During this AIG outrage week I kept thinking
"what are people so surprised about?"
I have worked in international business for the past 11 years and I have had my share of bosses some have been exceptional and some have been dreadful.
- I worked for one manager who worked her way up from Secretary to Director and she never forgot where she came from and always treated all with respect and I was motivated to come in everyday and give my all I remember that time with longing.
- I also worked for someone whose only goal was to have affairs with the newest and youngest member of the staff. One of his goals was also to do a little work as possible in that quest.
- I have worked for a VP who hired me to develop and event business and then insisted that he knew more about events and when he screwed up the marketing he blamed me for his incompetence and lied to our customers.... that is the kind of VP who gets to be a CEO.
- I also worked for an EVP who was a model of moral recititude giving money back to customers to keep the business going long term building a bond with them forever- and who always took time out of his day to listen to his staff. That CEO is the kind that are profiled in 'where are the best places to work' and by the way if you have one of these stay at that company they are few and far between.
On the whole most senior level executives do not live in the same world that the rest of us live in. The gap between a Director level manager and a VP is quite large. Most senior executives can fail and know that they will recieve generious severance and payouts.
Most middle managers will be lucky to get a month severance.
The average CEO in America get 400 times the salary of his normal worker. This means that when the outrage about AIG bonuses comes out they are not equiped to understand the outrage. It has been my experience that the best departments are run by managers 1, and 4, above for that more often than not managers 2, and 3 are the norm.
Our society rewards managers 2, and 3. Those are the people who matter in our society and who never pay for their errors. The only difference between them and Bernie Madoff is that they are less agregious. They are the kind of people who are concerned about themselves only they are not visionaries like a Bill Gates or a Henry Ford- they are small people with power.
During my lifetime the CEO class in America has destroyed every governor on their abuse. Regulations, Unions, Pensions, Severance Laws and corporate loyalty have been destroyed in the name of profits and 'competitiveness'.
What this really means is let me make my huge money and bonuses and don't question me. I am better than you and I am getting mine- now.
So now we have hit the rocks. In Europe there are protests and riots but at least the European workers get generous social benefits and healthcare. In America once the unemployment and savings runs out what will people do?
I do not think that the CEO class in America understand what has happened. They need to understand that their world is over but they won't give up what they have gained without a fight.
Corporations have rewarded the scoundrels and they have abandoned the broad bulk of Americans in the name of 'capitalism'. Those who have played by the rules are now left with nothing. In the 1930's theresulted in Franklin Roosevelt in America, but with Hitler in Germany. Which will we get?
Where will we end up?
If people think that populist anger is strong now just wait until the whole recession plays out. The tens of millions of 'information workers' and 'creative class' members are not going to be the ones working on infrastructure projects and they are the class that is being destroyed.