Bankers aren’t greedy parasites, he insists. Their amoral pursuit of profit creates capital, which then gets spread around and grows the whole economy, eventually leading to prosperity for all, and blah blah blah (you know the drill):
“I know I could slit my wrists and people would cheer,” he says. But then, he slowly begins to argue the case for modern banking. “We’re very important,” he says, abandoning self-flagellation. “We help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It’s a virtuous cycle.” To drive home his point, he makes a remarkably bold claim. “We have a social purpose.”
He also claims that he’s just “doing God’s work.” (Yeah, he really says that.) So, when you look at the big picture, you could say that Lloyd Blankfein is a sort of misunderstood holy man or saint. Just ask him. He’ll tell you.
Well, by St. Blankfein’s reasoning, the Black Death had a social purpose as well. It killed off a lot of people, making labor more scarce and raising wages all around. After all the competition had been wiped out, the surviving workers never had it so good. Don’t be fooled by all that death and stuff. It was a virtuous cycle.
Funny, Goldman Sachs and the plague have a lot more in common than I thought (although your average plague bacillus, unlike your average Wall Streeter, is far too modest to boast that it’s doing God’s work).
Incidentally, I wouldn’t cheer if Lloyd Blankfein slit his wrists. That’s too painless. Besides, saints aren’t allowed to kill themselves, they have to be martyred. No, I’m not advocating crucifixion or any kind of violence. I just think we should make Mr. Blankfein work at Walmart the rest of his life for ten bucks an hour, wearing a little blue vest and a name tag. The colors won’t clash with his “jaunty Hermes tie with little red bicycles on it.”
[cross-posted at Bad Attitudes]