Sunday 17 December 2017

Comment: Explosion in top executives' pay is unjustified - and unhealthy

Economist John Kenneth Galbraith, pictured here in 1995, noted that salaries of top corporate executives were seldom market awards for achievement. Photo: AP
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith, pictured here in 1995, noted that salaries of top corporate executives were seldom market awards for achievement. Photo: AP
Dan O'Brien

Dan O'Brien

'It is glorious to get rich." So said, of all people, a former leader of communist China. It is hard to imagine any Irish politician saying such a thing. Despite the self-proclaimed pro-business inclinations of most of our elected representatives, the lionising of wealth creation is not something one hears frequently from those in Leinster house.

Nor is it much lauded in Liberty Hall, the spiritual home of Ireland's trade union movement and a place not known as a bastion of militant capitalism.

That was reflected in a study of pay for those at the top of large companies and organisations in Ireland, published on Tuesday by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Although largely fact-based, the study suggested that the inhabitants of Ireland's corporate boardrooms may not be entirely deserving of their ever larger pay packets.

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