Sunday, July 29, 2007

Compensation without Limits & Corporate Sellouts by Louis Evan Palmer

A conflict of interest occurs whenever a person, or organization, stands to profit from something which belongs, in whole or in part, to someone other than that person, or organization, but over which they are a custodian, manager, regulator or in some other position of control or enablement.

Conflicts of interest are supposed to be declared and typically, one would excuse oneself from the decisions at hand. As we know, this often does not happen. Either the conflict is not known, or not admitted, or it is offered that the conflict is not important or can be set aside and not affect decision-making.

The daily headlines attest to the surfeit of skewed management decisions being made in companies of all sizes but especially in larger concerns. In many cases, the reason for poor and/or biased management decisions is the lure of huge payouts. In essence, a bribe. A glaring conflict of interest.

"Caldwell Securities Ltd." took out a advertisement in the Globe & Mail recently attributing the Canadian corporate sellout to managers who stand to receive spectacular bonuses and/or options by selling the company they manage to foreigners.

Enron used another technique called credit derivatives to juggle its numbers with the purpose of generating outrageously lucrative paydays for its executive.

The out-of-control hedge funds we now see are another example of ravenous compensation packages eating away at any inhibitions and logic. This has the whole financial system teetering on the brink of collapse.

Stock brokerages are another scene where obscene payouts are the norm. This drives launching as many IPOs as possible, stock & bond volatility, and the influx of new money from whatever sources. Witness the former head of the New York stock exchange traveling to Columbia to talk to their Chamber fo Commerce.

We must move towards limits on compensation. No one is that smart or lucky that they "earn" the tens of millions being paid out. This applies to everyone but, in particular, those in positions that affect thousands, tens or hundreds of thousands, even millions, of other people. Some appropriate multiple of the average corporate salary should do. If a few leave, who cares, there are plenty of clever people who can do the same job or better.

Compensation without Limits & Corporate Sellouts, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


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