The Swiss Executive Cap

Oh the Swiss, with more banks than dentists, and more Starbucks than banks, this business haven has been one of the worlds most thriving economies with the happiest population in the history as we know it. This begs the question, why are the Swiss so happy, and how do we get in on this action? My theory; they invest in their people.

Or at least they attempt to, the latest of which has been the 1:12 Swiss Executive Cap Referendum in 2013. A revolutionary idea that I think is pretty swell. It did not pass. Shocker. However, with an increasingly widening gap between the rich and the poor we may hit a point where this idea becomes vital to our survival as a productive society.

The idea is simple: The highest paid person in a company can only make 12 times what the lowest paid person does.

This is a feasible way to enforce democratic friendly regulation that is difficult to argue, at least one would think it is. Capping executive pay fundamentally challenges what we’ve so affectionately coined as “The American Dream” The notion that any man can become a luxurious millionaire if he works hard and perseveres all obstacles. We are so afraid of the idea of wealth re-distribution because  it thwarts our fantasies of becoming rich and powerful. Power is an in interesting force, it’s an infectious and addictive feeling rooted deep within our sense of ego and entitlement and socially reinforced by our current ideology of success. So it’s no wonder that we’re so afraid to relinquish it. The reality is that power is a corruptive force that inhibits our individual ability to breed compassion, co-operation and understanding. Another stark reality is that the American Dream is not attainable for 99% of the population. Why would anyone want to gamble their potential livelihood on the abysmal chance that they may “make it big.”

Legally binding government regulations such as the 1:12 Swiss Executive Cap are checks and balances to prevent individuals from taking advantage of a system that we all rely on for our livelihood. I put forth that we re-introduce this bill as a means to secure a strong middle class and subdue the addictive properties of power. Being satisfied with an average income is not unsuccessful, it is not a mediocre life, it is a movement that seeks to even out the playing field for everyone, and creates systemic opportunity for the marginalized. It is a check and balance for capitalism and it is necessary if we want to begin to create a fair and ethical market place for all to benefit from.

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