Challenge for Europe

If some salaried workers and directors have come to receive excessive compensation, it is due in no small part to their negotiation skills. Moreover, directors of firms often sit on the board of directors of other corporations: salaries are determined within this small circle without giving decision-making power to any of the other stakeholders in the firm, whether these be salaried employees or even investment stakeholders.

Europe distinguishes itself from the rest of the world through its capacity to reconcile economic efficiency with social justice. Social justice includes numerous elements including the fight against poverty, equality of opportunity in access to employment, and social assistance, as well as access to basic services like education, health, and progressive taxation. At the European level, these demands struggle to be implemented concretely due to divergences among national models and differences in levels of development among European countries.

Our proposition

An essential element of social justice is overcoming inequalities. No economic or philosophical reason justifies the current wage gap. One manner of giving content to the idea of Social Europe would be to create a maximum wage in Europe. In the past, Henry Ford proposed that the salary of a director should not be more than 40 times higher than that of the worker. This gives one idea of the type of limit that we could establish today.

Unfortunately, under the current framework of European treaties, the European Union does not have the competence to deal with questions about wages. It is therefore not possible to adopt a European directive setting a new maximum wage in Europe today. However, a vote in the European Parliament in this direction could push the European Union closer to dealing this question.

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