Daily Archives: July 18, 2004


Kevin Drum looks for the cause of the large increase in compensation received by CEOs of large companies (undefined):

Is this the free market at work? That’s what I’m told. So I have a contest in mind: a prize for the least laughable explanation for why CEO pay has gone up 7x since 1980 based on supply and demand. At a minimum, winning entries should explain the following:
*Why the supply of CEOs has decreased.
*Why the demand for CEOs has increased.
*Why the elasticity of the CEO demand curve is apparently steeper than for any other commodity on the planet.
The comment thread to Kevin’s post will provide lively discussion about his questions and the apple and orange comparisons that led to them.
I do suggst that Kevin find some different economic advisors if he is being told that this is the free market at work. There has never been one of those in the US and currently the US economy is extensively, but not completely, directed by local, state and federal government law.
Certainly it appears that many CEOs are overcompensated compared to the average worker and some of these CEOs should probably be spending some time in jail like thieves of all income levels. However, Kevin would do better arguing from specific examples within specific industries than using incomplete and misleading generalizations.

TV Creativity

Kudos to Fox for pointing out the obvious:

NBC and ABC have accused Fox of stealing their ideas, and Fox has fired back, saying it’s just part of the game.
Lawrence Lessig suggests that this copycat activity will make for better shows:
Competition over derivatives only makes the derivatives better.
I suppose there is something to this argument. Especially when considering the starting points:
NBC won the rights to “The Contender,” a reality show about boxing. Two months later, Fox launched a similar show called “The Next Great Champ.”
ABC has a program called “Wife Swap,” in which two wives switch houses. Fox then launched a series called “Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy.”
And who can forget “Popstars” and “Making the Band,” which all came before the even-more successful “American Idol”?
Yes, the latter may have been superior to its precursors and some of you may like this stuff but I’m quite happy to have temptation so dramatically reduced by the fine quality of this material. It seems not that many years ago that I watched 2-3 shows every night (Saturday usually being the most difficult to find something interesting) and now its down to 2-3 shows per week and shrinking.
I must admit to a bit of prevarication here. Over the past two weeks I have spent a couple hours daily watching OLN’s somewhat flawed Tour de France coverage (of which, more in another post later this week).