Thought for the day: different strokes for different folks

Posted: August 14, 2015 by Admin in Anti-social activity, At the coalface, Capitalist ideology, Class Matters, Parasites


From Michael Perelman’s The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism: how market tyranny stifles the economy by stunting workers, 2011, p45:

Just compare the bloodlust of those leading the attack on labor with the lax disciplinary mechanisms for the corporate elite.  Based on an extensive survey of major corporations, Michael Jensen, professor emeritus at Harvard’s Graduate School of Business, found 49 percent of all contracts for chief executives prevent them from being fired for unsatisfactory work without a big severance package.  Remarkably, in 44 percent of the contracts, this protection included those convicted of fraud or embezzlement.  This should be a national scandal.

As Warren Buffet told his shareholders: “Getting fired can produce a particularly bountiful payday for a CEO.  Indeed, he can ‘earn’ more in that single day, while cleaning out his desk, than an American worker earns in a lifetime of cleaning toilets. Forget the old maxim about nothing succeeding like success: Today, in the executive suite, the all-too-prevalent rule is that nothing succeeds like failure.”

Soon afterward, Stanley O’Neal proved Buffett to be correct.  In 2007, after announcing an initial estimate that his firm had lost almost $US8 billion that quarter, Merrill Lynch let him go with $US161.5 million in stock, options and other retirement benefits.  One compensation expert said, “I wish my performance was so bad that I could get $160 million to leave.”  As the economic crisis unfolded, O’Neal’s successor and a host of other failed executives collected comparable rewards.”


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