Mysterious can be cool, if you're in Hollywood and everyone's happy. But it can be really bad if people perceive that the financial interests are adversarial, that there's money versus people. A lot of Goldman Sachs people went into government, so at a time when there's a distrust of institutions, some of that reflects on us.
In 2007, in the early 2007, everybody saw the housing market was falling, and at any given moment a lot of people thought it was going to fall more, and a lot of people thought it was going to rebound. You just didn't know.
There is a line in which populism can cross over into demagoguery. Demagoguery is the crossover where populism becomes a bad thing, and people make things up, and they assign responsibilities that aren't fair and justified, and scapegoat communities. And then it becomes a very bad thing.
As CEO of a big company, I have to be a kind of a champion of the interests of our people as insofar as their ability to do their job, to feel comfortable in their work environment, and to be able to fulfill their ambitions.
To the extent I bloomed, I'm a late bloomer.
We've had this program for a number of years now, called 10,000 Small Businesses, where Goldman Sachs has convened a group of partners to basically give business education to small business owners.
There is a tradition in America of people in business not only commenting on the way the government is being run but doing something about it if they don't like it. In fact, they don't just rail about it: they go into government, like some of my ex-colleagues.
When yields on corporate bonds are lower than dividends on stocks, that unnerves me.
I read a lot of history, and I know that once upon a time, a coin was worth $5 if it had $5 worth of gold in it. Now we have paper that is just backed by fiat... Maybe in the new world, something gets backed by consensus.
I always had a lot of confidence in my ability to gauge a situation and people and try to understand them and what they were saying and what their context was.
I started out as a lawyer and came in laterally to Goldman Sachs. So I learned myself that life is unpredictable. That you really should, in terms of your career, try to be excellent at what you're doing. I think if you focus on your job, and you focus on being broad in the context of your job, the next jobs follow from that.
No one at Goldman Sachs gets paid out of his or her own P&L. It matters how your business is doing, but it matters more how the firm as a whole is doing.
The ability for employment benefits to be shared among spouses, the ability to move people who are dependent on visas for trailing spouses, all hinges on being able to deal with families of gay people in the same way that you deal with families of straight people. Otherwise, they can't move around.
Every time I get accustomed to low volatility, like we were towards the end of the Greenspan era, and we think we have all the levers under the control... something erupts to remind us that the idea that anybody is in control of everything is hubris.
Ambition is your inner voice that tells you you can and should strive to go beyond your circumstances or station in life.
If you had asked me, did I have everything nailed down and wired about what I wanted to do, and was I following some real plan? No. In fact, by the time I was in my mid-20s or even late-20s, and I was still in the law firm, I really was starting to get a little nervous that I didn't know what I was going to do.
If you can't legislate, you can't deal with problems.
I am specifically concerned about the idea that the legislative process is one that gets characterized the way it is as the 'fiscal cliff.' At the end of the day, the United States is the biggest economy in the world, and the dollar is the reserve currency in the world. I think it behooves us to act in a much more responsible way.
I don't look forward to a time when every politician, every legislator goes to Washington absolutely committed to an extreme point of view. Elected representatives are sent to Washington to compromise, not to never compromise.
Growth requires risk-taking. If you want to dampen risk and make sure you never have a problem, you do so, but that also will have an effect on growth. This is a decision that doesn't necessarily belong to financial institutions. It belongs to regulators and legislators who represent the body politic.