Goldman Sachs has made a major stand for diversity by declaring that they are going to start “refusing IPOs if all directors are white straight men”. This is unusual because most diversity pushes come from the mainstream media or companies that offer concrete consumer products and need to market themselves by connecting feelings or political leanings to their product. Normally, big international finance and banking stays as neutral as possible, having to work with actually diverse groups of people across the globe. Finance does not demand any sort of emotional bond with the public at-large for positive brand recognition. So, this bold move by Goldman Sachs is a huge leap forward for proponents of race-based employment but ultimately it appears to be a means of distracting mainstream journalists from the company’s questionable past.
Firstly, when talking about corporations taking moral stands we should never forget the dirty past of these multinational giants. Volkswagen for example, was a creation of the Nazis that went on to “fight” on the side of a Democratic West Germany as a symbol of how great capitalism is. Now they are more than happy to show themselves as an SJW/LGBT organization. Why is this so? Because businesses serve any master who comes to them with money and if the current status quo in Germany is rainbow gay then VW will orient its sexuality to said status quo. If there was to be a Nationalism/Nazi takeover of Germany in the upcoming years VW would somehow “find the courage” to remember their “heritage”. This is not to demonize Volkswagen as all big multinationals do exactly the same thing. This logic, of course, applies to Goldman Sachs as well.
In fact, for the foreseeable future this new diversity policy only applies to the Western World. Ikea catalogues in the West are full of gay couples, in Russia they have only nuclear families and in Saudi Arabia they feature only men. When push comes to shove and money is at play morality in business becomes flexible. Goldman Sachs even admitted that “it intends to eventually expand its board-diversity mandate beyond the U.S. and Europe”. By eventually they mean, at the point in time when being diverse becomes cool/trendy in those countries, which could be the day after never. Goldman Sachs with this move is just trying go play ball in the West where their financial world currently sits.
Secondly, it is always best to be skeptical of any sort of corporate philanthropy and morality not just because they will lick any boot presented to them but because their hypocrisy is rampant. If we remember back to the Greek Debt Crisis of just a few years ago, our TV screens were filled with images of young people fighting with police in Athens as employment for those in their 20s was approaching zero. Furthermore, the elderly and many state employees were seeing a lot of their social securities/guarantees dry up right in front of their eyes and it is very possible that Goldman Sachs is directly to blame for all this.
As The Nation writer Robert B. Reich put it “The investment bank (Goldman Sachs) made millions by helping to hide the true extent of the debt, and in the process almost doubled it.“ Additionally, and also relatively recently, the US Department of Justice found Goldman Sachs liable for their role in the 2008 (subprime) financial crisis in the United States, which had a lot of international blowback as well affecting economies globally. According to Business Insider up to 10,000,000 homes were lost between 2006-2014 as a result of the crisis that Goldman Sachs bears partial responsibility for.
Meaning that when it comes to the real life suffering of millions of Americans and Greeks (and beyond) who lost their jobs, homes, or social safety net, Goldman Sachs doesn’t give a damn. Forcing a handful of diversity hires (even if these were demonstrably proven to be a boon for society) would be one drop of generous blessing in a canyon of financial sins.
Large companies and media organizations are quick to throw relatively tiny amounts of money at charity, but completely unwilling to do anything to actually help society. This attempt at mandating diversity (only in the West) is a 21st century means of playing ball and playing up to certain people’s current moral absolutes of the month. If they really and truly wanted to put a human face to a massive financial giant they could at least pull some sorts of stunts or projects that would get thousands of Greek youth into the workforce, better the lives of an untold number of Greek elderly or try to find a viable way to get millions of Americans into homes they can afford thus partially undoing the 2008 crisis.
But that will never happen. Diversity is a word used for virtue signaling, which costs nothing and impresses the exact type of people who don’t care about the millions of diverse Americans who lost their homes. Diversity is our strength because it gets results while requiring zero actual action.