Letters to the Editor

(April 20, 2009)


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Swans, an Antidote to Barbarism? Gilles d'Aymery's The Dirty Little Financial Secret and Blips #84

To the Editor:

Your two articles in Swans of April 6 gave us even more valuable information than usual and I was pleased to see in Blips #84 your idea that a maximum wage should be implemented and the minimum wage abolished. It has always seemed to me ridiculous that while the pecuniary rewards of millions of public sector workers have always had a ceiling (and those of millions in the private sector are similarly restricted in fact if not in principle) the sky is the limit for company directors. Ah!, they say, but we are the wealth creators. And I say they have been getting away with such nonsense for far too long.

Then, Gilles, you audaciously suggest that the CEO of a company should be entitled to only 5 times the amount paid to the company's lowest paid employee, with more modest multipliers for the other tiers of management. Your figures here are a distinct improvement on ones you suggested in your Blips last November -- 15-20 times for a CEO, based on a comment by J.P. Morgan, who, we can assume, had already stashed away enough ill-gotten loot not to have to worry about any regulations. I believe a multiplier of 5 from bottom to top is more in line with what a philosopher of Ancient Greece suggested (Plato perhaps, but I can't find the reference).

Unfortunately, I think there is a much greater obstacle to achieving anything like such a regulation than the weakness you refer to. While means of production are privately owned and all the wealth that favours such ownership continues to undermine political democracy, there is simply no chance of approaching economic democracy in the way you suggest. The same obstacle will prevent meaningful and lasting tax reforms, though we should all welcome the data and sources you give on the changes in tax codes. And then you attack, quite rightly, lobbying, but say that's another issue. I am not at all sure that it is.

To change all this means to work towards "a new societal system that puts people first," as you admirably describe it. For me that has to be democratic socialism, but I don't mind if it is given another name like the Parecon of Michael Albert and his colleagues -- it will still get smeared by the corporate media whatever name you give it. It would, of course, have no relationship to the stupidly labelled "socialism" of the bank bailouts.

It seems certain that we either get such a new societal system or we descend into barbarism. I am rather pessimistic about the outcome, but while there are publications like Swans there is some hope.

With best wishes,

Charles Pearson
Cambridge, U.K. - April 15, 2009


Appréciation pour le coin français

Cher monsieur d'Aymery,

Merci beaucoup pour « le coin français ». Je me demande depuis un bon moment pourquoi je me suis donné la peine de faire une maîtrise en français...et maintenant j'ai la réponse ! Je vais faire suivre votre nouvelle rubrique à tous mes amis francophones. (Au fait, avez-vous l'intention de nous proposer également des textes d'auteurs situés à l'extérieur de l'Hexagone ?)

Bien à vous.

Barbara Quintiliano
Malvern, PA, USA - April 6, 2009

Gilles d'Aymery répond: Sans aucun doute, chère madame. Si vous avez des textes appropriés n'hésitez pas à me les envoyer.


Has Peter Byrne ever heard of the World War 3 Illustrated gang? Peter Byrne's I Am Che Guevara

To the Editor:

I am not a crabby fellow but your Peter Byrne is so ignorant about nonfiction comics (with the appearance of the Studs Terkel adaptation in May, I will be at #10) that he should either read more seriously into form and content, or confine himself to film. What in the world does he think Alison Bechdel or Ben Katchor or the whole World War 3 Illustrated gang (for 30 years in their case!) have been doing?!?

Paul Buhle
Madison, Wisconsin, USA - April 6, 2009


The Reality no one Wants to Address

To the Editor:

Please thank Gilles d'Aymery for writing "The Dirty Little Financial Secret."

I greatly appreciate it.


Ken Stremsky
Global Thinking Expanded
Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - April 17, 2009


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Published April 20, 2009
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