent revelations. Which is also proof that philanthropy is highly limited given that it is mostly a vanity exercise. But the larger claim is completely wrong, especially for the financial sector. That is unless Blankfein is conceding that Wall Street is not part of the business world’s “core activities.” Dare I dream?
In the aftermath of the crisis Wall Street has received the kind of review it should have received decades ago. Not surprisingly, the results of the numerous examinations by scholars and professional analysts have been decidedly negative. They have found that what Blankfein and his friends on Wall Street do is not only divorced from any process of poverty reduction, but detrimental to productivity. That is to say what Wall Street does is socially worthless.
So the more the public is “educated” about Wall Street, the more the public will understand how parasitic it is. Of course, it is unlikely that Blankfein wants the public to read more Stiglitz, Krugman, and other academics studying the role of Wall Street. No, by “education” Blankfein obviously means more marketing and happy talk about the wonders of markets and how they solve every problem. Essentially, the CEO of Goldman Sachs wants to double down on the same market fundamentalism that caused the crisis.
Thanks but no thanks Lloyd. While you may have learned nothing these past five years, the American people have learned – the hard way – not to trust a word you say.
Image by CyberGhostface under fair use.