Monday, March 1, 2010

Goldman-Sachs and God

Lloyd Blankfein the current chairman of Goldman-Sachs, you know, the firm that specializes in making money by adding no value whatsoever, yeah, the firm implicated over the past week or so for less than above-the-board dealings with the Greek government to keep a lot of deficit spending off their books so that Greece could appear to be adhering to the mutually agreed upon European Union guidelines for countries participating in the common currency, known as the euro, stated last November that he and his firm are doing "God's work." Greece's malfeasance, aided and abetted by our friends at Goldman, has caused the common European currency to drop significantly in value and it has been learned that Goldman is working with other European governments on similar schemes. So, instead of borrowing money to cover their deficits, Greece had an off-the-books arrangement with Goldman, involving derivatives, that had the effect of misleading investors and the EU about Greece's financial health. These dealings are well explained by Beat Balzli, writing for the international edition of the German magazine Der Spiegel, which is published in English. The article is called, How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt.
When queried about their Greek dealings, Goldman says they were only doing what Greece wanted, which caused Harry Shearer on yesterday's installment of his weekly radio program, Le Show, to accurately observe: "Yes. Goldman-Sachs has gone, ladies and gentlemen, since last November when the chairman, Lloyd Blankfein, said 'we're doing God's work,' they've gone from that to the hooker's defense: 'well they wanted it'." I think in the comprehensive reform of our finance laws, which Congress will no doubt get to once they finish with healthcare reform, there should be laws against pandering of the kind routinely engaged in by these international hustlers.

If you check out Le Show and want to listen to his take on Goldman's Greek odyssey, go to 30:52 and listen until 40:00, a section that includes Shearer's witty muscial tribute to Mr. Goldman and Mr. Sachs.

Ah, Hammerin' Hank and the boys! Matt Taibbi took their measure in his Rolling Stone article Inside The Great American Bubble Machine. These guys are the architects of what Naomi Klein, in her insightful book, The Shock Doctrine, called "diaster capitalism." Heads these guys win, tails you lose (and they win). I am not a socialist, but a capitalist. I believe in markets, which is why I am skeptical of the two bills now under consideration in Congress to reform healthcare. I believe that markets require some regulation, however. Regulation of markets, like gun laws, must be smart, that is, not only applicable and burdensome to honest, law abiding people and businesses, enforceable, and minimal.

In addition to helping to create and then benefitting from crises, Goldman Sachs thrives off a kind of crony capitialism, the kind of corruption and opacity, that keeps underdeveloped or barely developed countries, like, say, Greece, which is one of the EU's poorest countries, especially among the countries that participate in the common currency, from ever thriving economically. The only possible silver-lining to this cloud is that some are predicting that this and other situations as they come to light will lead to the break-up of the euro, which was never a really good idea. If it comes to that, Goldman Sachs will undoubtedly find a way to profit from the problem they helped to create.

Just as Bob Dylan observed that it doesn't take a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, it doesn't take a moral theologian to know that this ain't God's work, quite the contrary. If you're not convinced, I urge you to read Caritas in veritate and/or Populorum Progresso.

UPDATE: This post was published on Il Sussidiario.

Meum cum sim pulvis et cinis

1 comment:

  1. A stunning observation and so well put. I was listening to Le Show on Sunday and I did think of you as I did.

    Thank you for the links, I will go reading now.