Posts Tagged “morality”

Goldman contends they have done nothing but sell what other sophisticated investors wanted to buy.  Did they do anything “wrong”?


I want to draw a distinction between ethics and morals:

Ethics is a set of rules, often set by a group, that defines right and wrong.  Morals are our own personal definition of right and wrong.  The two will hopefully be similar, but not always the same.

Goldman’s claim is that they have broken no rules:

They sold things others wanted to buy.

They made the best profit they could.

They did not break the law.

If you add a bit of personal responsibility (morality) to those claims though, the statements change:

They sold things others wanted to buy – – – EVEN though it was complete crap.

They made the best profit they could – – – EVEN when it came at the taxpayers expense or through special connections.

They did not break the law – – – EVEN though they perverted the intention of the law.

Goldman is basically claiming that if they didn’t break any rules, then they didn’t do anything wrong.

When we all know that is complete crap; its a lawyer’s excuse…finding some way of weaseling out of responsibility when it is plain to everyone they’re a bunch of crooks.

Not that I’m necessarily singling out Goldman.  The “profit motive” is a ruthless amoral code; it is the economic phrasing for “the end justifies the means”.

For Goldman, and many other companies, all that is not illegal is permissible.  The law is something to avoid and manipulate.  The spirit of the law is irrelevant.

So, to wrap up…Yes, Goldman has done something wrong….not breaking rules is not the same thing as doing what is right.

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