Smith was concerned with producers only, which is but one half of the whole, the other being consumers. Actually, except for the Automobile business where the figures used to be bigger, the breakdown is more like from 1 to 10% producers and their investors, and more than 97% consumers. Now I understand your point of view James, but try to understand mine. For the country as a whole it is better for the 97% to get the best deal possible, without ruining the 10% of producers. There are ways of assessing gouging, even when the price of a barrel of oil has been artificially inflated by the very people who are supposed to be producers to in excess of $70 a bbl.
It is equally true that different forms of shares have different values and returns and that these returns are at the judgement of the Company. Even in good times like those lately for Exxon, the shareholder will not receive 100% of the value due him. The Company keeps extra money for itself, and pays certain individuals extravagantly.
The $500,000 party thrown by one of the investment banking crowd to celebrate it's receiving a bailour, should in a world where all else is equal have resulted in the firing of the board and screams from stock-holders such as yourself, since it was your money they spent. In fact it was doubly your money they spent since it was money which might have figured into regrowth of the company, thereby creating dividends next year, but additionally, they were your tax dollars.
We are now talking in a realm where numbers appear so unreal, that perhaps $500,000 is chump change, but there are a lot of chumps who could survive on that change for 50 years or more.
Corporations have responsibilities to the people who work for them, to the people who invest in them, to the counties in which they are located, the states where their plant's are, and to the Federal Government. Each layer of that particular lamellar structure provides services and/or resources for the company, and has a right to expect some degree of compensation. Much of that compensation lies in the intricacies of the tax system. Taxation isn't an evil, it is an necessity in anything but a barter economy. It pays for Policemen, Firemen, the Army the Navy the Airforce and the Marine Corps. It pays a tiny portion of the salary of the woman or man who calculates the acreage owned by the company which goes into figuring out how much of the Police and Fire and Water and Sewerage and Road Maintenance and scores if not hundreds of other things that the company depends on the local, city, state or Federal system to maintain itself.
I'm not one of those who says that the Economic activity of a country should be a zero-sum game. But having watched golden hand shakes turned into handshakes that should properly be calculated in some mythological substance like mithril to really represent their worth, Having seen losing companies compensate their officers in millions year after declining year, surely you too see something is amiss.
And as is known even by CEO's and Governments there are two kinds of money. There's the money that you give to the rich which remains static, and there is the money that is put into infrastructure or even into welfare that goes around and around and around multiple times When I was a student at the end of the 60's the multiplier factor for corporate money was believed to be 2.45, while the multiplier for welfare was 20 something. If you're in an economy on its heels wavering, you want the biggest bang for each and every buck. I was deeply apalled to see that Tax Cuts have remained in the budget signed by Barack Obama, and have pushed out most of the infrastructure plans. Well tax cuts as the Bush years have proved so clearly do nothing for an economy but weaken it.