Arrogant and Vicious Corporate Bastards 88


If anyone needed convincing that they should offer the Occupy protestors full and unconditional support, all doubts should be set aside by the stunning news that the average earnings rise of directors of major companies is 49%.

There is a massive squeeze at present on the living standards of ordinary people, with unemployment rising, inflation rising and salary increases substantially below inflation, plus a whole series of tax increases. Despite the mainstream media, pretty well everybody now understands that this is because their money is being paid straight into the pockets of fatcat bankers by the government. The bankers has already shown they were going to spit in our faces by maintaining the massive incomes of their executives, even at loss makers like UBS.

Those who argue that it should be left up to the shareholders to determine executive salaries are missing the point. The shareholders are, overwhelmingly, other institutions whose executives also benefit from this culture of sickeningly excessive reward, in an orgy of mutually reinforced looting.

What is so striking about this is the absolute fearlessness, the total arrogance of the 1%, safe in their control of the politicians and the power of the state. They seem to think they can trample on the little people forever, with impunity. We are approaching a stage where these people are becoming totally isolated from any bond of communality which holds together a society; are becoming in short the open enemies of the people.

They may find eventually this was not such a wise move, but for now they are so drowned in material consumption they really do not care.


88 thoughts on “Arrogant and Vicious Corporate Bastards

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  • Stephen

    @Quelcrime

    The corrupt ones got out while the going was good. The ones that stayed and fought generally were (comparatively) clean.

    Gadaffi and Saddam?

    I agree with you that people should be first driven by their morality – but they have to be prepared to accept the legal consequences of their actions.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Mr Murray,
    .
    For some reason one of my comments is still awaiting moderation. Is there a problem with the comment?

  • Stephen

    @ Larry Levin

    “The money that is paid to directors come from the company which belongs to its shareholders, the shareholders can choose to pay any amount, what does it have to do with us how much they pay, its a contract between two parties, We can if possible boycott the company/corporation which we think is over paying their board.”

    But unfortunately most shares are held by pension funds and other institutions and their votes are controlled by fund maangers who work for the same institutions and share the same ethos. So an awful lt of the shareholders are disenfranchised. And shouldn’t other stakehlders e.g. customers, creditors and depositors have some say as well?? In the banks 90%+ of the money didn’t come from the shareholders – please look at their balance sheets.

  • Anon

    “millions of lives were sacrificed to Bolshevism”
    .
    Uzbek in the UK, your understanding of history is lamentable!. Joseph Stalin had ALL the Bolsheviks killed not that long after the revolution, what you are talking about is Stalinism. Stalinism had nothing to do with Bolshevism/Communism/Socialism.

  • angrysoba

    Uzbek in the UK: By rejecting two extremes one can avoid being trapped into the vision of that there is no choice but extremes. There are clearly choices that does not involve social revolution on large and destructive scale.

    .
    I certainly hope so. Unfortunately there are a lot of middle-class types who like putting on berets and striking Che Guevara poses. To be fair I did the same when I was 15.

  • dutch

    The post by Boris Jonsnot was fascinating. The “talented” investment bankers that can make money in ways that management doesn’t understand, sound a lot like card-counters in Las Vegas. I am told that it is possible to beat the house odds at the Black Jack table by “counting cards” (whatever that entails). A few very talented card-counters can actually make money at the expense of the house so naturally they are banned from the casinos.

    Perhaps the talented investment bankers should likewise be banned from the banking houses. Or better yet, gambling and banking should be strictly separate industries. But how to regulate this separation? Maybe, if management does not understand what a trader is doing, that’s an indicator that they shouldn’t be doing it – at least not in a bank.

  • Roderick Russell

    As Craig writes – “We are approaching a stage where these people [establishment elites] are becoming totally isolated from any bond of communality which holds together a society; are becoming in short the open enemies of the people.” And don’t I know it from personal experience!!!
    #
    What we need is some real democracy – where government as well as parliament is directly elected; where government is open and not secretive; where all powers of government are defined by a written constitution that everybody understands; where intelligence/security services follow the same laws as the rest of us; and, above all, where elites are prosecuted if they override “due process” and “rule of law”
    #
    As Angrysoba says – let’s reject the extremes. Anything where elites and their security/intelligence apparatus can operate above the law with impunity is an extreme.

  • Canspeccy

    No economic system has been shown preferable to a competitive free market, which is to say the kind of capitalist system advocated by Adam Smith.
    .
    But that we do not have. A competitive free market is one in which the weak go to the wall. But we now have many that are “too big to fail,” which means the market is not competitive and is generally monopolistic or oligopolistic.
    .
    The solution to the current financial disruption is legislation that breaks up businesses “too large to fail” and prevents the emergence of others too large to fail in the future.
    .
    In addition, acceptance by politicians of funding or other benefits from businesses or other interests, e.g., Friends of Israel, needs to be criminalized.
    .
    The unemployment crisis is largely due to the 1994 GATT round. We are experiencing the disaster that Jimmy Goldsmith predicted would ensue when the West went into direct competition with countries with wages only 3% of those in the West. Well now wages in China are 4% of those in the West so just hold on a bit and all will be well. LOL.
    *
    And in the meantime Britain’s political class are electing a new people used to low wages by allowing millions of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the third world to compete with Britain’s unemployed for any minimum wage of underground-economy below-minimum-wage jobs that exist.

  • conjunction

    I am encouraged by this thread. This is the first thread I can remember on this blog where there has been a serious discussion about exactly what should be done about the deregulation of capital.
    .
    Some say despair, or its unregulated capitalism or barbarism.
    .
    I don’t agree, but even if there were only a small chance of eventually getting it right, what else is worth putting your effort into?
    .
    Agree mostly with Stephen’s comments. Fascinated by Boris Jonsnot’s long quote about all these talented loonies making megabucks and occasionally going bust, whom no-one else in the banking world understands. Doesn’t sound unlikely.
    .
    Stephen says regulation can’t come from without (ie from the state) as the banking world is too complicated.
    .
    I don’t think that’s realistic as the bankers just won’t do it without outside checks. However regulation would need to be done by state/banking joint working parties, and would need to start by looking at the big issues, for instance banking secrecy, which not only allows large companies to evade taxation by means of offshore banking, but also allows international crime syndicates to launder their money and prop up the system.

  • Jack

    Corporate excesses – the rich get rich and the poor get poorer. More so now than when Victoria was on the throne (except the PR is better now). React – and you’re an ‘activist’ – or even worse, a ‘terrorist’.

    Welcome to the UK – 51st US State and enthusiastic vassal of the Fourth Reich. The populations dont give a monkeys as long as their Blackberrys work and their TV soaps are on time.

    The rich just don’t care – live with it. Our politicians are in their pockets – live with it. They’re all beyond conscience, beyond honour and beyond embarrassment.

    “Now all the truth is out,
    Be secret and take defeat
    From any brazen throat,
    For how can you compete,
    Being honour bred, with one
    Who, were it proved he lies,
    Were neither shamed in his own
    Nor in his neighbours’ eyes?”

  • wendy

    ” Wiz: Wendy – I detect sarcasm.”
    .
    .
    no. its actually what cameron said in a telly interview today (bbc), – i just rearranged his words for him to make it look neater.

  • anno

    Canspeccy

    The reason why the banks were not allowed to fail was not because they were too big. Lots of other things like house prices, incomes, savings etc maybe are too big. The banks were unable to be dissolved because they were too small. They had sold off their loans to Far Eastern investors with an up-front deposit of a percentage of the loan. The proceeds had been paid in bonuses to the bankers and nothing else was left.
    Re-funding the banks has continued the process.
    Some time ago Craig floated the suggestion that the QE money should have been used to nationalise/ re-float the banks.
    There is no talent in helping yourself to large sums of cash!
    Talent would have been for Mrs Thatcher et al not to de-regulate the banks, to have ploughed earnings back into the banking business and to have limited the purpose of lending money to peaceful purposes. But there again I’ve never seen much talent in either football or pop music. The word talent is crass.

  • Canspeccy

    Anno,
    .
    I can’t say that I fully understand what you mean. Can you provide a source for the claim you are making?
    .
    But in any case, what you say appears to have nothing to do with the failure of the Irish banks. As I understand it, they were simply incompetent, making stupid loans to property developers who revved up the economy with a stupendous wave of totally unnecessary construction, which created a wealth effect that encouraged everyone to buy real estate with borrowed money, which sucked in a quarter million Polish workers, among others, which resulted, as is the case with any bubble, in a bust, which left the banks holding debts that will never be repaid.
    .
    And I question whether the explanation you give accounts for the failure of Northern Rock and Royal Bank of Scotland, who it seems, stupidly loaded up with triple-A rated mortgage backed securities that should have been rated triple-F crap.
    .
    Sometimes businesses go bust because people make mistakes. Many banks, it seems, made the same mistake that Northern Rock made overmortgage-backed securities — secure in the knowledge, presumably, that everyone was doing it so it must be OK.
    .
    Such things happen from time to time, as Gustave Le Bon explained in his famous work “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”. Or as Isaac Newton said after losing his shirt in the South Sea Bubble, “I am able to calculate the motion of the heavens, but not the madness of men.”

  • angrysoba

    Such things happen from time to time, as Gustave Le Bon explained in his famous work “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”.
    .
    That was written by Charles Mackay!

  • Quelcrime

    Stephen
    Gadaffi and Saddam?

    I’ve seen no evidence of personal corruption by Gadaffi. Have you? His homes were very modest for someone in his position. There were billions of Libyan funds in foreign banks, but that’s not unusual – has Venezuela got its gold back from London yet? Norway and China have investments all around the world. There are stories about some of Gadaffi’s sons spending large amounts of money, but however much truth is in them I doubt they compare too badly with some of our Princes. The kleptocrats like Ben Ali who jump on a plane to Saudi Arabia with a suitcase of gold when the game is up are in an entirely different category.

    Saddam Hussein seems to have been a much nastier piece of work than Gadaffi but I don’t know if he was personally corrupt beyond his palace-building habit.

    I agree with you that people should be first driven by their morality – but they have to be prepared to accept the legal consequences of their actions.

    Quite – you were talking about legal tax avoidance. For myself, I have minimised my taxable income and sales-tax-attracting outgoings until I find a better way. I can live well enough within my personal allowance, for now.

  • mary

    Two Ostriches
    by JON TAYLOR
    .
    Both right and left
    .
    Have their heads buried in the sand
    .
    Not in the same hole of course
    .
    Each has its own
    .
    The right
    .
    Keeps its head buried
    .
    In the “Magic of the marketplace
    .
    Will make us all rich” hole
    .
    The left
    .
    Has its head stuck
    .
    In the “Identity politics
    .
    Multicultural golden age” hole
    .
    While the same bombing
    .
    Starving, invading, enslaving
    .
    Imprisoning, torturing, assassinating beast
    .
    Bears down on both of them
    .
    .
    Jon Taylor lives in Nashville, TN. He can be reached at jtab at bellsouth.net

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2011/10/28/poets-basement-10/

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Anno,
    .
    “Uzbek in the UK, your understanding of history is lamentable!. Joseph Stalin had ALL the Bolsheviks killed not that long after the revolution, what you are talking about is Stalinism. Stalinism had nothing to do with Bolshevism/Communism/Socialism”
    .
    When talking about human sacrifice to Bolshevkis I do not mean only Stalin’s purges. It was Lenin and his hardcore Bolsheviks who were taking last peaces of bread from rural population so that they can feed urban population. It was Lenin who starved to death millions in Ukraine. It was Lenin who was first to unleashed red terror.

  • anno

    The crisis in the banking system is an absolute lie to the public. Exporting jobs to the Far East has been hugely profitable for the UK. So economists have said to government ‘Why not export your other problems, like debt?’
    When you sell a loan, you sell the risk of the customer not paying, and you retain some of the gain which would have mitigated that risk. This and betting against it’s failure are the tools of banking. Nothing more and nothing less.
    .
    The bubbles created by over-confident lending have not caused problems to the banks because they have freed themselves of the risk of debt by selling it on. Borrowing money at interest for property has been immenesly profitable for most purchasers, and capital has stabilised at three times its value ten years ago.
    The people who gained in property have experienced a loss. Tough.
    The real problem is that economists have said to government, who should know better, that they could to take advantage of interest-based investment. But government has a political agenda and its principle investment is not in property but ideology.
    What can they do about that? The ideological things government has wanted to invest in are subverting their economic rivals and crushing their ideological rivals, principally Islam.
    It’s perfectly obvious that destroying something will never increase its value.
    So the economists have come back with the idea of paying for this ideological investment by leveraging printed money.
    They can’t print this money until they have claimed that the money has vanished. This is not like the person who gambles their wages away at the betting shop. This is like the person who fixes the match and robs the bookies of a fortune.
    Nobody can understand why we have a so-called debt crisis until they understand the politics of UK establishment and Zionist collusion against the cultural and ethical Muslim ‘threat’.
    .
    What does Islam say that upsets them so much? No interest. No lying. No politicking. No cheating. No stealing. No alcohol /drugs. No spying. No attacks on civilians to gain control of resources. In other words No anything Queen Victoria would not have been proud to knight her citizens for.

  • Anon

    “When talking about human sacrifice to Bolshevkis I do not mean only Stalin’s purges. It was Lenin and his hardcore Bolsheviks who were taking last peaces of bread from rural population so that they can feed urban population. It was Lenin who starved to death millions in Ukraine. It was Lenin who was first to unleashed red terror.”
    .
    A lot in what you say (we will go into that), but, the revolution was betrayed by many, by far the biggest was Stalin. But for you to keep on saying it is the socialist ideology is wrong, as I said above…”In truth the world has never known a socialist state, it has not been allowed, each time it has tried to emerged it has been corrupted or killed at birth by the right wing.”…and it is so.
    http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/RUSpurge.htm
    .
    I will put some more links on for you.

  • mary

    There’s the top 1% of wealthy Americans (bankers, oil tycoons, hedge fund managers) and there’s the top 0.01% of wealthy Americans: the military contractor CEOs.
    .
    If you’ve been following the War Costs campaign, you already know that these corporations are bad bosses, bad job creators and bad stewards of taxpayer dollars. What you may not know is that the huge amount of money these companies’ CEOs make off of war and your tax dollars places them squarely at the top of the gang of corrupt superrich choking our democracy. These CEOs want you to believe the massive war budget is about security — it’s not. The lobbying they’re doing to keep the war budget intact at the expense of the social safety net is purely about their greed.
    .
    In many areas, including yearly CEO salary and in dollars spent corrupting Congress, these companies are far greater offenders than even the big banks like JP Morgan Chase or Bank of America.
    .
    Egregious Military Contractor CEO pay
    .
    The top 0.01% of earners make at least $9.14 million per year, a rarefied strata of income that includes defense company CEOs and Wall Street bank chieftains alike. But a deeper dive demonstrates how defense companies outpace the big banks’ knack for enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else.
    .
    Military Contractor CEO Pay in 2010

    * Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush: $22.84 million.

    * Lockheed Martin CEO Robert Stevens: $21.89 million.

    * Boeing CEO James McNerney: $19.4 million.
    .
    Just to put that in context, consider how these annual payoffs compare to the people we’re used to thinking of as poster children for the top 1 percent:
    .
    Financial Sector CEO Pay in 2010

    * JP Morgan Chase CEO James Dimon: $20.81 million.

    * Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf: $18.97 million.

    * Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan: $1.94 million.
    .
    Considering how they stack up to financial sector heads, war industry CEOs aren’t just members of the 1%; they’re the super-elite among them, the one-hundredth of a percent.
    .
    Lobbying Domination

    Disgusted by the overwhelming corporate influence in Congress? Look no further than the big military contractor companies, whose flagship companies spend enough on lobbying to dwarf even financial sector titans.

    .

    http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2011/10/27/meet-the-0-01-percent-war-profiteers/

  • Yonatan

    Ominous developments in the US.
    .
    http://warincontext.org/2011/10/30/bank-of-americas-death-rattle/
    .
    “The Bank of America’s holding company, BAC, has directed the transfer of a large number of troubled financial derivatives from its Merrill Lynch subsidiary to the federally insured bank Bank of America (BofA)”
    .
    The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Co) opposes this but the Fed (US federal reserve, a private organisation) says OK, what’s the biggy?
    .
    The derivatives are supposed to amount to $75 trillion which exceeds the world economy. The losses would be guaranteed by the US taxpayer. The hypothesis is that the BofA is about to go under and the BAC, the parent holding company, wants to transfer its bad shit from ML to BofA before it goes down. The taxpayer then takes the hit rather than the bankers.

  • Guest

    Yonatan, thanks for that info. Derivatives have been known about for sometime, no one it seems knows the total amount of derivatives, I have heard that some are saying it could be upto $500 trillion. Who knows in this insane world.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Anon,
    .
    Thanks for the links. But I found nothing new for me there. Do you suggest that if Kronstadt Uprising was successful then Bolsheviks would have been able to build pure socialist state? I am not getting where you going with this?
    .
    Socialist state failed from its beginning. Bolsheviks promised land to peasants but it turned out that they robed peasants of the last bread in order to maintain order in the cities. Millions died in rural areas. Lenin has later changed his mind about pure Marxism and allowed some private enterprise (this is known as NEP New Economic Policy). But this was later cancelled by Stalin who started another wave of terror against so called Kulaks (farmers who were successful).
    .
    You like many others are falling into the same trap. It was Bolsheviks that after Stalin’s death blamed Stalin in everything that went wrong with the Soviets and called for return to pure Leninism (which was equally unproductive) but they never did. Instead Soviet state in the absence of opposition, liberty and private enterprises became so corrupt that it has fallen into pieces without any external pressure.

  • Anon

    “Socialist state failed from its beginning.”
    .
    How can that be, it was never a “Socialist state”, not from the beginning, as I said above…”Bolshevism/Communism/Socialism…It never got off the ground, it was not allowed.”.
    .
    Your whole post above bears out what I am saying. Read your own post.

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