The world’s elite came together high in the Swiss Alps last week for the annual Davos World Economic Forum. During the gathering's star-studded panels and soirées, the rich and powerful attendees paid nonstop lip service to solving our planet’s most pressing problems. But, as I wrote in Quartz, wealthy people should be going someplace else when they want to make change. They should be going back home, to their communities.

In this week’s newsletter, we hear about another annual party for the richest among us, the Super Bowl. Like Davos, the game — along with the protesters it’s bringing out — offers us still another reminder that investing in our local communities will always be a great first step to creating societies much more equitable and just.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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Invest in Our Lives over Their Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is headed to Minnesota’s Twin Cities on Sunday, and with it, analysts and officials promise, will come millions of tourist dollars. Questions linger about how much the game will actually bring in, but activists in Minnesota are fighting to bring the lion’s share of that take back to the community. Octavia Marberry, one member of that coalition, is working to direct the Super Bowl spotlight onto renters demanding safe and affordable housing. As she puts it, “it’d be nice if the Super Bowl would value our people over lining their pockets.” co-editor Negin Owliaei has more.
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A Lobbying Power Plays the Victimized Innocent
Google CEO Sundar Pichai unloaded at Davos last week. Don’t blame Google for corporations not paying their fair tax share, the mogul told the annual World Economic Forum. Blame governments for creating an unworkable tax system. Governments, Pichai exhorted, need “to actually solve these issues.” Google, Pichai didn’t mention, is doing plenty to push its own solutions. The company spent more on lobbying the U.S. government last year, new stats show, than any other corporation. Google lobbying, notes the Annenberg Innovation Lab’s Jonathan Taplin, even has American lawmakers working to block European regulators from declaring Google a monopoly. Pichai’s personal stake in all this? He pocketed $199.7 million from Google in 2016 compensation.
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A New Standard for Measuring Progress on Equity
Last week, on the eve of the annual Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland, an activist global charity released its own annual contribution to the global economic debate: an updated analysis of our planet’s grand divides in income and wealth. As usual, this year’s Oxfam analysis featured some incredibly vivid stats. Also as usual, Oxfam’s 2018 analysis includes a list of recommendations for helping the world become a more equal place. One recommendation stands out. co-editor Sam Pizzigati has the details.
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This week on

Jack Guy, Developers Turn Mexican Paradise into an Environmental Time Bomb. Activists blame corruption and greed for labor exploitation and ecological devastation in the Riviera Maya.

Phil Mattera, The Tax Bill Bonus Sham. If Corporate America really wanted to help their employees, they'd drop their opposition to unions and let workers bargain for real gains rather than handouts.

Elsewhere on the web:

Chuck Collins, Separate And Unequal, The Sun. Examining how wealth divides us.

Jeff Desjardins, What Assets Make Up Wealth? Visual Capitalist. Comparing the make-up of a billionaire’s wealth with what makes up net worth for average Americans.

Sintia Radu, Will Money Ever Bring You Happiness? US News & World Report. Why inequality matters so much to happiness: What others have influences how we feel about what we have.

Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Selling Airborne Opulence to the Upper Upper Upper Class, New York Times. A profile of the private-jet magnate who probably knows more billionaires personally than anyone alive.
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