In 1948, the McDonald brothers redesigned and remodelled their drive-in restaurant in San Bernardino, California. Taking inspiration from Henry Ford's assembly-line, they created the fast food revolution, with the quick service and low prices we now take for granted.
In that same year, the U.S. National Labor Relations Board ruled unions could include pension issues in contract negotiations. That ignited a massive expansion of pension plans.
In the 1950s, pension funds started buying stocks, rather than just bonds or their equivalents; in addition mutual funds came of age. With these two developments working, middle class people became owners of big business. At first, their stakes were modest, but steadily growing.
And in just a few decades, they gained controlling interests in many large corporations through their funds. Management guru Peter Drucker has called it, "...one of the most startling power shifts in economic history."
Now, working people reap the benefits of those investments, collecting much of the profit distributed by McDonald's and other big corporations.
Discover how the pieces fit together. In Big Macs & Our Pensions: Who Gets McDonald's Profits? you will:
* learn more about the McDonald's transformation and its implications for the future
* find out how McDonald's makes its profits (and it involves more than selling Quarter Pounders)
* meet some of the working people who get McDonald's profits through their pension and mutual funds
* hear accusations from critics of McDonald's wages, and learn who has the ultimate say on fast food wages (the answer may surprise you).
You may not be among the owners of McDonald's. But if you belong to any pension plan, or contribute to a mutual fund or whole life insurance policy, you likely own pieces of some big corporations.
More importantly, though, your retirement income will be bigger and grow more dependably than you would otherwise expect.