We have more this week on elites who hope to hide how they’ve been concentrating America’s resources. And we also cover a campaign that’s going international to fight wealth concentration all across the globe.
Here’s a stat for celebrating this year’s May 1 International Workers’ Day: 485,000 U.S. workers went on strike in 2018, more than any year since the 1980s. In a real sense, these workers were striking against inequality.

We saw striking teachers last year demanding higher taxes on the rich to underwrite adequate funding for public schools. We saw AT&T employees insisting the company share its tax cut windfall. American workers know their labor creates ample wealth. They want that wealth spread around.

We have more this week on elites who hope to hide how they’ve been concentrating America’s resources. And we also cover a campaign that’s going international to fight wealth concentration all across the globe.

Chuck Collins, for the Institute for Policy Studies Inequality.org team
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Fighting for Global Justice at the Grassroots
Many of the biggest problems we face — everything from a race to the bottom in wages and surging far-right nationalism to climate change — have no borders. To tackle them at the source, our response must transcend borders, too. Fortunately, a new campaign is forging coalitions across the world, offering up a bold agenda to tackle the inequality at the heart of the global economy. Inequality.org co-editor Negin Owliaei has more on the activists with Justice is Global and the unified international grassroots movement they’re building.
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Can a Harvard MBA Really Rate as an Oligarch?
Do you have to be a passport-carrying Russian to be considered an oligarch? The billionaire Len Blavatnik apparently thinks so. Blavatnik, now both a U.S. and a U.K. citizen, “bristles at being called an oligarch,” Bloomberg reported last week, and finds the term “highly offensive.” But Blavatnik’s career neatly checks off all the oligarch boxes. The 61-year-old first hit the jackpot buying up newly privatized aluminum plants after the break-up of the Soviet Union, then parlayed his new-found cash and Harvard MBA into a global media empire. Blavatnik certainly also lives like an oligarch, with mansions in London and the French Riviera on top of $275-million worth of real estate in Manhattan. And Blavatnik loves to dabble in politics, too. Since 1996, he’s donated millions to U.S. pols and party committees. His biggest political play: a $1 million donation to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee.
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Can We Now, the Rich Ask, Change the Subject?
The United States these days is essentially working only for the rich, and appreciable numbers of Americans no longer just wonder why. They’re demanding checks on America’s grand private fortunes and the behaviors that keep these fortunes so pumped up. All this has today’s rich worrying. Really worrying. The survival of the system that’s made them rich, the more strategic among the three-comma crowd have come to believe, now requires a new national consensus that recognizes how deeply entrenched American inequality has come to be — and distracts attention from the responsibility the rich bear for this inequality. Inequality.org co-editor Sam Pizzigati, author of The Case for a Maximum Wage, has more.
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This week on Inequality.org 

Anny Martinez, A Green New Deal Town Hall: Paving the Way for a Just Transition. A truly effective climate policy will require ‘a cultural shift that goes beyond legislation.’

Bill Dorris, How Chance Creates Our Billionaires and Greats. Our so-called ‘meritocracy’ often amounts to no more than being the right person at the right place and the right time.

Phil Mattera, Prosecuting Corporate Drug Dealers. The arrest of a former pharmaceutical CEO has opened an important new front in the battle against corporate involvement in the opioid crisis.

Elsewhere on the web 

Lydia DePillis, Abigail Disney has a point. Paying rank-and-file workers more can boost a company's productivity, CNN Business. Companies would be well-served to spend less on the executive bonus pool and more on strategies that improve life for their frontline workers.

Courtney Martin, Closing the Racial Wealth Gap, New York Times. We have to stop the bleeding before we can heal.

Josh Hoxie, We Can Fix the Nation’s Racial Wealth Gap, Progressive. Ten steps toward that goal.

Jason Richardson, Bruce Mitchell, and Juan Franco, Shifting neighborhoods: Gentrification and cultural displacement in American cities, National Community Reinvestment Coalition. A new report details how the concentration of America’s wealth is gentrifying America’s cities at an increasing pace.

Francesca Rhodes and Anam Parvez Butt, Tackling inequality, Millennium Post. The gendered nature of economic inequality is reinforcing inequality in all areas of women’s lives.

Bryce Covert, Hedge-Fund Ownership Cost Sears Workers Their Jobs. Now They’re Fighting Back, Nation. Laid-off retail workers are demanding an end to the playbook that has Wall Streeters hollowing out the companies they own.

Charles Hugh Smith, How Empires Fall, WallStreetWindow.com. Moral decay may be the only possible output of systems that place the accumulation of personal wealth and political power above all other civic and economic values.

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Finding the Cure for Excessive Wealth Disorder
The Institute for Policy Studies, Inequality.org, and the Economic Policy Institute invite you to attend a day-long conference on Taxing the (Very) Rich. Join policy experts, activists, and elected officials who will be making the case for taxing the very rich — and debating how best to accomplish that taxation!

Any serious policy agenda geared towards combating inequality and raising living standards for the vast majority, the conference will help show, must look to ultra-high earners in the top 0.1 percent, the elites who wield disproportionate economic and political power.

Free with Eventbrite Ticket.