In 2009, writing in Rolling Stone, journalist Matt Taibbi famously described Goldman Sachs as a “great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money”.
Soon after his piece appeared, the investment bank’s then chief, Lloyd Blankfein, hit back. He gave an interview to The Sunday Times in which he said his bank did “God’s work”. His justification was that, “we help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. We have a social purpose.”
Blankfein said this, as it was being reported the Wall Street bank would be paying out more than $20bn in bonuses that year. Blankfein said he had no issue with the colossal earnings as they correlated to his firm’s long-term performance. “Others made no money and still paid large bonuses. Some are not around anymore. I wonder why?”
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