Should CEOs Set Their Own Salaries?

The editorial "Executive Pay and Civic Culture," Jan. 14, states that "from an economic standpoint, gripes about executive pay may be unmerited. The market in CEO compensation works imperfectly, but it works."

The author is mistaken: the market in CEO compensation is an example of market failure. The buyer of CEO sevices, the corporation's board of directors, has neither the means nor the incentive to limit the salaries paid to CEOs. Especially since the board is often chaired by the CEO.

The stockholders should be required to approve the compensation of the CEO. If the stockholders could vote on whether to approve or disapprove the pay level for the CEO, then you could say that the market for CEOs works. As things stand now, the CEO has personal control over the pay level he or she receives. Theodore A. Wohlfarth, St. Louis

Recommended: 11 quotes from difference makers

The editorial says "for business, social, and moral reasons CEOs should voluntarily moderate their compensation." No one voluntarily gives up money or power; that's a lesson from history and why democratic governments have to have a check and balance system.

Business groups are always complaining about environmental restrictions and other limits imposed on them, but in many ways it's their own fault. How can stockholders control an out-of-line executive as long as the profits roll in?

As for morality, how about executives who lay off thousands and then vote themselves raises? That's not immoral - it's amoral. Boyd Collins, Arcadia, Calif. Redirecting space dollars

The article "New US Space Center Boss Shoots for the Moon," Jan. 21, indicates that Robert Crippen, director of the Kennedy Space Center, plans eight shuttle launches for 1992.

It is not that I am uninterested in space exploration, but when I walk the streets of any large city, I can't help thinking how many homeless and hungry people could be helped by our not going to the moon. Margaret P. Kelley, Nantucket, Mass. Gandhi's influences

In the article "Fervent 19th-Century Reformer," Jan. 21, a review of the book "Ahead of Her Time: Abby Kelley and the Politics of Antislavery," the author says that William Lloyd Garrison's 1838 doctrine of "nonresistance" influenced Mahatma Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi was very much influenced by the women bhakta poets of "old" India; in particular, he drew upon the life of Meerabai (c. 1498-1565) as his strength. Even today, Meerabai is a symbol of nonresistance, nonviolence, and hope. She is one of the few saints of secular India, revered by people of all religious faiths. Umesh Thakkar, Columbus, Ohio

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