When the economy follows feudal logic

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66 million euros: This total, Carlos Tavares, the boss of the Stellantis car group, hasn’t touched it yet. He will definitely receive € 19 million and the remaining € 47 million (mostly stocks) should be paid to him if he achieves his goal. Nevertheless, these numbers make you dizzy. Assuming Carlos Tavares works 10 hours a day, he does not take one day off a year, which means that he will bring in a job of 18,000 euros a day. 30 euros per minute. Group shareholders voted against this compensation policy with a small majority, but according to the Dutch law they follow, this vote is only an advisory opinion. The union is indignant. In particular, Stellantis should cut 2,600 jobs in France this year. By the way, the minimum wage worker earns 604,800 euros on 42 pensions. But without even talking about dignity, equality, solidarity … in short, moral values, ask yourself honestly: is this reward purely economically rational?

Anyone who has studied economics is accustomed to seeing a company as a collective organization for the production of wealth. The goal is to maximize profits, Redistributable to owners or shareholders. To maximize profits, you need to optimize resource management. In other words, don’t waste your money and time. To track unnecessary or extravagant expenses, to avoid expensive headquarters, to create expensive expense reports, and, of course, to pay people as little as possible, from bottom to top of the ladder. A total of € 66 million can be invested in a variety of ways, including “R & D”, establishing several subsidiaries in the form of start-ups, launching global advertising campaigns, or working on more efficient electric vehicles. .. .. .. When they enter Carlos Tavares’ pocket, they are lost to the growth of the group.

But why give him so much? We are accustomed to the excellent salaries of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But Ronaldo and Messi see them scoring goals and their talents have something unique and obvious, like Picasso and Monet in another area. The business and technocratic performance is certainly impressive. But Carlos Tavares did not invent anything, he did not create. There is no new engine, campaign slogan, design. He has little superhuman performance, he does not run with the ball on his feet at speeds above 30 km / h. His advantage lies in reading Excel tables wisely and in good management. He chooses the right strategy from the strategies developed by the collective intelligence of the group. These are undeniable properties. But is it really worth 66 million a year?

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Demonstration of power

The debate about the irreplaceable talents of great managers can last for a long time, but such levels of rewards cast doubt: Perhaps what we were told about the company is wrong. The true purpose of a company is not to maximize profits by optimizing costs.Anthropologist David Graber Teaching at the London School of Economics (1961-2020) frankly made a different hypothesis. This explains the super reward of the big boss. Multinational corporations must be considered permanent feudalism by other means.best seller Random work (2018; trans .fr .LesLiens qui liberant). The economy of multinational corporations is based on the plunder of raw materials and energy resources, the employment of hundreds of thousands of workers at the lowest prices in the world’s poorest regions, and tax exemptions. Rent extraction and subsequent loot redistribution “Therefore, the big boss is new” Feudal class “. Why did Louis XIV build Versailles and his financial supervisor Vaux-le-Vicomte? Why did the old lords live at full speed in a palace surrounded by a courtyard?” Wasn’t it the best way to impose and perpetuate their power? Is it inevitable and ambitious to discourage the competition between aristocrats and rebels?

Carlos Tavares competes directly with Mercedes CEO, Volkswagen CEO and Ford CEO. Multinationals build towers, not castles, and their fame depends on them. Sure, at the bottom of the ladder, workers are forced to work and have low wages, but in court, they are rich in all sorts of parasitic functions, including advisors, communicators, and various marketing professionals. I’m …

How can we know if the controversial description of the globalized economy as a new system of feudalism is accurate? It’s certainly not easy to see clearly, but if Graber’s analysis is correct, then if the multinational corporation is actually a new kingdom, Carlos Tavares’s rewards will not only be rational, but Stellantis’ false Current power, not from management. In a nutshell, all other sovereigns are envy, so shareholders or creditors of the king only need to be pleased.