Shareholders approved McDonald's (MCD) executives' pay plan at the company's annual meeting Thursday, as demonstrators outside the chain's corporate campus near Chicago protested for higher wages for the fast-food restaurant workers.
More than 100 demonstrators were arrested Wednesday. Varying estimates put the attendance at between 600 and 2,000. The activists, demanding a $15 an hour wage for fast-food workers and the right to unionize, have helped to generate a national debate over income inequality.
Joseph Blasi, a professor at Rutgers and co-author of The Citizen's Share, a book which French Economist Thomas Piketty recommends, has laid out a plan for "broad-based capitalism" to address the pay gap. He talks to The Daily Ticker about it in the interview above.
"What I'm proposing is that for a corporation to receive any business tax incentives, they would have to have a broad-based profit sharing or employee stock ownership plan," Blasi says. "Since most inequality is inequality in capital ownership and capital income, the solution is to broaden [both] -- have more capitalists."
From an economic perspective, Blasi says he has found a lot of evidence in 100 years of academic studies showing companies with profit sharing perform better (Cisco is one example). From a political perspective, he argues both sides of the aisle can get on board because the "founding fathers based their idea of America on broad-based property and capital ownership."
As for the minimum wage, Blasi says that should be raised because it would help several million workers at the bottom of economic ladder, but he thinks the fast-food strikes represent something bigger.
These kinds of strikes "have to do with a middle class eruption of protest against our approach to feudalism." Feudalism?! Yes. "That is where we're going," he believes. Check out the video to see why.
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