recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : goldmansachs   16

The Thriving World, the Wilting World, and You — Medium
"We are a community branded as leaders living through this revolutionary moment, living through this extreme winning and extreme losing. It falls on us to ask the tough questions about it.

But we here in Aspen are in a bit of a tight spot.

Our deliberations about what to do about this extreme winning and losing are sponsored by the extreme winners. This community was formed by stalwarts of American capitalism; today we sit in spaces named after Pepsi (as in the beverage) and Koch (as in the brothers); our discussion of Martin Luther King and Omelas is sponsored by folks like Accenture, David Rubenstein and someone named Pom; we are deeply enmeshed and invested in the establishment and systems we are supposed to question. And yet we are a community of leaders that claims to seek justice. These identities are tricky to reconcile.

Today I want to challenge how we reconcile them. There is no consensus on anything here, as any seminar participant knows. But I believe that many of our discussions operate within what I will call the “Aspen Consensus,” which, like the “Washington Consensus” or “Beijing Consensus,” describes a nest of shared assumptions within which diverse ideas hatch. The “Aspen Consensus” demarcates what we mostly agree not to question, even as we question so much. And though I call it the Aspen Consensus, it is in many ways the prevailing ethic among the winners of our age worldwide, across business, government and even nonprofits.

The Aspen Consensus, in a nutshell, is this: the winners of our age must be challenged to do more good. But never, ever tell them to do less harm.

The Aspen Consensus holds that capitalism’s rough edges must be sanded and its surplus fruit shared, but the underlying system must never be questioned.

The Aspen Consensus says, “Give back,” which is of course a compassionate and noble thing. But, amid the $20 million second homes and $4,000 parkas of Aspen, it is gauche to observe that giving back is also a Band-Aid that winners stick onto the system that has privileged them, in the conscious or subconscious hope that it will forestall major surgery to that system — surgery that might threaten their privileges.

The Aspen Consensus, I believe, tries to market the idea of generosity as a substitute for the idea of justice. It says: make money in all the usual ways, and then give some back through a foundation, or factor in social impact, or add a second or third bottom line to your analysis, or give a left sock to the poor for every right sock you sell.

The Aspen Consensus says, “Do more good” — not “Do less harm.”

I want to sow the seed of a difficult conversation today about this Aspen Consensus. Because I love this community, and I fear for all of us — myself very much included — that we may not be as virtuous as we think we are, that history may not be as kind to us as we hope it will, that in the final analysis our role in the inequities of our age may not be remembered well.

This may sound strange at first, because the winners of our disruptive age are arguably as concerned about the plight of the losers as any elite in human history. But the question I’m raising is about what the winners propose to do in response. And I believe the winners’ response, certainly not always but still too often, is to soften the blows of the system but to preserve the system at any cost. This response is problematic. It keeps the winners too safe. It allows far too many of us to evade hard questions about our role in contributing to the disease we also seek to treat."



"Now, a significant minority of us here don’t work in business. Yet even in other sectors, we’re living in an age in which the assumptions and values of business are more influential than they ought to be. Our culture has turned businessmen and -women into philosophers, revolutionaries, social activists, saviors of the poor. We are at risk of forgetting other languages of human progress: of morality, of democracy, of solidarity, of decency, of justice.

Sometimes we succumb to the seductive Davos dogma that the business approach is the only thing that can change the world, in the face of so much historical evidence to the contrary.

And so when the winners of our age answer the problem of inequality and injustice, all too often they answer it within the logic and frameworks of business and markets. We talk a lot about giving back, profit-sharing, win-wins, social-impact investing, triple bottom lines (which, by the way, are something my four-month-old son has).

Sometimes I wonder whether these various forms of giving back have become to our era what the papal indulgence was to the Middle Ages: a relatively inexpensive way of getting oneself seemingly on the right of justice, without having to alter the fundamentals of one’s life.

Because when you give back, when you have a side foundation, a side CSR project, a side social-impact fund, you gain an exemption from more rigorous scrutiny. You helped 100 poor kids in the ghetto learn how to code. The indulgence spares you from questions about the larger systems and structures you sustain that benefit you and punish others: weak banking regulations and labor laws, zoning rules that happen to keep the poor far from your neighborhood, porous safety nets, the enduring and unrepaired legacies of slavery and racial supremacy and caste systems.

These systems and structures have victims, and we here are at risk, I think, of confusing generosity toward those victims with justice for those victims. For generosity is a win-win, but justice often is not. The winners of our age don’t enjoy the idea that some of them might actually have to lose, to sacrifice, for justice to be done. In Aspen you don’t hear a lot of ideas involving the privileged and powerful actually being in the wrong, and needing to surrender their status and position for the sake of justice.

We talk a lot here about giving more. We don’t talk about taking less.

We talk a lot here about what we should be doing more of. We don’t talk about what we should be doing less of.

I think sometimes that our Aspen Consensus has an underdeveloped sense of human darkness. There is risk in too much positivity. Sometimes to do right by people, you must begin by naming who is in the wrong.

So let’s just come out and say the thing you’re never supposed to say in Aspen: that many of the winners of our age are active, vigorous contributors to the problems they bravely seek to solve. And for the greater good to prevail on any number of issues, some people will have to lose — to actually do less harm, and not merely more good.

We know that enlightened capital didn’t get rid of the slave trade. Impact investing didn’t abolish child labor and put fire escapes on tenement factories. Drug makers didn’t stop slipping antifreeze into medicine as part of a CSR initiative. In each of these cases, the interests of the many had to defeat the interests of the recalcitrant few.

Look, I know this speech won’t make me popular at the bar tonight. But this, for me, is an act of stepping into the arena — something our wonderful teacher-moderators challenged us to do.

I know many of you agree with me already, because we have bonded for years over a shared feeling that something in this extraordinary community didn’t feel quite right. There are many others who, instead of criticizing as I do, are living rejections of this Aspen Consensus — quitting lucrative lives, risking everything, to fight the system. You awe me: you who battle for gay rights in India, who live ardently among the rural poor in South Africa, who risk assassination or worse to report news of corruption.

I am not speaking to you tonight, and I know there are many of you. I am speaking to those who, like me, may feel caught between the ideals championed by this Institute and the self-protective instinct that is always the reflex of people with much to lose.

I am as guilty as anyone. I am part of the wave of gentrification and displacement in Brooklyn, one of the most rapidly gentrifying places in America. Any success I’ve had can be traced to my excellent choice in parents and their ability to afford incredibly expensive private schools. I like good wine. I use Uber — a lot. I once stole playing cards from a private plane. I want my new son to have everything I can give him, even though I know that this is the beginning of the inequality I loathe.

I often wonder if what I do — writing — is capable of making any difference.

When I entered this fellowship, I was so taken with that summons to make a difference. But, to be honest, I have also always had a complicated relationship to this place.

I have heard too many of us talking of how only after the IPO or the next few million will we feel our kids have security. These inflated notions of what it takes to “make a living” and “support a family” are the beginning of so much neglect of our larger human family.

I walk into too many rooms named for people and companies that don’t mean well for the world, and then in those rooms we talk and talk about making the world better.

I struggled in particular with the project. I couldn’t figure out what bothered me about it for the longest time. I wasn’t very good at coming up with one or getting it done.

And I realized, through conversation with fellows in similar dilemmas, what my problem was. Many people, including some being featured later tonight, are engaged in truly extraordinary and commendable projects. We are at our best when our projects take the system head on. But I wrestled with what I perceived to be the idea behind the project, of creating generous side endeavors rather than fighting to reform, bite by bite, the hands that feed us. I felt the project distracted us from the real question: is your regular life — not your side project — on the right side … [more]
anandgiridharadas  capitalism  change  cooperation  aspeninstitute  philanthropy  climatechange  inequality  virtue  competition  inequity  elitism  power  systemschange  privilege  finance  wealth  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  wealthdistribution  davos  riggedgames  goldmansachs  indulgence  handwashing  via:tealtan  risk  stackeddecks  labor  employment  disruption  work  civics  commongood  abstraction  business  corporatism  corporations  taxes  government  socialgood  virtualization  economics  politics  policy  speculation  democracy  solidarity  socialjustice  neoliberalism  well-being  decency  egalitarianism  community  indulgences  noblesseoblige  absolution  racism  castes  leadership  generosity  sacrifice  gambling  gender  race  sexism  emotionallabor  positivity  slavery  socialsafetnet  winwin  zerosum  gentrification  stewardship  paradigmshifts  charitableindustrialcomplex  control 
august 2015 by robertogreco
Chris Hedges: As a Socialist, I Have No Voice in the Mainstream - Pt 6 of 7
"I think we’re in this kind of strange period when the language we use to describe our economic and political system no longer matches the reality. I mean, laissez-faire capitalism—we don’t live in a system of laissez-faire capitalism when the federal government bails out these institutions to the tunes of trillions of dollars and then keeps pumping out free money from the Fed and handing it to—that’s not laissez-faire capitalism. And yet I’m sure that if you went to Wharton or Harvard Business School, they would still be teaching this fictional system. And we haven’t yet moved into a period where the vocabulary we use to describe our reality matches that reality. And that’s always a revolutionary period, because there’s a disconnect between the way we speak about ourselves and the way we actually function. And that’s where we are. And so we in many ways are searching for the words to describe what’s happening to us and then to articulate another vision of where we want to go. And we haven’t gotten there yet."

[via: http://scudmissile.tumblr.com/post/56796659481/i-think-were-in-this-kind-of-strange-period-when ]

[The rest in the series at The Real News website with transcripts:
part 1 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10441
part 2 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10449
part 3 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10456
part 4 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10461
part 5 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10468
part 7 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10486

And on Youtube:
part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1JF94vovww
part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR0oGJ2yrmc
part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vWcyetC3CI
part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCjMdOo7KkY
part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff-G0DPkBv8
part 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX6n861Gu6Q
part 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNm_GAIXOWw ]
change  revolution  chrishedges  socialism  economics  language  capitalism  corporatism  environment  sustainability  2013  ows  occupywallstreet  politics  bailouts  corporatesocialism  businessschools  corruption  society  reality  transition  disconnect  nationalization  coldwar  neoliberalism  activism  socialunrest  socialactivism  movements  barackobama  trends  pauljay  elites  elitism  liberalelite  justice  gender  multiculturalism  identitypolitics  workingclass  nafta  outsourcing  stagnation  labor  wallstreet  finance  power  us  history  poverty  journalism  radicalism  radicalization  class  nytimes  socialjustice  goldmansachs  moralimperative  ralphnader  alternative  christiananarchism  anarchism  anarchy  richardnixon 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Revolt of the Rich | The American Conservative
"Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it. If one can afford private security, public safety is of no concern; if one owns a Gulfstream jet, crumbling bridges cause less apprehension—and viable public transportation doesn’t even show up on the radar screen. With private doctors on call and a chartered plane to get to the Mayo Clinic, why worry about Medicare?

Being in the country but not of it is what gives the contemporary American super-rich their quality of being abstracted and clueless."

"millions of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes do pay federal payroll taxes. These taxes are regressive, and the dirty little secret is that over the last several decades they have made up a greater and greater share of federal revenues."

"The objective of the predatory super-rich and their political handmaidens is to discredit and destroy the traditional nation state and auction its resources to themselves."

"Most present-day Americans, if they think about the historical roots of our wealth-worship at all, will say something about free markets, rugged individualism, and the Horatio Alger myth—all in a purely secular context. But perhaps the most notable 19th-century exponent of wealth as virtue and poverty as the mark of Cain was Russell Herman Conwell, a canny Baptist minister, founder of perhaps the first tabernacle large enough that it could later be called a megachurch, and author of the immensely famous “Acres of Diamonds” speech of 1890 that would make him a rich man.

After the 2008 collapse, the worst since the Great Depression, the rich, rather than having the modesty to temper their demands, this time have made the calculated bet that they are politically invulnerable—Wall Street moguls angrily and successfully rejected executive-compensation limits even for banks that had been bailed out by taxpayer funds.

If a morally acceptable American conservatism is ever to extricate itself from a pseudo-scientific inverted Marxist economic theory, it must grasp that order, tradition, and stability are not coterminous with an uncritical worship of the Almighty Dollar, nor with obeisance to the demands of the wealthy. Conservatives need to think about the world they want: do they really desire a social Darwinist dystopia?"
policy  education  schoolreform  society  banking  stephenschwartzman  citigroup  goldmansachs  robertrubin  2012  us  politics  plutocracy 
august 2012 by robertogreco
The Curse of Bigness | Christopher Ketcham | Orion Magazine
"Small groups of people prove to be more cohesive, effective, creative in getting things done. In the 1970s, the English management expert and business scholar Charles Handy put the ideal group size in work environments at “between five and seven” for “best participation, for highest all-round involvement.” Alexander Paul Hare, author of the classic Creativity in Small Groups, showed that groups sized between four and seven were most successful at problem solving, largely because small groups, as Hare observed, are more democratic: egalitarian, mutualist, co-operative, inclusive. Hundreds of studies in factories and workplaces confirm that workers divided into small groups enjoy lower absenteeism, less sickness, higher productivity, greater social interaction, higher morale—most likely because the conditions allow them to engage what is best in being human, to share the meaning and fruits of their labor…"
gandhi  buddhisteconomics  buddhism  energy  efschumacher  competition  paulgoodman  alienation  charlesperrow  representativedemocracy  profits  goldmansachs  standardoil  gm  innovation  committees  efficiency  standardization  corporatocracy  corporatism  economics  louisbrandeis  gigantism  growth  decentralization  human  humans  community  communities  biology  nature  size  2010  christopherketcham  toobigtosucceed  toobigtofail  power  howwework  howwelearn  hierarchy  groupdynamics  inclusiveness  inclusion  cooperation  egalitarian  egalitarianism  democratic  collaboration  management  alexanderpaulhare  tcsnmy8  tcsnmy  morale  productivity  neuroscience  social  scale  bigness  creativity  charleshandy  openstudioproject  lcproject  groupsize  cv  small  inclusivity  inlcusivity 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Umair HaqueEudaimonicsRedesigning Global Prosperity.: The New Road to Serfdom
"our institutions, far from evolving & improving, at time we need to update them most, are actually moving backwards. We're taking tiny steps—sometimes giant leaps—backwards in time, deconstructing the basic building blocks of civilization…<br />
<br />
[Goldman Sachs & London Metal Exchange] It's a giant leap forward for rent-seeking, extracting profit w/out creating a single tiny morsel of authentic value—but a giant leap backwards for the open markets that are the most basic building block of human prosperity…<br />
<br />
[Ronaldo] Think about it: when people can be used collateral to pay off debts…we've just taken a giant, massive leap backwards in civilization. In fact, we're racing down a slippery slope that ends in indentured servitude & slavery.<br />
<br />
Welcome to the new road to serfdom…<br />
<br />
We've forgotten what the economy's for…either we have the wisdom, courage, hunger, defiance, humility, & determination to make the quantum leap to eudaimonic prosperity—or…headlong slide backwards…new Dark Age."
umairhaque  darkages  us  economics  eudaemonia  civilization  society  capitalism  consumption  materials  sustainability  2011  goldmansachs  ronaldo  politics  policy 
july 2011 by robertogreco
YouTube - DEBTOCRACY (FULL - ENG Subs)
"For the first time in Greece a documentary produced by the audience. "Debtocracy" seeks the causes of the debt crisis and proposes solutions, hidden by the government and the dominant media."
2011  greece  debt  finance  banking  imf  worldbank  odiousdebt  politics  economics  argentina  ecuador  eu  ecb  sovereignty  freedom  europe  olympics  arms  class  classwarfare  social  democracy  government  policy  corruption  goldmansachs  crisis  financialcrisis  healthcare  poverty  education  documentary  globalization  neoliberalism  theft  via:steelemaley 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Leigh Blackall: Our epistemology, and entrepreneurial learning
"The sway that the subject of technology has over discussions about education and learning, is giving me increasing cause for concern. Absent from the explanations of new understandings of knowledge and learning, and their arguments for change, is some balance to the largely utopian ideals. The sub headings in the 'entrepreneurial learning' article for example, read like evangelical slogans, without a single word for caution or circumspect (that I could see by scanning). What would one include to strike a balance? Most obvious would be Postman, in particular his warnings in Technonopoly, but their could and should be many others. Surely we agree that technology gives potential to all traits of humanity, not just the bits we'd like to pick out."
leighblackall  comments  technology  howardrheingold  johnseelybrown  maxsengles  technolopoly  google  goldmansachs  allwathedoverbymachinesoflovinggrace  adamcurtis  florianschneider  gatekeepers  mihalycsikszentmihalyi  darkmatter  gregorysholette  institutions  education  learning  power  neo-colonialism  networkedlearning  networkculture  internet  connectivism  society  socialmedia  2011  2008  informallearning  informal  mentoring  mentorship  pedagogy  self-organization  self-directedlearning  unschooling  deschooling  fachidioten  humanism 
june 2011 by robertogreco
The Great American Bubble Machine | Rolling Stone Politics
"From tech stocks to high gas prices, Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression -- and they're about to do it again"<br />
<br />
"The new carbon credit market is a virtual repeat of the commodities-market casino that's been kind to Goldman, except it has one delicious new wrinkle: If the plan goes forward as expected, the rise in prices will be government-mandated. Goldman won't even have to rig the game. It will be rigged in advance."
carboncredits  carbon  carbonoffsets  goldmansachs  matttaibbi  2011  bubbles  finance  tarp  bailout  markets  manipulation  greatdepression  dotcomboom  technology  housingbubble  housing  energy  oil  gasoline 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Wall Street's Bailout Hustle : Rolling Stone
"the biggest gift the bankers got in the bailout was not fiscal but psychological. "The most valuable part of bailout was implicit guarantee that they're Too Big to Fail." Instead of liquidating & prosecuting insolvent institutions that took us all down with them in giant Ponzi scheme, we have showered them with money & guarantees and all sorts of other enabling gestures. & what should really freak everyone out is the fact that Wall Street immediately started skimming off its own rescue money. If the bailouts validated anew the crooked psychology of the bubble, the recent profit & bonus numbers show that the same psychology is back, thriving, & looking for new disasters to create. "It's evidence that they still don't get it."
matttaibbi  banking  goldmansachs  corruption  finance  business  policy  wallstreet  fraud  bailout  economics  politics  economy  crisis  aig  2010 
february 2010 by robertogreco
Obama's Big Sellout : Rolling Stone
"What's taken place in the year since Obama won the presidency has turned out to be one of the most dramatic political about-faces in our history. Elected in the midst of a crushing economic crisis brought on by a decade of orgiastic deregulation and unchecked greed, Obama had a clear mandate to rein in Wall Street and remake the entire structure of the American economy. What he did instead was ship even his most marginally progressive campaign advisers off to various bureaucratic Siberias, while packing the key economic positions in his White House with the very people who caused the crisis in the first place. This new team of bubble-fattened ex-bankers and laissez-faire intellectuals then proceeded to sell us all out, instituting a massive, trickle-up bailout and systematically gutting regulatory reform from the inside."
barackobama  economics  politics  bailout  government  finance  policy  matttaibbi  wallstreet  banking  fraud  democrats  corruption  banks  citigroup  goldmansachs  money 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Matt Taibbi - Taibblog – Elizabeth Warren for President - True/Slant
"Obama ran an incredible campaign last year, managing to turn himself into the stuff of political iconography...But he also inherited a terrible financial crisis & completely whiffed on it, siding with the financial status quo, who happen to be the bad guys. & in general, policywise, he has turned out to be eerily in sync with the previous administration...We need someone who will run on one very basic principle — the refusal to accept corporate money. That someone will have to be willing to be a symbol of voter empowerment. If someone like Warren doesn’t want that responsibility, well, she shouldn’t have gone into office & gone on TV making all that sense & shit. She’s pushed for transparency in the Fed, is openly furious about the misuse of bailout money & seems to take personally the chicanery that credit card companies & banks use to game the suckers out there. I simply cannot see her suddenly flipping & holding $2000-a-plate fundraisers with Lloyd Blankfein & Jamie Dimon."
elizabethwarren  barackobama  politics  crisis  goldmansachs  finance  economics  matttaibbi  democrats  us  policy  2009  2012  presidency 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Douglas Rushkoff » Front Page Translations
"The Goldman Sachs ultra-fast computer-transaction scandal: Big fast computers connected to the trading floor allow “connected” financial firms like Goldman Sachs to see our stock trades before they are actually executed. They can then take action based on our actions, by going back in time and buying what we want before we do, and selling to us at a higher price. By “regulating” this activity, the SEC simply perpetuates the illusion that this is a level playing field. It never was, it never will be. Retail traders are the patsies. This is just one of many methods used by a system that was not created to provide companies with investment capital, but rather the provide certain capitalists with the means to extract value from every transaction we make with each other." + "Oil speculation blamed for high oil prices" and "FDIC about to split banks into “good parts and bad parts”"
douglasrushkoff  finance  us  corruption  economics  oil  energy  manipulation  banking  goldmansachs 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Great American Bubble Machine : Rolling Stone
"Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression"
matttaibbi  goldmansachs  finance  history  democrats  banking  markets  fraud  billclinton  glass-steagall  merrilllynch  collapse  politics  business  economics  depression  crisis  2009 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Great American Bubble Machine : Rolling Stone
"Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression"
matttaibbi  goldmansachs  finance  history  democrats  banking  markets  fraud  billclinton  glass-steagall  merrilllynch  collapse  politics  business  economics  depression  crisis  2009 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Geithnerconomy and the New Cold War - Umair Haque - HarvardBusiness.org
"Welcome to Looting 2.0. What does that financial system look like? In it, everything is a hedge fund. The Geithner economy is Milton Friedman's revenge from beyond the grave: it is one that puts the allocation of public resources in a very small number of almost totally hidden private hands. The Geithnerconomy is a kind of financial Frankenstein: run by hedge funds, leveraged by the public, whose interests overlap by only 20%. The problem of toxic incentives hasn't gone away: in fact, the Geithner plan institutionalizes and explodes it, like a biological weapon infecting an entire country."
corruption  economics  umairhaque  meltdown  recession  banking  democracy  fraud  debt  goldmansachs  timgeithner  bailout  crisis  2009  feudalism  disincentives  moralhazard 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Bloomberg.com: Opinion: What Does Goldman Know That We Don't?: Michael Lewis (Update1) - Michael Lewis
"The only difference between Goldman and everyone else was that Goldman had, in effect, an entirely separate enterprise, sitting on top of the firm, with the power to reverse the judgment of its own supposed experts in various markets."
michaellewis  economics  goldmanSachs  finance  business  management  markets  money  risk  strategy  housing  housingbubble  subprime  organization  trading  investment  intelligence 
january 2008 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read