Shelagh Fogarty is Leading Britain's Conversation.
4 January 2017, 11:34
"It's the fetishisation of selfishness." James thinks this is why people shout about benefit fraud but stay silent on huge executive pay packets.
The High Pay Centre claim that by lunchtime today, less than four days into the year, FTSE bosses will have earned more than the average UK worker for the whole of 2017. At the same time we find that British Airway’s cabin crew have a starting wage of £12,500.
James O’Brien addressed this today and might have just pinpointed why people aren’t more angry about this huge difference that has grown over the last few decades.
James Pinpoints Why People Aren't Angry About Executive Pay
"It's the fetishisation of selfishness." James nails why people shout about benefit fraud but stay silent on huge executive pay packets.
“16 million British citizens cannot get their hands on £100 cash by lunchtime today, they simply can't get their hands on that kind of money.
“Is there any way you can argue that paying these guys 70 million, 23 million, 16 million, 14 million, 10 million, eight million, is there any way you can prove to me that that is not part of the reason why most people in this country feel undervalued and underpaid?”
While these huge difference doesn’t seem to bother many, and is viewed by some as fair reward for hard work, people do get very angry about issues that have a smaller impact on our economy.
“I would love to believe that that situation is down to something other than the fact that all the money is going somewhere else; foreign aid, health tourism. 0.7 percent of our national expenditure, 0.3 percent of the NHS's outgoings.
“’Quick, over there, foreign aid, health tourism.' Don't get cross about some fella earning 23.2 million while your children will be lucky to start their working lives on twelve and a half grand.”
James thinks this all points to a developing attitude amongst society that no longer believes it’s right to question higher earners and the more powerful. He believes the country has come to respect selfishness, which as a society we will pay for.
“We're becoming a nation of forelock tugging, deferential muppets. 'Why shouldn't someone get paid £70 million a year? It's not our place, is it, to question it. If you want to earn that sort of money you go and get a job like that. Oh yes.' And if they're not paying tax on it? 'Well that's fine because I wouldn't pay tax either.’
“It's the fetishisation of selfishness that we're looking at and it will be our children that pay, even more than we do.”