Whether someone earns a lot, very much or five times that of a very, very much, actually does not matter. As long as it reaches someone who deals with the money reasonably well. The social question is elsewhere.
Sahra Wagenknecht, a left-wing thinker with a growing talent for cross-wing populism, has most clearly formulated the criticism: "More and more people have to search for rubbish in the rubbish, in order to supplement their pension, despite 40 years of work." Daimler CEO Zetsche, however, collects 4200 Euro pension per day. Citizens should "stand up" against the "blatant injustice" and fight for a "social turn".
Since someone in the annual report of Daimler AG, the foreseeable pension payments of the local CEO sought out, it once again a justice issue flared up. There are actually good reasons why you can find such sums tasteless. But there are also good reasons for the payments in this case. And finally, the excitement over a few million is misleading: who complains of injustice in our society, should take other and others into view. Namely those excesses of the market economy and ownership structures that actually harm others.
First of all the conclusion: Dieter Zetsche has, as you can say after more than a decade, done a good job. He has made the carmaker, who in the years before especially by breakdown taxis and global megalomania in the headlines, the market leader. The target group likes the products, which are used by almost 300,000 people. The job of most is quite safe, because the company is doing well, because it has the technological changes in view, so help shape this future with the electrically powered robotic cars.
Shareholders reliably cut their returns – with Zetsche and his colleagues sometimes resisting the pressure for higher payouts. Good work that not everyone can afford. Many know the counter-example from their own environment: executives, who bribe by incompetence, lack of ideas and arrogance.
But can anyone – even if he brings high performance – earn millions each year, as an employee and later as a retiree? A benchmark would be the view on the "Manager to Worker Pay Ratio". It is calculated how many times a manager earns compared to a simple employee or worker. In 2017, Zetsche deserved as many as 171 Blaumann wearers. Incidentally, a panel of blue-and-white men could have a decisive say if it were such a problem: the unions and works councils, which also sit on the supervisory boards.
But even they can not say how much is too much. How difficult this question is to answer shows who is looking for concrete limits to salaries and pensions. Wagenknecht is almost the only one who expresses himself: At 20 times the limit should be. By the way, a few years ago, Zetsche once said to the salary: One million euros would be alright.
Excitement is not worth it
But self-moderation is not easy. One or the other board colleague would rebel, because from a moral point of view everyone should join in. Then come quickly the question that every normal earner knows: Will I get more elsewhere. To change that would require general rules, a clear code. As long as this is not there, you can hardly accuse the individual manager salary and pension. In the matter worth the excitement anyway: Whether someone earns a lot or five times of a lot is also no matter. As long as it reaches a capable person who deals fairly well with the money. A negative counterexample is the now retired board member of a Bavarian Dax Group. He bought a tenement in Munich-Schwabing, wanted to revitalize it, at the expense of the normal tenants.
This and the city administration prevented that, fortunately. This is exactly where the questions of justice begin, which are actually to be considered: What happens to so much money? Will the beneficiary use it constructively, or at least just for private pleasure – or, on the contrary, harm the weaker? It is not really relevant to the well-being of society how many millions a small elite gets transferred. The social issues over which excitement pays are off the pay scale, often starting where new money is not earned, not through work, but only on capital. For example, in the case of home ownership and the horrendous rents, which by the way not only collect Dax board members. Even if these structures are much more difficult to understand than the pension of a CEO.