Goldman Sachs Messages Show It Thrived as Economy Fell - NYTimes.com
Here is the problem for free-marketers, especially Libertarians. What Goldman Sachs did is far, far from Adam Smith's vision of butchers, bakers and candlestick makers wisely and competitively marketing real goods and services to make a profit. The Wall Street shenanigans here are about moving an un-product, non-service load of junk paper around to service pure greed.
When I lived in L.A., Libertarian radio host Larry Elder routinely defended this kind of thing under caveat emptor - "Let the buyer beware." He didn't defend it as right or moral, but he basically argued that we don't need laws, we just need to better educate ourselves about what we buy. Our fault if its junk.
The problem is that the size and scope of the Goldman Sachs dealings send ripples through the economy. People who never even considered buying stocks find their finances worsened. There's an example I blogged just a few posts ago, in which the employees of Lutheran publishing company are having their pensions nuked by the Wall Street havoc.
This kind of evil leads to the call for regulation. I'm not big on big government. It tends to become Caesar, claiming divine right to itself and expecting people to burn incense to it on threat of severe penalty.
But Goldman Sachs certainly tempts one to flip a very visible finger to the "invisible hand" of the market.