"Must Read" piece from The Financial Times (London)
By Francesco Guerrera in New York
In different times, the offer from the check-in attendant would have been accepted with alacrity. But in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, with an angry public, populist politicians and an aggressive press baying for a crackdown on Wall Street’s “excesses”, the senior banker paused for thought when he heard those usually welcome airline words: “Sir, you have been upgraded to first class. Please follow me.”
Finally replying, “I am fine in coach, thank you”, he gave up the better seat and opened another chink in the armour of beliefs and practices that corporate America had built and spread around the world over decades.
Once hailed as examples of an American dream that rewarded success with large pay cheques, lavish perks and popular admiration, executives and their companies have been caught in the grip of a storm that will revolutionise business. The deep freeze of capital markets, the implosion of financial groups and the resulting rise in governments’ sway over the private sector have called into question some of the foundations of Anglo-Saxon capitalism.
... read the rest in the Financial Times after the click.