Another Word For Goldman Sachs Shortcuts Is GREED
“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I hope we have not forgotten the 2008 financial meltdown that almost cause the whole world to collapse. It is Human Greed that almost turn the world upside down but thank to President Obama GREAT LEADERSHIP we are coming out from the Gloom. Mr Greg Smith was being polite and called greed shortcut way.
This Is The Resignation Letter of Mr Greg Smith From Goldman Sachs. He was a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“Today is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm – first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London – I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture , its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.
To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.
It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’ success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.
But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is plated on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern programme in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.
I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.
When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect about current chief executive officer Lloyd C. Blankfein and president Gary D. Cohn lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.
Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them , even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.
How did we get here? The firm changed the way it though about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you made enough money for the firm(and are not currently an axe murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence. What are three quick ways to become a leader?
*Execute on the firm’s “axes”, which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profits.
*“Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients – some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t t- to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old- fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them.
*Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three- letter acronym.
Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero per cent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client;s success or progress was not part of the hoguth process at tall.
Its makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the 12 months, I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “Muppet”, sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Cal Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.
It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth.: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.
These days, the most common question I get form junior analysts about derivatives is:”How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst siting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets”, “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.
When I was a first year analyst, I didn’t know where the bathroom was or how to tie my shoelaces. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a derivative was, understanding finance, getting to know our clients and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what we could do to help them get there.
My proudest moments in life- getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, know as the Jewish Olympics – have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.
I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And then get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm – or the trust of its clients – for very much longer.”
GREED IS A POISON
Although I am not a Buddhist, I am often struck by the wisdom and clarity of the Buddha’s teachings.
Being a skeptic at heart, I do not buy into the doctrines of karma, reincarnation and such. But I am often awed by the Buddha’s insight into human nature. His words shine a light upon some of the deep recesses of the soul. For me, some of the Buddha’s teachings concern the ‘three poisons”-greed,hatred and delusion.
These are sometimes referred to as the “three fires” or “three unwholesome roots”.
In Buddhism, the three poisons are said to be the primary causes of human suffering. They pollute the mind and give rise to non-virtuous and irrational thoughts and actions, and they cause all kinds of unhappiness to ourselves and others.
The Buddha expressed this doctrine simply and elegantly in the following words: “Greed is an imperfection that defiles the mind; hate is an imperfection that defiles the mind; delusion is an imperfection that defiles the mid.”
On the ‘wheel of life’, a pictorial representation of the Buddha’s teachings often found on the walls of Tibetan Buddhist temples, the three poisons are represented by a bird(greed), a snake (hatred), a pig (delusion).
Greed, in the Buddhist sense, isn’t just about amassing piles of cash or eating to excess. It is more subtle and pervasive than that. It is a craving or compulsion to get hold of things; to keep hold of them; and to get more of them.
It is a graspsing after happiness and satisfaction through possessing things.
The objects desired need not be , in themselves, bad or harmful. For example, one of my great loves in life is classic literature. Over the years, I have read and enjoyed scores of novels by the great writers of the past. Curiously, though, I am often conscious of a nagging unease, a mild but deep-seated sense of dissatisfaction, occasioned by the thought of all the celebrated works that I haven’t yet read.
No matter how many books I read, the feeling never really goes away. All of those hundreds of novels-nag away,gently but persistently, at my peace of mind. This is, of course, a trite example. Yet it illustrates how greed, in the Buddhist sense, can take some of the shine off even the most innocent pleasures. But the poison of greed does far worse than taint innocent enjoyment.
It creates an inner hunger that can never be satisfied; that grows ever stronger the more it consumes.
It generates anxiety, suffering and unhappiness.
For example, the hunger for material possessions can lead to unjust, self serving, ungenerous and uncompassionate behaviour.
The hunger for love can lead to grief, insecurity and self-centerdness in relationships.
This nagging sense of unfulfilled desire was beautifully described by the 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
He wrote that the will’s desires are unlimited, its claims inexhaustible, and every satisfied desire gives birth to a new one”.
“No possible satisfaction in the world could suffice to still its craving, set a final goal to its demands, and fill the bottomless pit of its heart.”
Many readers will, like me, identify with Schopenhauer’s words and with the Buddhist analysis of greed.
But it is important to remember that the Buddha’s teaching was not intended to be negative or unpleasant.
His motivation was not to add to human suffering, but to alleviate and, ultimately, to eradicate it.
“Both in the past and now, I set forth only this,” he proclaimed.
The Buddha talked not only about the poison of greed, but also about its antidote.
This makes his teaching on the subject ultimately positive and empowering.
What then is the Buddhist antidote to the poison of greed?
This is a question I will return to in my next column, after discussing the two remaining poisons: hatred and delusion.
Gary Hayden is a philosophy and science writer – (Straits Times 26 April 2012)
How Refreshing & Enlightening To Witness Capitalism With A Big Heart?
24 August 2008
Dear President Obama,
I forget to let you know that the quote that I share with you earlier is from a Chinese Proverb.
John McCain and many others do not understand the change that you are talking about. It is not that you want to play ‘god’ which the advert of John McCain is trying to portray you as one. But you are simply telling us if we want to live in a better world we got to change our mindset and this mean ‘GREED’ must be out of our mind. The new world that you are going to create for us is to put a heart in the Capitalist world.
Let me share with you this paper that came to my email when we did World Harmony Day in 2002.
LILLIES OF THE FIELD
“I am a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life, Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank accounts but also your soul. People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the test results and they’re not so good.
HERE IS MY RESUME!
I’m a good mother to three children. I have tried never to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the center of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh. I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to friends and they are to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. I would be rotten, or at best mediocre at my job, if those other things were not true.
So here’s what I wanted to tell you today: Get a life. A real life not a manic pursuit of the
next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you’d care so very much about these things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over the water or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure it is work.
Pick up the phone. Send an email. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take money you would have spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister.
All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good too, then doing well will never be enough. It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours and our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kids’ eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of living. I learned to live many years ago. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I learned. By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby’s ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it.”