One of the most powerful men on Wall Street ignited a professional firestorm yesterday, by essentially calling for an end to class warfare and suggesting corporations should be good citizens as well as profit growth machines
BlackRock Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink, whose New York investment firm has $6.3 trillion in assets under management, was immediately pilloried by many of his peers in the financial sector for the compassionate tone of his annual letter to CEOs. Much like the Jerry Maguire character in the fictional film of the same name, who called for his fellow sports agents to take a legitimate human interest in their clients.
Fink is famous for being "out in front" of the crowd with his financial forecasting abilities, but the potential revolution he apparently sees on the horizon is not a call many of his peers are intellectually prepared to accept. Even when it means saving the very society which enriched them and has been so badly damaged by their "greed is good" mantra.
Unlike most of his critics, Fink is a self-made man from humble roots. The son of a California shoe salesman is now one of the most influential men in the U.S. financial sector with a $340 million personal fortune.
Whereas many of the fellow self-appointed "Masters of the Universe" attacking him have led far more sheltered lives. Their knowledge of the world outside the Country Club fishbowl is limited by their own isolation within our nation's privilege bubbles.
Just as it was for former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan, who infamously said markets could do a better job of policing housing fraud than government regulators prior to 2006. His indifference to the millions of families losing their homes to predatory lending and foreclosure fraud precipitated both the collapse of the U.S. housing market and the The Great Recession.