The Color of Money - The Carlos Ghosn Salary Controversary

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The controversies surrounding the remuneration of big business leaders have rebounded in the case of Carlos Ghosn. But would not these polemics respond to epidermal reactions in which History and human feelings mingle?

In addition to the various grievances against Carlos Ghosn, (current president of Renault and former president of Nissan) the case in the center of which the businessman is now mired has not failed to wake up the recurring controversy over the compensation of big business leaders.

Ironically, it was also revived by the resignation of Chantal Jouanno from her title of coordinator of the Commission for the Great National Debate wanted by President Macron, and that was when new debates over his future remuneration (14.666./$16,776USD gross / month).

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Having passed the facts mentioned above, it is not useless to look into the reasons that have aroused for so many years, in France in particular, such controversies over the remuneration of some of our fellow citizens. Several reasons could explain it.

Elite and Aversion

The History of France can thus appear as a first resort and especially that of the Ancien Régime. The kingdom of France which prevailed before the French Revolution was dominated by a social elite, the nobility of dress and sword, which drew its privileges in the first hours of the construction of the kingdom.

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Living globally in a financial and material ease that contrasted with the destitution or limited means of the Third Estate, this blind nobility did not anticipate the revolutionary upheaval of 1789 while giving France and its people a deep feeling on the one hand, and on the other hand against money as such.

And it is not wrong today to say that the French have a complicated relationship with money, a report made all the more complicated in a Judeo-Christian society such as ours in particular.

The money, then unconsciously brought back to the image of the Merchants of the Temple, those the same that Jesus accused of avarice and venality, then takes a guilty dimension which makes of the one who owns one a vile, devoid of humanity because kneaded by the taste of lucre. It's up to him to atone in one way or another.

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Another explanation, closer to us still, the scope of the Marxist dialectic via which money, factor of alienation of the individual and object of accumulation by the capitalistic elites, also works on the idea that money, used in a liberal logic, promotes social inequality.

As many audible and valid reasons that it will be up to everyone to judge or to judge but all participate, consciously or unconsciously, in the controversy bearing the remuneration of some. Nevertheless, the reasoning would not be complete if it did not refer to another feeling, all human, which also agitated the controversy.

Jealousy and Hypocrisy

Thus, given the level of remuneration of some, level that has experienced real inflation for several years now in the private sector in particular (entrepreneurs, high-level athletes, artists, ...), many argue the indecency of wages paid. " Too high ! Unjustified! Unnatural ! Some shout at the sums allocated. Certainly. But behind the pretext of indecency, which is supposed to denounce paid salaries, would there not be hidden a form of unconfessed jealousy and unhealthy hypocrisy?

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Jealousy because those who denounce today these amounts also paid according to criteria (skills, experiences, diplomas, ....) certainly questionable would they refuse these same wages if one were to pay them for their current activity?

Hypocrisy because by deliberately ignoring the fact that we live in a market economy where wages also meet the law of supply and demand, we deny an economic reality that we refuse to assume.

And to pretend to know that economic liberalism and capitalism generate social inequalities that we are always quick to denounce when we consider ourselves to be victims, we still reflect the image of a capricious and immature society.

Thus, it seems that the controversy and the debates on the wages paid to the heads of big companies, sportsmen or others do not really have sense because based on human feelings which naturally fall of the subjectivity and not of the objectivity which would then require a complex and extremely detailed analysis of the added value of each person's skills, experience and qualifications, as well as their place and role in the contemporary economic circuit.

An arduous task if any.


Bio: Olivier Longhi has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently Professor of History and Geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held various publishing positions, including head of agency and chief of publishing. Journalist, recognized blogger, editorialist and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, press and publishing consultant and communication consultant.



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