There will be no more "sh***y deals" at Goldman Sachs — in writing, at least. The embattled Wall Street bank has reportedly banned employees from swearing in correspondence, after an email boasting of "sh***y deals" came to light during the bank's probe by the Senate earlier this year. But critics say Goldman Sachs may just be trying to avoid more meaningful reforms of the sort mandated in its expensive settlement this month with the SEC. Was swearing off swearing a cosmetic touch or indicative of real reform?
Banning swearing doesn't mean there won't still be bad deals: Bad language is only part of Goldman's bad behavior, says Megan Gibson in Time. Why is the "emphasis being placed on cleaning up company messages," rather than sanitizing its dirty deals? It makes you wonder "just how often Goldman Sachs employees are referring to deals as s*****," if they have to ban it. Besides, "a bad deal by any other name, would still smell, well, you know."
"Goldman Sachs now only selling 'crappy' deals"
Paying attention to profanities can help pick up poor behavior: But bad language can be quite a useful indication that something's wrong, says Andrew Leonard in Salon. Goldman could take a lesson from Microsoft, which has found that a "surge in profanity" amongst XBox users often alerts them to a service outage. If Goldman monitored its bankers for foul language, they might pick up on a "prevalence of sh***y deals" before the SEC does.
"Goldman Sachs' dumb ban on curse words"
Language is the least of Goldman's problems: "Goldman isn't shooting the messenger, just his vocabulary," says Michael Corkery in The Wall Street Journal. Ironically, the emails "that actually got Goldman in hot water with the SEC" were largely free of profanities. The "damning" correspondence of trader Fabrice "Fab" Tourre was the firmest evidence of illicit behavior, and it was "cuss-free." We need more "substantive changes" than this.
"Goldman's profanity ban misses the point"