Chapter 6 The Boardroom: Executive Pay and the Gulf between Big and Small Business

“There is nobody in this Country who got rich on their own … You built a factory out there; good for you. But … you moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea. God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

—Elizabeth Warren

If we are truly going to Fix Business, if we are going to win hearts and minds, then we are going to have to address the elephant in the room: the boardroom. Perhaps more than anything else, what the boardroom does (or is perceived to do), what it decides (or is perceived to decide), and especially what it is paid has an effect on the perception of Business and its reputation.

We should accept that there are elements of wealth creation that the national psyche is just never going to accept. Someone sets up on their own, risks everything, borrows a lot and mortgages it all, rarely sees the family grow up as the Business is built, works incredibly hard, employs a lot of people, provides livelihoods for hundreds, pays a shedload in tax which makes a real contribution to providing schools and hospitals for the country, eventually sells ...

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