Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Disturbing Wealth Secrets of the 1%

Economist Sam Wilkin wrote in Wealth Secrets of the 1% (Daily Mail):

...behind almost every great fortune, there lies what he calls a 'wealth secret'. This is a piece of knowledge or a technique that, while not exactly criminal, certainly skirts the customs of the time, and possibly the laws as well. All of them, he says, involve 'some sort of scheme for defeating the forces of market competition'. Many involve legal manoeuvrings or the exercising of political influence. Boldness and fearlessness are a given. Mild psychopathy probably helps, too. 
Private equity began in the 1980's as leveraged buyout organizations.  LBO's skirted customs, landing junk bond king Michael Milken in jail.  The 1980's saw the rise of Dr. Deming, Dr. Juran and Phillip Crosby.  Dr. Deming's theory focus on systems, variation, knowledge, psychology and their interaction is absent from corporate board rooms.  Dr. Deming cared about the human spirit and proposed win/win.

Corporate boards designed executive compensation programs where people at the top win, convenient as boards are interconnected groups of other corporate executives.  Management adopted the practices of Michael Milken, supplanting far worthier management theorists.  It's the age of Milken management where the top take all they can while they can.  The rest be damned. 

America's Red and Blue political teams cater to the .1%, which is largely represented by the PEU class.  Customs skirted, check.  Legal and financial manipulation (tax avoidance, management fees, dividend recaps), check.  Exercising of political influence on a bipartisan basis, check.  Boldness, fearlessness, psychopathy and the complete and total absence of guilt, check. 

The rich made their way to the top on the backs of others.  It's that simple.