Here’s something to listen to with your morning coffee; it’s a lecture on co-operatives, with Q&A following, by Gar Alperowitz at the New Economy Summit in Boone, NC, in April of this year. I like the title, because the agency in “What Then Must We Do” is explicit, in contrast (intentional or not) to [Anglophone usage of] Lenin’s famous “What Is To Be Done” (sez who?) where lack of agency signals the Bolshevik’s intent to tell people what was to be done. We know how that movie ended; there were a lot of movies that ended that way in the 20th Century. The video:
I’m sure some readers will protest that comparing Jamie Dimon to Lance Armstrong is unfair. After all, Dimon is better looking than Armstrong. But this post will demonstrate that the big reason that Armstong’s reputation has crashed while Dimon’s remains largely intact is first, that bank CEOs have a powerful and largely compliant messaging apparatus in the financial media and second, that we hold sports stars to much higher standards than titans of finance and commerce.
When union members demand decent pay levels and work conditions, they are charged with featherbedding and overmanning or the new neoliberal catchall, “demanding uncompetitive wages”. But when the upper crust loots institutions, the mainstream media is typically missing in action.
…what’s at stake in the corporate governance of a too-big-to-fail bank like JPMorgan Chase is not just the share price, but also the public fisc. There is a strong federal regulatory interest in having good governance at too-big-to-fail banks because of our explicit (FDIC) and implicit (bailout) insurance of too-big-to-fail banks.
There’s a surprising degree of blogosphere acceptance of JP Morgan’s messaging on the shareholder vote today regarding whether to split the CEO and Chairman roles, that this result was a vote of confidence in his prowess as CEO. Huh?
We’ve been poking at Walmart of late because the Bentonville giant appears to have feet of clay. It has been pursuing its relentless cost-cutting strategy to the point where it is damaging its franchise. Bloomberg (and later, the New York Times) described how the retailer had cut headcount to the point where it was having difficulty keeping shelves stocked and checkout lines to a tolerable length. Proving the validity of the Bloomberg account, over 1000 Walmart customers e-mailed the news service, describing their crummy experiences.
But Walmart may have started going off the rails even earlier than the counterproductive staffing cuts suggest.
By Ian Fraser, a financial journalist who blogs at his web site and at qfinance. His Twitter is @ian_fraser. [An edited version of this article was published on pages 34-35 of the Sunday Herald on February 10th, 2013].
It has been described as the biggest banking felony in history … yet no-one has been prosecuted for the Libor fixing scandal. Ian Fraser looks at the RBS sacrificial lambs.
During Royal Bank of Scotland’s IT meltdown last summer, chief executive Stephen Hester referred to the risk “that you turn over rocks and find new things [that you have to clean up].” Last Wednesday, nearly five years on from the £45.5 billion taxpayer funded rescue of the Edinburgh based lender, a vast rock was hoisted aloft by three regulators. What lurked underneath was not a pleasant sight.
Police are (still) poised to press charges against several HBOS bankers and consultants after a two-year investigation into large-scale fraud, money laundering and corruption involving the Edinburgh-based bank.
By William Lazonick, professor of economics and director of the UMass Center for Industrial Competitiveness. He cofounded and is president of the Academic-Industry Research Network. His book, “Sustainable Prosperity in the New Economy? Business Organization and High-Tech Employment in the United States” (Upjohn Institute, 2009) won the 2010 Schumpeter Prize. Cross posted from Alternet
Americans are understandably upset about profits without prosperity. Corporate executives seem to be the big winners, while the middle class is declining and young people face a bleak economic future. How did this happen? It's easy to blame technology, especially the automation that supposedly displaces workers. But that's not the real story. The fact is that automation creates jobs. It's the misuse of corporate profits that are destroying them.
Citi is a particularly blatant example of a way of operating that has become endemic in American business: when things get tough, throw as many employees as possible under the bus, and use that to maintain or even increase the pay of the top echelon.