Thursday, November 20, 2008

More Shame

With all the layoffs and bankruptcies going on, coupled with what seems to be a bottomless pit of incompetent CEOs who are still making millions, and a $750 billion bailout package that doesn't appear to be working, what's our next step?

Hamilton Nolan, writing at Gawker, has a good suggestion. We need more shame.

In Japan, CEOs take shame seriously. They're expected to work late, dedicate their entire lives to the good of a company, and try to ensure that they don't work their employees to the point of suicide. And when Japanese CEOs make mistakes, they're expected to make a big show of tearily flogging themselves in public (figuratively). But here in America? CEOs get to screw up as bad as they want and walk away with millions, with nary a tear nor a nice tip to the bellhop on the way out the door.

Nolan surmises that CEOs in America are more than willing to trade a pile of sweet, sweet cash for public scorn any old day, and he's right. I'm guessing most of us would, too. In the past the media has written stories about the salary packages, golden parachutes, and ludicrous perks, and the execs have laughed all the way to the bank.

Our only remaining option is public shaming, the type that's involuntary and dreaded. Maybe even throw some rotten fruit at them. Let dogs pee on their shoes. Whatever it takes.

Let's start a grassroots effort here. It might not work, but it would be a good outlet for our frustration.

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