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Patrick Fenzlaff

Management Supervisor, system one

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Is Goldman Sachs really a suitable sponsor for this site?

I am very familar with the AIG-, Lehmann-, EURO-Crises, etc. and I seriously doubt that....if you all can convince me otherwise, please go ahead

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    Nov 6 2012: at least we can get some of the bailout money back
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    Nov 6 2012: They have spent $114M educating about environmental issues they deem important (GW/CC).
    They have been 14 consecutive years on Fortune Magazine's Best Places to Work list.
    They are funding and staffing a program to train 10,000 women from developing countries in business and management.
    They have spent $500M on an ongoing program to aid small businesses.
    Perfect? No. Evil and parasitic to America? No. Suitable sponsor for TED? Yes.
    • Nov 6 2012: Don't be so naive. When a thief robs you blind, and then throws you 2 dollars to sleep at the homeless shelter you don't go thanking him for his charity, especially when you know he gets 70 cents of those 2 dollars back from the IRS. Goldman Sachs makes more than $4 billion in profits every year (that's without counting all the hidden profits in tax havens), whatever they spend on "charity" may seem like a lot to you and I but it's peanuts compared to their revenue and they do get tax breaks for it. FYI, that $500 million program was smeared out over multiple years, is an apology for the bank's role in the financial crisis and remarks made by Lloyd Blankfein and most of the money will be investments which are not charity but simply the kind of business a bank is supposed to do and most likely be completely be recuperated by Goldman Sachs in the end. Goldman Sachs took so much bailout and, with lowered interest, FED money that even if they got that money against only 0.1% lower than usual interest rates they made more money off of it than that entire $500 million program would cost them if all the businesses they invested in went bankrupt within a day of getting the loan.

      I don't think Goldman Sachs has a direct influence on this site but it would be best if we didn't have to guess about it and TED found a sponsor that's more suitable to the ideals of the TED project.
      • Nov 6 2012: I agree with the point Edward is trying to make.

        TED does a lot of good. Does a sponsor have to be without flaws to support something good?

        Seems like that might eliminate a lot of government funding around the world...
        • Nov 6 2012: Without flaws? No, that's not realistic, but the gap between "without flaws" and Goldman Sachs spans half the observable universe, you might as well be sponsored by Al-Qaida.
        • Nov 7 2012: I totally agree with John on this one. No need for me to lay out all his arguments again.

          I just dont subscribe to the point of view "well, at least we get some back" either.

          And to be quiet honest I do think that most of us who live in "democratic" systems buy in to that above mentioned statement too much. We all dont care if we (our governments, corporations etc) start wars enslave third world countries just as long as we get a little in order to sleep in a heated bed room...
        • Nov 7 2012: @Robert:
          u asked (cant see it here but in the mail I got send) if TED should create a set of (ethical) criteria for sponsors.

          By all means YES.
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    Nov 7 2012: True, they could have been more discreet establishing some kind of a foundation beforehand - no one would notice then.
  • Nov 7 2012: What would be your criteria for accepting a sponsor?

    Who would determine if a sponsor was acceptable?
    • Nov 7 2012: How about using common sense? I don't see the "Janjaweed", the "KKK" and "Clusterbombs 'R' Us" sponsor this site so apparently using common sense works some of time.
      • Nov 8 2012: Thats the way I wanted the discussion to be like:-)

        A. WHAT: Well, u can call it common sense, ethics, guidelines etc.... it all means the same. Right now, in the western world money has taken on the role of these guidelines. Other guidelines are always inferior.
        As u say above that might be questionable. I for myself see it as "wrong". To me humans are human because of some "higher" (dont put me in a "religious nut" corner, caus I am def. not) understanding and values that we carry with us. In the western world that should be the human rights or the rule of law in its political meaning.
        In corporations it is called a mission statement and the underlying busines principles.

        B. WHO
        The Board of Directors, CEO, is responsible for safeguarding these principles (to act with common sense as u put it).
        If employees act differently or if i.e. shareholders ask for other things then this Board, CEO etc. needs to take counter measures and if necessary step down because he can no longer (under hin/her own ethics) work for the company.
    • Nov 8 2012: and i am in no way trying to say that doing business with G+S is and always will be totally unacceptable...after the events of the last 10 years, i am just wondering how educated the decision was to let them be sponsor.

      if u witness how they deal (2day) with what goes on in the EU, and their relationships with Draghi, Monti etc...it is arguable that they continue their "ways of doing busines".
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    Nov 7 2012: Patrick, Having a corporate sponsor does not mean that TED is endorsing the company or even agrees with its product. Fertilizer is used to grow plants and food but can also be used for bombs. Solders use toothpaste even when in combat shall we condem toothpaste?

    The realities of the world is that all ventures (even TED) need sponsor to provide us with the opportunity to have this discussion.

    Since I consider this argument emotional on your part allow me the following: If your child required expensive medical treatment and Goldman Sachs offered to pay would you accept it? If they donated the equipment that would save your daughter life would you refuse the use of it? Of course not.

    Think of this as business and not as an endorsement. If this unacceptable then by all means have the courage of your convictions and stop using TED. I hope that you remain however the ball is completely in your court.

    I wish you well. Bob.
    • Nov 7 2012: Hi Robert

      a. thank u for knowing how/what I think. and what my actions are.

      b. I have been with top consultancies for the past 15 years and there is no difference between business and endorsement...on the contrary

      c. The reality of the world is that most people take exactly your point of view "well, i only took the money and worked for them...I dont support what they do though"
      That is what all the germans (i am german) said after ww2, all the people who killed Indians and all other "ethically questionable" actors say: "its just business (now I take your house, your farm, your children, your etc...)

      d. Yes it is emotional if people who are responsible for the very hardship of hundreds of millions (in the US and now EU) are being let of the hook sinply because they feed guys like u off with a couple of dollars

      e. By all means stop telling me what to do
      I started a conversation and as u can see below even people who do not agree with each other can have fruitfull discussions
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        Nov 7 2012: a. Your welcome

        b. Sure there is. It is called profit margine. We do business with people who violate human rights that we detest. That does not stop us.

        c. True. Most people seperate their emotion from their business. We had peace marching hippies working in the airplane factory that made fighter jets. They hated the war and loved the money.

        d. I didn't get my two dollars. The harships of hundreds of millions come from stupidity in leadership. Put programs in effect you cannot support in order to be politically popular is criminal. To ignore the economic factors that even the most uninformed could see is criminal. To fail to make changes even now is criminal. To keep these people in leadership positions reflects the need for better education of the citizens..

        e. I have no power to tell you what to do or not to do.

        I have expressed a opinion on this site. It is your decision to reply or ignore the post.

        Be well. Bob.