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: