Dear Mr. Dimon et al.:
You, Gentlemen, are being portrayed in the press as virtual thieves, acting on the presumption that the property of the corporations you lead is your personal property and that you are at liberty to decide the purposes for which that property is used.
See for example, Bloomberg News of Aug. 19, 2019, which reported (at https://bloom.bg/2zmJF0E):
“Jamie Dimon and other leaders at some of the world’s largest companies said they plan to abandon the long-held view that shareholders’ interests should come first amid growing public discontent over income inequality and the burgeoning cost of health care and higher education.
“The purpose of a corporation is to serve all of its constituents, including employees, customers, investors and society at large, the Business Roundtable said Monday in a statement. Dimon, the chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., heads the group.” (See https://bloom.bg/2zmJF0E.)
As I stated elsewhere (http://bit.ly/2KTW2aJ), “It’s difficult to believe that so many CEOs know so little about economics that they don’t know that in a free market producing for the profit of their shareholders in and of itself implies producing for the benefit of everyone.”
What needs to be stressed here, however, is not the apparent ignorance of the Business Roundtable as it relates to economics but to MORALITY.
As a shareholder myself, both directly and through a variable annuity, I totally condemn the behavior reported on the part of you and your colleagues. I, and my fellow shareholders, are the owners of the property that we have turned over to you to manage for our benefit.
You are employed by us to serve our financial self-interests, not your personal pleasures, irrespective of the nature of those pleasures, whether loose women or such things as the furtherance of your concept of “social justice.”
For the sake of preserving your reputation as honest businessmen, rather than financial usurpers and outright thieves, I urge you all immediately to reaffirm your commitment to the fact that your job is to improve OUR financial well-being and nothing else.
And to pledge that not a dime of corporate funds will be spent in the pursuit of any personal value you may have that is not at the same time a clear means subservient to the enhancement of our financial well-being.
We very much desire that you directly share our financial self-interests by becoming shareowners yourselves, and we strive to make that possible by such things as providing you with generous stock options. In other words, we want you to be rich and welcome your becoming rich.
What we do not welcome and will not tolerate is your seizing our property to serve purposes other than the one you are employed to achieve, namely, our greater financial well-being.
George Reisman, Ph.D.
Pepperdine University Professor Emeritus of Economics.
Author: Capitalism: A Treatise on Economics and other titles (https://amzn.to/2NLvVVZ).
On Twitter @GGReisman