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Friday, November 18, 2011

Strategic CSR - Goldman Sachs

The article in the first url below is a response to the Occupy Wall Street protests by comedian, Andrew Borowitz. It is a mock ‘Letter to Investors,’ supposedly from Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs’ CEO:

Up until now, Goldman Sachs has been silent on the subject of the protest movement known as Occupy Wall Street.  That does not mean, however, that it has not been very much on our minds.  As thousands have gathered in Lower Manhattan, passionately expressing their deep discontent with the status quo, we have taken note of these protests.  And we have asked ourselves this question:

How can we make money off them?

The answer is the newly launched Goldman Sachs Global Rage Fund, whose investment objective is to monetize the Occupy Wall Street protests as they spread around the world.  At Goldman, we recognize that the capitalist system as we know it is circling the drain – but there’s plenty of money to be made on the way down.

In particular:

The Rage Fund will seek out opportunities to invest in products that are poised to benefit from the spreading protests, from police batons and barricades to stun guns and forehead bandages.  Furthermore, as clashes between police and protesters turn ever more violent, we are making significant bets on companies that manufacture replacements for broken windows and overturned cars, as well as the raw materials necessary for the construction and incineration of effigies.

What is clever and telling about the spoof letter is that it is not hard to imagine someone at Goldman Sachs thinking something similar to these thoughts (and even perhaps writing them down).

Most good comedy contains at least an element of truth!

The article in the second url below places this letter within the context of a broader plea for the titans of finance to demonstrate a little appreciation for the iterative relationship between for-profit firms and the societies on which they rely for success (Chapter 1: A Moral Argument for CSR, p14).

Have a good weekend.

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The library of CSR Newsletters are archived at:

A letter from Goldman Sachs—Concerning Occupy Wall Street
Andrew Borowitz
October 17, 2011
The Borowitz Report

What should Wall Street do?
October 29, 2011
The Economist