Even now, CEOs of private and public companies - and charities - are sometimes awarded very healthy bonuses while the organisations they lead lose money hand-over-fist.
In many respects, the impact of all this is felt most by younger people. Even where this is not the case, young adults believe that it is. Who can blame them?
From the time they emerged from secondary school, Millennials now aged between 20 and 35 years, have felt a growing expectation gap.
Raised by mainly Baby Boomer parents, these young adults had grown up with the digital economy and increasingly globalised industries and culture.
They were encouraged to believe that they could, like many - but certainly not all - of the previous generation, experience a higher standard of living than their parents.
This has proven not to be the case. Education costs have risen and students emerge from universities with sometimes substantial levels of debt. The average fees charged by English universities - Scottish schools don't levy tuition fees - are around £9000 per annum.
Despite the introduction of fees, young people still aspire to earn a degree. In 1980, just 68,000 people started a university course. Last autumn, that figure was around 500,000.
Do fees mean a higher quality of education? Not necessarily. Students in some schools have taken to rating lectures and general services online, using the viral power of the internet to demand greater value for money.
Millennials not only face tuition costs unknown to their parents, they also find it harder to save money for their future security.
This is especially true in the densely populated urban centres that form the core of today's information and innovation economies.
Home ownership is not even a pipe-dream for many of this cohort. Many will tell you that they don't really think about mortgages. Some resign themselves to staying locked into "generation rent".
As I well know, renting is not the end of the world. (In my humble opinion, more than a few gifted people of my fellow Boomers have traded the kind of risk that leads to fulfilment and meaningful achievement for a contract with their bank.)
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