I recently had the opportunity to interview Robert Reich ahead of his appearance at the Crosscut Festival. Here’s an except from the interview:
The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It discusses the increased power of the CEO. (I want to highlight this quote in particular: “[Between 1980 and 2019] CEO pay increased 940%. But the typical worker’s pay increased 12%. In the 1960s, the typical CEO of a large American company earned about 20 times as much as the typical worker. By 2019, the CEO earned 300 times as much.”) Do CEOs have a moral obligation to fix systemic problems? Or what actions can CEOs take?
Yes, they do have a moral obligation to fix these sorts of problems because they have created them. CEO pay wouldn’t have soared like this if CEOs hadn’t wanted their pay to soar. It wouldn’t have happened if CEOs hadn’t pushed for stock buybacks, if they hadn’t selected their compensation committees on their boards, if they had pushed for the compensation of their hourly workers to grow as fast as their own compensation.