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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

Executive Excess 2022

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 […]

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.

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?