The most shocking moment in Tuesday's Senate hearing on Goldman Sachs wasn't Sen. Carl Levin's repeated use of the big investment house's scatological description of its own dubious offerings.
No, it was when one of Goldman's high cluckety-clucks actually said that it has no ethical responsibility to tell clients that it is betting against the same investments it recommends.
That really is (expletive deleted).
Samuel Gregg of the Acton Institute reminded in 2008 that it wasn't merely loose monetary policy, massive bank overleveraging, the subprime mortgage implosion and government-backed social re-engineering programs that landed the economy in a pickle.
"(I)f the current financial upheaval teaches us anything, it should be how much market capitalism depends upon most people developing and adhering to some rather uncontroversial moral virtues."
We are learning the hard way that "prudence, temperance, thrift, promise-keeping, honesty and humility -- not to mention a willingness not to do to others what we wouldn't want them to do to us -- can't be optional-extras in communities that value economic freedom," says Dr. Gregg.
"If markets are going to work and appropriate limits on government power maintained, then society requires reserves of moral capital," he adds.
It's clear the financial sector has lots of work to do.
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