On Leadership
Video | PostLeadership | FedCoach | | Books | About |
Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

Coro Fellows
Young Leaders

Coro Fellows

As part of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs, these 12 Southern California fellows are engaged in a full-time, nine-month, graduate-level leadership training program that prepares individuals for public-affairs leadership.

Failed leaders

Q: Goldman Sachs promises to put customers' interests first. At the same time, Goldman was able to avoid serious financial trouble by hedging positions in ways that placed bets against clients. Do Goldman's leaders need a new business strategy, or do they need to just do a better job at explaining their business to regulators and the public?

Goldman Sachs should be put out of business. That's what I would say if the recent fraud scandal were a clear case of right vs. wrong. The recent actions of Goldman and Paulson & Co. have painted a vivid picture of betrayal that should not be tolerated in any fair market. Yet the rules that define justice in American markets do not always bring forth what is just. The issue at hand goes beyond whether or not Goldman Sachs should adopt better business practices, or communicate their actions more accurately. These recent events have brought to light a more chilling double standard by which America views justice, and the cost that the average American must endure in order to sustain this hypocrisy.

In the case of Goldman Sachs, the global investment and banking securities firm has its hand in numerous money markets stateside and abroad. Actions by Goldman Sachs affect the global economy. Despite such responsibility, time and time again the company's actions have left more to be desired. From the controversies that include their role in the AIG bailout, to their recent fraud allegations with their Abacus mortgage-backed CDOs, Goldman Sachs has taken Machiavellian actions with the money entrusted to them.

The customers of Goldman Sachs include corporations, governments, and high net-worth individuals who are by no means defenseless, but their actions at this level of finance have grave effects on the lives of average Americans. In a period where Americans were not excited to contribute to billion dollar bailouts, Goldman Sachs paid out more than $16 billion dollars in bonuses in 2009.

Compare this with the punishments levied at common criminals whose actions are met with immediate punishment. The criminal who commits murder, theft, fraud, and rape are dealt with a swift and unrelenting response. A new report by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) found that at least 2,225 prisoners in the United States are serving life without parole for crimes they committed as minors.

Before looking at what steps Goldman Sachs can take into the future, serious attention must be paid to what the United States will do to respond to Goldman Sach's alleged actions of the past. While Goldman's stock prices plummeted dramatically, at what point will the leaders of some of America's most influential private institutions be held accountable? The leaders of Goldman Sachs have failed. Not just in their business practices, but in their integrity. Before any possible redemption can occur, the price of justice must be paid. --Jimmy Duong

By Coro Fellows

 |  April 27, 2010; 1:02 PM ET
Category:  Economic crisis Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: What we mean by 'socially responsible' | Next: When values are a liability

Comments

Please report offensive comments below.



Bottomline (to use capitalist lingo): Socialists kill people, Nazi's NSP, Lenin, Stalin by the millions. Capitalists just fleece them which is really worse?

Posted by: alecsandertheg8 | April 27, 2010 4:53 PM
Report Offensive Comment

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company