Tuesday, 3 January 2012

We Got It Good...Perhaps Too Good

Here are a few replacements for the absurd headline:

Study finds top Canadian CEOs leaving the rest of us behind financially

1. Study finds top Canadian CEO's created tens of thousands of jobs, increasing the standard of living for many
2. Free market to the rescue: High CEO pay, quality employment in focus
3. Study finds mean Canadian income of $44 000/year leaves billions of poor people behind financially

Please Replace:
The average Canadian worker makes just over $44,000 a year, according to a new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The top 100 highest paid CEOs, whose companies are listed on the S&P/TSX composite index, made an average of $8.38 million in 2010. That's a full 189 times higher than the $44,366 average salary for Canadians working full time in 2010, according to the report.

The average Canadian worker makes a whopping $44, 000 a year, according to a new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The top 100 highest paid CEOs (who's leadership and vision made many of these jobs possible) made an inspiring 8.38 million in 2010. Congratulations on their successes!  The CEO pay is indeed 189 times higher than the $44, 366 average salary for Canadians working in 2010, however Canadians average salary is a shocking 60 times higher than the average worker in Haiti and similar proportions exist for many places in the world.  The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives comments, "This speaks volumes about how much we have to be thankful for."

Couple of comments:
1. The notion that one's honest success is the reason for another failure is wrong and is hurtful to the cause of many fighting to advance.  CEO's doing well ought to be leaders serving.  If a leader is serving, she is serving and propping others up to better do their job and advance.  This should create a result for the customer that leaves them satisfied and profit is the reward for that job done well. Compensation for results is good.  It is based on the agreement of employer to employee based on performance.  The same mechanism that allows one to make 44 000 and a CEO 8 million is one and the same: a free market paying for results.  We need more leaders leading, because this will allow for more people being served and advancing, which by definition...advances others...opposite to the 'leaves them behind' gibberish.  CEO's typically do a good thing.  The market rewards them for their results.  The market rewards me for my results, and you for your results.  If we don't like our results, then we need to change them.  Give the market what it wants and you will be rewarded. Be thankful that the same 'awesomeness' that enables the 8 million per year CEO is the same 'awesomeness' that enables one to make the $44 000/year: You can do it too!  Getting results that yield higer returns within that framework of 'awesomeness' should not come with negative overtones (save and except dishonest gain) and comments.  Congratulations to the leaders of our country. Thank you Canada for our ability to earn, develop, advance and grow.  I have what many CEO's have: a chance and opportunity to learn, develop advance and grow.  Regardless of how things turn out, I remain thankful for what really matters my breath and ability to love.


  1. What is so absurd about the headline? I read the article, I found the title appropriate enough. It might have read "Canadian CEO's make 189 times more than the average Canadian worker." That is the only fact presented in the article of particular interest to anyone, and it is mind boggling. I see what you've tried to do here in your blog, I see that you don't want people to take that information and digest it in the typical way. I would argue that there are very few ways for an average Canadian to process such an amazing contrast in wages. While we should all be grateful that we may earn so much as a country, on average, it does not stand to reason that we should see justice in the distribution of wealth as it stands.

    I disagree with the idea that someone is entitled to earn wages of such magnitude based solely on their place in the hierarchy of a complex system such as a corporation. You would call this an achievement or success, but what gives a man the right to control so many others? I think we can hardly guess from our standpoint just how much power has been exercised to achieve such a goal. Power over countless people's lives and over countless resources (nationally or abroad), and all within the legal framework of our "free market". Is this power morally, ethically, socially justified? Because a man has conquered an economic domain does that make him its king? Why of course his employees will be grateful for opportunity, for decent wages, for the protection offered by the corporate umbrella. Who would not be grateful? But that comfort is finite. The bottom line is that the CEO's have no room for conscience when decisions need to be made. The love of fellow men is not included in the equation. Business management at that level is about profit, survival, stockholders' interests, the machine begins to look like what it is. It has no love.

    I believe that because in your heart you are a good man with the best intentions and genuinely hard earned success, you would defend the system that allows you to succeed. I believe that you wish to learn and grow and continue to make the world a better place through your actions. Yet I believe that you are in a position to influence people and I do not think that you are using that influence to its greatest potential. I don't believe you have looked at all sides of this and you should consider that there is great POTENTIAL for evil in the accumulation of wealth and in the resultant power over people's lives.

  2. Thanks 4 comment. Will do post on wed P.J.

  3. I have been thinking about what I wrote earlier, and finally, I'd like to amend what I've written slightly. I'm sure you have considered and are well aware that the potential exists for evil within the current capitalist framework, as it does in any other. To say otherwise would be unfair. If anything I think it might simply be unwise to congratulate those who have achieved such success without first establishing that they have done it ethically, and for the good of society.

    I look forward to your next post. You have inspired me to think, sir.

  4. P.J, busy day, give me a couple days :)

  5. This is late - been away from computer - but a major problem seems to be that far too often there are no serious repercussions for management. They get bonuses in the good times, and avoid layoffs in the bad. Even when they get cut, their parachutes are golden. Meanwhile, the peons are as cannon fodder. I've seen situations where, faced with handing out decent bonuses according to the pre-announced formula, management manages to tweak things to the disadvantage of the regular workers. And layoffs disproportionately affect the lower management and non-management people (the only exception here is the HR department which grows ever larger as the number of employees decreases). Management protects its own.


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