Wind: 16 mph
To The Editor:
Last week this paper printed an essay of mine rebutting Win Smith's essay from the week before. It was edited so that my use of the second person "you" became "bankers." I had very consciously chosen the second person "you" because Win was saying that he and his father had tried to stop the CEO of Merrill Lynch from driving the company into bankruptcy. Win specifically mentions the name of the CEO responsible for the downfall, Stanley O'Neal, and condemns him. In my opinion this is the proper way to criticize: One has to be specific and name names, not hide behind "those guys" or "them." Win calls O'Neal a selfish rogue and he is correct.
My criticism was directed at Win and his dad, saying that he and his dad weren't focusing on what's good for society so, basically, they were just perpetuating the evil that's always been in capitalist banking. He wasn't criticizing O'Neal and his cohort as bad for society, only saying he was bad for Merrill Lynch shareholders. Good capitalist investment bankers are proud of their amorality in business. If you make money for your investors you are doing the best thing. It doesn't matter that the company you invest in is using slave labor in Asia or is destroying rain forests in Brazil. If you are making money for your investors you're doing the right thing. I think this is immoral.
I wanted you, the reader, to know I was speaking directly to Win Smith and his article and I wanted Win Smith to know I was speaking to him, not a bunch of bankers.