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Evening Standard: "City comment: Shareholders must speak for capitalism"

Sleaze to the web site

"Something has gone wrong with capitalism. That remark was made to me recently not by a Marxist agitator, but by a former Tory minister — one who also happens to have a long and successful track record in business.

"... Directors of FTSE 100 companies now earn 120 times the average pay of their employees, according to IDS, compared to 47 times in 2000.

"That reflects a pendulum swing since the late 1970s, when the multiple was only about 20 times, and undervalued British executives were generally demoralized as a result. It also reflects the globalisation of companies in the index, including mining giants whose workforces in Africa and elsewhere typically earn very little.

"But it's striking that in a period when average UK earnings have been rising at less than 1% per annum — and real wages, adjusted for inflation, stand below where they were in 2008 — executive pay rose by more than a fifth in the past year."

Link to Paul Mason,
The Guardian

"The unending economic crisis makes us feel powerless – and paranoid"
"In economics, big, uncontrollable forces are the norm; but by understanding them – by charting the rules of the game we’re supposed to play – we gain the ability to act. So, as one Lehman trader anecdotally told his new recruit before the crash: “Stay here, keep your head down, do nothing extraordinary and in 20 years you will have a Lamborghini, just like me.” Agency in a normal capitalist system is about knowing the rules.

"But in a disrupted system, power flies to the extremes. The majority of people feel powerless because the rules no longer apply: you can keep your head down, do nothing extraordinary, and still leave the building with only a cardboard box. Meanwhile, for a tiny minority, disrupted systems seem to endow them with kryptonite powers.

"Such people set up companies and close them down with ease, long before any requirement to file accounts comes due. A whole new international class of scam-trepreneurs has grown up: running island nightclubs, free porn sites, car-wash businesses we never realised we needed, and finance companies for which there is no adequate label."

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