Nominated for the Public Eye People’s Award 2013
by Who is saving whom?, www.whos-saving-whom.org
Goldman Sachs is the vampire of finance capital. Never one to waste a crisis – whether a subprime mortgage bubble, a bank collapse or a Euro-failure – Goldman Sachs makes good money from most of them. And the company does not shy away from deals that might ruin entire countries. Between 1998 and 2009 Goldman Sachs pocketed horrendous fees to hide half of Greece’s public deficit by means of accounting tricks. These financial constructions eventually ruined Greece and plunged the EU into a financial crisis with no end in sight even now — another crisis from which Goldman Sachs has already profited handsomely and will continue to do so: so far Goldman’s profit is at least 600 million dollars and Greece owes the bank 400 million per year until 2037, for a total of more than 10 billion dollars at the expense of European taxpayers. Goldman Sachs is the epitome of a money machine with an opaque and matchless network of allies in top positions such as ECB-chief Mario Draghi. Governments come and go. Goldman Sachs stays.
- Head office: Wall Street, New York, USA
- Industry: finance
- Revenue / Net income: 28,811 billion $ / 4,42 billion $ (2011)
- Owner: listed
- Employees: 33’300
- Chairman of the board: Lloyd C. Blankfein
- CEO: Lloyd C. Blankfein
- website: www.goldmansachs.com
Irresponsible Corporate Behavior
Goldman Sachs is more than a bank. It is an invisible empire with assets of 700 billion Euros, or more than twice the budget of France. By means of wild speculation and greed, this financial empire has turned the world into one giant gambling hall.
As one of its principal financial actors, Goldman Sachs bears a large share of responsibility for the Euro-crisis and the bank’s business practices exemplify all that is fundamentally wrong with global capitalism: first Goldman used financial tricks to reduce Greece’s deficit by half, thus allowing the country to join the EU. Then it bet against Greek government bonds. When the financial tricks blew up Greece was broke—and Goldman Sachs very much richer. The bank will eventually clear 10 billion dollars from Greece’s crash, knowing full well that by doing so it would precipitate a crisis in Europe.
A former vice-president of Goldman Sachs International heads the European Central Bank today and thus manages the EU-financial crisis. The bank’s many connections to the political world are no coincidence. Many high-ranking ex-employees of the Wall Street bank occupy powerful public offices. Italy’s current Prime Minister Mario Monti was an „international advisor“ of Goldman’s (just like his pre-predecessor Romano Prodi), the former US Treasury Secretaries Robert Rubin (1995-1999) and Henry Paulson (2006-2009) sat on the bank’s board of directors. Like Paulson, Jon Corzine, former Governor of New Jersey, was also CEO of Goldman Sachs. Then there is the Central Banker: Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank (ECB), was vice-president for Europe at Goldman Sachs between 2002 and 2005.
The bank also advises many governments in economic and political matters. Whenever markets are said to be upset, relieved, or disappointed, Goldman helped set the mood. Many governments are powerless against the network and the capital of Goldman Sachs.
The current financial crisis has sent millions of people into poverty, subverted many democracies, dramatically increased the gap between rich and poor and dug an ever deeper trench between depleted public funds and private profits. Many governments have drastically reduced public spending at the expense of the poor and powerless. The financial crisis has also eclipsed other urgent global problems such as the fight against climate change and further increased the power advantage of private corporations over democratic institutions. Aggressive lobbying and the usurpation of politics by private interests still stand in the way of stricter regulations for the finance industry and the public remains at the mercy of greedy banks.
With a unique worldwide network and an army of over 30'000 employees Goldman Sachs pocketed hefty profits in the last five years despite the crisis, increased its financial might and its influence on governments the world over and, last but not least, succeeded in fending off serious legal troubles.
Current Situation and Demands
- Goldman Sachs must publicly acknowledge its responsibility for the debt crisis in Greece
- The revolving door effect between the world of business and public office must be severely limited by law.
- Commercial banks and investment banks need to be separated. Investment banks may only speculate with
the money of its investors.
- Break up system-relevant financial institutions like as Goldman Sachs
- Ban or severely limit derivatives trading
- Ban special purpose entities
- Increase regulation of the global finance industry
Nominating and supporting organisations (incomplete listing)
«Who is saving whom?» – Call for a the support of a film project
«Greek deal puts Goldman Sachs in the firing line – again» – Guardian
«What price the new democracy? Goldman Sachs conquers Europe» - The Independant
«How Goldman Sachs Helped Greece to Mask its True Debt» – Spiegel International
«The Great American Bubble Machine» – Rolling Stone
«Goldman Sachs, always the winner» – Le Monde Diplomatique
«Friends in high places» – Le Monde Diplomatique