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INTERMITTENT NOTESXML

Back to the BBC

BBC's World Have Your Say logoIn today's New York Times Greg Smith writes about why he's quitting Goldman Sachs. It's an interesting essay, perhaps more interesting for what it promises in the future than what it delivers, though even this much is a bombshell. The BBC wanted to talk in general terms about what it's like to resign, why people resign, etc., so invited me on their program World Have Your Say. I was on for two half hour segments, one broadcast in the U.S. and the other in Africa. The second is available as a podcast (for a limited time) — see the last twenty minutes of the show on the ICC. I like the format. The show was pretty interesting. Hopefully the BBC will ask me back.   ☺

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Comments


Well done, George — and the others also!

I'm pleased BBC interviewed several of you who on point of principle have resigned significant positions. I confess that my childhood heroes were Jesus, Martin Luther, and William Tell — the common ingredient being that each was prepared to "go to the wall" on point of principle. I have a strong bias in favor of anyone who does so!

I also favor a more common choice, and surely less stressful, to behave similarly — such as when two Congresswomen walked out on Darrel Issa's Congressional Hearing. It is this kind of "immediate and brief opportunity" to take a stand on principle, that — if taken more often — would perhaps eliminate need for anyone to actually resign, therefore keeping people of greater integrity at their posts!

I don't understand why more did not walk out of Issa's Hearing — surely others present agreed with those who did. By not making their objection clear, they gave tacit approval. One assumes any "objectors" who stayed put had no more to lose by walking than did Carolyn Maloney and Eleanor Holmes-Norton. (I doubt any serious risk to anyone who walked out, which is part of my point in that specific event. It's true, I wasn't in their shoes, so can only imagine.)

Those of you who grapple with the act of resigning show extra courage. We — on the 'outside' — know the risks to immediate and future careers and incomes. Greg Smith has been criticized for "staying in the game". From my point of view, we should assume significant fear would go with such an extraordinary step.

Smith combined resignation with public statement of whistle blower category. Other valuable whistle blowers, (John Perkins, Wendell Potter), did so after many career years. (Each eventually had an 'epiphany' I believe.) Smith is not at 'fault' for his time with GS.

Regardless of personal situations — these are acts of strong courage. All of us benefit, even when our lives are distant from the resignation. Buckminster Fuller observed "If humanity does not opt for integrity we are through completely...."

Good on you — Thank You for your courage.

Maggie

[Thanks, Maggie! The book I mention on the BBC, btw, is Exit, Voice and Loyalty by Albert O. Hirshman (Harvard University Press, 1970), a classic. Not sure whether I mentioned it on the first or second half hour, so it may not be in the clip that's online as a podcast. Anyhow, it's no wonder that Greg Smith has got Wall Street stirred up: among other fears a lot of those big banks now must be wondering 'who else might resign and how many of them might there be?' g.]

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