Ugly injustices are tarnishing the beautiful game.
On Thursday, people around the world will turn their gaze to Russia – itself one of the world’s most unequal major economies – for the start of the World Cup. But the tournament doesn’t just showcase the beautiful game. The spectacle perfectly encapsulates some of our most glaring global inequities, beginning with the wildly varying valuations of the competing national teams.

France’s roster, for instance, carries a value of about $1.3 billion, 115 times more than the market value of Panama’s group of players.

We have more this week on the inequalities that surround the world’s favorite sport. We also take a look at the motivations behind wage theft and a couple of mind-boggling numbers related to the super rich and how they prefer to get from one place to another.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies team
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BlackHer Raises Political Profiles of Black Women
In recent years, black women have proven to be the most active voting demographic in the United States. But that engagement still hasn’t translated into equitable representation. Only 19 African-American women currently serve in Congress, a paltry 3.5 percent of both chambers. Black women are ramping up their efforts this year to increase their political representation. The online platform BlackHer is helping lead this movement, providing resources and highlighting the chorus of African American women working to recalculate the nation’ electoral math and reinvent America’s deeply unequal economic systems. co-editor Jessicah Pierre has more.
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A Coffee Bean Baron Rushes to Our Rescue
Billionaire Howard Schultz, the former CEO of the Starbucks coffee empire, has just announced he’s stepping down as the company’s chairman. Political insiders think that move means that Schultz just may be planning to make a bid for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential nomination. The day after the announcement, in a CNBC interview, Schultz not so subtly hinted that he’d be running to oppose progressive proposals on single-payer health care, job guarantees, and the like. Pronounced the coffee king: “It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left. I say to myself, how are we going to pay for these things?” Maybe we could start by raising taxes on billionaires like Howard Schultz.
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Wage Theft: To Fight the Crime, Attack the Motive
The U.S. economy rests ultimately on trust, a mutual understanding between employers and employees that each side, in the end, will behave honorably. A fair day’s wage, as the classic formulation puts it, for a fair day’s work. This covenant gets broken, of course, on a regular basis. The most damaging betrayals? They come when employees put in that fair day’s work and don’t get paid a full fair day’s pay. Labor market analysts today have come to call these betrayals “wage theft,” and this thievery is thriving. We need to better understand, co-editor Sam Pizzigati notes, both how and why.
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This week on 

Brian Wakamo, Inequality is the Undercurrent at FIFA’s World Cup. A toxic combination of exploitation, corruption, and greed are at play in soccer’s governing body.

Mathilde Dorcadie, New Index Shows Rising Influence of Giant Firms in Repressive Labor Policies. The International Trade Union Confederation points to the excessive power of Amazon, Samsung, and other global firms as one factor in rising violations of worker rights.

Bob Lord, An Exclusive Club for the Super Rich Becomes Even More Exclusive. Will we live to see a personal fortune worth $1 trillion? We’re rolling relentlessly to that ignoble day.

Josh Hoxie, Back When College Was Debt-Free. America’s largest state once offered residents a world-class, debt-free college education. It could again, and so could your state.

Phil Mattera, Grand Theft Paycheck. Walmart, FedEx, Bank of America, and Wells Fargo are among the large U.S. corporations stealing the most from their workers.

Chuck Collins, Parody Video: A Monument to Excess Rising in Boston’s Back Bay. The City of Boston, when it should be working vigorously to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is allowing housing for the superrich that locks the city into new fossil fuel infrastructure.

Elsewhere on the web 

Sam Pizzigati, The Case for the Maximum Wage, Classism Exposed. For classist put-downs, an income cap just may be the ultimate antidote.

Power is money, The Economist. A leading global business magazine calls for more union power, explaining that “wage inequality tends to rise as the share of workers who are members of unions declines.”

Jessica McCrory Calarco, Why Rich Kids Are So Good at the Marshmallow Test, The Atlantic. Affluence — not willpower — seems to be what’s behind some kids’ capacity to delay gratification.

David Cole, Artificial Persons, The Nation. A new book reminds us that the problem with Citizens United remains the U.S. Supreme Court's inability to recognize how concentrated wealth distorts democracy.

David Rosenberg, Israel is a magnet for the world’s moneybags, and we need to stop it, Haaretz. An 11-year-old law that helps the super rich dodge taxes has the ultra high net worth crowd rushing in.
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The Case for a Maximum Wage!
Modern societies set limits on everything from how fast motorists can drive to how many ducks hunters can shoot. But we don’t limit incomes. Should we? Would limiting income address the inequality that ails us more effectively than conventional approaches to narrowing our vast economic divides? Could a cap on income — a “maximum wage” — ever become politically practical?

All these questions deeply matter. That some people are making far too much has become not just a problem. This inequality has become the problem, a social cancer that’s coarsening our cultures, distorting our democracies, and even limiting how long we live.

This is a cancer we can conquer. Egalitarians worldwide, Sam Pizzigati details in The Case for a Maximum Wage, are exploring promising new approaches to capping income. They’re leveraging the power of the public purse, fighting to deny government contracts, subsidies, and tax breaks to enterprises that pay their top executives more in a morning than their workers can earn in a year — or even a career.

These grassroots struggles point us toward a grander goal: a world with income ceilings set as a multiple of income floors. A world without the super rich. A better world for us all. readers who pre-order before June 30 can get 50 percent off the cover price. Just use promo code PIZMW.