I know these guys … I don’t begrudge them their compensation.
Quick: Who said it about whom? If you guessed the President said it about Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein you would be correct. (I’m sure if you forced me to source these statements I would be able).
But in a just released study, Bank Executive Compensation And Capital Requirements Reform conducted by Sanjai Bhagat, University of Colorado at Boulder and Brian Bolton, University of New Hampshire, brings into question whether “these guys are savvy businessmen”. In summary:
We study the executive compensation structure in the largest 14 U.S. financial institutions during 2000-2008. Our results are mostly consistent with and supportive of the findings of Bebchuk, Cohen and Spamann (2010), that is, managerial incentives matter – incentives generated by executive compensation programs led to excessive risk-taking by banks leading to the current financial crisis. Also, our results are generally not supportive of the conclusions of Fahlenbrach and Stulz (2011) that the poor performance of banks during the crisis was the result of unforeseen risk.
These very important findings, which I expect will be a critical exhibit in the event that additional litigation presents as a result of this report.
The paper is dense and not easily accessible in terms of comprehension. Therefore, this blog entry by Simon Johnson, (the former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund, and co-author of “13 Bankers”) helps distill the essential facts.
No worries; Ken Feinberg will get on the case.
I am hoping that by posting it here it will get out of my head.
I realize that statement may not make any sense at all. So as an example, neoliberals will claim that globalism raises living standards in third world nations do their middle class can grow. Yes, it is true that when jobs are outsourced to India from America the Indian community where the jobs go will flourish, and the American community that lost the jobs will become depressed. But the second part of that is while the standards of living in that Indian community rise, the income that is earned is based on “nonproductive labor”. That’s my own term and it means jobs that people do which provide little or no sustainable economic benefit. For example, tech support people in India are earning money but they ar building nothing of substance for their community or for the world. The chinese teen is making beads for Mardi Gras revelers to throw at women with exposed bosoms. Not a lot of future in that. And not how I wish to use the precious resources we have remaining on earth.
Additionally, if you look at how the income is being distributed, the countries hat seem to benefit in the short term actually end up creating greater economic disparity. This is hidden in the early stages because everyone gets to get a little, and for most that’s a lot. But eventually you see incredible vulgarity and consumerism and a growth of an economic overclass. How that functions for society is a subject of great debate amongst us.
Update 2/4/11 10:28 AM
If any further evidence was required in order to understand why we are in this predicament, I give you selected comments from a website called Democratic Underground, in reference to this film:
I didn’t make it through the whole thing. I thought it was awful
Here is a link to the thread for your enjoyment:
As a point of interest, and something to reflect upon is that not one of the erudite commentators were prepared to share their learned observations on the specific elements with which they took issue.
This is what a dumbed down and defeated citizenry looks like. No one said it would be easy.
Don’t you love it? As you walk past, make sure you take time to savor the moment, before getting back to work.
We have previously discussed the unique set of circumstances that that intersect the timeline of humanity’s evolution: Although mankind has endured many periods of rise and fall in all parts of the planet, this moment is the first time in history that the fall of a civilization is accompanied by mass awareness of the circumstances surrounding the decline, and how to prevent it. If we were to apply a value judgement we would say this is “good globalism”.
The events in Tunis, Cairo and now Amman are all shining examples of a “New World Disorder (NWD)” – a phrase I write and read with great enjoyment. The NWD is a reflection. It is the result of decades of human suffering at the hands of global capitalists. But what has occurred in the past is now nothing more than evidence of the imbalance of power that has arisen between labor and capital. The present is a far different arena.
If the events currently unfolding in the Middle East were to have occurred a mere 10 years ago. the result would have been identical to all other movements similar to this one. The US neoliberal establishment, working hand in hand with their partners, present day Republicans, would have selected a leader, formulated a plan to install that leader, rigged the election, and then patted itself on the back for having brought democracy to yet another nation. No more. The days of secret back room deals are fast closing. We see it on the world stage and, more importantly for us, we will see it here at home.
Transparency has become the freedom bell for common people. Wikileaks, Twitter and all the other technology innovations that people assimilate and employ with great efficiency are our weapons in the new reality. That does not mean real blood will not be spilled, it will. Plenty of it. But we now know that the only thing that prevents us from reclaiming our human rights is our belief in a current socioeconomic system that is unsustainable and unfair. As soon as we stop believing in that system, our masters become powerless.
Update 2/1/11 5:50 PM
It was a society in stagnation, if not decline. Despite ostensible stability, its people — especially its young people — faced a future bleaker than the dark side of Pluto. For decades, the richest grew even richer, as national debt mounted, middle-class people tried to make ends meet, and upward mobility fell. Government failed to address these problems, and the governed felt increasingly disenfranchised — and partisan. Mass unemployment metastasized from a temporary illness to a chronic condition. One of its major cities decided to erect a permanent tent city, for a permanently excluded, marginalized underclass.
This isn’t Tunisia, or Egypt — but America. Yes, in many ways Egypt and America couldn’t be more different. But the broad contours are just a little too similar for comfort.
Consider a tweet that made the rounds this weekend. “Youth unemployment: #Yemen 49%, #Palestine 38%, #Morocco 35%, #Egypt 33%, #Tunisia 26%”. It sounds staggering. But youth unemployment rates are 20-40% across Europe. And in the USA, estimates range from 20-50% depending on how you count, and when. Egypt’s youth unemployment crisis — which many seemed to think on Twitter was merely an Arab problem (oh, those Arabs!) is, in point of fact, a global one.
What we’re watching is a massive malfunctioning of the global economy. At the root of the problem: dumb growth. Dumb growth is, in many ways, bogus — rather than reflecting enduring wealth creation, it largely reflects the transfer of wealth: from the poor to the rich, the young to the old, tomorrow to today, and human beings to corporate “people.” Dumb growth is growth without prosperity. And it’s far from an Egyptian problem.
read on at the link below.
And some of those Republicans were decent people, I am told, though I have no verification of that odd factoid.
The current refrain from the Center is admonishment for comparing the grievances of our Egyptian brothers and sisters to our own. My reply is as follows:
|Their grievances are identical to my grievances|
and the grievances of many of my friends and peers here in the good ole USA.
We share a desire to escape from the debt slavery and oppression that is a product of an elite, worldly, transnational group of pirates.
Billions in aid to Egypt? It goes into a black hole of a family kleptocracy.
Billions in aid to Lloyd Blankfein? It goes into a black hole of a crony kleptocracy.
Jobless in Suez?
Jobless in Tampa?
Autocratic rulers who make sure that power rests in their hands regardless of the plight of the citizenry? Where could that be?
The United States of America is identical to these far off places in terms of economic ideology. If you can take it, take it. If you can keep it, keep it.
Me and Abdul and Hassan and Amin share the same desire to live peacefully and contentedly. The vast majority of the world is content with very little. But that would diminish the wealth of our lords.
This is PRECISELY our fight as well. So I humbly disagree with your post, though I am sure the sentiment was well intentioned.
The Egyptian people and the Tunisian people and all the plain, regular people in the world really do just want to eat, to sleep, to work and to love. Every revolution that occurs wherein a neoliberal puppet is toppled is a great revolution.
For your enjoyment, a display of the power that the common person possesses, and that cannot be defeated.