Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘relaunch’ address in Peterborough yesterday was strong, mature, statesmanlike speech that delivered a down-to-earth but visionary message to people on both sides of the Brexit divide and showed the Labour leader to be unafraid to grasp difficult nettles.
But the media, within minutes, were focused on just two small parts of his speech: what he said about immigration – and, particularly, on the options he floated about possible ways to address rampant inequality by capping executive salaries or somehow linking them to the wages of the lowest-paid in their company.
Everyone from right-wing Labour figures to anti-Corbyn economists were rolled out to rubbish the very idea of a salary cap, while the programme presenters talking in sarcasm-dripping tones about the ‘unrealistic’ nature of Corbyn’s thinking.
So you might be just a little surprised to find out that not only have other countries given serious consideration to this ‘naive’ and ‘unrealistic’ idea capping executive salaries – they were doing it, or planning to do it, 9 years ago.
The source for this information is no less an insurgent ‘alt-news’ peddler than the Wall Street Journal, that bastion of unrealistic left-wing thinking:
The article, from October 2008, lists the ‘at least 6 countries’ that have imposed salary caps on executives in at least some industries. And these are emphatically not small, or tinpot, or ‘failed’ states:
In some of these countries, the pay-cap plans were narrow – but in some they were ‘sweeping’. In some, they are imposed as a condition of government bail-out funds to struggling financial institutions – but in others they were general.
Not only that, but US President Barack Obama followed suit in 2009.
And our own Bank of England published a detailed document just over a year ago looking at ways to appropriately limit bank executives’ incomes – while in 2009, the year Obama imposed US caps, there was public uproar in the UK because caps had not been imposed. (The BofE page doesn’t display well on some browsers, so a copy is here if you want it: swp558)
Are our memories really that short?
As far as I’ve seen, the financial and business system has collapsed in none of these countries ; none lost all its top talent as the right-wingers insist would happen. In at least one, the cap was imposed as a widespread measure to ‘discourage excessive risk-taking’ – which I doubt many of you would argue is a negative thing.
The anti-Corbyn economists paraded to talk condescendingly about Corbyn’s lack of realism will be well aware of the countries that put his idea into practice; the business and political editors who mmm’d and nodded and concurred with the poured-out scorn are extremely unlikely to be ignorant of the facts – and if they are, they’re unfit for their job.
Which really only leaves one possibility: that these billionaire-owned and Tory-suborned media outlets and the anti-Corbyn economists they paid to appear, knowing the idea to be so far from unrealistic that major developed nations have done it, spent hours yesterday disparaging its foolishness anyway.
And I don’t think you’ll need three guesses to work out why they might peddle such fake news. After all, why would Establishment media and politicians want you to forget how mainstream and proven an idea is, so they can ‘bash’ a populist left-wing leader and ignore the substance of all the other things he said?
WSJ article in PDF form: executive-pay-curbs-go-global-wsj
The SKWAWKBOX is provided free of charge but relies on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford it, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your support!