Wage theft and CEO pay

A report in today’s Toronto Star (http://bit.ly/ieCxVK) about how many low-wage workers are not being paid at all because employers are stealing their wages reminds me of my own experiences with employers and their dubious efforts to get as much work for as little money as possible – or as these workers have found out – for no money.

What kind of system insists on undermining the most vulnerable and the poorest?? I was brought up to believe that the strength of the West was the fact that it ensured that the most vulnerable were looked after. Now, they are blamed for all the ills that have befallen the system.

It is not even that there is even any justification for the continuing regime of tax cuts, de-regulation, privatization and de-certification of unions beyond simply enabling the rich get (super) rich!! Our economic system, in terms of rewards and justifications, has become intellectually (and morally) bankrupt. At least at the top where the stratospheric salaries and benefits paid to CEOs have no relation to their performance.

Indeed, it has been pointed out that the ‘incentive packages’ are more of a detriment to corporations than a help because of what CEOs are encouraged to do. To find out more, check out Henry Mintzberg’s work at McGill University (http://www.mintzberg.org/resume). (I will be bringing up more about this soon.)

Also, a survey down a few years ago of contracts for CEOs showed that around 94% of CEOs have it written into their contracts that they are entitled to their benefits and bonus packages even when they fail or the business fails (under their ‘leadership’). So much for an incentive plan!! Something like 44% of CEOs also have it written into their contracts that conviction for criminal activity (certain kinds of crimes, I suppose, are really no different than what they do to the rest of us – the difference is when those kinds of activities are targetted at the shareholders and/or the corporation they’re supposed to be leading – that they are not supposed to get their bonuses – unless it is in their contract!!).

You will find out more in Michael Perelman’s new book (January 2011) on this and more: The Invisible Handcuffs of Capitalism: How Market Control Undermines the Economy by Stunting Workers, Monthly Review Press (http://monthlyreview.org/press/books/pb2297/).

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Filed under Economics, Wages, Work and working conditions

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