Saturday, March 24, 2012

Valarie Strauss: Condi Rice-Joel Klein report: Not the new ‘A Nation at Risk’


Correction: One of the five names of task force members marked with an asterick below wrote an additional comment rather than a dissent, like the other four did. An earlier version said all five wrote dissents.
A new report being officially released today — by a Council of Foreign Relations task force chaired by Joel Klein and Condoleezza Rice — seems to want very much to be seen as the new “A Nation at Risk,” the seminal 1983 report that warned that America’s future was threatened by a “rising tide of mediocrity” in the country’s public schools.
It’s a pale imitation.
The U.S. Education Reform and National Security report, to be sure, has some similar language and themes of a Nation at Risk. It says (over and over) that America’s national security is threatened because America’s public schools aren’t adequately preparing young people to “fill the ranks of the Foreign Service, the intelligence community, and the armed forces” (or diplomats, spies and soldiers).
But it takes a very different view of the public education system than the authors of “A Nation at Risk ,” who sought to find ways to improve public schools and treat the system as a civic institution. The new report seems to look at public schools as if they are the bad guys that need to be put out of business, with a new business taking over, funded with public dollars.
A Nation at Risk made some basic recommendations, which included improving the curriculum, raising expectations for all children and improving the teaching force.
The Klein-Rice report makes three broad recommendations to fix the stated problem.
It calls for:
* expanding the Common Core State Standard initiative to include subjects beyond math and English Language Arts;
* an expansion of charter schools and vouchers
* an annual “national security readiness audit” that would look at how schools are addressing the country’s needs through increased foreign language programs, technology curriculum and more.
The report cites lots of statistics that paint public schools in the worst possible light, and continues the trend of comparing America’s educational system with that of high-achieving countries — but doesn’t note that these countries generally don’t do the kinds of things these reformers endorse. Its recommendations would lead to further privatization of public schools and even more emphasis on standardized testing.
Any reader of this blog may recall a post I recently did where I spelled out what the report would say well before it came out. I was pretty much on target. How did I know? The president of the Council on Foreign Relations, Richard N. Haass, chose Klein and Rice to be the co-chairs, according to Anya Schmemann, the council’s task force program director. And he most certainly knew what kind of report he would get.
Klein was chancellor of of New York City public schools for eight years, running it under the general notion that public education should be run like a business. He closed schools, pushed the expansion of charter schools and launched other initiatives before resigning in 2010 after it was revealed that the standardized test scores that he kept pointing to as proof of the success of his reforms were based on exams that got increasingly easy for students to take. Now he works for Rupert Murdoch.
When one member of the commission suggested that people with dissenting views be brought before the panel to present other ideas, and Diane Ravitch’s name came up, Klein vetoed it, members of the panel said. Ravitch is the leading voice against the test-based accountability movement and “school choice,” but Klein, who has long had tense relations with the education historian, didn’t want the panel to hear from her.
Rice was secretary of state under president George W. Bush. She has expressed her admiration for Bush’s key education initiative No Child Left Behind, which ushered in the current era of high-stakes testing but has now been called a failure by both Republicans and Democrats.
And talk about stacking the deck! The task force had 30 members, including a long list of people who support the kind of reform Klein implemented in New York. They include Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach for America; Margaret Spellings, former secretary of education; Jonah M. Edelman of Stand for Children, and Richard Barth of the KIPP Foundation. There were some members with differing perspectives, including Stanford University’s Linda Darling-Hammond and American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, but they were in the small minority.
Here’s the complete list of committee members. Five of the members have astericks by their names; four wrote dissents and one wrote additional comments.


U.S. Education Reform and National Security

Chairs: Joel I. Klein, News Corporation and Condoleezza Rice, Stanford University
Director: Julia Levy, Culture Craver

Overview

The United States' failure to educate its students leaves them unprepared to compete and threatens the country's ability to thrive in a global economy and maintain its leadership role, finds a new Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)–sponsored Independent Task Force report on U.S. Education Reform and National Security.
"Educational failure puts the United States' future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk," warns the Task Force, chaired by Joel I. Klein, former head of New York City public schools, and Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. secretary of state. The country "will not be able to keep pace—much less lead—globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long," argues the Task Force.
The report notes that while the United States invests more in K-12 public education than many other developed countries, its students are ill prepared to compete with their global peers. According to the results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), an international assessment that measures the performance of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics, and science every three years, U.S. students rank fourteenth in reading, twenty-fifth in math, and seventeenth in science compared to students in other industrialized countries.
Though there are many successful individual schools and promising reform efforts, the national statistics on educational outcomes are disheartening:
  • More than 25 percent of students fail to graduate from high school in four years; for African-American and Hispanic students, this number is approaching 40 percent.
  • In civics, only a quarter of U.S. students are proficient or better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
  • Although the United States is a nation of immigrants, roughly eight in ten Americans speak only English and a decreasing number of schools are teaching foreign languages.
  • A recent report by ACT, the not-for-profit testing organization, found that only 22 percent of U.S. high school students met "college ready" standards in all of their core subjects; these figures are even lower for African-American and Hispanic students.
  • The College Board reported that even among college-bound seniors, only 43 percent met college-ready standards, meaning that more college students need to take remedial courses.
The lack of preparedness poses threats on five national security fronts: economic growth and competitiveness, physical safety, intellectual property, U.S. global awareness, and U.S. unity and cohesion, says the report. Too many young people are not employable in an increasingly high-skilled and global economy, and too many are not qualified to join the military because they are physically unfit, have criminal records, or have an inadequate level of education.
"Human capital will determine power in the current century, and the failure to produce that capital will undermine America's security," the report states. "Large, undereducated swaths of the population damage the ability of the United States to physically defend itself, protect its secure information, conduct diplomacy, and grow its economy."
The Task Force proposes three overarching policy recommendations:
  • Implement educational expectations and assessments in subjects vital to protecting national security. "With the support of the federal government and industry partners, states should expand the Common Core State Standards, ensuring that students are mastering the skills and knowledge necessary to safeguard the country's national security."
  • Make structural changes to provide students with good choices. "Enhanced choice and competition, in an environment of equitable resource allocation, will fuel the innovation necessary to transform results."
  • Launch a "national security readiness audit" to hold schools and policymakers accountable for results and to raise public awareness. "There should be a coordinated, national effort to assess whether students are learning the skills and knowledge necessary to safeguard America's future security and prosperity. The results should be publicized to engage the American people in addressing problems and building on successes."
The Task Force includes thirty-one prominent education experts, national security authorities, and corporate leaders who reached consensus on a set of contentious issues. The report also includes a number of additional and dissenting views by Task Force members. The Task Force is directed by Julia Levy, an entrepreneur and former director of communications for the New York City Department of Education.
The Task Force believes that its message and recommendations "can reshape education in the United States and put this country on track to be an educational, economic, military, and diplomatic global leader."


Friday, March 23, 2012

John Dean: Is Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker a Conservative Without A Conscience?



John Dean

A Fair Question:Is Governor Scott Walker a Conservative Without Conscience?LINK



By way of preface, a few years ago, when I wrote Conservatives Without Conscience (2006), I relied on a half-century of empirical studies by social scientists to better understand political figures who evidence little concern for anyone and anything other than themselves, their tribe, and their goal of imposing their worldview on others.  That science on authoritarianism remains valid and unchallenged.
Actually, when publishing my book, I hoped that the conservatives I targeted might explain how and why that science was wrong, if that was indeed the case.  Not one has done so.  On the other hand, many self-proclaimed conservatives, men and women who do appear to have consciences, have sought me out to thank me for this work because, for them, it helps explain the stances and personalities of some of their fellow conservatives with whom they have trouble identifying.
For those interested in this science, the leading expert whose work I relied upon,Professor Robert Altemeyer, has shared his work publicly and in non-scientific language. (Almost a half-million people have visited his website, which is wonderful, for this information also helps to explain the mindset of the Republicans who are dominating the political debate in this presidential election year, e.g., Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.)
But my focus here is on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who strikes some who have written to me as a distinctively prototypical authoritarian politician; what social science has labeled as a “double high” authoritarian; and the type of person which I described in my book as a conservative without conscience.
Understanding Authoritarian Dominators and Followers
Most of the early empirical testing of authoritarian personalities explored why large numbers of people could (and still can) be taken in by likes of a Hitler or Mussolini, and why people submit to, and often willingly follow, such authoritarian leaders.  More recently, however, social scientists and political psychologists had been examining not merely those who follow authoritarian leaders, but also the types of people who seek to become leaders, with personalities that testing shows have a “social domination orientation.”
This testing reveals, in varying degrees, that social dominators (authoritarian leaders) have the following recurring traits: They’re typically men; they are dominating; they oppose equality; they are desirous of personal power; they are amoral, intimidating and bullying, faintly hedonistic, vengeful, pitiless, exploitive, manipulative, and dishonest; they will cheat to win; they are highly prejudiced (racist, sexist, and/or homophobic), mean-spirited, militant, and nationalistic; they tell others what they want to hear, take advantage of “suckers,” and specialize in creating false images to sell themselves.
They may or may not be religious, but usually they are both political and economic conservatives and/or Republicans.
In turn, recurring traits that, in varying degrees, are found in authoritarian followers—a group that includes both men and women—are as follows:  They are submissive to authority but aggressive on that authority’s behalf.  They are conventional and highly religious, with moderate to little education. They trust untrustworthy authorities, exhibit prejudice (particularly against homosexuals, women and followers of religions other than their own), and are mean-spirited, narrow-minded, intolerant, bullying, zealous, dogmatic, and uncritical toward chosen authority.  Moreover, they are hypocritical, inconsistent and contradictory, prone to panic easily, highly self-righteous, and moralistic.  They are strict disciplinarians, and are severely punitive; they demand loyalty and return it; they exhibit little self-awareness, and they, too, are usually political and economic conservatives and/or Republicans.
There is, however, another—and exceptional—type of authoritarian.  When testing social dominators, scientists noticed an incomparable situation: They occasionally found persons who garnered high scores for their cold, calculating dominance, yet also gained high scores on the tests for submissive followers.  How, it was asked, could the same person test high on both scales, since these traits are seemingly inconsistent?  Social scientists labeled these people “Double Highs” because of their high scores on both testing scales.
Altemeyer solved this conundrum when he found that these Double Highs relate to the questions regarding submission not by considering how they themselves submit to others, but rather how others submit to them.  They simply see the world as a place where they are always in charge.
Authoritarian Double Highs Are Scary People, Indeed
Double Highs are endowed with a host of negative personality traits, and, it seems such traits, in Double Highs, are always present in excess.  For example, Double Highs are not merely prejudiced, they are doubly so.  Their orders are to be followed, but not by them.  They are not merely dogmatic, but defiantly insistent upon their dogmas.  They are not only manipulative of others, but talented at their manipulation.  As you go through various authoritarian traits, if you view the trait in its more extreme form, then you are usually talking about a trait that is likely to be possessed by a Double High authoritarian.
Altemeyer, who has been testing and observing Double Highs’ behavior for decades, says that these people are truly scary.  On several occasions, Altemeyer has runGlobal Change Games with large groups of university students, whom he selected because they had all tested as authoritarians. He found that those students with Double High personalities took charge of their respective groups, while the others followed.  More striking, however, was the behavior of the Double Highs: They engaged in nuclear blackmail, made themselves wealthy by dubious means, provoked a worldwide crisis by destroying the ozone layer, allowed 1.9 billion people to die of starvation and disease, and cast the poor regions of the world asunder.  Not pretty.
Of course, simulations are not the real world, even when played seriously, and students who participate in such simulations are well aware of that.  Nonetheless, when you observe Double Highs in real-life situations, you will find that they are very disquieting people.  I worked for and with a number of Double Highs at the Nixon White House, from the president on down through his senior staff.  There is no doubt in my mind that it was the interplay of these Double High personalities that produced that power- abusing presidency.
Moreover, when writing Conservatives Without Conscience, I examined a number of prominent Double Highs in action in Washington during the years of the Bush II Administration: former Speaker Newt Gingrich, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, Senate Majority Leader William Frist, and Vice President Dick Cheney.  Strikingly, the damage done by these Double Highs was not too far from that found in Altemeyer’s student simulation.
Is Scott Walker a Conservative Without Conscience?
Because of my writings on this topic, I have received a number of inquiries asking whether I think that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a Double High authoritarian, or as I describe these personalities in my book, a conservative without conscience.
Needless to say, no public official is going to submit to actual testing to determine his or her personality type.  But if you take the test questions, and match them to conspicuous conduct by a public official, the conclusion as to what personality type that official possesses is often conspicuously obvious.
I have had (and continue to have) conversations with a number of Wisconsinites, who have told me about the political chaos Walker has created with his radical conservative policies and union-busting laws, since becoming governor.  Others have told me about the tactics he is now employing to fight the recall election that he is confronting on June 5th, as a large number of voters have rejected him and his policies.  And I have been reading about how he is lawyering up to deal with a criminal investigation from his days as the Milwaukee Country Executive, as his present and former aides have been charged with criminal conduct.
For Wisconsin voters, the question whether Walker is one of these unique authoritarian personalities, is not an unimportant one, given the way those with such personalities characteristically govern.  So I’ve not rushed to judgment.  To the contrary, I continue to gather information, and I will devote a full column to my conclusion, and to any implications it may have for Wisconsin’s government.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Henry J. Stern: Promises Abandoned


State Legislators Support 
Insiders on District Lines
Henry J. Stern is the founder and president of New York Civic.
Friday, March 16th, 2012
The golden age of co-operation between the branches of New York State government appears to have settled into an era of relative tranquility, during which traditional relationships between longtime incumbents are likely to continue their gravitational impulse on each other, rather than remake state government into anything much more significant than it has been since the years of drift began.

When unexpected events occur, there are likely to be changes which may be required to avert fiscal catastrophe. To the extent that it legally is able to do so, the system will absorb these changes so as to minimize their effect. It is like the effect of well-regulated air conditioning, minimizing the variations that actually take place from time to time.

When changes are required by law, they are made at the last minute, with minimal public attention. This promotes the aura of continuity, which is a hallmark of a government of modest aspirations, acting when circumstances require action, but not generating any great activity on its own.

What we did learn this year is that government can work, in its own fashion, which ranges from lumbering - the usual pattern of activity, aptly symbolized by the donkey and the elephant - to instantaneous, when unread bills are printed in the middle of the night to comply with externally imposed requirements of law. No law requires that any bills actually be read or understood, so that noncompliance is difficult to prove.

Nor would it particularly matter if the bills were read, because the legislators rely on the decisions made by their caucuses, and the actual voting on issues is perfunctory.

The leaders would argue that this is the way the members really want it; the hard work, if any, done by professional staff and the modest debate allowed tending to posturing.

I watched on the Internet the elaborate politeness with which members addressed each other, as if they were in ancient Rome. Whatever the subject, the broadcast proceedings cast the glow of an Animal House toga party over the declaiming solons, as they asked each other mock questions to which they had obviously prepared answers.

If I were younger, so much younger than today, I might have felt more demeaned by the proceedings taking place on the floor. As it happens, however, familiarity eases indignation, so one sees the antic proceedings as what they are: an attempt by people of some ability to make sense out of legal proceedings and rituals, and to have an opportunity to present their views in a setting not designed for the distribution of information so that people can make more informed decisions than they would otherwise.

Perhaps the worst part was the contempt shown for fairness and due process in apportionment. As far as money is concerned, we are used to the insiders getting more than their share; that appears to be a rule in business and life.

But denying people the right to vote, or hacking, stacking, packing and cracking the voters into packages where their influence is minimized beyond reason, with senior legislators braying in the background that they were in scrupulous compliance with the Voting Rights Act and defying anyone to contradict them did suggest the style and manners of a Southern courtroom sixty years ago. The fact that the same words and phrases are now being used to prove the opposite of what they were originally intended to mean leaves sorrow and discontent in the minds of those who worked so hard and so long for social change.

On the other hand, if you believe that people get the kind of government that they deserve, you might not be particularly disturbed by Albany. In fairness, in redistricting you see the legislators at their worst, because their own personal interests are so directly affected by the decisions that they are so deeply arranged in making and manipulating.

If one could take one sentence out of the deliberations, it should be gratitude that in our system, the powers of government are limited, because if the assemblage of our representatives had the authority to make decisions of greater importance to our lives, I would feel increasingly uncomfortable living in any area in which their writ would run.
TAGS: 

COMMENTS


REDISTRICTING

They did it again. They wore us down to the point where we gave up. Even the governor we had reason to trust reneged on his promises. Must this travesty stand for 10 more years, at which time we will be snookered all over again? Are we going to prove that the people get the government they deserve, by doing nothing to assert our right to seect our representitives instead of letting them select us?
Here are two possible responses:
One would be to recruit, nominate, and elect representatives who are beholden to the voters instead of to their immovable leaders. This is not feasible. It would demand heroic tenacity from a public that tunes out on this wonkish issue.
Another way might work. Call on all the excellent local good government groups to combine forces to independently produce non-partisan district maps that honor well established principles of fairness. Website tools are available to accomplish this chore. Then challenge the pols to accept them, or be exposed as hypocrites unworthy of reelection. Mount a joint PR campaign to shame imcumbants - again. Shaming did not work when attempted by Ed Koch's "NY Uprising" campaign, perhaps because there were no specific legislative maps to shame legislators to adopt. It was too easy to claim they had produced what we asked for. The pols need a bigger gun to their heads...will you vote for our new maps, or shall we vote you out? No excuses this time.
Would NY Civic throw its weight behind this approach?

DISTRICT LINES

I'm sure you remember how Koch and his group got together, ranted and raved, and had all these elected officials promise to have an independent panel draw up the new district lines. It's now obvious that the promises he elicited leave something to be desired. But worse is what is the down side. What are Koch and his buddies going to do. The answer, nothing.
If you read the Metro Section of the NYTimes last Sunday you'll have read about a leader of the Russian community in Brooklyn. What he did was say, "the republicans disrespected us. Not one Russian vote for the republican candidate!" If the republican candidate wins, or gets a lot of the Russian American votes, he'll mean nothing. If however he's able to convince the community not to vote for the republican candidate, he has sent the local politicians a very meaningful message. Don't lie to us, don't disrespect us. That's all it takes. No local politician will "disrespect" the Russian community, (whatever that means) for if his/her actions are defined as "disrespectful," the result will be a short life as an elected official.
To bad Koch didn't have the wherewithal to do that, even to ONE assemblyperson. Then it would have meant something. To bad we can't do it. All it takes is one time. We can't, won't, don't want to, do it.
The reason Albany's dysfunctional is because the politicians know that nobody cares.
Look what's going on in B'klyn with Lopez or in Manhattan with Wright. We're letting this happen again and again. One day it may be too late.
While i'm at it, guess what. You know how all our elected officials talk about the importance of school, well, who do you think will go into teaching with the new pension plan.

CUOMO'S FAILING TO VETO THE LEGISLATORS' REDISTRICTING

I don't get it, and would love to know from more politically sophisticated people than i:
--why the redistricting issue got tangled up with the pension issue
--why Cuomo caved on redistricting: it would seem to me that, if the courts drew the plan and he faced a partially new legislature in 2013, he'd be better able to get his way on other issues too.
Also, caving shows him as weak and encourages those feckless, corrupt sinecure holders in Albany to overrreach. Think about what happened to Obama after he failed to veto the extension of the Bush tax cuts.
--if there's no time to draft a court plan to redistrict now, how about going with a court plan in, say, two years?
--does anybody think the plan for redistricting going forward has any teeth at all, or will have any left in ten years?
I am one discouraged voter.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Greg Smith: Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs


March 14, 2012
Greg Smith

By GREG SMITH, Op-Ed, NY TIMES




TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for.

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients.

 The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.

But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied.

I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.

When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.

Over the course of my career I have had the privilege of advising two of the largest hedge funds on the planet, five of the largest asset managers in the United States, and three of the most prominent sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East and Asia. My clients have a total asset base of more than a trillion dollars. I have always taken a lot of pride in advising my clients to do what I believe is right for them, even if it means less money for the firm. This view is becoming increasingly unpopular at Goldman Sachs. Another sign that it was time to leave.

How did we get here? The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.

What are three quick ways to become a leader? a) Execute on the firm’s “axes,” which is Goldman-speak for persuading your clients to invest in the stocks or other products that we are trying to get rid of because they are not seen as having a lot of potential profit. b) “Hunt Elephants.” In English: get your clients — some of whom are sophisticated, and some of whom aren’t — to trade whatever will bring the biggest profit to Goldman. Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like selling my clients a product that is wrong for them. c) Find yourself sitting in a seat where your job is to trade any illiquid, opaque product with a three-letter acronym.

Lloyd C. Blankfein, front, chief executive of Goldman Sachs, and Gary D. Cohn, its president. 

Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact.

It astounds me how little senior management gets a basic truth: If clients don’t trust you they will eventually stop doing business with you. It doesn’t matter how smart you are.

These days, the most common question I get from junior analysts about derivatives is, “How much money did we make off the client?” It bothers me every time I hear it, because it is a clear reflection of what they are observing from their leaders about the way they should behave. Now project 10 years into the future: You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the junior analyst sitting quietly in the corner of the room hearing about “muppets,” “ripping eyeballs out” and “getting paid” doesn’t exactly turn into a model citizen.

When I was a first-year analyst I didn’t know where the bathroom was, or how to tie my shoelaces. I was taught to be concerned with learning the ropes, finding out what a derivative was, understanding finance, getting to know our clients and what motivated them, learning how they defined success and what we could do to help them get there.

My proudest moments in life — getting a full scholarship to go from South Africa to Stanford University, being selected as a Rhodes Scholar national finalist, winning a bronze medal for table tennis at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, known as the Jewish Olympics — have all come through hard work, with no shortcuts. Goldman Sachs today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about achievement.

It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore.

I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer.


Greg Smith is resigning today as a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.



Goldman Sachs Chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein testifying before Congress at a hearing on Wall Street and the financial crisis

Goldman Sachs shares tumble after Greg Smith op-ed rocks finance world 

Firm's shares fell 3.4 percent after exec blasted his former employer

LINK


Goldman Sachs bridge-burner Greg Smith’s tactic ruin his future job prospects

Smith is about as toxic as a job candidate can get, career experts say

LINK

Employee’s public resignation letter tarnishes Goldman Sachs

Says Wall Street investment bank's culture of greed put profits over clients