Aren’t CEOs overpaid? Here’s part of George Mason economist Walter Williams’ column today:
What about complaints about CEOs earning so much more than the average worker? Before looking at CEOs, let’s look at another area of huge pay differences. According to Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list, Oprah Winfrey earned $260 million. Even if her makeup person or cameraman earned $100,000, she earns thousands of times what they earn. Among the celebrities earning hundreds or thousands of times more than the people who work with them are: Steven Spielberg ($110 million), Tiger Woods ($100 million), Jay Leno ($32 million) and Dr. Phil ($30 million). According to Forbes, the top 10 celebrities and athletes earned an average of $116 million in 2004 compared to an average of $59 million earned by the top 10 corporate CEOs.
When Jack Welch became General Electric’s CEO in 1981, the company was worth about $14 billion. Through hiring and firing, buying and selling decisions, Welch turned the company around and when he retired 20 years later, GE was worth nearly $500 billion. What’s a CEO worth for such an achievement? If Welch was paid a measly one-half of a percent of GE’s increase in value, his total compensation would have come to nearly $2.5 billion, instead of the few hundred million that he actually received.
Bottom Line: You could probably make a stronger case that Jack Welch was underpaid and exploited by his shareholders and GE’s Board of Directors than making a case that he was overpaid as a CEO.
Fact 1: The size of the global outsourcing market is estimated to be $310 billion in 2008, driven primarily by the endless pursuit of U.S. MNCs looking for low-cost labor any where in the world it is available and ultimately seeking greater corporate profits. Most offshore outsourcing efforts save 15-20% when all costs are considered, representing a form of “labor arbitrage” generated by the wage gap between industrialized and developing nations.
Fact 2: According to the National Organization for Women, full-time women workers in the U.S. are paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar men are paid. Women of color are short-changed even more, with African-American women paid only 71 cents and Latinas just 58 cents on men’s dollar. These wage gaps stubbornly remain despite the passage of the Equal Pay Act more than 40 years ago, and a variety of legislation prohibiting employment discrimination.
Questions: If the wage gap in the U.S. exists primarily because of discrimination and U.S. companies could immediately save 23-42% by exclusively hiring women, why would they overlook this “labor arbitrage” opportunity and profitable wage gap right in their own back yard? In other words, why would U.S. companies go to the other side of the planet to hire low-cost workers in Bangalore, to take advantage of a 15-20% wage gap and exploit labor arbitrage in India, when they could exploit labor arbitrage and a wage gap right here in the U.S.?
It’s a grim new year for newspapers. As yet another rough quarter draws to a close, we witness the closing of a venerable Midwestern journal, The Cincinnati Post, after 126 years of publication, as well as an alarming new trend: the outsourcing of advertising responsibilities to India.
Read more here.
According to world stock market capitalization data available from Global Financial Data and the World Federation of Exchanges, more than $9.5 trillion of stock market value was created from January-November 2007, an historical record for that period (see chart above).
Bottom Line: Despite $100 oil, a subprime crisis, a somewhat weak U.S. stock market, and constant worries about a U.S. recession, the $9.5 trillion increase in world stock market capitalization during the first 11 months of 2007 was almost as much stock market value as was added in the global bull market, Dot.com years of 1995, 1996, 1997 and 1998 COMBINED. The global economy and the global stock markets are alive and well.
Santa Claus may turn out to be the real front-runner in the primaries, judging by the way candidates are vying with one another to give away government goodies to the voters.
We now have a bipartisan tradition of the government stepping in to rescue people who engaged in risky behavior — whether by locating in the known paths of hurricanes in Florida or in areas repeatedly hit by wildfires over the years in California or by gambling in the housing market.
Why not also rescue people who gambled away their life’s savings in Las Vegas? That would at least be consistent.
After the departure of Senator Phil Gramm and House Majority Leader Dick Armey, Congress has been an economics-free zone. There is not one economist among the 535 members of Congress.
But, in an election year, that is not a political handicap. Santa Claus has won far more elections than any economist.
From Thomas Sowell’s article “Santa Claus Politics“
Strange as it sounds, the best way to boost sales at your independently owned coffeehouse may just be to have Starbucks move in next-door.
Read why here in Slate.com’s article “Don’t Fear Starbucks: Why the Franchise Actually Helps Mom and Pop Coffeehouses.”
Based on Intrade.com trading:
Hillary is more than a 3:1 favorite for the Democratic nomination. There is close to a 3-way tie for the Republican nomination among Giuliani (27%), Romney (26%) and McCain (23%).
NEW DELHI: American cult bike brand Harley-Davidson may finally hit the Indian roads.
Bottom Line: Globalization works both ways. As U.S. companies outsource business processing, research, software development and call centers to India, wealth and prosperity are created there that creates a demand for U.S. products like Harley-Davidsons.
(HT: Sanil Kori)