UK News

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from Breakingviews:

Technical measures won’t curb pay extravaganza

By Edward Hadas
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

One of the more puzzling British and American trends in the last three decades is the vast increase in the share of national income allocated to the very rich. The High Pay Commission, a non-governmental UK body which published a report on Tuesday, points out that share of British national income garnered by the top 0.1 percent of earners has moved from 1.3 to 6.5 percent since 1979. The Commission has a 12-point plan to change things.

The puzzle is two-fold. First, what caused the shift? Companies may be bigger. But corporate bosses do pretty much what they always did. They are just getting paid much more to do it. At BP, one of the few big British companies with clear records going back to 1979, the top boss received 16 times as much as the average worker in 1979. Last year BP’s “boss-peon” multiple was 63.

Second, why has there been so little public indignation about the pay extravaganza? The report’s forward says “the public is rapidly running out of patience”, but in fact this trend has been in place for decades, was not halted by the recession and has not fired up a mass protest movement. There are rhetorical expressions of outrage from politicians and at the pub, but the British, like the Americans, seem remarkably complacent about the triumph of the elite.

from Breakingviews:

Rupert Murdoch’s sham governance on full display

By Jeffrey Goldfarb
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Rupert Murdoch still gets a kick out of the “fair and balanced” slogan used by his Fox News channel. He had a good laugh about it only last week at News Corp’s annual shareholder meeting. The results of a vote conducted at that gathering, released Monday, show that everyone’s now equally in on the joke about the company’s shameful corporate governance as they are the conservative bias of his TV news operation.

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