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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

And why might that be?

The New York Times contemplates the mystery of how a Goldmanite - and former governor of New Jersey - could be responsible for one of the biggest bankruptcies in U.S. history:
He was from Goldman Sachs.

That is the refrain you hear over and over again when MF Global insiders try to explain why they went along with Jon Corzine’s risky trades — the same ones that caused a crisis of confidence at the firm and, ultimately, its bankruptcy on Monday....

Being a former Goldmanite has long been considered the ultimate calling card. But, in some cases, it has proved to be a liability: A series of blunders by former senior Goldman executives raises questions about whether Goldman’s secret sauce can actually be exported. Think John Thain. Or Robert Rubin. Or J. Chris Flowers.
Let's consider the possible explanations why there is a pattern of success at Goldman Sachs and failure elsewhere:

1. There is some sort of magic in the Goldman water cooler that permits these financial wunderkinder to outperform the rest of the financial markets.

2. There is a wise old Asian janitor, seemingly ageless, living in the basement of the Goldman building whose cryptic utterings are interpreted and applied by the Goldman executives, leading to astoundingly good results.

3. Goldman leverages its oversized influence in the federal government to secure government policies that ensure it reliable profits.

I don't know about you, but my money is on number two. I picked up an East Asian Studies major in college and studied Japanese in Tokyo on the off-chance that I might have the opportunity to speak to him one day.

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