The Spectacle Blog

The Morality of Compensation

By on 4.25.06 | 2:39AM

Dave, Quin: A $400 million retirement packages is "obscene" and "wrong" and "greedy?" Nonsense.

There is no moral content to an individual's income or networth. All you can do with money is spend it, lend it, or invest it. We do not live in a zero-sum economy, where accumulation of wealth amounts to deprivation of others.

As Milton Friedman has argued, the social responsibility of a corporation -- that is, its moral obligation -- is to provide the best possible return for its stockholders. If you think a company is spending more on its executives than their services are worth, don't buy stock in that company. It's as simple as that. As to the argument that corporations have an obligation to limit executive compensation because it "gives the libs a perfect target to get government involved in all kinds of mischief": Isn't that like saying that permitting religious pluralism incites Islamist rage? I'm not equating economic leftism to terrorism, but you'd better think hard before accepting a line of logic that you'd surely reject in a different context.

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