Vince Cable has detailed plans to force businesses to halt "payouts for failure" in a keynote speech at the Liberal Democrat conference.
He called for government to promote growth, stabilise the problem with banks and to forge a sense of "solidarity" and an end to "appalling inequalities of income and wealth".
In a sombre address to a subdued audience, the Business Secretary warned of economic "dangers ahead" and said it was time to move towards a system of "responsible capitalism".
"We simply cannot have rogue institutions exposing taxpayers to the risk of exploding financial weapons of mass destruction."
His Department is planning to bring out a paper on ways to cut high pay.
And Cable decried politicians from the left and right wing who "believe government is Father Christmas."
"They draw up lists of tax cuts and giveaways and assume that Santa will pop down the chimney and leave presents under the tree. This is childish fantasy."
He told delegates growing business and banks were at odds - with banks exposing their assets.
"Banks operate like a man who either wears his trousers round his chest, stifling breathing, as now, or round his ankles, exposing his assets.
"We want their trousers tied round their middle: steady lending growth; particularly to productive British business, especially small scale enterprise. No more feast and famine in bank lending."
Cable promised that the coalition can "turn the economy around" despite the "difficult times ahead" as the cost of living soars.
See below for word clouds of the main speeches so far: