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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Today's Guest Goldman Basher: Thomas L. Friedman

Friedman on Goldman Sachs

Tired of me (deservedly) bashing Goldman Sachs?

Here's what the eminently fair-minded Thomas L. Friedman has to say about them:

The behavior of some leading Wall Street banks, particularly Goldman Sachs, has been utterly selfish. U.S. taxpayers saved Goldman by saving one of its big counterparties, A.I.G. By any fair calculation, the U.S. Treasury should own a slice of Goldman today. Goldman has been the poster boy for banks behaving by “situational values” — exploiting whatever the situation, or rules that it helped to write, allowed.

--Thomas L. Friedman, "Adults Only, Please"; The New York Times (1/27/2010)

Unfortunately, at least on this issue, I put Friedman in the camp that "just doesn't get it."

Unplugging the Monster


Because he still thinks carrots -- rather than sticks --are the way to get bankers to start making loans, and start reviving the economy.

Dear Tom, I have a news flash: we're just about out of carrots.

Which is not to say that I'm endorsing sticks.

What we really need is an altogether different banking system: one that's less centralized, less politically powerful, and most importantly of all -- less capable of wreaking havoc on the general economy.

The monster that today's Wall Street has become doesn't need to be tamed or placated -- it needs to be unplugged.

Part II: 'It's the Internet, Stupid'

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