The Great Debate

Goldman needs to lose Gekko image


– Jonathan Ford is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

So, Goldman Sachs has a “Gordon Gekko feel to it” according to an executive at Brand Asset Consulting. In a survey of leading U.S. brands, the market research firm has reached the conclusion that the investment bank’s stature has been diminished in the eyes of the public by recent events.

Somehow, this fails to do justice to the emotions the name Goldman stirs in the breast of the average American.

Goldman’s stature isn’t diminished; the firm is becoming actively hated, and this emotion is going mainstream. When Rolling Stone recently published a cover story describing Goldman as a “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”, its author, Matt Taibbi, was simply saying what a lot of people think — if more eloquently and memorably.

Normally, the good opinion of the wider world, or of its rivals, wouldn’t matter too much to the steely-eyed Wall Street firm. So long as Goldman continues to be supremely well-represented in the corridors of power, retains the respect (if not affection) of its clients, and is able to hire the brightest bankers, then what Joe Public thinks is surely largely irrelevant.

Drugs, elephants and American prisons

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate–Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own–

Are the 305 million people living in the United States the most evil in the world? Is this the reason why the U.S., with 5 percent of the world’s population, has 25 percent of the world’s prisoners and an incarceration rate five times as high as the rest of the world?

Or is it a matter of a criminal justice system that has gone dramatically wrong, swamping the prison system with drug offenders?