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工作都到哪去了?去找公司的股东吧

按照股东资本主义的说法,美国劳动力已经成为了一种累赘,也就是一种需要控制的成本,而不是资产。

 
疲惫的员工坐在办公室的笔记本前加班。图片来源:Luis Alvarez—Getty Images

抢美国人饭碗的并非是机器人,也不是移民以及将生产搬到海外的狠心首席执行官,而是股东。

按照股东资本主义的说法,美国劳动力已经成为了一种累赘,也就是一种需要控制的成本,而不是资产。同时,员工福祉的下降是一种简单的外部效应,应该从报表中拿掉,没有必要重视。

为了帮助美国员工和股东,我们建议资产经理和所有者应采用“利益相关方资本主义”理念,并以此取代“股东至上”原则,同时投资制定能够实现公平就业的积极策略,从而帮助员工重新获得企业决策话语权。

要做到这一点,可以从以下几个方面着手:

支持企业采用多利益相关方构架

投资者可以通过三种方式来实现从股东资本主义向利益相关方资本主义的转变。第一种方式是“员工所有”模式。该模式在欧洲已经成功运行了很长一段时间,诸多欧洲公司的管理都是以利益相关方的长期利益为出发点。这些公司的做法是:给予员工有关重大问题的信任否决权;将股东传统权力分配给广泛的利益相关方。治理权被分配给那些与公司运营和目标(股东、员工、客户和供应商)相关的各个方面,而资本成本之外的利润则用于推动公司目标的实现。

第二种方式是美国设立的新企业法律实体——公益企业,其目标是实现利益相关方利益的最大化,其中包括股东的利益。这类形式的出现为持有这一目标的企业提供了法律依据。主流上市公司对公益企业的采纳十分缓慢,因此在今年8月,参议员伊丽莎白·沃伦提出了《负责任资本主义法案》。为此,她在《华尔街日报》的专栏上总结道:“《负责任资本主义法案》希望重塑的理念在于,大型美国公司应该关注美国公民的利益。”

第三种方式是支持雇员所有制企业。当前的美国税法提倡通过赋税优惠,推行雇员股票所有制计划。雇员所有制可以增强工作安全感和应对突发事件的韧性,同时能够为员工提供更高的平均薪资以及企业发展红利。研究表明,广泛的雇员所有制能够提升公司的生产效率,减少员工流失率。

取消高管薪酬与股价之间的关联

公司应鼓励高管在创造财务业绩之余为员工和社会创造价值。沃伦在专栏中提到了这一点:“……高管们把股东回报放在首位,而且能够因此获得可观的金钱奖励。在1980年前,大公司的高管很少有股票薪酬。如今,它的比例达到了其薪酬额的62%。很多高管因其对短期股价上升所做的贡献而获得了更多的股份。这种反馈式循环也成就了首席执行官的天价薪酬。”

投资者可以通过以下方式来推动高管薪酬机制的改变:股东建议;与管理层沟通;用以往的薪酬政策来降低公司价值;不要寄希望通过回购的效力来影响高管薪酬。

投资将员工放在首位的公司

首先,美国人可以投资社会责任型上市公司。美国大市值多元化公平企业指数(JULCD)源于一项对美国公民的调查,主题涉及什么样的公司才是“公平”公司。该调查发现,大多数受调对象关注的是劳动力公平对待问题。Just Capital发现,入选公平企业指数的公司在2016年11月至2018年1月之间的累计投资回报比罗素1000指数公司高出3个百分点。

第二,投资者可以将其资产组合撤出对冲基金,这些对冲基金会迫使公司通过回购或短线财富运作来压榨现金。全美经济研究所发布的研究显示,对冲基金目标公司的员工发现,即便公司的劳动生产率有所上升,但他们的薪酬却没有什么变化,而且这些改善所创造的财富基本都落入了投资者的腰包。

第三,资产所有者可以考虑私人债务基金,后者可以帮助其资产组合公司打造高质量的岗位。例如,夹层债务基金HCAP会投资那些以打造高质量工作岗位为首要任务的公司,并在整个投资周期提供支持,以改善其薪资、福利、晋升机会,以及利润和所有权分享。

第四,投资者可以支持为高质量工作岗位提供资助的社区发展融资机构(Community Development Finance Institutions)。其中的一家机构Coastal Enterprises与雇主开展合作,把改善工作岗位和生活质量作为一项竞争优势,并表彰那些支持高质量就业的被投资雇主。

投资界已经以股东的名义对美国民众造成了广泛的伤害,而这些股东中的大多数都是被动投资者,他们对投资界的上述行径一无所知,所有者和管理商必须予以反击,并支持那些对员工投资的公司。这一举措必然将为投资者和社会带来更好的回报。(财富中文网)

安德鲁·阿曼尼是Transform Finance公司的联合创始人兼执行董事。该公司是一家非盈利性质的场馆建设机构,致力于在资本和社会公正之间寻求平衡点。滕西·卫兰是纽约大学斯特恩商学院可持续发展业务中心的主任,她还担任商业和社会专业的实习教授。本评论节选自发布于纽约大学网站的一篇文章,并获得了福特基金会(Ford Foundation)的许可。

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

It’s not the robots that are coming for American jobs. It’s not the immigrants. It’s not evil offshoring CEOs either. It’s the shareholders.

Under shareholder capitalism, the U.S. labor force has become a liability—a cost to be contained—rather than an asset, and the decrease in worker well-being is a simple externality to be placed off books and ignored.

To help American workers and shareholders, we suggest asset managers and owners move to reject shareholder primacy and embrace stakeholder capitalism, invest in positive approaches to quality employment, and help workers regain a voice in corporate decision-making.

Here’s how we can get started:

Support multi-stakeholder corporations

There are three potential ways for investors to help effect the shareholder-to-stakeholder capitalism transition. The first is the steward ownership model, which builds on a distinguished history of European companies being managed for the long-term benefit of stakeholders. These companies accomplish this by assigning to a trust veto rights over fundamental issues and by distributing shareholders’ traditional rights among a broader range of stakeholders. Governance is distributed among those connected to the operation and its mission (shareholders, workers, customers, and suppliers) and profits above the cost of capital are deployed to advance the company’s mission.

Second is a new corporate legal entity developed in the U.S., the benefit corporation, which provides legal standing for a corporation that seeks to maximize benefit for stakeholders in addition to shareholders. Adoption of benefit corporation status among major public companies has been slow, so in August, Sen. Elizabeth Warren introduced the Accountable Capitalism Act, which she summarized in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: “The Accountable Capitalism Act restores the idea that giant American corporations should look out for American interests.”

A third approach is to support employee-owned companies. Current U.S. tax law encourages Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP) through tax benefits. Employee ownership can promote job security and resilience to shocks while giving workers higher average wages and a stake in the upside of their businesses. And research shows that broad-based employee ownership increases firm productivity and decreases turnover.

Decouple executive compensation from stock price

Executives should be incentivized to produce value for employees and society in addition to financial returns. Warren’s editorial makes the point: “…executives have a strong financial incentive to prioritize shareholder returns. Before 1980, top CEOs were rarely compensated in equity. Today it accounts for 62% of their pay. Many executives receive additional company shares as a reward for producing short-term share-price increases. This feedback loop has sent CEO pay skyrocketing.”

Investors can support changing executive compensation norms through shareholder proposals, engaging with management, and devaluing companies with outmoded compensation policies, as well as not considering the effect of buybacks when influencing executive compensation.

Invest in companies that prioritize employees

First, Americans can invest in socially responsible publicly traded companies. The JUST U.S. Large Cap Diversified Index (JULCD) categories were developed through surveying American citizens on what makes a company “just”—and found they were most focused on a just approach to labor. Just Capital found that the cumulative investment returns for JUST companies outperformed the Russell 1000 by three points between November 2016 and January 2018.

Second, investors can reallocate their portfolios away from hedge funds that pressure companies to disgorge cash through buybacks or that otherwise rely on short-term wealth extraction. According to research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, workers at hedge fund-targeted firms do not see their compensation increase after the company achieves higher labor productivity; wealth created by the improvements is captured almost solely by investors.

Third, asset owners may consider private debt funds that support their portfolio companies in creating quality jobs. For example, the mezzanine debt fund HCAP invests in companies that prioritize quality jobs and supports them throughout the life of the investment to improve wages, benefits, opportunities for advancement, and profit and ownership sharing.

Fourth, investors can support Community Development Finance Institutions, which finance quality jobs. One such institution, Coastal Enterprises, works with employers to improve job quality and livelihoods as a competitive advantage and highlights investee employers that are champions of quality employment.

Extensive damage is being done to our country in the name of shareholders, most of whom are passive investors who have no idea what is being done in their names. Asset owners and managers must fight back and support companies that are investing in their workforce. That will ensure better returns for investors and for society.

Andrea Armeni is the co-founder and executive director of Transform Finance, a field-building non-profit organization working at the intersection of capital and social justice. Tensie Whelan is the director of NYU Stern School of Business’s Center for Sustainable Business, where she also serves as a clinical professor for business and society. This commentary is adapted from an article published on NYU’s website, and was made possible by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

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