Muppets take center stage


It’s either a coincidence or some kind of muppet conspiracy. Ads for the Muppets Wocka Wocka value pack’s March release coincided with a New York Times Op-ed piece mentioning these celebrity puppets.

The Muppets were just honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and as if by fate, a few weeks prior they went home with an Oscar for their original song, “Man or Muppet,” from the soundtrack of the 2011 movie.

Clearly, they are all the rage and good, clean fun, often making cameos on the goofy Colbert Report.

It’s a different story though, when executives compare their clients to muppets. Greg Smith’s Op-Ed piece titled, “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs,” triggered an uproar when he wrote of how his former colleagues disparagingly referred to their clients.

“It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as muppets, sometimes over internal e-mail,” notes Smith.

Smith, who worked at the firm for 12 years, notes the firm’s corporate culture once stood for “teamwork, integrity and a spirit of humility,” but plummeted to a level where he was unwilling to stay on board.

Workplace rivalries and conflicts happen every day. Resignation letters are written every day and people behave with questionable ethics. So in this instance why should we care?

Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s top financial firms.

When a company’s ethics are compromised, this inevitably affects its prospects for survival.

Smith’s resignation and his view of Goldman Sachs’ skewed moral compass, if indeed true, are worthy of our attention because of the potential effects this company’s behavior has on the interdependent global banking system, of which we who have even modest bank accounts, are a part.

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If one titan falls, the effects ripple throughout. We are all in this together, muppets or not.

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