There is a lot of misinformation FUD (fear, uncertainty & doubt) surrounding Google penalties. The most common is mistaking an algorithm for a penalty.
High-profile updates like Penguin and Panda are not actually penalties; they are algorithms. Algorithms rely on a set of rules and calculations to automatically deliver the desired outcome.
In the case of Panda & Penguin, the end game for Google is to demote websites in the search results that don’t meet their quality standards, as defined by their Webmaster Guidelines.