Sitting across from me now in his comfortable office on the 30th floor of company headquarters in lower Manhattan, Goldman's CEO Lloyd Blankfein professes to be more bemused than hurt by the slurs. I suppose his serenity may be helped by the fact that the events we're discussing--Goldman's brush with death--appear to be firmly in the past.
He defends all that he considers exemplary about the firm: its disciplined risk taking; that 90% of its revenue and profits are generated in service to clients; that it's not just a giant hedge fund, as some critics say; that it plays a vital social role in matching those who have capital with those who need it; that its partners frequently retire young to devote themselves to philanthropy or public service.
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