“A chasm between the discourse of the elites on responsible capitalism and their feudal practices”

Grandstand. Asked on BFM-TV about the 66 million euros in remuneration of the CEO of the car manufacturer Stellantis, Carlos Tavares, the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, considered that Stellantis is a private company and that“in the end, it is the shareholders who decide and who vote” [le 13 avril].

In vain he then explained that the government wishes to promote a better sharing of value with employees in companies that pay large dividends, the President of the Republic in vain rectified the next day, by declaring at the microphone of France Info that he judged this amount “excessive and shocking »his spokesperson thus made an admission of impotence, which was confirmed in the facts: the State shareholder voted against the remuneration, but the CEO overrode it by relying on the majority vote of his board of directors. ‘administration.

Accounts and responsibilities

Thus we have a new example of the chasm between the discourses of the elites on responsible capitalism and their feudal practices in big business.

Because, really, can we consider that in the XXIand century, a company, as in the time of the economist Adam Smith (1723-1790) and the great entrepreneurs who took considerable risks to finance the great discoveries, owes accounts only to its shareholders? Should we also consider that the shareholders are the owners of the company, or only of their shares and their shares?

Read also: Stellantis: Indecent pay undermines the social contract

In an economy made up of ever larger companies with ever more gigantic stakes, doesn’t a company have to render accounts and responsibilities towards its employees, its customers, its suppliers, without forgetting the public authorities? Clearly yes, and society increasingly recognizes this with the rise of environmental and social responsibility (CSR) practices, environmental, social and governance (ESG) assessment criteria and the Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs) of the UN, with which companies are enjoined to align themselves.

Isn’t the logical consequence of this responsibility to recognize that all of a company’s stakeholders are impacted by its activity, and that the most impacted among them – employees, customers, subcontractors, public authorities – should have a right to consultation and/or decision in the same way as shareholders, whether or not they hold shares?

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