In this book of letters written by ordinary people affected by the fallout from the financial crisis is a chapter devoted to Goldman Sachs starting on page 91.
Here is one letter:
An Open Letter to Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein
To: Lloyd C. Blankfein, Goldman Sachs
So, I've been writing these letters to bank CEOs where I gently rib them about stuff like "being abysmally terrible at their jobs" and "openly stealing from the general populace" and "having the morality of a supervillain" and stuff like that. You know. The usual. And so I was writing one to you about what a terrible businessman you are, and how you had to get your old boss to give you $64 billion because of how badly you suck at being a CEO. Ha, ha. It was going to be funny.
So I was doing research to find more things to make fun of you about. But I kept reading more and more about what a hive of scum and villainy your company actually is, and the more I read the less I felt like being funny. Because, you know, whatever. Any jackass can illegally accept naked short sales or underwrite bonds and encourage people to short those bonds or help Greece hide the true nature of its debt in order to make some extra cash, causing long-term damage to not just Greece but the whole Eurozone and therefore the world economy--which is at risk of going under (again!) partially because of your nefarious deeds (again! I guess you can fool people twice!). Hell, I could do that.
But really it was in finding out that your company's creation of the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index helped literally starve millions of people that I stopped feeling jokey and started actually feeling pity for you.* That's the worst thing to feel for somebody, Lloyd, because it means I consider you less than me. You know what? I do!
I'm asking this honestly: How do you sleep at night? I know that sounds all melodramatic, but when I've, you know, inadvertently hurt somebody's feelings, I have trouble getting any rest at all. I can't imagine ever getting a bit of shut-eye again if I found out I helped artificially drive up the price of wheat in the greatest year of plenty the world had ever known, pushing 250,000,000 more people to the breaking point and causing food riots in thirty countries.
You must either have a really comfortable bed or a metric boatload of Ambien. Or no conscience whatsoever, and such broken morality that you don't realize what damage your little money games are causing the planet
No, I'm just playing, I'm sure you're a great guy. Ha, ha.
DaveNew York, NY 10039
* See Frederick Kaufman, "The Food Bubble: How Wall Street Starved Millions and Got Away with It, Harper's, July 2010.
You can buy the book here