The Leader Guy
You’ve probably heard about the rampant inflation in Zimbabwe. Inflation is at some ridiculously percentage. Let’s say it’s 2,000%. Does it really matter if this figure is accurate? Anyway, there is about $250k being spent on President Mugabe’s 84th birthday party.
1. Ridiculous inflation
2. President has giant birthday party
You probably see what’s wrong with this picture. People are struggling, really struggling, to buy simple food staples in that country. Hell if it happened here, there would be investigations. On that note, something is finally happening on executive compensation, a few CEO’s and compensation committee heads from some bank companies are being called to testify before congress. Maybe it’ll be like the Clemens hearings, and we’ll have it turn into a partisan issue.
Why do humans continually tolerate this type of behavior? Why do we form groups in which the leader is granted perks above the rest of the group? Why is it that these perks are often disproportionately extravagant compared to the perks the rest of the group enjoys? A few examples:
Our President can fuck up royally, making poor decisions. The only consequence is losing the re-election. In the second term, there are no consequences. While some presidents have received intense scrutiny for more personal activities (Watergate, Lewinsky, Andrew Johnson for being southern) no president has been subject to oversight or post-presidential criminal charges. Of course this brings up the separate issue of: What are the penalties for a poor decision made in good faith? Further, is it even possible for a leader to continually make good decisions? Is it possible that you could take a monkey, lay the reasonable options on a table, and have the monkey pick one, and you either do or do not get quick FEMA aid to New Orleans?
Our business executives receive ridiculous compensation for arguably little more than shaking hands and attending meetings, and either diversifying or consolidating things. Buy another company, divest it a year later. Have layoffs followed by hiring. Embark on a new strategy of “cost-cutting” in which you shave employees salaries, plummeting morale but saving $1 million. Post signs that there will no longer be free coffee in the break room, to save money. Silly, stupid things, for which these people get large salaries. I’m not talking just CEO’s, I’m talking Presidents, Chairs, VP’s… and yet we envy these people. We want to be them. We all want to be the leader guy.
What would you do as leader? Could you resist the perks of the office? If they offered you a large salary, would you say no? What if a friend needed help? What if a brother/sister/son/daughter needed help or money? Would you say, no, I can’t give you money or hire you, that would be improper? Would you take your job seriously, take responsibility for being leader of the company/county/state/country? What if you were a senator? Would you spend Monday through Friday stressing over how to serve the people better? Or would you be at a nice restaurant having lunch with a lobbyist?
If you think that being made leader would also make you immune to your human failings you are very very wrong. Perhaps this is why we tolerate our leaders.
Or perhaps its something more primal. When one animal is dominant in a herd, do the other males fall in line? Or do they continue to wrestle for power? I believe the answer is that the usually accept the dominance of their leader. So perhaps its something we’re programmed to do, like eating. Don’t fight the leader.
Or perhaps we recognize that we need a leader, and… we like being oppressed. We accept and know that we are a lower class/caste, and we prefer to remain there. Perhaps amidst our grumbling and ranting, we know… I’m glad it isn’t me up there.
I’ll leave you with this last question: Take a respected leader. Probably its someone historical, right? Why is that? In the time that person was a leader, how many people really respected them? Find out, the answer might surprise you.