Extreme inequality is a fact of the modern world. Among the various components of inequality is the reality of vast pay differentials. Top executives are paid hundreds of times more than many of the other people working in those same companies. One of the main justifications for the current and seemingly exorbitant rates of executive pay is simply the competition of the market.
If a company doesn’t pay the going price to employ a competent chief executive, that person will be snatched up by a different company that will. Along these lines, many have argued for government intervention. But in the end, few have been able to put a finger on exactly how we should determine what a fair wage is. In order to avoid crafting temporary solutions to superficial problems (e.g. ‘the ideal pay differential should be X to Y’), it seems prudent to step back and consider some deeper, more permanent issues. In a sense, it may be helpful to partially re-frame the conversation.