Dear Startup Abbey

New York Times Ethicist Address the Morality Getting Your Startup Funding From Wall Street

chargingbull New York Times Ethicist Address the Morality Getting Your Startup Funding From Wall Street


As Betabeat has been pointing out, Occupy Wall Street presents sort of a gray area for Startupland. Sure, both parties waive their anti-corporate banner proudly and the rhetoric of disruption can be used interchangeably. But bootstrapped, self-interested Ayn Rand-o-philes and Zuccotti Park’s concern with economic inequality don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye.

Thankfully higher authorities have decided to weigh in on one problematic area. In fact, the entire Ethicist column in this weekend’s New York Times magazine is devoted to it.

An anonymous inquirer from New York City writes:

I support Occupy Wall Street and am appalled by the behavior of the corporations they’re rallying against. While I do not work on Wall Street, my small start-up is financed primarily by one of the biggest Wall Street companies. Am I a hypocrite who should resign immediately?

Ariel Kaminer’s answer? In short: eh, life’s a compromise. And this is one of them. Also: good luck extricating yourself from the big finance:

“If you decide that your current situation is morally untenable, then yes, you should quit. But be forewarned: even such a bold action will not prevent Wall Street from enriching itself off you. The financial industry is so vast, and so inextricably entwined in every aspect of our lives, that to stand apart from it you pretty much have to go off the grid — no possessions, no transactions, no nothing.”

Why do we get the feeling Ms. Kaminer might have read an issue or two of Occupy Wall Street Journal?

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