Greed: A Double-Edged Sword

It takes two to tango.  Just as there are always two sides to a story, so are elements in our society competing to reach new lows.  Greed is so pervasive.

While one shareholder group is suing Goldman Sachs for their outrageous salaries (47% of net earnings), other groups are jumping on the greed bandwagon. First, here is information on the shareholder suit:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62763320100308

Secondly, various pension funds, who are supposed to adhere to prudent principles, are now investing in some very risky vehicles.  Goldman Sachs continues selling their derivatives not only for their own profits, but also because the demand is out there.  Additionally, investment houses will continue to design and sell investment vehicles that have as much value as the Emperor’s new clothes because the Emperor’s subjects are so willing to buy.  The supposedly cautious funds have a fiduciary responsibility to their participants.   They are supposed to be wary of risky investments but instead, are gung-ho to maximize their returns, risk be damned.  Many unions are underfunded and cannot meet their obligations.  Thus, they are eager buyers of weird, unproven and perhaps empty, investment opportunities:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/09/business/09pension.html?hp=&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1268140294-zElEl41bZqQGZn0avfjTXA

Does this double-edged sword ring a bell?  Remember when unprincipled mortgage companies loaned crippling contracts of debt to your everyday homeowners?  Remember when those homeowners signed on to that debt, to maximize their take?  Then, of course, the bottom fell out of the mortgage industry.  Remember when everyone and their mother invested with Bernie Madoff because the returns on his funds were too good to be true?  Well, they were.

These fiduciary entities who are going after the higher returns are courting more such financial ruin.  The response to unadulterated greed should not be additional, responsive greed.  It is almost comical that while one union is suing Goldman Sachs for their greed, other such groups want exactly what Goldman Sachs has.

Do we never learn from history?

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One Response to “Greed: A Double-Edged Sword”

  1. Natalie R Says:

    The greed is unparalleled today obviously. It works both ways. It is truth to say that the ones who got bamboozled by Wall Street are, in fact, jealous and wish they were the ones smart enough to receive the stash as AIG and Goldman did. Still while jealously is a product of human nature there is also in many of us (I included) who say I do not need millions upon millions and even billions of bucks.

    One million would suffice thank you very much and one could argue one does not even need that. It is easy to say one would not take the money if one could legally get it. I would like to think, however, I truly would not and that in these economic times especially I would redistribute that wealth. I would fore go the house in the Bahamas, the house in Hawaii and the house on the Riviera. Oprah, who has done such good for so many, in my opinion, truly does not NEED her god knows how many HUGE homes. Two might be enough.

    My point morality dictates OR should when one says enough is enough and to know the difference between just wanting a little bit of cushioned comfort in life to those who would live like Blankfeinian pigs. He is NOT God’s chosen on earth. We all are. Sound like socialism? Maybe in small part it is.

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