I Wanna Bang the Drum by Trevor Plumbly
Out of Pocket
It’s within living memory when Germany’s currency was scarcely worth its paper content; million mark notes were worthless and workers were paid thrice daily to combat inflation. In more recent times, Zimbabwe went through a similar situation, yet it’s hard to imagine those responsible for that economic lunacy suffering any great hardship from the events.
There’s the odd exception, but in the main, financial folk do indeed dwell in marble halls and rarely end up with the ‘have-nots’. For them, recession becomes opportunity and tax liabilities a solvable puzzle. Got labour cost problems in the UK? Just shift the plant to Asia. Hit by high taxes in the US? Register a smaller company somewhere with friendlier rates; never mind the unemployment and the social damage, loss below boardroom level apparently doesn’t count.
The Midas Men
The CEO is today’s alchemist having discovered how to transmute a job of work into an overflowing pot of gold. One such, down here in little old NZ, earns over $5 million a year which, by my rough calculations, breaks down to around $30 per working minute, whilst leading a company facing what their breed refers to as ‘challenging times’. ‘We need to pay comparative international salaries’ one proponent of the executive lolly scramble trumpeted. Why on earth can’t a country like ours school and contract our brightest and best rather than importing mega-whizz-kids with little or no intention of making any meaningful contribution beyond their contract period? If Israel can legislate for salary cap limits, why can’t other small countries?
Richer Than All Their Tribe
In the current climate of electronic currency, most people have been weaned from the real value of money. An unhealthy few now control too much of the world’s physical wealth, moving rather than using money, thus creating a ‘new poor’. The main casualties of the collapsed companies in the economic downturn were small investors and redundant workers; the CEOs and directors were nicely cushioned either by governments or friendly ‘mergers’, thus providing them with the machinery to repeat the fiasco any time their incompetence allows. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, nor do I plan to take to the streets waving the red flag, I’m just a bit concerned by the obscenity that a few are amassing money at a greater rate than they could possibly give it away, while millions suffer through lack of it. We need to think seriously about the function of money and the humane benefits of a more even distribution. Meantime, let’s hope that in rationalising the next ‘downsizing’ or ‘outsourcing’, one of these Teflon tycoons might display a bit of social conscience rather than financial pragmatism.