Fabrice Tourre was the trader at Goldman at the centre of the SEC prosecution. Only 28 at the time he was flogging the stuff (“ab cdos” etc) off to “widows and orphans”, he is the type of glorified salesman whose methods to fame and fortune will one day be frowned upon. I
I believe there will come a day when it will become noble and fashionable for someone to do what is right. Public perception of what is success and how to best reward it, will change. It has to.
The days when young professionals are paid grotesque amounts for boosting sales of high margin products which benefit no one but the seller, will end because sooner or later, truth will prevail. Good must win.
Already these bankers and traders are viewed with disdain and they are probably considered greedier and more disliked than even lawyers.
A few weeks ago I read “3 Cups of Tea” by Greg Mortenson and admired how a passionate person could be totally uninterested in money. Money was just a means to an end – an end which has nothing to do with his personal benefits other than his satisfaction of having helped someone else.
Unfortunately for Goldman and its many employees like Fabrice Tourre, a warped sense of what capitalism is has made money as an end in itself. It is easy to think and behave that way.
Unless you belong to a religious or not for profit organisation, money is the raison d’être of your daily work. Money is everything, and more. One is measured not just by how much money one makes either for himself or his employer, that measurement is also a relative one. I may be making $200K per annum for myself and $20million for my employer but if a colleague makes $250K and $25million respectively he becomes more valuable. That trend goes on. It is also not about a company making a profit of $50million or a return on equity of 15% or a market share of 10%, it is about whether the next company (especially if that company is a competitor) makes $60million, a return of 18% and a market share of 12%. The latter company will be seen as the more successful and the chief executive officer will be rewarded accordingly, making him more valuable than the CEO of the first company.
And so the chase goes on and on. The CEO drives his sales and distribution team up, drives his operations and support teams down and gets more into the face of his customers.
More is done to draw attention away from the competitor and unto itself. The “look at me” mantra takes an even bigger footing. The marketing guys dream up more and more ideas to make consumers look at their clients. These ideas increasingly become more outlandish so as to better attract even greater attention.
Gradually the importance of drawing attention unto oneself becomes of paramount importance. Attention itself becomes the end. If you draw plenty of attention to the point of becoming an icon of sorts, you are more valuable.
Hence we have complete flakes like Paris Hilton and the Kadashians who have achieved absolutely nothing in life and whose sole value therefore is the ability to draw attention unto itself. These nincompoop nymphs in turn earn hefty income and thus become valuable in the eyes of the likes of Fabrice Tourre and others of this ilk. They have both advanced the cause of humanity absolutely no further and have in fact eroded the value of neutral media.
Fundamental moral considerations will have to be the basic popular culture one day.
This is a repeat entry – just picked it up again somehow and thought it worth repeating
- Investors still hate Goldman Sachs (money.cnn.com)
- Deja Vu All Over Again… Senator Carl Levin is Planning to Refer Goldman Officials to the DOJ for Possible Prosecution (businessinsider.com)
- U.S. Senate Investigation Gives New Details on Magnetar (propublica.org)
- U.S. Senate Investigation Gives New Details On Magnetar (businessinsider.com)
- The Shadow Boys (skydancingblog.com)
- Senator Carl Levin is Planning to Refer Goldman Officials to the DOJ for Possible Prosecution… Deja Vu All Over Again (businessinsider.com)
- Still Standing (online.wsj.com)
- Goldman’s Tourre Seeks RBS Documents to Fight SEC Suit (businessweek.com)
- Tourre Fails to Halt Domestic Depositions in SEC Case (businessweek.com)