Goldman’s most recent ex-employee is definitely famous at the moment, although he is trending to the infamous and almost certainly to the forgotten. The pressure to denigrate and dispatch is overwhelming by those with the money, power, incentive and ability to do so — relentlessly and consistently. They know how to do this and finish the job.
That is evidenced from all the abuse from the predictable and some unpredictable places raining down on him, with a few efforts at push back. But, only one person can set the narrative of Greg Smith and that is him and the choices he now makes. Writing the Op Ed was the easy part, even though he may not know it.
The hard part is what he does next and Reuters’ Felix Salmon hits it dead on:
“It’s much easier to see the disgruntled ex-employee here, quitting in a huff, than it is to see someone genuinely trying to do his part to reconstitute the Goldman Sachs of Gus Levy and John Whitehead. … If Smith ends up founding or joining a rival company, his decision to harm Goldman as deeply as possible will end up looking rather self-serving. On the other hand, if he goes to, say, join his former colleague Gary Gensler at the CFTC [or the BETTER MARKETS team], working to regulate all investment banks from the outside and to try to level the playing field between the buy-side and the sell-side as much as possible, then we might start taking him a bit more seriously. Smith has declared a serious moral purpose today; that’s not something you can wear for just one news cycle before moving on to the next thing, and so I hope and trust that he’s going to spend the proceeds of his ill-gotten final bonus check in the service of that moral purpose.”
So here’s an open invitation to Greg Smith to put his words into action and fight to change the industry and the culture.
Greg Smith: Don’t make noise. Make a difference. Join Better Markets NOW!