Global Economy

The Global Economy Program provides research, communications, and networking support to dynamic economic justice movements in the United States and around the world. Our goal is to speed the transition to an equitable and sustainable economy while reversing today’s extreme levels of economic and racial inequality and excessive corporate and Wall Street power. The program focuses its work on six inter-related areas:

Inequality and CEO Pay

The program collaborates with a broader IPS team to produce Inequality.org and a related weekly newsletter that highlights the latest data and the sharpest strategies to reverse extreme inequality in the United States and around the world. The program is also a leading resource on one key driver of inequality — runaway CEO pay. For more than two decades, our annual report series “Executive Excess” has drawn extensive media coverage to the issue of CEO pay and practical solutions. A newer report series, “A Tale of Two Retirements,” is the first to track the staggering gap in retirement benefits between wealthy CEOs and ordinary Americans.

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Trade, Investment, and Mining

The program works with grassroots activists around the world to advance alternative international trade and investment policies that elevate environmental, human, and labor rights above narrow corporate interests. In recent years program staff have played a lead role in supporting a successful campaign in El Salvador to defend against global mining corporations’ attempts to steamroll local resistance to harmful extractives projects.

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Recent Posts Related to Trade, Investment, and Mining

Black Workers Initiative

The Black Worker Initiative aims to help expand opportunities for black worker organizing and thereby greatly contribute to the revitalization of the U.S. labor movement as a whole. This program is deeply committed to helping achieve both the historic and contemporary aims of the labor and civil rights movements.

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Wall Street and Global Finance

IPS staff play lead roles in coalitions working to restore the financial sector to its proper purpose of serving the real economy. We track the reckless Wall Street bonus culture, for example through our annual “Off the Deep End” report on the size of the financial industry bonus pool versus the cost of paying restaurant servers and domestic workers a living wage. We also advance innovative reforms such as a small tax on Wall Street speculation to curb short-term trading and generate massive revenue for urgent public needs, such as fixing our crumbling national infrastructure.

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Low-Wage Workers

IPS staff play lead roles in coalitions working to restore the financial sector to its proper purpose of serving the real economy. We track the reckless Wall Street bonus culture, for example through our annual “Off the Deep End” report on the size of the financial industry bonus pool versus the cost of paying restaurant servers and domestic workers a living wage. We also advance innovative reforms such as a small tax on Wall Street speculation to curb short-term trading and generate massive revenue for urgent public needs, such as fixing our crumbling national infrastructure.

Featured Report

Recent Posts Related to Low-Wage Workers

Inequality.org

Inequality.org and a related weekly newsletter are key resources for the public at large, journalists, teachers, students, academics, activists, and others seeking information and analysis on wealth and income inequality. Here, we collect the latest developments on inequality and keep readers abreast of relevant information concerning the widening wealth gap. We highlight stories from activists on the front lines of the fight against extreme inequality and share information that can be used for ongoing campaigns.

Latest Work

amazon and starbucks union protesters

With CEO Pay Skyrocketing, the Unionization Surge is Hardly Surprising

Pandemic disparities have driven workers at Starbucks and several other low-wage employers to demand a fair reward for their labor.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador

Latin American Leaders Should Stand Up for People, Not Corporate Profits

As leaders gather in Los Angeles, a reflection on the past two decades of battles against neoliberalism and for a more just and equitable alternative in the Americas.

Low-Wage Employers Spent Billions Inflating CEO Pay Through Stock Buybacks

President Biden has the power to crack down on executive excess by imposing new CEO pay and buyback restrictions on federal contractors.
President of the Pueblo Shuar Arutam of Ecuador, Josefina Tunki, during a protest along with other Shuar women.

The Struggle for What’s Essential

Global mining companies have used the pandemic to push unwanted projects on vulnerable communities, who are fighting back — and sometimes winning.
USWNT celebrating a win

An Equal Pay Victory for Our Winningest National Team

The landmark collective bargaining agreement for the United States Women’s National Team creates a blueprint for equity across global sports organizations.
Black Lives Matter Demonstration

JPMorgan Might Kneel for ‘Justice’ But It Isn’t Standing For True Racial Equity

As is clear from the immense harm corporations continue to cause to communities of color, a racial equity audit is just the first step of many to hold these companies accountable.
United Autoworkers Vice President Cindy Estrada speaking at a rally

Auto Workers, Climate Groups Team Up to Demand Union-Made, Electric Postal Vehicles

The United Auto Workers and climate groups join together to push the USPS to buy electric postal vehicles to replace their old, gas-guzzling fleet.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Ousted Pakistani Leader Was Challenging Investment Treaties That Give Corporations Excessive Power

Mexico and many other countries are facing anti-democratic corporate lawsuits like the case that pushed Khan to withdraw from international investment agreements.
joe biden announcing his 2023 budget

Biden Budget Takes a Step Toward Corralling Out-Of-Control CEO Pay

Administration proposal would restrict insider trades, and impose a tax on stock buybacks that largely benefit the fat cats.
wall street

Wall Street Bonuses Soar by 20 Percent, Nearly 5 Times the Increase in U.S. Average Weekly Earnings

If the minimum wage had increased as much as Wall Street bonuses since 1985, it would be worth $61.75 today.
pramila jayapal, barbara lee

Progressive Caucus Urges Biden to Use 55 Tools in His Executive Action Toolbox

The recommendations would reduce inequality by setting high-road standards for federal contractors, closing tax loopholes for the rich, canceling student debt, cracking down on price-gougers, and building worker power.
black postal worker

Why the Just-Passed Postal Service Reform Act is Such a Big Deal

The legislation gets rid of a manufactured financial burden that has threatened the ability of USPS to provide good jobs and universal service.
graphic-image-overlay-of-the-russian-flag-and-a-mountainside

Can Global Sports Boycotts Help End the War in Ukraine?

The power of sports to legitimize a regime means they have the power to delegitimize one, too.
ant-mining protest

Guatemalan Water Defenders Celebrate 10 Years of Resistance

An attempted assassination, criminalization, and violent eviction in 2014 didn't stop the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya in Guatemala.
President Biden delivers his State of the Union address

Biden’s Economic Plans Are Solid, but We Need Action

The president’s SOTU address tasked Congress with an ambitious agenda, but Biden needs to do much more on his own.
President Joe Biden

What Can Biden Say About the Economic State of Our Union?

Strong jobs numbers are not enough. The president should keep pushing a bold legislative agenda while deploying every executive tool at his disposal to achieve a more equitable economy.
seabed mining lobster fisherman showing off their haul

A Sea of Trouble: Seabed Mining and International Arbitration in Mexico

The Gulf of Ulloa off the coast of Baja California Sur, Mexico teems with marine life, from gray whales to lobster. Its seafloor is also rich in phosphate, a key component of fertilizers, at the center of a multi-billion-dollar arbitration suit that US company Odyssey Marine Exploration has brought against Mexico under the terms of […]
Congressional Delegation Meets With Alabama Amazon Workers In Unionization Push

Nearly Two-Thirds of Jefferson County, Alabama Residents Support a Union at Amazon

A new survey commissioned by the Institute for Policy Studies shows the extent of local support for unionization efforts at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse.
Union Push At Amazon Warehouse In Alabama Reaches Final Day Of Vote

In Bessemer and the South, Black Workers Hold the Key

Does the ongoing campaign to unionize the Amazon warehouse, where 85 percent of the workers are Black, portend a return to large-scale campaigns in the region?
Fair Pay 4 Home Care Re-Launch

For New York Home Care Workers, Fair Pay Is Possible

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, New York has an opportunity to transform its care economy by investing in workers.

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Reports

Executive Excess 2022

The CEOs at America’s largest low-wage employers are grabbing huge raises while workers and consumers struggle with rising costs.

Executive Excess 2021

Low-Wage Workers Lost Hours, Jobs, and Lives. Their Employers Bent the Rules — To Pump up CEO Paychecks.
social graphic - How US Trade Policy Failed Workers And How to Fix It

How U.S. Trade Policy Failed Workers — And How to Fix It

Now more than ever, we need a new trade policy to support an economic recovery from the pandemic and to start building an economy that works for everyone.

Mining Injustice Through International Arbitration

Across the Global South, international mining companies use disturbing tactics to forcibly open mining operations against the wills of local communities.

Black Immigrant Domestic Workers in the Time of COVID-19

Black immigrant domestic workers are at the epicenter of three converging storms—the pandemic, the resulting economic depression, and structural racism.

Report: Executive Excess 2019

Beyond NAFTA 2.0

Report: Extraction Casino

Report: OceanaGold in the Philippines

Ten Violations that Should Prompt Its Removal

Executive Excess 2018

How Taxpayers Subsidize Giant Corporate Pay Gaps
jp-morgan-chase-banking-ceo-pay

Report: CEO-Worker Pay Ratios in the Banking Industry

A decade after the crash, excessive pay is still a problem at the mega-banks and the 2nd-tier firms that stand to benefit from the current deregulation push.

Report: Corporate Tax Cuts Boost CEO Pay, Not Jobs

This 24th annual report rebuts the GOP claim that slashing the corporate tax rate will lead to more and better jobs.

Report: The CEO Pay Tax Break in the Republican Health Care Proposal

The cost of removing Obamacare limits on the tax deductibility of executive compensation, based on pay data at the top 5 insurers.

Report: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low Wage Workers

The 2016 bonus pool held enough dollars to lift the pay of all of the country's more than 3 million servers up to $15 an hour.

Report: A Tale of Two Retirements

As working families face rising retirement insecurity, CEOs enjoy platinum pensions.

Help Spread the Word: #CanURetire

Help us spread the word about our latest report, "A Tale of Two Retirements: As Working Families Face Rising Retirement Insecurity, CEOs Enjoy Platinum Pensions."

Executive Excess 2016: The Wall Street CEO Bonus Loophole

This 23rd annual report reveals how taxpayers are subsidizing financial crisis windfalls.

Utilities Pay Up

How ending tax dodging by America's electric utilities can help fund a job-creating, clean energy transition.

Mining, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Conflict: OceanaGold and the El Dorado Foundation in El Salvador

This study finds that OceanaGold’s attempt to rebrand its proposed gold mine in El Salvador through the use of a company-sponsored foundation at the local level is deceitful, disrespectful and dangerous

Off the Deep End: The Wall Street Bonus Pool and Low-Wage Workers

The financial industry’s 2015 bonuses were double the combined earnings of all Americans who work full-time at the federal minimum wage.