In the second of a two-part series, Alvin Hall explores the rise in corporate pay and bonus culture.
In the week that both Barclays and HSBC celebrated 6 month profits of £3bn each, it was the announcement that top performers would be receiving bonuses that grabbed much of the attention.
Headlines declared the "bad old days of banking" were back.
This follows an announcement made earlier in the year by the American firm Goldman Sachs, which has pledged to pay its staff record annual rewards this year.
But recession or no recession, how vital is it to the future success of a company to continue to reward the people who generate the most profit?
What are the consequences for those who dare to put the brakes on paying staff bonuses?
And are we ever likely to return to the days of more modest remuneration?
Alvin is joined by:
Sir Brian Pitman, former chairman of Lloyds Bank
John S. Reed, former chief executive of Citigroup and former Chairman of the NYSE
Sir Richard Greenbury, former chairman and chief executive of Marks and Spencer
Peter Montagnon, director of investment affairs, Association of British Insurers
Gustavo Dolfino, president of the White Rock Group
The programme is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday, 8 August at 1204 BST and repeated on Wednesday, 12 August at 1502 BST.