The first article that I saw was Matt Taibbi's response in Rolling Stone. The Binswanger article said among other things that "...if the moral praise showered on Mother Teresa went to someone like Lloyd Blankfein, who, in guiding Goldman Sachs toward billions in profits, has done infinitely more for mankind."
That comment was the launch pad for Taibbi to take down both Binswanger and Goldman Sachs (yet again). If we give Taibbi the complete benefit of the doubt for accuracy the list of wrongs perpetrated by GS is truly astounding.
Somewhere along the way Henry Blodget jumped in an apparent attempt to refute the Binswanger piece ideologically although it seemed to me that there were a couple of times where Blodget added 1+1 and got eleven. Lastly was this post by Robert Wenzel that points out the flaws (as Wenzel saw them) in Blodget's logic.
Finally there was a Twitter spat between Blodget, Binswanger and Jonathan Hoenig on the whole thing.
My own two cents on this is there are parts of Rand that I like and find applicable to my life without going anywhere near as far down Rand Road as Binswanger does.
Man—every man—is an end in himself, not a means to the ends of others; he must live for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself; he must work for his rational self-interest, with the achievement of his own happiness as the highest moral purpose of his life.
A long time ago I borrowed the yoga term "stay on your own mat" as a way to live life. I take the above Rand passage to tie in squarely with the idea of staying on your own mat. Putting yourself first (here I really mean you and your family) and succeeding then provides more opportunity for you give back...if that is what you want to do. Being successful is of course not a prerequisite for giving back to society but it is easier to do if you are not busting your hump in two low paying jobs that you must have to make ends meet.
In all of the above back and forth about Rand ideology is the idea of the wealth gap. Somewhere among the many tweets there is a stat attributed to Blodget about CEO's making 350 times what workers make. I don't know if that number is precisely correct but we all know the number is huge and is about as high as it as ever been (I think it is at an all time high but am not 100% certain).
I do believe in entrepreneurial risk being rewarded, I don't believe society should dictate from the top down how much is too much and while I do believe the wealthy should give back (many do of course) the decision to do so must be their own. I've mentioned before an acquaintance who has a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln that essentially says the answer is not taking from the rich but giving the poor to opportunity to move up.
The wealth gap, as big as it is though is a very bad harbinger.
Earlier this week Random Roger had its 2 millionth page view which is pretty exciting even if Barry Rithotlz gets that many every 45 minutes. In a few days will be Random Roger's ninth anniversary. Although I've taken a hiatus or two along the way the blog has mostly been a lot of fun, opened a lot of doors for me and with a nod to part of the above discussion has provided an opportunity for me to help people I would otherwise never have any contact with. Thank you.