Now raising intellectual capital

Is Goldman Sachs evil?

Is Goldman Sachs really a “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”?

That’s the view of journalist Matt Taibbi in a long article in Rolling Stone magazine. Taibbi blames the firm for almost single-handedly orchestrating every investment calamity since the Great Depression. And judging by much of the reaction in the blogosphere, Taibbi’s view has become the accepted meme when talking about Goldman.

Yet that simple storyline, as compelling as it may be, is far from the truth.

The reality is Goldman is no more of a sinner than any other Wall Street bank. Is Goldman really any more responsible for the inflating and the bursting of the housing bubble than Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, Countrywide or even New Century financial? No single bank cornered the market on greed in the current financial crisis.

But what does separate Goldman from the pack is that it consistently plays the trading game with a far more ruthless attitude.