Goldman Sachs rules the world

“Governments do not rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world”.

 If these were my words I would be severely criticised as a law professor by colleagues and (probably) students alike. If these were my words I would be accused of contradicting the foundations of our widely held assumptions on political and legal theory. If these were my words I would be forgetting that the sovereign state is the basis of the whole legal system. I would be endangering the democratic legitimacy of power. I would be ignoring the sacred line between private and public that we lawyers never cross. There is the public law, and there is the private law, and no matter what Kelsen said so many years ago: they are distinct and must remain distinct. If these were my words I would be called a dangerous critical radical lawyer.

 But these are not my words. These are the words of Alessio Rastani, an independent broker working at the City of London, that provoked a collective jaw-dropping at the BBC studio where he was interviewed life when he confessed that every night he dreams about a new recession because recessions are perfect opportunities to make money if you know how to play your cards. Recovery plans, the survival of the Euro, or any other problems of political economy are completely irrelevant, he claimed. Because the people whose decisions really matter do not care about these things. And this people are not in governments. In fact, as some of us were already suspecting, goverments do not rule the world. Goldman Sachs does.

 These are the words of someone who seems to be an outspoken and apparently very honest broker. But I am a law professor. So tomorrow I will teach my first year law students that the laws that matter are the laws of the sovereign nation state that obtain their legitimacy through democratic process. The sovereign people, as democratic theory says. And if one my students raises her hand inquiring over Rastani’s words, I can always respond that the man is not a lawyer. What does he know?

Derecho y sociedad, Etica y educación | , , ,

4 Respostes a “Goldman Sachs rules the world”

  1. […] tan formada com el professor de Dret d’Esade, César Arjona no podien evitar mostrar el seu desconcert davant la frase “Goldman Sachs governa el món”. Però en totes aquestes respostes la crítica a […]

  2. David Tamayo dice:

    I can explain to you the words of Rastani with an image and a joke.

    Here is the link to the joke.

    Rastani says that the banker owns the politician. He owns him, because of the money he gives him in the campaign. He owns him, because the politician can’t regulate the banker, and the banker has money to pay the congressman. So the banker owns the ruler and the congress.

    Rastani says the obvious, and with his words he is not endangering the democratic legitimacy of power. What really endangers democracy is his daily work in the stock market.

    So, put aside the theory and make a reality check. Tell your students the truth.

  3. Alexandra Garcia dice:

    I certainly do not see the point in critizising the «dangerous critical radical lawyers». Danger means courage to face the shortcomings of the global economic system. Taking a critical view of it shows commitment to improvement. And radicalism should no longer be regarded as a position lacking seriousness when it comes to struggle for what we’ve been calling Justice so far. In fact, we do need lots of every single one of those qualities. Things won’t be liable to change otherwise.

  4. César Arjona dice:

    Whether Rastani is for real or not is irrelevant. I talked with quite a few people about the interview (real or not) and, as regards the «GS rules the world» statement, the usual reaction was: «Oh, this is true, but we already knew it». The world we are living today is very different from the world we have been living in for the past two centuries. Most fields of social knowledge are well aware of that, and lawyers should not stay back.