Switzerland Clamps Down Hard on Obscene CEO Pay

Switzerland will add provisions to its constitution to keep CEO pay in check.

Yesterday, voters in Switzerland overwhelmingly  approved new measures to clamp down on executive pay. Under the approved referendum — which means that the new provisions will be  added to the Swiss constitution — shareholders will have the ability to veto executive pay packages, so-called “golden parachutes” will be outlawed, and executives who defy the rules could see jail time. As the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Peaple wrote, “Swiss voters’ anger is understandable. Like other countries, it has seen executive pay rise out of all proportion over the past decade” ...

The European Union has also  approved new restrictions on bonuses at large financial firms.

Many of the same problems that led to Swiss frustration with CEO pay apply here in the U.S. For instance, Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit walked off with millions of dollars after  vaporizing most of his company’s value. Duke Energy paid its former CEO $44 million for working  literally one day.

Skyrocketing executive pay (along with growing pay in the finance industry) is a huge component in America’s growing income inequality. [emphasis mine]

Hooray for Switzerland!

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Replies to This Discussion

Winston Churchill is supposed to have said that Americans do things right after we've exhausted the other alternatives.

In this matter too we're doing it wrong. I hope employee-owned companies are doing it right.

Is achieving economic democracy more difficult than achieving political democracy?

I think he was saying that political democracy doesn't exist in an economic vacuum, not necessarily that there is a separate economic democracy. But I never read his book, so no expert am I.

Ruth, the little reading I did on hunter-gatherer societies tells me skilled hunters attracted followers and skilled gatherers attracted followers. Some of those societies became democratic and others became undemocratic.

While in college, a tactic I now describe as machiavellian resulted in my having an opportunity to lead. I did some of it well and bungled some of it, and set out to learn how to do it better. Some parts of leading I do well; other parts of it I leave to others.

My experience and your post led to my question about political and economic democracy.




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