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Friday, January 18, 2013

Leadership at Goldman Sachs: Mice or Men?

Inevitably, with any focus comes the opportunity cost of the benefits that could have come from alternative agendas. Put another way, a sustained focus on particular trees means losing the benefits that go with looking at the forest as a whole. One might ask whether Wall Street bankers, even those in lofty positions, are too focused on marginal differences even as the bankers stay away from operational oversight. Goldman Sachs, being led by a former trader, may have been a case in point as 2012 succumbed to 2013.

The full essay is in Cases of Unethical Business, which is available at Amazon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Should Iceland Be a State in the E.U.?

Is a state’s strategic interest simply the sum total of political and economic expediency? In the case of Iceland becoming a state in the E.U., the suspension by the Icelandic government of talks that began after Iceland’s banking sector took a major hit in 2008 may have been a political means of countering the “tough competition” from parties that have been skeptical about the sovereign state joining the Union. With parliamentary elections coming up, the parties in the government did not want to be found wanting on the unpopular side of a major question.

The complete essay is at Essays on Two Federal Empires.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bank of America: Taxpayers Subsidize a Wrong

According to the New York Times, money paid to “settle a company’s actual or potential liability for a civil or criminal penalty is not deductible.” However, if the payments are meant to be remedial rather than a penalty, they are deductible. In effect, such payments are subsidized by the American taxpayer. The question of whether this arrangement should be changed can be approached as an ethical problem.
The full essay is at "Essays on the Financial Crisis."