Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Can 'Fat Cats' be Curbed?
'our CEOs are mostly not only homegrown, but promoted from within their firms, and no global market clamours for their talent.'
He goes on in his latest research to rubbish the idea that these fat cats 'suffer more risk than others, either to their income, jobs, health or mental health', concluding with the recommendation that a High Pay Commission be set up to match the Low Pay Commission, 'to set suggested pay rates for the top'. The idea is that those companies which wildly exceed such norms would have some tough explaining to do to shareholders at AGMs.
The sentiment underlying such a proposal is impeccable from a left of centre standpoint- such inequalities are nothing short of obscene- but I'm dubious if any such HPC would have any real effect. Just as criminals always manage to stay a few steps ahead of the law, so do the rich find ways to keep accumulating more and more than they can possibly need. Any norms produced would end up as purely nominal as CEOs negotiated packages involving yet more additional bonuses, share options, medical care, vast pensions and the rest. Until shareholders are finally revolted by the salaries of their board members and resolve to take action, I fear repulsive 'fat cat' greed will continue to be a feature of our modern western societies.
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