Douglas Carswell

19 APR 2016

Shareholders of the world, unite!

Why are corporate CEO salaries so inflated? The Left blames capitalism. But the battle over BP boss Bob Dudley's pay rise tells a different story. The shareholders – the capitalist owners - rejected his new pay deal. The problem is they were ignored.

When pundits and politicians talk about the 'democratic deficit,' they're usually thinking about government. The centralisation of power in unaccountable bureaucracies like the European Commission. The powerlessness of Parliament. The establishment consensus that withstands every election.

But the same thing has happened in business. Instead of shareholder democracy, authority has become centralised in a boardroom oligarchy. CEOs are increasingly unaccountable to the people who own the company.

The executive elite has emerged from the ruins of shareholder democracy. In the absence of accountability, the managerial class has succeeded in enriching itself at the shareholders' expense.

As a result, the wealthy and powerful today are no longer entrepreneurs, but corporate bureaucrats. Just like at the height of the East India Company, managers – not innovators – fill the upper echelons of society. The Davos Men are the new nabobs.

The new nabobocracy has transformed our economy. Leftists and Rightists alike pretend that we live in a capitalist, free market. They're both wrong. Our economy is no longer capitalist. It's corporatist.

Look at how many boardroom bureaucrats sit on advisory committees to the PM and the Chancellor. Look at the revolving door between Big Business and the regulators that are meant to keep it in check. Look at the CEO consensus on staying in the EU – the corporate lobbyist's paradise.

Managerialist government and managerialist business have given us a (poorly) managed economy.

To end the concentration of power and money in a tiny elite, it won't be enough to restore democracy in politics. We need to bring back shareholder democracy too.

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The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy

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