The Shame of Wall Street

So, I was listening to this week’s Slate Political Gabfest and Slate editor David Plotz went on a fabulous anti- Wall Street rant in response to this instantly famous Op-Ed by former Goldman employee Greg Smith who went off on his former employer for basically lying to their clients to maximize Goldman’s profits.  Clearly an entity where the primary goal was short-term profit at any cost.

The main point of Plotz’s rant was that hopefully it would become an at least somewhat shameful thing to work for Wall Street firms such as Goldman.  These are not engines of capitalism, but simply entities that make profits through ever-more convoluted ways of making financial transactions more opaque and therefore less efficient.  Absolutely not the place and purpose we need American’s best and brightest working for.  Alas, that seems to be the preferred destination of all too many Ivy League and MIT, etc. grads.  How much better for America’s best mathematical minds to be designing new software algorithms for medical research, or heck, just video games, than using their abilities to get an additional 1% return for Goldman.   Anyway, this NYT article was far too anecdotal for my preference, but essentially argues that students are increasingly defensive and embarrassed about pursuing Wall Street jobs.  Hooray!

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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