Why, you say, are CEOs making millions while leading companies losing billions during a pandemic?
Well, it’s simple: because they can. And because we are in late stage capitalism.
They are super-feeders at the pig trough.
O, yes! The ruling class are worthy of study. The natural history of the ruling class is of fascinating interest. You begin with interest, you proceed with awe and admiration, you deepen into hatred, and you wind up with contempt for the nature of the beast. You realise that — The Capitalist Class is the Meanest Class that ever grasped the Reins of Power.
– James Connolly, “Our Rulers as a Study,” 1915
2020 executive compensation statistics. New York Times.
“Gabriel Zucman started his first real job the Monday after the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Fresh from the Paris School of Economics, where he’d studied with a professor named Thomas Piketty, Zucman had lined up an internship at Exane, the French brokerage firm. He joined a team writing commentary for clients and was given a task that felt absurd: Explain the shattering of the global economy. “Nobody knew what was going on,” he recalls.
At that moment, Zucman was also pondering whether to pursue a doctorate. He was already skeptical of mainstream economics. Now the dismal science looked more than ever like a batch of elaborate theories that had no relevance outside academia. But one day, as the crisis rolled on, he encountered data showing billions of dollars moving into and out of big economies and smaller ones such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Hong Kong, and Singapore. He’d never seen studies of these flows before. “Surely if I spend enough time I can understand what the story behind it is,” he remembers thinking. “We economists can be a little bit useful.”