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Bonus Culture: Is This the Arab Spring?

Throughout the Western business world at least, there is a new as yet barely audible but steadily increasing, voice of protest. This is for once not a demand for the vote or for democracy heard so much in recent times in the Middle East but a demand for an end to excessive executive pay and the bonus culture in our leading publicly quoted companies.

Governments look on, from time to time uttering pronouncements of disapproval over certain pay agreements whilst pointing out they are powerless to act since these are private stock holder companies and it is a matter for the shareholders. This is sophistry since any government can do practically anything it chooses provided what it does carries the approval of the majority of the voting populace. What is possibly closer to the truth is that this financial contagion has spread to the departments and the quangos at the very core of our administrations.

In 2011 for example, a significant number of civil servants (state employees) in the UK received bonuses amounting to over $150 million. Whether this was deserved depends on your view point. You may feel that a bonus encourages those people to work harder but how can you test that if you give them a bonus every year? How can you know they would not have reached their targets anyway? That's why always choose online casino real money free bonus whenever possible.

It would perhaps be less galling if most workers on a much lower pay scale were seeing their efforts properly recognised also. Unfortunately across the Western World there are pay freezes applying to the "workers" but not to management who appear to many to be governed by a different set of rules. Those civil servants referred to above for example have enjoyed a 50% pay increase in the last five years. Not many clerks and secretaries who have assisted those people in achieving whatever it is they are supposed to have achieved, have seen one third of such an increase and that on a much lower basic pay.

In my judgement the situation could be made more straightforward if new laws were introduced to regulate the position. I am not in any sense against incentives but these days incentives have been paid even to directors and chief executives who have simply done nothing more than the job they are paid to do or in the case of the private sector have led their businesses to disaster and been rewarded for it. There is a view that for the government to interfere with the free market, to tinker with its workings, is anti-democratic.