Home > upward income redistribution > Where has all the surplus gone?

Where has all the surplus gone?

from David Ruccio

Where has all the surplus gone? As in 2010, a good chunk of it has gone to pay Chief Executive Officers of major U.S. companies.

According to a new Associated Press study, the head of a typical public company in United States made $9.6 million in 2011. This figure was up more than 6 percent from the previous year, is the second year in a row of increases, and is the highest since the AP began tracking executive compensation in 2006.

According to my calculations, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the typical CEO therefore made 254 times the typical U.S. worker (whose annual pay in 2011 was $37,813).

Here’s the list of the 20 highest-paid CEOs:


The Wall Street Journal makes much of the fact that “chief executives increasingly are being paid based on their companies’ financial results and share prices.”* But that’s not a solution. It’s the problem. U.S. corporations are managing to extract more surplus from their workers precisely because workers’ wages failed once again to grow in any significant manner during 2011. And CEOs are getting a large cut of the increased surplus they managed to supervise.

So, let me amend my question: where have all the surpluses come from? Workers have created them every one.

*But see if you can find any kind of correlation here:

  1. Podargus
    June 2, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    It is well past time that these bloated fat cats were cut down to size.As a rough estimate I would say their true worth is no more than 10% to 20% of their present remuneration.
    I’m probably being generous in some cases.

  2. June 2, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    The surpluses consist ultimately of monopoly profits. Most of it is economic rent of land and the rest is intellectual property rights. There is no mystery. Read David Ricardo and Henry George for your explanation.

  3. Bruce E. Woych
    June 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Jamie Dimon And The Fall Of Nations
    Posted on May 31, 2012 by Simon Johnson | 76 Comments

    By Simon Johnson
    see comment stream too

  4. June 4, 2012 at 12:05 am

    I don’t understand the connection between your headline, where has thes urplus gone, and the data, 10 million times 250 is, by my math, 2.5 Bn, a pittance in the us economy

  5. June 4, 2012 at 1:32 am

    Funny how this trash got to be so “powerful” and “omnipotent.”
    Is Wech from GE still getting his “perks.”?” When does HE die off? OR is ther a clause that grants the “benies” to his skank wife?

  6. Alice
    June 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Lets forget about the Jamie Dimonds of the world who have simply no loinger have the soul to even recognise they should resign this position (a machine man for his financial organisation) and maybe just take a minute to review this you tube sent to me by my son – its pretty popular with the young!

    • davetaylor1
      June 4, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Yes, Alice. In particular I think it very important to remind soldiers of their humanity.

  7. Alice
    June 4, 2012 at 11:12 am

    and as the young might say “all the bad dudes who got into power” (democrat presidents and republican presidents not much difference at all – they all took us / continue to take us the wrong way)

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