By Simon Johnson, co-author of 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown
In a surprise announcement earlier this morning, Time Magazine brought forward its annual “Man of the Year” award – and conferred this honor on Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs. April 1st apparently is at least 7 months earlier than anyone else has ever won this award, since it began in 1927.
As the award has previously been conferred on controversial figures (including Joseph Stalin in 1942 and Mrs. Simpson in 1936), Time also saw fit to issue a statement clarifying Mr. Blankfein’s merits,
“[Goldman is] very important. [They] help companies to grow by helping them to raise capital. Companies that grow create wealth. This, in turn, allows people to have jobs that create more growth and more wealth. It’s a virtuous cycle. [They] have a social purpose.”
A spokesperson for Goldman responded quickly,
“It was always clear to us that had [Lloyd not won], it would have been quite disruptive to the world’s financial markets. We would have had to spend money, other people would have had to replace transactions as well. Generally for us, volatility is good for our trading business, however it would not have been good for the financial markets as a whole, so it would not have been good for our business…We would not have been affected directly by our exposure to [him], but the world’s financial system would have been affected…there would have been no losses vis a vis our credit exposure.”