Economic inequality...

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Seattle, Oct 3, 2022.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I see headlines talking about widening economic inequality or the top 1 percent owning as much as the whatever percent.

    It's a number and it's used as if it, in itself, means something. The point is always the rich have this much more than you do. Unless the subject is scapegoating, jealousy or envy, I'm not sure of the relevance of this kind of discussion?

    If you compare the top developed countries and look at the middle class, the U.S. has little to complain about. If you look at the "poor" in the U.S. and compare it to the "poor" in those other countries you can either make the argument that they are doing just as well here pr maybe in some ways they might be better off marginally elsewhere?

    Everything else is a distraction or an outcome of our economic system that has worked pretty well. If you want motivation and innovation you allow people who start companies that end up succeeding to keep much of their gains.

    When you are expanding the pie, this comes at no one else's expense. It's not a zero sum game. A more logical question would be is our economy better off with Tesla, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, etc or not? Are our poorest citizens better off than our poorest citizens under some other type of economic organization?

    If "we" are better off and if our poorest citizens are better off then the "rich" keeping much of what they earned/created is pretty much a moot point isn't it? It's not really about the rich either, it's about anyone who owns any investments.

    When the title of an article is the top 1 percent gained 10 percent last year while the average person didn't improve their wealth at all it sounds as if the wealthy are doing something that they shouldn't be doing or that something unfair is going on.

    In reality the wealthy are wealthy because of the stock they own and it went up 10 percent. If you buy stock then it went up the same amount. The increased wealth isn't even coming at the expense of the middle class or the poor. If coming because their companies are growing and people who buy stock are buying their stock and increasing its share price. That is taking nothing away from anyone else.

    What do you think about "unfair" economic outcomes based on how much wealth one person has over another? Do you feel the same way about the local "successful" businessman with the big house at the top of the hill? Do you think the average person who is upset about how much the rich have really understands that it is just due to the share price of their company going up?

    If anyone is thinking of confiscatory income rates being a good idea or a large wealth tax do you think they have really considered the long-term consequences?

    Why are most of the largest and most innovative companies based in the U.S.? Why don't they spring up elsewhere? Are they a bad idea? If not, you (generic you) might want to think twice about taking someone else's gains because it won't be a reoccurring source forever and then you will just have a smaller economy. As they say, don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

    A better idea might be to put a little money in the stock market so that when you read that the wealthy increased their assets last year, you will see that your assets went up the same more "inequality". In other words, build yourself up rather than tearing down the other guy.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
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  3. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure if you've been following the news related to the once trendy store ''Bed, Bath & Beyond,'' but their CFO committed suicide last month. They've been on a downward sales spiral for a while, for a number of reasons. Well, it has been alleged by investors that he and the former ''Chewy'' CEO, Randy Cohen (the former CEO of GameStop), came up with a scheme to inflate the stock price, earlier this year. That didn't work out so well for the CFO, as a class action suit on the part of the investors came into play, and he committed suicide a week later.

    Randy Cohen made $68 million off that stock deal, illegally. A few weeks later, BB&B made a public announcement that it would be closing 150 stores, and laying off 20% of its corporate staff. It's things like this, that make it wholly unfair for the average everyday worker to get ahead, let alone build equity in their 401k. Randy Cohen has been named in that lawsuit, and I hope he has to pay back every penny he stole, and goes to jail.

    I have nothing against wealthy business owners, but the stock market doesn't have a level playing field, Seattle.
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Yes, when you commit a crime, you should be punished, whether that's insider trading or manipulating the stock in other ways. That can usually only be done with smaller companies. It's hard to manipulate Apple stock for example.

    Gamestock was manipulated by small traders artificially pushing the price up. You can do that with major companies as an individual or even as a group of individuals.

    Either way though, someone like that doesn't take anything away from the "poor". They don't own stocks. There is criminal behavior everywhere though and it's not more prevalent among the rich so the rich are still, IMO, being used as a scapegoat to a problem that they aren't a part of.

    If someone doesn't have the wealth of someone else, 1) that's life and 2) they're wealthy isn't why "you" aren't wealthy. That's my only point. I'm not arguing that the rich, middle class or poor don't have criminals among them.
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  7. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    It does take something away from the average wage earner. BB&B made the decision recently to close most of their stores and fire 20% of the corporate staff. All of these people are out of a job now (which can lead to poverty), but Randy Cohen and who knows who else, are still walking off with millions of dollars? Yuck.

    It can be said that BB&B was financially struggling before this transaction, but that makes a transaction like this even more egregious. Randy Cohen is seen as a business genius among his peers. Many people fawn over the top 1% when many (not all) of them are simply master manipulators of the stock market.

    I’m not against capitalism if it works for everyone, but this seems like capitalism with no checks and balances.
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm not really following your comments. I went back and read the articles on this situation. I was aware that retail investors had tried to manipulate certain "meme" stocks. This started from a group of retail investors on Redit (wallstreetbets).

    This was basically just a group of novice investors who saw that GameStop was doing poorly and might go out of business so they all stepped in and bought stock to "punish" the institutional investors who were shorting the stock (betting that it would go down as it should have). The Redit guys were able to do this since it was a lightly traded stock.

    It should go out of business. It's performing poorly. They then tried this same approach with Bed, Bath and Beyond which was also doing poorly. There are plenty of small retail chains that aren't doing well. Radio Shack went out of business even Sears failed. That happens when buying habits change.

    There is no "Randy" in this story but there is a Ryan Cohen. Although the Redit retail investors are claiming he did something wrong there is no evidence for that as far as I can tell.

    It's a business that is not doing well and now they are laying off some people and it wouldn't surprise me if they eventually go out of business. That's has nothing to do with manipulating the stock.

    If business is bad you have to lay off people. What does any of this have to do with the wealthy vs the middle class? Those short-term trading in these meme stocks got bitten just as you would expect.

    Now of course it's possible that someone did break some securities law, especially since he committed suicide but there is no evidence for that presently as far as I can tell.

    Even if there was, that would result in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the shareholders. This is a minor thing looking at the big picture of wealth inequality between the wealthy and the poor? It really has nothing to do with that topic, IMO.

    Most Billionaires aren't billionaires because they manipulated the stock market. Regarding checks and balances, there is plenty of securities law that applies and is prosecuted all the time.
  9. billvon Valued Senior Member

    When there is a wide difference between:

    -health care
    -law enforcement (i.e. ability to commit a crime and escape punishment)
    -political influence
    -ability to control one's environment

    then we end up with a de facto two-class society. One class lives in relative poverty and cannot easily escape it. They must obey tax laws, struggle to afford health care and real estate, obey local laws and have no input into the political process other than their vote. The other class lives in prosperity. They need not obey local laws, and can break them with a fairly high degree of safety. They do not need to pay taxes if they choose not to. They can purchase political influence to ensure laws are passed that favor them. They do not need to concern themselves with health care or security; they can purchase both.

    There has never been, and will never be, a hard break between these two extremes, nor will it ever be completely impossible to move from one class to the other. However, over the past five decades or so, the separation between the poor and the rich has become greater and greater. While the lowest quintile has maintained approximately the same (adjusted) income over that time frame, the top quintile has roughly doubled their income. If you divide it by shares of total income, the bottom third has decreased slightly (from 10% to 9%) the middle third has dropped precipitously (from 62% to 43%) and the top third has risen dramatically (from 29% to 48%.)

    And if you look at the very top it's even more dramatic. The top 10% of Americans own 89% of all public stocks, and thus effectively control the stock market. The top 1% own a third of ALL the wealth in America.

    Democracy can really only function if a society of equals votes together for their own common good. If we really have two completely different classes - with the needs/desires/drives of one being totally foreign to the other - then that doesn't work. It is exacerbated by the problem of the purchase of political influence, something that the lower class cannot oppose. You end up with a small minority in charge, a minority that does not have to heed the wishes of the majority since they can purchase the influence they need to protect their own interests.

    That's why it is relevant. wealth boom certainly,end of 2021, data show.
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  10. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    {Oops - Ryan Cohen, not sure why I had typed ''Randy.''}

    I'm not suggesting that millionaires and billionaires have made most of their money by insider trading, but they have more people ''looking out for them'' than the average employee does when looking to build their 401k. Is that fair?

    I'd say that billionaires don't really earn their wealth, others do it for them. To believe that anyone, with enough grit and determination, can make it to that top 1% if they work hard enough, is silly.

    I'm not sure if redistributing wealth is the answer, and I know that this topic is about the poor. But, the gap between who is getting richer and who is getting poorer, continues to widen.
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  11. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    You bring up good points regarding the difficulties that the lower class (for wont of a better term) tend to have to deal with. Society tends to improve along those lines over time. That isn't strictly a function of inequality in a statistical sense, wouldn't you agree?

    For instance, if you currently determined that $60k was a good middle-class individual wage then if through addressing all those issues that you brought up, we got everyone up to at least $60k, that would be a good thing.

    If the system that could do that also, as a side effect, saw the gap between the middle-class and the rich increase, why would that matter (if not taken to extremes of course) What mechanism creates equal outcomes in wealth and yet creates the growing economy that we expect? You can redistribute income but then motivations change and more people take the more risk-free middle-class path and not the riskier investment necessary for a growing economy.

    In effect, if everyone has a house and a BMW but the price of that success is that a few have several mansions and a jet, so what? Do you consider that the alternative may be to lower the absolute income/wealth of everyone? Who or how does that help?

    Incomes and wealth have gone up. It slowed down during the historically low interest rate period (as would be expected). Most of the reports that you cited mention that the gains of the wealthy were due to the stock market. Do you feel that this came at the expense of the lower-classes or was somehow wrong? If not, the focus should be more on the have-nots and not on the haves when the haves didn't get that way by doing anything wrong.

    We want innovation and risk taking and I'm pretty sure you already agree with that. The rich get rich by creating new companies in general. They keep up with inflation via the stock market. Once they are rich, just keeping up with inflation looks impression in absolute terms. That same effect happens with anyone though.

    If you put money in a stock market index, that money does the same thing. It's not about you being rich (whether your are or not is irrelevant). If you report the headlines in the same way you would have to say "Seattle, firmly in the middle-class, saw his wealth go up last year by 10% while the working poor barely kept even".

    That would imply I was somehow a problem. No one would print such a headline but if you say Bill Gates made $20 billion last year (10%) while the working poor could barely kept even" it sounds outrageous to some, but why? It's the same effect and it has nothing to do with the "poor" nor is it a problem that needs to be fixed.

    I'm not sure, but I think you actually agree with what I am specifically saying and when you say that you disagree you are only disagreeing with what I didn't actually say. Or am I wrong with that statement?

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    As far a equality of outcome is concerned, you know that isn't reality. You've mentioned, I think, that you grew up in a lower income home and yet you got a good degree, now work only because you don't have to and may even be in that 1% and probably in that 10%.

    Which says either that if you can do it, everyone can do it and therefore we couldn't have a poorer class. Or it tells us that not everyone can do it and that it isn't realistic to expect equality of outcome. What am I missing?

    Most classes in the U.S. do at least as well as in most other developed countries (just to have something as a comparison). Do you think, as I do, that everyone's tax rate could go up 2 points or do you think "the rich" should be used as an endless wallet for free spending politicians.

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    Yes, I realise it's a loaded question...
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  12. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    It's fair. Is it relevant?

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    Elon Musk owns Tesla shares and SpaceX. That doesn't require anyone to look after those stocks. You could put a billion in the S&P Index and you wouldn't need anyone looking out for you either.

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    No offense (really) but that statement, IMO, is silly.

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    This is like the Marx concept that labor is the only thing with worth. A ditch digger "works". Elon Musk gets others to do everything for him, so the richest man in the world should be the ditch digger and not the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla and all his other businesses?

    Who would you rather have in charge of the efficient allocation of resources for the U.S. (biggest bang for the buck) Musk or the ditch digger or the federal government for that matter?

    If it doesn't take any work to make a billion why aren't we all billionaires? We could all be Gates, Bezos, Jobes, Musk and without any work required?

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    Most stories about all those guys are that they are workaholics.

    It is true that you can't go to a job in someone else's company and "work hard" enough to wind up with a $billion in wages.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I'd like to back up a little, and simplify the conversation a bit more, so we are on the same page. Or at least in the same library.

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    What does it mean to ''exploit'' workers in a capitalist market? My understanding is that workers perform jobs that create more value (in the services/products they produce based on consumer demand/desire) than they are paid for, and even though their incomes may rise due to promotions, cost of living increases, etc., they're not gaining more wealth. Do you agree with that?

    I'm speaking of companies that require assembly lines of workers who are typically not paid much more than minimum wage - like the food industry, for example.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  14. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Well, that's the problem - we are taking it to extremes, and it is getting worse every year.
    Progressive taxation, wealth taxes and universal healthcare would be three avenues that would work there.

    We now know that we cannot reasonably expect an infinitely growing economy. A new paradigm - a healthy steady state economy - is needed. That means rethinking things like a debt-based economy of course.
    ??? If that includes equal access to health care, housing, jobs etc then that's a good thing. You've solved a lot of the problem. (And of course it's the healthcare, housing etc that's important, not the jet.)
    Not for the poorest 20% of Americans. If everyone HAD seen a similar improvement then it would not be nearly as big a problem.
    Agreed. Once you hit a certain level of wealth, you no longer need to worry about money for the reasons you listed above. You have "made it." That means your concerns over governance change radically. Your goal now is to retain and grow your money so you do not risk losing your healthcare or your house or your cars. That is diametrically opposed to the concerns of the poor, which are generally access to healthcare and housing, and transportation.

    These two groups are growing further and further apart. And a country where those two groups vote quickly becomes dysfunctional. One of the problems, for example, is that there are more poor than there are rich. Thus the rich purchase influence, politicians and votes to ensure that the desires of the poor - which are often in conflict with their desires - can be disregarded.
    Right. We cannot guarantee equality of outcome. We can work to reduce the massive disparity in outcome differences.
    That I had a huge amount of privilege growing up. I know people who are as hardworking as I am who have never made it and never will.
  15. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure why we're talking about "exploiting" workers? That sounds more like a value judgement than anything else unless you're referring to some actual civil case? It sounds like Marxist propaganda?

    I wouldn't say that a minimum wage assembly line job was exploiting workers. That's a low skill job.

    I agree that someone working for someone else should be paid less than they create. I assume you have a good job (for example) but you are still paid less than what you create because the company has to stay in business and they provide a lot of what it takes to do that job. Otherwise you would just work for yourself.

    An assembly line worker would make nothing without the assembly line, the company's marketing and sales staff, engineering, finance department, etc. You have to pay someone less than they create to pay for the rest of the company and to have enough profit left to both plow back into the company and to pay the shareholders/creditors for their investment (one way or another).

    I disagree that they (any worker) aren't gaining wealth. It depends on the job. If you have a minimum wage job you probably aren't making enough to gain a lot of wealth. That's why most people don't make a career out of a minimum wage job.

    Anyone having any excess funds can and do gain wealth if they invest it. If you have a 401k plan your employer generally matches your contribution up to a certain point. That is free money and it means you automatically have a 100% return from the beginning. It's also tax deferred so it can grow for 20 some years in whatever you invested it in. That's money that is compounding that you wouldn't even have if you had to pay taxes on it up front.

    If it's in the stock market and the market grows 10% a year then that money is doubling every 7 years. If you buy a house, you are creating wealth there with the equity.

    The argument (correct me if I'm wrong) seems to be that it's unfair that someone with money makes money? How could it be otherwise? Someone without money doesn't make money. The problem is that one person isn't doing well but it's not because another person is doing well.

    If Bill Gates is rich but someone else works at a minimum wage job all of their life, they are going to be poor in any system and that's the case whether Bill Gates was born or not.

    IMO, offering someone with few skills a low paying job on an assembly line is helping them, not "exploiting" them. Take that job away and what are their options? No job? They can only add so much value working on an assembly line so there is only so much that the company can afford to pay them.

    Simplify things and create a basic business in your head. It can be a lemonade stand or a small restaurant. You can only charge so much for lemonade or a basic meal. Whether the waitress has 4 kids or not doesn't affect how much you can afford to pay her. The profits generated from your business is all that you can work with.

    You say that all the value is created by the worker but who pays for the building, buys the equipment, pays for the insurance, taxes, attorney, accountant? All that has to come out of the income from that business.

    You can only charge so much for a hamburger or taco. Someone can say you are exploiting that worker but you are offering a job to someone without a job. If that person is actually an engineer who can make a lot more, they won't take that job in the first place.

    If someone tells you that you have to pay the waitress $50/hr and your business isn't making enough to do that, you go out of business and now they aren't "exploited"?

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    The solution for them, as for all the rest of us is to keep upgrading our skills until you can make enough to support our lifestyle (whatever that is).

    In any event, it has nothing to do with "rich" people.
  16. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    @ Seattle:

    The literal definition of ''exploit'' is to make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource).

    That's not propaganda or a value judgement; that's the definition. And that is not a ''bad'' thing in and of itself, so long as those who own companies are not taking advantage of their employees. But, in many cases, they are.

    Why do you believe labor unions exist?

    Regarding the stock market and 401k's - after reading that story about Bed Bath & Beyond, and other stories like it, there is absolutely an unfair playing field when it comes to who is controlling the market. Those who control it, are hurting those who have 401k's - depending on the spread of risk an employee is willing to take. I'm a cautious ''investor,'' so it might not affect me in the same way it would affect someone who is playing the stock market for side income, or someone who is interested in a more aggressive return in their personal 401k.

    When you have people like Ryan Cohen and that BB&B CFO working on a way to cheat the system, so they can reap the benefits of a particular stock, ''regular'' investors get hurt. That's why a class action suit has been filed, to hopefully recoup some of their losses. This isn't a one-off. We might not have heard much about this story, had the CFO not taken his life.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  17. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Are you "exploiting" your company?

    Labor unions barely exist these days. I know why they exist. I'm not a big fan. You can look at it two ways (or more). Labor unions themselves exist because they like to receive dues from employees and make demands of employers and strike (blackmail) if those demands aren't met, whether they are reasonable or not.

    The stated reason for a union is simply to represent the employee.

    Detroit was full of unions and union members. You can't suck blood from a turnip. The Rust Belt was all union. Now it's the Rust Belt.

    The vibe in a pleasant company to work for is it's all one company and "we're" in it together. In a union jobsite it's "us" vs "them" or "workers" vs "the suits". That's not a productive environment IMO.
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    To mistreat them so as to extract the maximum value from them, while giving them as little value as possible.

    There are some egregious examples. The management at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company who nailed the fire doors shut so their employees wouldn't go outside for breaks. Union Carbide in Bhopal, India who didn't bother to maintain their pesticide plant, because what's the worst that can happen? Cheaper to defer maintenance.

    Most examples are far less egregious than that. A simple one is wages. Management wants to keep wages as low as possible to maximize profits. The shareholders (that wealthy class I was talking about above) wants a good return on their investment, so they pressure management to save money. And due to inflation, this can be accomplished over time by simply not raising wages.

    The libertarian answer to this is "so let them get a new job! They should leave and go to a place that pays better, then management will have to raise their wages or lose all their workers!" Which is great in theory, but that assumes that everyone is equally capable of moving, which they are not. A single mother, for example, may have a very narrow range of employment opportunities, and thus is less able to leave her job just because she is being underpaid.

    One of the reasons unions were started (and one of the reasons that the rich often oppose them) is to counteract this pressure to mistreat workers.

    Wages are just one example. There are more structural problems. A large coal power plant, for example, that sickens the people who work near it - which include 90% of the workers. For a long time there was no need to change that, because the rich people who control the company lived elsewhere. EPA regulations have improved, but not solved, this problem.

    It's a difficult problem with no easy answers, since the forces that drive this are not intentional, they are emergent properties of capitalism. Ask the average shareholder if they want the workers at the Amazon warehouse mistreated and they will say no. But double Amazon worker wages, and an analyst at their 401k is going to say "uh oh, the last time a company did that its stock value plummeted. We better get out of Amazon." Which of course will also make the stock valuation drop. And when that average shareholder looks at which 401k he wants to invest in, he will choose the one with the best return - the one that abandons companies that pay their workers more.

    Does anyone in that scenario hate workers? Nope. It's just an emergent property of a capitalistic market.
  19. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    We have progressive taxation. I understand that you want to make it more progressive. I disagree with wealth taxes. You are selling pieces of investments each year to pay a tax. I agree with a universal healthcare policy. If we would stop forgiving student debt regardless of need, stop worrying about free pre-kindergarten, and would make modest tax increase across the board, I'd be for that.

    That's a valid point of view. It's not mine.

    True but no one said that working hard alone would get you wealth.
  20. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Yea, I don't think that unionizing all industries is the way to go, and was just curious as to your take on them.

    I'm not exploiting my company lol, nor do I feel exploited in the way you're talking about - my role is different in that my work doesn't generate ''products.'' It generates activities that lead to helping the company in its quest to gain more business. I'm paid well, and my company treats its employees well. That said, I don't have to be personally affected by something, in order to speak out against it.

    Part of my interest in this discussion, is observing the current labor shortage. Retailers, fast food chains, food company assembly lines, etc...are all struggling to attract good workers. I've read various reasons for this, but could it be that the everyday laborer is simply tired of being taken advantage of? (Brick and mortar retailers however, have been financially struggling for a while though, due to the significant shift to online shopping.)

    I think the reasons have many layers, not all financial. Covid lockdowns and widespread layoffs back in 2020, dramatically changed the landscape - to the point where laborers know that without them, those CEO's can't please their investors.

    To me, it seems that part of the overall problem is that public companies have been placing their investors first, customers/clients second, and employees last. Anyone can be ''successful'' and ''wealthy'' as a business leader, if they don't care much about their employees' well being or choose to take ethical short cuts, in order to preserve their own interests. Rockefeller and Carnegie come to mind. Sure, they donated much of their wealth in the end, but they were ruthless in how they treated their customers and workers, yet many idolize them as ''the men who helped build this country.'' They wouldn't make it today.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  21. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    By your definition you are exploiting your company aren't you? As you say, "It's not a bad thing"

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    The literal definition of ''exploit'' is to make full use of and derive benefit from (a resource).

    It sounds like you aren't actually a "worker" so are you actually adding any value? You aren't digging a ditch or working on an assembly line. It's sounds more like, correct me if I'm wrong, that you are having others do your work for you rather than you doing the actual work.

    Should you even be paid at all? I mean, since you're not really working anyway, if the company were to take your salary and give it to those at or near the minimum wage that would be more equitable if you really think about it.

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    I think if anyone is not filling certain jobs they either are still receiving some assistance that lets them not work or they didn't really like those jobs (who does?) and they found better ones. Also, there is less need now for some of those jobs, post Covid, as less people want to go to crowded bars and restaurants and just got used to shopping online.

    No one really just gets tired of a crappy job and stays home unless someone is paying them to stay home. I've made the best of every job I've had and when I was still in school (summers) and just after I had some unpleasant jobs. I still did my best and worked even harder to find a better job.

    After more experience, I found an even better job and after 2 layoffs I found a way to invest and work for myself but the key for anyone is to do the best you can at whatever job you can get and continue to improve your skills until you get a better job.

    Complaining about it doesn't help anyone get out of poverty. I just saw a story where two brothers grew up in poverty. One said he went to school, worked hard and now he is out of poverty and his kids will never have to deal with that.

    He said his brother didn't do anything, is still in poverty and only plays the victim only talking about how unfair the system is. That doesn't get anyone out of poverty.

    It's not how much you make, it's how much you "save" (invest) and time.

    That's not to say that systemic problems shouldn't always be eliminated where possible but it's not really about inequality, IMO. You only get inequality in a system where there is some excess to begin with.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2022
  22. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    Just so we’re on the same page, my company isn’t a manufacturer or distribution center of tangible products. No one makes minimum wage, everyone is salaried. No one here would expect to earn what the C-suite is earning, but we expect to be treated fairly and equally for the salary we negotiated. We are a privately held company.

    Now, if my firm’s CEO laid off 50% of the staff yet expects those who are left to each do the work of two employees for example, for the same pay (which is not uncommon in corporations these days), he would be taking advantage of the remaining employees to preserve his self-interests and remain profitable. The remaining employees would have the option to quit, but he shouldn’t be permitted to get away with abusing his employees like that.

    In public companies, the pressure is high for the top executives to keep investors happy, especially post-Covid, and the lower wage earners often take the brunt of that pressure.
  23. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    If he laid off half of the company because business declined then that might be all that he could do. If you have half of the revenue you can't keep paying the same number of employees.

    If that happened the company presumably wouldn't need the existing employees to do twice the work since there wouldn't be twice the work. If he did that rather than laying off all the employees and the remaining employees had a little more work to do, I don't see that as abusing employees.

    You can quit, as you say. Your phrasing "to preserve his self-interest and remain profitable" is puzzling (to me). How can one run a business and not remain profitable? You just see that as his self-interest? What are his options? Remain unprofitable and still pay all the employees? With what? I'm not sure what it is you think he shouldn't be allowed to do?

    If the company is losing money he shouldn't be allowed to let people go? Remember your restaurant. You are now losing money and you only need two waitresses not four. Should someone prevent you from letting two waitresses go? How can you pay them if you aren't selling as many hamburgers?

    You make it sound like it's a great gig or position to be in as an owner of a company that is losing money. He has his house pledged to the bank for his company and some more property (let's say) so all you lose is your job. He can lose everything but you look at him as being "self-interested" and abusing the employees?

    He is taking all the risk yet you consider that he is abusing employees?

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