Although we hear endless complaints about the overly rich compensation of our corporate elite, the front page of this morning’s New York Times Business Section provided a glowing portrait of an obvious exception to this pattern, namely Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman, whose 2010 compensation of $84.5 million had outranked that of every other corporate executive in America.
Although Dauman admits to having been an indifferent student in college and law school, the clearest objective proof of his blinding intellect was that at the tender age of just thirteen he had scored perfect double-800s on his SAT exams. I recently read Robert Klitgaard’s highly regarded Choosing Elites, and it contained a handy table developed by a Harvard researcher for converting between SAT scores and IQ. Applying this simple conversion and necessarily adjusting for age (as is required in all IQ calculations) puts young Dauman’s IQ score at well over 260, dozens of points higher than the highest ever recorded in human history. Obviously the compensation for such a prodigy of historic rank seems absurdly low by any standard.
Indeed, I can think of only two individuals whose intellects clearly burned a bit brighter. As was widely reported during the 1930s by Pravda, Joseph Stalin achieved the unique distinction of becoming the world’s greatest intellectual authority on a huge range of entirely disparate academic fields, including economics, genetics, philosophy, and linguistics.
And only slightly beneath him was the late and much lamented Elena Ceaucescu of Rumania. Despite having been an elementary school dropout, she was universally hailed by her husband’s Rumanian state press as having produced scientific discoveries worthy of at least three or four Nobel Prizes, failing to receive those awards only due to the obvious bias of the Swedish Academy.
With America’s most prestigious media organs performing such reliable and effective scrutiny of the claims made by the wealthy and the powerful, I feel certain that our economy and society will continue to florish just as greatly as did those of Stalin’s Russia and Ceaucescu’s Rumania.
The Man Who Would Be Redstone
Amy Chozick, The New York Times, September 22, 2012
[Addendum: Please note all my references are to the pre-1990 SATs, whose scores were substantially lower than those of today]