The Free Market Made Us Do It!

Apologists for the many millions in compensation that America’s largest corporations regularly dole out to their top executives have essentially one basic, all-purpose go-to defense. America’s corporate giants, this defense contends, are just paying the going “market rate” for top-notch executive talent. So chill out, America. Average Americans who complain about excessive executive pay, says Stanford Business School’s Nick Donatiello, simply do not realize “how much compensation is required, given the market for talent, to attract and motivate the right people.” Any company that tries to go cheap and get by without that “right talent,” America’s corporate wisdom continues, would never be able to successfully compete in our globalized marketplace. Does this defense hold any water? Not any more.
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