Abstract: The Swiss People, in defiance to the Swiss plutocracy and its attached mob of greedy sycophants, has struck a blow against the extremely wealthy, self perpetuating class of those who rule corporations in defiance of their owners.
Most of these owners are (very) small investors. So this blow for ownership is actually a blow against one of the pillars of plutocracy. That pillar uses corporations to steal other people’s money in a particularly blatant way.
How? By creating what I long called the CEO CLASS the entanglement of corporate boards with executive power in corporations (See the essay of November 2008 on Reforming World Finance). Here is the graph of CEOs compensations versus average salary, USA. (It’s a French translation, because the Berkeley original has magically disappeared from the WWW!)
USA CEO salaries are the two top curves, with their logarithmic scale on the left. The (lamentable) average USA salary (not indexed by inflation) crawls on the bottom, with its scale on the right. Source: Anti-Plutocratic French site.
CEO payments climbed up to about 500 times that of the workers in top companies in the USA, but only 15 times in France, 12 times in Germany.
[Interestingly, I searched for days this graph in USA search engines; although of USA origin, Professor Saez, UCB, it is (not so) mysteriously unavailable in USA search engines; a friend suggested I look at Google.France, and there was plenty there! Clearly the USA plutocrats cleaned the World Wide Web carefully, so that their English bound sheeple read only appropriate information! Nothing like the happy bleating of the sheep to fill a sheperd’s heart.]
The entanglement of CEOs and the corporate boards supposed to watch over them, is reminiscent of, and probably inspired by, the entanglement of political and business power in the USA. That public-private entanglement dates from the early 20C: think of JP Morgan intervening in the 1907 crash, or think of the diversion of German property towards USA plutocrats after 1918 (don’t worry, the building were all the giving of seized German property was given to USA plutocrats burned down around 1922, erasing the tracks of grand thievery…).
A behavior that is widely admired in the USA, that of the towering CEO with an astronomical salary bestowed on him or her by a board of co-conspirators, is now criminalized in Switzerland. Such CEO and director thugs will be punished by a mandatory confiscation of 6 years of income, plus three years in prison.
In the USA, CEOs and their boards are immensely admired. The connected ones sit on corporate boards at an early age, to be paid extravagant sums of money, while doing nothing, but allowing CEOs and their minions to steal all the companies profits, from small shareholders, and workers.
Thus, Americans will now know that, by admiring CEO and boards, the American way, they are admiring what Europeans are increasingly viewing as criminals, and criminal boards of directors. OK, as slave masters long admired, I guess they have trained hard, and they will not suffer anguish that way.
Yet, one can hope that this criminalization of a motive of admiration should help with a worldwide readjustments of values.
So far, so good. But there is a twist. Why is it that mutual funds of the USA have supported so much the CEO class and its interlocked boards? Worldwide?
Well, the CEO class part of a larger conspiracy with the financial sector, where the real money is made. It is my pleasure to give some pointers. Those pointers, in turn, will allow to criminalize further said vaster conspiracy.
Meanwhile, all democracies should pass laws similar to the one Swiss representatives are now constitutionally obliged to pass. It is, of course, a consequence of Switzerland having a higher democratic index than any other country that explains that such a popular initiative was taken there. It’s clearly not a case of a country being run by rabid leftists.
EVIL IN A FEW WORDS, & ITS IMPLEMENTATION BY CORPORATIONS:
nEvil triumphs when good people do not fight it. Why? Because the default state of humanity is strife. This is the point rabid pacifists keep on missing, it’s also the point Obama made in Stockholm, when he got his Nobel. It has been well known since there are men, and they think.
Nothing personal: because of its domination, the genus Homo evolved to control itself, quite bit as wolves do, by killing each other. The Romans abstracted this as: Homo Homini Lupo, Man Wolf Of Man (more than 2,000 years ago). Just like wolves, only more so, because we dominate more.
All species need to be kept in check, and the check of man is man.
But how does man fight man? Like all other social animals, by mobbing, or tribal fighting. So tribal effects have to be watched severely. The most famous tribes are the 200 or so nations and territories more or less represented at the United Nations. But there are other tribes, all over. The most ubiquitous being corporations. (What is meant by “corporations” varies in time, nations and space, but the tribal effect is what unifies them.)
The founders, and early presidents of the USA, so called “Founding Fathers” were fully aware of this.
As president and thinker in chief Jefferson wrote: “I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it’s [sic] birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws our country.”
The “example” is that of England (as the rest of the text makes clear). This is taken from a letter to George Logan, Nov. 12th, 1816. There’s a PDF file with scanned images of an edition of Jefferson’s works at this address.
WHY THE SWISS CRACK DOWN ON THE CEO MAFIA:
nIt is no coincidence that Switzerland, the most democratic country, was the first to ask We The People, in a referendum, what they think about the feudal class that is taking over, armed with neofascist ideology.
The answer, delivered March 3, 2013, is that 68% of the Swiss believes that the conspiracy of thieves that has come to dominate civilization, should be forcefully terminated.
Superficially, Switzerland is doing better than ever. GDP expanded in 2012. GDP per capita is nearly twice that of the USA (at nominal rates, not cheating PPP). But these good numbers and nice surroundings mask the fact that the wealthy have been doing incredibly better, while the plebs has lost ground. Most Swiss cannot afford to own there, to start with. Two-thirds of them rent (whereas 55% of French next door own their homes 100%). That way they are like the inhabitants of most “rich” cities of the West in that they can’t afford to live where they work.
An increasing inflow of tax avoiding and tax mitigating plutocrats makes the Swiss increasingly conscious of a feudalization of the country. For instance, most of the world oil trading is conducted out of Geneva, now that London is proving less tax friendly to the world’s richest sharks. That makes Swiss property values skyrocket, and also make average Swiss, like average Belgians, hold the tax bag.
Yet Switzerland is less subjugated by its elite than other “representative democracies”.
This has to do with history. Other places were typically founded by large imperial machines (France, Britain, Germany, USA, Ex British colonies, Portugal, Spain, Spanish colonies, Italy, Russia, Netherlands), and, or slave societies (Spanish colonies, Brazil, USA, Russia). Some countries may look small now, but degenerated from empires. The Netherlands even conquered England; Denmark, Portugal, and Sweden ran empires (Sweden thought it owned Ukraine and Russia for a millennium). The present Swedish regime was founded by Napoleon, etc…
Instead Switzerland started as a rebellion against the family that would run the “Holly Roman German Empire” for centuries. The birth of Switzerland was fundamentally an anti-plutocratic rebellion. Same in the USA, sure, but only that other revolution minded plutocrat, Louis XVI of France, made in possible (in more ways than one). The Swiss revolt was indigenous.
Any initiative signed by 100,000 people can be presented as a referendum in Switzerland.
SWISS CRACK-DOWN ON CEO CLASS:
Initiator of the “Rip-off Initiative” Thomas Minder is an entrepreneur industrialist, and right wing politician, who nearly lost his company when Swissair went bankrupt (from obscure financial maneuvers). In recent years, Mr. Minder observed that the world was put on its knees in the service of financiers. This is exactly the point demonstrators were making in Portugal this week.
As Portuguese demonstrators said, why should they sacrifice because infinitely rich bankers cheated? Or went mad? Or conspired with other rich fat cats to rob common people? Why is it that Portuguese people without money now have to pay to use the public hospital, when those who have caused the disaster keep on flying in private jets, shuttling among their mansions, worldwide?
As I said already more than 5 years ago, there is a CEO class. CEOs sit on each others’ board, and attribute each others’ salaries. OK, they are often more crafty, and use agents: relatives, or protégés. It is particularly clear in the USA, where it’s all about who you know really well: see the Summers-Clinton-Summer-Google-Facebook Ms. Sandberg (just a small example).
And it’s even more than a CEO class.
CEO CLASS AS A MULTIPLIER:
The CEO Class can be instrumentalized to divest power to talent that will serve plutocracy well.
A lot of people of power are able to transfer quickly and efficiently power to their children, or people they know will serve their children faithfully. It’s happening everywhere, especially in the USA.
Suddenly all powerful young people rise in the USA to seats on corporate boards: thus they are made to integrate the CEO Class, board side. Careful inquests always show connections with the powers that be. See Geithner, head of New York Fed, then tax cheating Treasury secretary, ah, but the son of Geithner (Geithner’s father was a Ford Foundation director who met with Obama’s mother… All and any connection with the painting behind Hitler in his Munich office will not be made, recommended an angel that passed by, dripping with finance…). Geithner was successfully vetted at Kissinger Associates, a plotting organization to connect plutocrats, corrupt politicians and other worldwide tyrants. He was put under the wings of Rubin and Summers (like Facebook’s billionaire woman, the genius feminist Sheryl Sandberg). Geithner was prepared to serve his masters well.
The CEO-boards Class systems enable the plutocratic machine to put large amounts of power to servile critters. This is how ‘black’ women of the Rice class, such as Rice, Susan and Rice, Condoleezza, were all powerful by the age of 30 (the former a member of the National Security council, thanks to dad, a treasury director, the second on prestigious CEO boards all over, and a supertanker was named after her, because her masters at Stanford had determined she would serve her masters in the Dark Side well… still does: she is a towering member of the CEO class in 2013). Not that I have anything against blacks or “blacks”…
“Are they worth it?” Asked The Economist. While knowing very well the answer was no. One thing the extravagant growth of the CEO Class did not grow is corporate profits:
WANT DEMOCRACY? CUT POWER IN TINY BITS, DISTRIBUTE WIDELY:
Minder’s “Rip-off Initiative” was designed to prevent bosses from receiving huge bonuses by decision of a CEO class. So it makes it harder to congeal a CEO class: board members should serve only a single year.
This, by the way, is something to meditate in a more general way… In the Roman republic, the judicial, military, economic and political executive was incarnated by the Consuls. They served just one year (although they could be elected again: Marius was elected Consul 7 times!). And even in that year, ultimate power switched from one to the other, every month.
Republican Romans knew how fragile the Res (Thing) Publica was. Don’t laugh. The Roman republic, in full, lasted five centuries. Still the world’s record.
Now what we have is, what would have been called in the times of Julius Caesar, (elected) kings. The immense powers the president of the USA are perfectly ridiculous, especially when, as Obama, he does not use them. (An apparent worshipper of Satan, complete with devilish smirks, such as G. W. Bush, did not have such reservations: such a creature never will, by definition!)
Minder’s anti-plutocratic initiative says that companies cannot decide to give their executives “golden parachutes”. Salaries of board members, and companies’ executives will have to be approved by the companies’ owners. That is, by the shareholders. That, by itself, of course, is not enough, because the plutocratic web is entangled in all power structures, and sucks the substantific marrow.
When Novartis gave 71 million Francs ($77 million) to its CEO, Vasella, to the fury of the very numerous small Swiss shareholders of Novartis. The small shareholders could not do anything as most of Novartis’ shares are held by plutocratic institutions, which are part and party to the plutocratic phenomenon.
What plutocratic institutions accomplice to the CEO Class and the financial rip-off sector, am I alluding to? A lot of them are mutual funds in the USA. Or funds for retirement funds. Those used to give rich returns, but, in recent decades, they have faltered. Why? How come? well it’s part and parcel of the worldwide take-over by rich money managers. It may sound strange that they strive towards subpar performance: it’s an apparent violation of the free market principle.
WHY MUTUAL FUNDS MANAGERS CONSPIRE WITH THE CEO MAFIA:
nThe naïve free market principle says that, when a mutual fund has subpar performance, the shareholder should move to another fund. Yes, sure, but what if they are all subpar? What if there is a conspiracy? Because, clearly that is what has been systematically going for like 20 years.
The funds are losing money right and left because the function of fund managers has become mostly to transfer money to the financial fat sharks of the plutocratic class. You know the ones they share the caviar toasts with. Thus small shareholders and retirees, present and future, make richer, ever more, the richest people in the world.
There is actually a closed circuit similar to that between Washington and private corporations and partnerships. Individuals operate as public fund managers for a few years, wasting a lot of investors’ money, and then they become “wealth managers”, “private bankers”, “hedge fund managers”, entangle themselves with the CEO class, and politicians, to make the really big bucks, extracting money from the public, including the public mutual funds for little people… or small shareholders of corporations such as Novartis. Don’t ask me for references: plutocratic universities such as Harvard, Stanford, are not too keen to study the subject, as those who profit from it, are their bread and butter.
Conspiracies to distribute People’s money to friends are all over the so called “representative democracies”. Why should not giant government spending be controlled by the People more directly? It can be done in… Switzerland.
SWISS DEMOCRACY VERSUS THE GIANT CORRUPTION IN AEROSPACE, F35 STYLE:
nPlutocracy is encountering serious difficulties in Switzerland. Besides the “rip-off” initiative above, here is another example.
Some of the Swiss elite, probably paid under the table, had conspired to buy “Grippens“. The Grippen is an excellent plane made in Sweden. But the Swiss Air Force would prefer the superlative, stealthy Rafale, the world’s best omnirole fighter bomber, from the country next door.
The Swiss are going to be asked their opinion… about purchasing the Grippen. It’s pretty clear that, thanks to outfits such as this site, enough of them will know that they are been rolled in the flour, spending billions on underperforming planes (that actually does not exist in the version proposed to Switzerland). So they will vote against the Grippen.
Not so in the USA, And other countries where the people is supposed to pay hundreds of billions to purchase an entirely useless plane, the F35 Lightning II.
The F35 is already the world’s most expensive military project, ever, anywhere. Yet the plane is military incapable, and will stay so. The entire project is flawed (this kind of passive stealth does NOT work, the plane’s range, speed, acceleration, g loads, weapons capacity are puny).
The great peoples of the great democracies such as the USA, Great Britain, etc. are not consulted about whether they want to keep on going with that F35 corruption. The total program cost already more than 400 billion dollars with not one single plane that could go to war. It’s expected to end up costing about a trillion dollars with planes no better performing than the Vietnam war F105… And just as detectable.
But so far, while People go starving in several countries involved in F35 corruption (including in the USA’s Silicon Valley, where hundreds of thousands are on “food stamps”), nobody is exhibiting very much indignation.
PLUTOCRACY IS A SEVERE PROBLEM, IT SHOULD DEALT WITH SEVERELY:
The Swiss referendum forces the Swiss Parliament to draft a law giving shareholders the right to hold a binding vote on all compensation for company executives and directors. The law will also ban signing and leaving bonuses for senior managers and push greater corporate transparency. As said above, criminals will be punishmed by the confiscation of 6 years of income, and three years jail.
The Swiss have just struck a severe blow at the plutocrats, exposing them for the conspiring, manipulative thieves they are. Other European countries will be encouraged to follow, including Germany and Britain (in both countries laws on executive compensation are being elaborated, the German law may come up for a vote as soon as next week). The French Socialists will come back with a 75% tax law, that will pass muster with the French Constitutional Court…
The European Union in preparing a law cracking down on bankers’ bonuses. Great Britain is desperately trying to block it, as it will apply there, inside the very the den of thieves, too. But Great Britain will be overruled. It just revealing itself to be ruled by money. Plutocracy in fact, not just from crowned celebrities.
To have kings is bad. To have money as king, is worse.
It is high time that countries that call themselves democracies be as democratic as Switzerland. It would be a good start towards a more intelligent civilization.