Monday, April 9, 2007


Mike the Mad Biologists raises an interesting contradiction in wages:

The chairman (currently Dr. Ben S. Bernanke) of the Federal Reserve makes $186,000/year while according to preliminary numbers from The Corporate Library as reported by the AFL-CIO, the average CEO of an S&P 500 company makes in compensation about $14.78 million/year. Interesting that the salary controlled by tax dollars is so deflated while those dictated by boards of directors is so inflated.

In 2005, if the minimum wage as of 1990 had gone up in value as much as CEO wages over the same period of time, it would have been $22.61 (adjusted for inflation). The average worker would have made $108,138/year instead of $28,315.

CEO compensation is dictated by the board of directors. Boards typically include many CEOs or former CEOs. If not CEOs, they typically are other executives or political figures. Sometimes academics make it as well. The Board of Directors of Apple are:
Bill Campbell, Chariman & former CEO of Intuit
Millard Drexler, Chairman & CEO of J. Crew
Albert Gore Jr, Former Senator/VP of the USA
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple
Arthur D. Levinson, PhD, Chairman & CEO of Genetech
Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO Google
Jerry York, Chairman, President & CEO of Harwinton Capital

The board of Time Warner is not much different. Nor Wal-Mart. Nor Coca-Cola.

And what does a post-doc start at? $37,000. With 7 years of experience? $51,036. (NRSA is usually used as the guideline for post-doctoral salaries in the basic biomedical sciences).

Is this really an efficient use of resources? People like to complain about governmental bureaucracy but what about the bureaucracy in the corporate world that is inflicted upon us? Ever try to get ahold of someone at the telephone company. Cable? And if they screw up on your bill, forget about it. Mind numbing waste of time and energy and resources. We pay more for less while those at the top make more and more. What a wonderful world.


Joolya said...

So depressing to have to work which could benefit humankind - more, I'd argue, than passing money from rich hand to richer hand - "for the love of science" in lieu of any sort of real monetary compensation.

PonderingFool said...

So true. Not to mention the type of people "for the love of science" draws-those who are not just passionate about science but passionate about science relative to other things in their lives (like family). Just keeps the system going as it selects for scientists who on average just don't understand the desire of those that want to start families before reaching their mid-30s.