Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Not holding my breath for the revolution

George Monbiot - kleptocrat CEOs are robbing us. Quote:
One of the most painful lessons a young adult learns is that the wrong traits are rewarded. We celebrate originality and courage, but those who rise to the top are often conformists and sycophants. We are taught that cheats never prosper, yet the country is run by spivs. A study testing British senior managers and chief executives found that on certain indicators of psychopathy their scores exceeded those of patients diagnosed with psychopathic personality disorders in the Broadmoor special hospital.

If you possess the one indispensable skill – battering and blustering your way to the top – incompetence in other areas is no impediment. The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina features prominently on lists of the worst US bosses: quite an achievement when you consider the competition. She fired 30,000 workers in the name of efficiency yet oversaw a halving of the company’s stock price. Morale and communication became so bad that she was booed at company meetings. She was forced out, with a $42m severance package. Where is she now? About to launch her campaign as presidential candidate for the Republican party, where, apparently, she is considered a serious contender. It’s the Mitt Romney story all over again.
Some right-wing Mankiw clone responded to this post with something along the lines of "well, Fiorina is a highly-skilled failure, that's why she should be paid so handsomely."

Chris Dillow replies:

Stumbling and Mumbling - diamonds or fool's gold? Where he makes a very important point about the general uselessness of the managerial class:
[P]erceived marginal utility, and hence demand, is in part an ideological construct. Imagine a society in which remuneration committees thought: "Corporate growth is largely random and bosses have very little foresight into how their strategies will work. There's no point therefore paying CEOs millions. All we need is a competent administrator paid a respectable professional salary." And imagine this belief coexisted with the idea that people must have dignity in old age and that only a few care workers (to take George's example) have the personal skills to enhance that dignity. In such a world, care workers would be more highly prized. Wage differentials between the CEO and care worker would thus be modest.
And, of course, ideology is constructed by the ruling class.

I'm not holding my breath for the revolution to come, of course.


  1. "There's no point therefore paying CEOs millions. All we need is a competent administrator paid a respectable professional salary."

    Given more time I think this might happen somewhere, actually.

  2. But I'm not holding my breath either.