Wall Street's Ethical Lapse

I read with interest the article "Have Wall Street Ethics Slipped?," Aug. 21. The article attributes to business historian Robert Sobel the view that the ethical standards of the WASPs said to have dominated the investment-banking business of the '60s were eroded as "Jews, Italians, and even a few blacks and women won positions of power. They were," the article suggests, "less likely to be familiar with the best of Wall Street traditions."This line of reasoning serves no one well, and does not reflect much knowledge of Wall Street history. Some of Wall Street's strongest traditions of ethics originated in Jewish firms such as Kuhn Loeb and Lehman Brothers before World War I. In that regard, it is said that the one man J. P. Morgan held as an equal was Jacob Schiff, a Jew, the managing partner of Kuhn Loeb. Those who seek to explain any erosion of ethics on Wall Street in racial terms would do well to look elsewhere. George W. Carmany III, Boston

I must protest the statements of Robert Sobel. He suggests that the lack of ethics on Wall Street results from the diversification of the securities industry beyond white males or from hiring people "from the provinces" who sometimes "lack a moral compass." This insults and slanders the large number of individuals - many of whom maintain the highest level of integrity in the workplace - who live in the "provinces" or fall into his other categories. Greed and avarice can be found everywhere. To single out specific groups is to look for scapegoats. Laura Burton, Lincoln, Neb.

Soviet citizens' inner resources While the media have been full of reports on the political changes in the Soviet Union and the liberation of the republics from Soviet Russian domination, very little has been reported about the tremendous spiritual revival going on there. Very little has been reported on the resurrection of churches once banned, the importation and printing of Bibles and Christian literature, and even the establishment of new Christian schools. Seventy years ago, the communists made war on God and today God won. If anyone needs proof of God's existence and His intervention in the affairs of man, surely this is one of the greatest signs possible. Dan Korolyshyn, Yorktown, Va.

The coup in the Soviet Union and its subsequent collapse are remarkable and, as many commentators have already stated, pave the way for progress of the reform movement. Most importantly, the Russian people can now feel a great deal of pride in themselves for having stood up for their democratic rights. President Mikhail Gorbachev has been criticized for having appointed the very hard-liners who tried to usurp power from him. Perhaps, however, Gorbachev had the foresight to know that it was inevitable that hard-liners would try such a move. Certainly he knew the apparatchiks would not give up their privileged life without a whimper. He must have also known that it was not a question of whether there would be a coup, but rather of when and who would lead it. By appointing the hard-liners he did, Gorbachev ensured that the putsch would be bungled. Gorbachev may have done Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin and the reformers a greater favor than they yet realize. Robert Williams, Indianapolis

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