Words have exact meanings, wrote Ayn Rand, the high priestess of capitalism. Looks like Goldman Sachs employees read Rand and called a spade a spade. And a $300-million lousy deal with Bear Sterns as "one sh**ty deal", in internal e-mails in early 2007.
Such candour is not without its rewards. Last week, Goldman executives were grilled by a US Senate panel for their role in the 2008 financial meltdown.
A livid Senator Carl Levin used the word "sh**ty" on live television, over a dozen times, sparking off debate if TV standards in the country had been lowered thanks to the Wall Street giant. Another employee, Fabricio Tourre, who studied in the same schools as existentialist philosopher Jean Paul Sartre, wrestled with ethical dilemmas about selling bad products, even though he joked about selling them to "widows and orphans" at airports.
Looks like the folks at Sachs not just talk dirty, but also forget to hit the "delete" button on nasty e-mails.