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The Goldman Sachs/Greg Smith Matter: Readers Respond

Stocks in this article: GS

Former Wall Streeter LarryC2 added, "As someone who also went 'buddhist' from Wall Street some years ago, though from a less illustrious position than Smith's mind you, I agree...It's easier to be picky about the grey moral areas on Wall Street once you're set financially, especially if you're the type of person for whom some level of wealth is actually enough (for some there is no such level, God bless 'em). And the idea that GS tries to screw other people in the market as part of its basic culture, including its 'customers', is near the all-time top of no-sh*t-Sherlock 'revelations'."

Reader Dan Lee disagrees, writing that Smith did a brave thing. "I don't doubt that you aren't impressed. He did a brave thing but it wasn't fast enough for you, ergo, moral failure? If he had not reached the status he has his editorial would have been worthless. The knives have been sharpened for the retribution, which begins by undermining his character as part of the damage control."

J. Shindler also has Smith's back when it comes to putting a knife not just in his former employer Goldman's back but his own career: "This public message WILL cost Smith plenty. It was career suicide, and he may be sued to boot. For an ambitious person to speak up and thus become persona non grata within his industry definitely is a brave act."

Other readers were less interested in rating Smith's bravery on a scale of 1 to 10 and more interested in this question:

  • Do the rich ever have the right to the capitalist moral high ground?
  • Reader Garrett Eaton had the kindness to call me "utterly moronic" and a "character assassin."

    Eaton writes, "What's missing is whether or not what Smith has to say is right or wrong. Believe it or not, the 1% can actually hold opinions that other people can agree with (and we're going to need some rich people on our side). Would he have preferred Smith to proclaim utter contempt for the underprivileged dupes? "

    Susan Clay adds, "Maybe it has nothing to do with the millions he's made. Even millionaires can get fed up with a lack of ethics."

    Reader Mindshell provided a historical example in disagreeing with those seeing Smith as a moral warrior: "Emperor Ashoka declared himself a pacifist by embracing Buddhism after the Kalinga War. By that time he had conquered almost entire India (except the southern tip) through brutal warfare and merciless killing -- so there was nothing left to conquer except his own soul."

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