There is disquiet in America as Occupy movements persist and income inequality remains at an all time high. The richest among us are viewed as exploitative, a view confirmed by Greg Smith, who recently resigned as a vice-president at Goldman Sachs while accusing the firm of baldly cheating its clients. Federal attempts to reign in exploitative practices on Wall Street, which took the form of the Dodd-Frank bill, have been gutted by industry lobbyists. Economist Robert Reich asks what can be done to restore America’s sense of fairness.
What’s the Big Idea?
Reich quotes the late Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis who said, “We can have huge wealth in the hands of a relatively few people or we can have a democracy. But we can’t have both.” In our day, some CEOs make 40 times what their employees earn and the top 1% of the wealthy control more resources than the bottom 150 million Americans. After World War II, social cohesion was so strong that companies behaved with social responsibility without needing to call it that. Today, many businesses profit at the expense of social cohesion, says Reich.