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In another very public case, Goldman Sachs executives faced tough questions at the hands of members of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Investigations Subcommittee. Senators were unrelenting in their questions about reports that Goldman sold a product to clients, who eventually lost considerable amounts of money, while hedging (investing on the belief it would fail). Goldman representatives denied wrongdoing and argued the practice was not illegal and that the company had no obligation to report its position to clients.


  1. Goldman contends that there is nothing illegal about what it did. What type of ethical argument is this? What alternate views might suggest that what they did is unethical?
  2. Which ethical dilemma would be most likely represented by the charges against Goldman?
  3. Reconsider the argument offered by Goldman trader Fabrice Tourre. What stage of moral development does this justification represent?

SOURCE: J. D. McKinnon & S. Craig, “Goldman Is Bruised, Defiant in Senate,” Wall Street Journal (Retrievable online at

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