They say you can't fool all of the people all of the time, but the wealthiest 0.5% seem to have managed to fool enough of the other 99.5% of the population into thinking that salaries in excess of £200k are justifiable on the grounds that 'the market has spoken' and that it is somehow possible for one person to be this productive and earn such ridiculous amounts.
The recent collapse of right-wing neo-liberal dogma has opened many eyes to the unjustifiable wages at the top. It now seems laughable to think that CEOs on these astronomical wages, that have driven us into such an economic mess, should now continue to get such largesse, yet still some argue that these very same people who have destroyed our economy are the ones we need to pay well to get us out of the mess we are in. Really? In what other sphere would an employer trust someone who has failed so spectacularly in his job to then put things right?
Why has the invisible hand of the market failed us? Maybe because, as Adam Smith knew well, the market can never be fair, because to do so, it would have to be perfect, and the first thing you learn in economics, though some on the right choose to ignore this inconvenient fact, is that perfect markets need perfect knowledge and perfect competition which needs an infinite number of competitors. This of course is impossible in the real world and the market is in fact full of imperfections and distortions and can only work well (and fairly) if properly regulated. This is why CEOs can manipulate pay structures and pay themselves such huge salaries - it has little, if anything to do with merit or worth, yet alone fairness. Democracy may be a direct challenge to the 'free' market, but the market can never be truly free anyway, it is just a convenient label for the rich to use to defend their unjust rewards.