First the ICF London Summit News: our program is online. Remember that until you finish reading.
Depending on how you look at today (4 January 2018) there is good news, disturbing news or information that you can use to make up your mind what kind of news it is.
It is certainly good news if you are a CEO of a FTSE 100 company. Today is being called “Fat Cat Thursday” in and around London. According to the High Pay Centre, a British think tank, while pay for CEOs in Britain actually fell in 2017, each has already earned the gross annual salary of the average full-time employee in Britain. They will have earned £28,758 by late afternoon today. https://tinyurl.com/yc76wds5
Predictably the media and the public have reacted, as you can imagine, which seems to be the intention. Certainly, there are many signals sent about many things whenever a report like this appears. This one happens to be emanating from London, where our 2018 Summit will take place and where workforce and industry transition is particularly topical and acute.
When ICF arrives there on 4 June, you will meet CEOs, as well as mayors and leaders of communities, each of whom are trying to boost gross annual salary amounts in their own way. The private sector through risk, innovation and wealth creation. This is presumably bridged by the public sector, through the implementation of better community infrastructure, enlightened public policies, social development and the “humanization of data.”
But is there such a sustained disconnect between the two that any collaboration leading to a more equitable distribution of wealth will be met with hostility? Hostility perhaps followed by vague rhetoric and promises on both sides to “level the playing field” in a variety of ways, such as “humanizing data and the economy that it feeds”?
The phrase “humanizing data” means nothing to me or anyone serious about Intelligent Communities unless it is tied with passion to real issues and methodical attempts at municipal destiny-seizing. It is a bone-chilling hour. As we head into 2018, the impact of darker, fiercer human passions is felt everywhere. Some of it provoked by our sense that equality in the places we live is shredded. British trade unions cited today’s Fat Cat data as “obscene.” They noted that workers are suffering, in the words of Tim Roache of the GMB, “the longest pay squeeze since Napoleonic times.” Sound bites such as this flow like the Thames.
You hear versions of them embedded with hostility everywhere: “Fat cat bosses are getting salaries that look like telephone numbers.”
Or, “We need to make our (fill in the blank with the word: nation, city or industry) GREAT again.”
One thing is certain, legislation to restrict executive pay in Europe, America or Canada will meet the same fate as the 2013 Swiss referendum, which was called 1:12. The idea was that nobody should earn more in one month than another earns in one year – much less 96 hours into that year. But as much as we claim the rightness of the cause, 66% of Swiss people voted against it.
In London this June, we will continue our work to quietly sort this out from the only place we can: the base of our local businesses, educational systems and cities. We will have seven cities from around the world there representing policies, ideas and programs that level the playing field in new ways. Or try.
London Update: Program is Online
So, now, our news. The 2018 Summit Program is online and Early Bird registration is there waiting to save you money in a city that can be, as they say there, “dear.”
You will not find a discussion of Fat Cat Thursday on the June program.
However there are two sessions on 4 June, separated by lunch, which help dig through the equality item. The first is titled, “Opportunity and Employment in a Big Data World.” This is followed by a panel called, “Metro Mayors and the Quiet Revolution.” You will find a description of each here:
Among the things to consider in all of this is the impact that broadband (or a lack of it) have on the issue of incomes. Our recent “The Intelligent Community” podcast with one of the founders of Silicon Harlem, Clayton Banks, points out the changes which take place as broadband becomes more prevalent and “digital literacy” takes root. It might be worth listening as you make your reservation for London in June.