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According to the Collins English Dictionary 10th Edition fraud can be defined as: "deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage".[1] In the broadest sense, a fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual; the related adjective is fraudulent. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and also a civil law violation. Defrauding people or entities of money or valuables is a common purpose of fraud, but there have also been fraudulent "discoveries", e.g. in science, to gain prestige rather than immediate monetary gain
*As defined in Wikipedia

Thursday, March 10, 2011

If Goldman Sachs Were Transformed Into a Beautiful Bank, What Would it Look Like?

Dr. Martin Weiss has compiled a report regarding the effects of the financial meltdown on the American economy and has recommended steps to take to either prevent another crisis or to help alleviate the next one. His paper is titled, Dangerous Unintended Consequences: How Banking Bailouts, Buyouts and Nationalization Can Only Prolong America's Second Great Depression and Weaken Any Subsequent Recovery.

On page 47 of the report, he lists eight "recommendations for a balanced and sustainable recovery." They are well worth reading.

Here are my speculations on what Dr. Weiss's recommendations would look if they were put into practice. The fantasy is how beautiful Goldman Sachs might look after the recommendations are put into effect:

--If Goldman Sachs fails, it will not be bailed out and it will truly have to appear to fail. Failure means declaring bankruptcy or being wound down by the FDIC, for example.

--In a recession, the government will take into consideration the costs to the national economy and to the nation's financial reputation and to its citizens before it will consider the costs to Goldman Sachs and other individual banks. GS will have an opportunity to rehabilitate itself.

--The goal of rebuilding the foundation of the nation's economy after a recession would include making sure Goldman Sachs itself has a firm foundation, one built, not on dependence on bailouts, but on providing enough of its own capital to withstand all crises.

--The millions that suffer under a financial recession will be the focus of interest rather than Goldman Sachs. Preparations to protect those people, rather than the banks, will be the first priority.

--Goldman Sachs will be confronted with real regulations that are readily understood and reinforced. Once GS realizes that it can't push against regulations or undermine the regulations at their whim, then it cannot have within its structure a conflict or a complexity that creates loopholes for or causes of unethcial behavior.

--Goldman Sachs will have to use generally accepted accounting principles and will not be able to use off balance sheet accounting or complexity to explain away short comings.

--Goldman Sachs will have to go through “a market-driven cleansing of bad debts.” Goldman Sachs will have to accept a loss when it has a loss rather than “[m]oving it around on the balance sheet or time‐shifting it.” Goldman Sachs will have to learn that when it has failed, it has failed; when it has a loss, it truly has a loss.

--Goldman Sachs will realize that it no longer can depend on bailouts or buyouts when it messes up. Goldman Sachs must realize that it can go bankrupt just as any other bank can. It is not special. Goldman Sachs must share in all the losses of its bad risk-taking practices.

--In the end, Goldman Sachs will have to decide whether it is a bank holding company or an investment bank. It will be severally divided into its component parts, each part being viable in itself. These parts could include: insurance, commercial banking, investment banking, or proprietary trading. Some control and limitations of the banking services GS provides would also be helpful.

Read Dr. Weiss's report here


Anonymous said...

Nothing healthy about Goldman....

'Junk' Insurer Owned By Goldman Sachs Gets First Exemption From Health Care Provision

As The Watchdog reported in January, Maine's insurance commissioner sought the exemption on behalf of HealthMarkets Inc., which is largely owned by funds run by Goldman Sachs and Blackstone -- the insurer's subsidiary, Mega Life and Health Insurance, controls about 37 percent of the market for individual insurance in the state.

HealthMarkets and its subsidiaries have a troubled history and have long been dogged by accusations that their coverage is inadequate. The insurer has been banned for at least five years from selling insurance in Massachusetts after a probe by the state's attorney general, who accused the firm of waging a "campaign of deception and unfair practices," finding that the insurer's coverage didn't cover such basics as doctors' office visits, prescription drugs, chemotherapy and even some lab tests and X-rays.

Anonymous said...

If you want to learn how deleterious our balance sheet problem is(derivative related)...listen to this interview:


Joyce said...

Thank you for sharing the two links above--both instructive.

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