Will Goldman Sachs Prove Greed is God?

LBThese A-holes are no longer happy with the “Greed is Good” mantra? Kicking it up to the Almighty now? Great job ducking those questions from Congress today. Matt Taibbi, who’s been excellent on speaking the truth behind the so-called financial “crisis,” writes in the Guardian:

The investment bank’s cult of self-interest is on trial against the whole idea of civilisation — the collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even if we can.

So Goldman Sachs, the world’s greatest and smuggest investment bank, has been sued for fraud by the American Securities and Exchange Commission. Legally, the case hangs on a technicality.

Morally, however, the Goldman Sachs case may turn into a final referendum on the greed-is-good ethos that conquered America sometime in the 80s – and in the years since has aped other horrifying American trends such as boybands and reality shows in spreading across the western world like a venereal disease.

When Britain and other countries were engulfed in the flood of defaults and derivative losses that emerged from the collapse of the American housing bubble two years ago, few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous emigre novelist Ayn Rand.

Read More of Matt Taibbi in the Guardian

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  • Andrew

    If I may link to a great article about Rand: http://www.slate.com/id/2233966/

    • dumbsaint

      Rand is to philosophy as Pollock is to Art. Both adopted out of a drive to distance US national culture from the commies wherever possible

  • voxmagi

    Plus…speaking for people who actually plowed through more than just Ayn Rand's novels, her philosophy has so many holes in it that swiss cheese stares at it with envy. I appreciate that she escaped the violence of the early Soviet Union and despised the nightmare version of pseudo communism that they devolved into, but two wrongs don't make a right.

    Her carefully selected and sculpted examples where the harmful effects of communism were perfectly illustrated were cute…in a grade school, ultra simple, 'black and white world without grey' kind of way, and so naturally simple thinkers who need a crutch for their defense of selfishness flock to that crap like pigeons to scattered grain.

    Tragically, just as Marx forgets that it's folly to ignore human nature and presume that society is capable of excising greed, avarice and the hunger to prosper beyond others…so too does Rand forget that the very origin of law is a social contract built collectively to protect the many from a rapacious and amoral few, and such laws do and should apply to businesses just as they do to everyone else.

    The false supposition that our own individual best interest will inherently guide us to moral choices is disproved daily in a world where Rand's maxims have had decades to sink their way into the system of excuses made for anti-regulatory stances, loudly (and not just a little ironically) repeated by people whose general intent is to exploit laxity and make deliberate immoral choices at the expense of others.

    • 5by5

      “Tragically, just as Marx forgets that it's folly to ignore human nature and presume that society is capable of excising greed, avarice and the hunger to prosper beyond others…so too does Rand forget that the very origin of law is a social contract built collectively to protect the many from a rapacious and amoral few, and such laws do and should apply to businesses just as they do to everyone else.”

      Stellar phrasing there, voxmagi. Hit the nail squarely on the head with that one.

      Or in Star Trek language “Sometimes the many outweigh the few or the one, and sometimes the one outweighs the many.” The trick is learning when to apply which metric.

      Typically evil men will place the individual (usually themselves) above everyone else at precisely the time when they should be considering the group, and will place the group ahead of the individual when they should be thinking about protecting individual autonomy.

  • tonyviner

    The guy in the picture looks like he would look a lot better if his skull were smashed in with a brick and his brains smeared all about the wall, spelling out with his blood and head-guts the words “See What Happens!”

  • TomDegan

    As Jimmy Paige once wrote – or was it Robert Plant? – “It makes me wonder”. I wonder what defect it is in the psychological makeup of a group of human beings that would have them putting the health and well being of millions of other human beings behind the private profit of a very few. Most of these lawmakers who live in the pockets of the Plutocracy call themselves “Christians”. Have they ever made a serious study of the books? You know! – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? – Those guys! How do they justify their actions? How do they sleep at night? We're talkin' major hypocrisy here! That's what makes them so much fun to watch! I always get a certain twisted delight in watching their fake piety. Imagine Wendy O. Williams being cast as Bernadette of Lourdes; or Marilyn Manson as Mahatma Gandhi. It's kind of the same thing.

    Sooner or later our right wing friends, within the Congress and without, are going to be forced to admit that the era of anything goes deregulation was a really stupid idea. You can only sit calmly in a burning house, ignoring the flames all about you, for just so long. Sooner or later you'll be forced to flee for your life. After making your escape, if you still refuse to acknowledge that the house is indeed on fire, you're beyond the point where you can make rational decisions on your own. You've entered Librium Country, hombre!

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan

  • vicwiz

    “I have not interest in the future of man kind”

  • Word Eater

    Why is it that the people who believe this sort of philosophy are never the ones on the receiving end?

    Those who read Ayn Rand never walk away with the feeling that they are one of the helpless masses who are required to bend before their rich superiors. Nope. They always think of themselves as one of the elect few, just waiting for the right moment to shine.

    What cognitive dissonance they must experience when the system they worship and strive to conquer instead chews them up and shits them back out.

  • Chuck M.

    Okay. I read this editorial and am somewhat annoyed by the authors equating the greed of some individuals within Goldman Sachs being consistent with the philosophies of Ayn Rand. Either I read an entirely different book, or one of us has misunderstood the information- feel free to disagree with me. Bring it. The heroes of Ayn Rand were definitely self serving, but they were RATIONAL about it. From what I'm hearing, some of the people within Goldman Sachs were selling investments that had no value either knowingly or not- but Rand's heroes were creators of VALUE, and not naked blind greed. They desired compensation for their work- not for deception but for the inherent value of their work. Maybe there's flaws to be found in Rand's philosophy, but if you present a case against her beliefs, understand what she wrote first- or read the book in the first place without coming by the information second-hand. This applies to the conservatives as well- who I suspect do not fully comprehend what Rand believes.

    • http://johnnyb93.blogspot.com/ johnbonanno

      That is true in theory but in practice such avowed Randians as Alan Greenspan have never produced anything of practical value in their lives.

    • voxmagi

      True…but the article is specific in pointing out individuals who ascribe to Rand's theories…it makes no assertion that these people have lived up to that ideal, only that they have been inspired by it and refer to it when espousing free markets (ie. fewer regulations and less oversight).

      Point being, they ransack Ayn Rand's neo-con gospel with the deliberate intent of exploiting the advantages of an untended market…and don't believe their actions are wrong.

  • http://johnnyb93.blogspot.com/ johnbonanno

    The Randian objectivists philosophy and the Capitalist ethos in general require for a successful implementation a certain portion of the people to identify with their oppressors. It is an example of the Stockholm Syndrome on a national, global scale. The media are implicitly involved in the psychological tactics necessary for this.

  • http://voxmagi-necessarywords.blogspot.com/ VoxMagi

    True…but the article is specific in pointing out individuals who ascribe to Rand’s theories…it makes no assertion that these people have lived up to that ideal, only that they have been inspired by it and refer to it when espousing free markets (ie. fewer regulations and less oversight).

    Point being, they ransack Ayn Rand’s neo-con gospel with the deliberate intent of exploiting the advantages of an untended market…and don’t believe their actions are wrong.