There have been a number of reports recently in the media about the backlash against the latest round of excessive chief executive pay packets in the context of the so-called ‘Shareholder Spring’. Unfortunately, like the ‘Arab Spring’, this seasonal change has been wildly over-egged by the media. No doubt because it’s a useful distraction from the very real problems generated by our turbo-charged system of finance capitalism.
The drivers behind the seemingly endless CEO pay ratchet are unlikely to be seriously undermined by current Government proposals to give greater power to shareholders. More importantly, they ignore the elephant in the room: the ‘Shareholder Spring’ is a struggle between senior executives and shareholders for control of corporate profits which offers little comfort to the workers who have actually produced the wealth and who fund these obscene ‘rewards’.
While we remain in a capitalist system, the only real mechanisms that will limit the greed of the City and business elite are a supertax on wealth and income; corporate legislation applying to all major companies, which awards equal voting rights between management and workforce representatives; and legal caps on executive pay, expressed as multiples of median pay. Or we could, of course, consider genuine socialist alternatives to this current madness!