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Do Not Tamper with the Clues

Do Not Tamper with the Clues

Notes on Goldman Sachs

(p.243) 11 Do Not Tamper with the Clues
Consuming Religion
Kathryn Lofton
University of Chicago Press

This chapter offers an argument for the religious work of corporations through a specific engagement with Goldman Sachs. Common sense may suggest that there is no organization perhaps less religious than Goldman Sachs, described variously by its critics in recent years as a demon, a snake pit, and a vampire squid attacking American finance, the investing public, and the good of global humanity. Yet the labeling of any agency as such a scourge ought immediately tempt the scholar of religion, since one of the grounding assumptions of our work has been that the demarcation of the profane is intimately tied to the elucidation of the sacred. To that end, this chapter considers the Goldman Sachs Group as a case for students of religion. The chapter exposes the connections between the practices of this multinational investment banking firm and accounts of religious thought and practice in the modern period, focusing in particular on the control of information, the focus on institutional survival, the maintenance of relationships, the development of alternative forms of speech, and the commitment to the group above all other identities or alternative epistemologies.

Keywords:   Goldman Sachs, new religious movements, investment banking, regulatory capture, financialization, German Jews, 2008 financial crisis, Wall Street, Lloyd Blankfein, faith

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