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Sociological research

Concerns about economic inequality are not restricted to utopians. Research by sociologist Erik Olin Wright focuses on the social harm economic inequality fosters. He lists five basic reasons unchecked economic inequality is harmful to society. 1) "Relatively unequal distributions characteristically generate more human suffering." 2) "Unequal distributions of wealth and income in the present generation characteristically generate inequalities of opportunities for future generations." 3) "Inequalities of income or wealth generate . . . large differences in people's real freedom." 4) "Large inequalities of wealth and income are likely to undermine democracy." 5) "Income inequality may be objectionable because partly because it fractures community . . . and makes social solidarity more precarious" which, he says, threatens "many aspects of the good society—personal security, mutual respect, [and] the provision of public goods." Erik Olin Wright, University of Wisconsin, "Reducing Income and Wealth Inequality: Real Utopian Proposals," Contemporary Sociology 29, no. 1 (Jan. 2000): 143–156, 145.

Dollar General CEO pay 935 x Average Employee

For its most recent fiscal year, Dollar General reported a CEO to median employee pay ratio of 935 to 1. According to executive pay researcher Rosanna Weaver, CEO Todd Vasos collected $16.6 million while the "median" employee earned a mere $17,773. "But that published 'median,' Weaver suggests, may have substantially overstated what the typical Dollar General employee actually took home." Sam Pizzigati, Equality.org (Sept. 29, 2023). https://inequality.org/great-divide/how-about-a-general-strike-against-dollar-general/

CEO Pay Ratio

In the U.S. during the three decades after 1979, relates Christopher Hayes, "the top 10 percent captured all of the income gains, while incomes for the bottom 90 percent declined." The U.S. Federal Reserve reports that between 1989 and 2021 the share of the country's wealth the top one percent of the population owned grew from roughly 5 percent to 46 percent. In 2019 the average income of the top 1 percent was $1,614,468; the average income of the bottom 50 percent was $18,425, a factor of 88 times. A 2019 Washington Post article notes that "Income inequality in the United States has hit its highest level since the Census Bureau started tracking it more than five decades ago." The Brookings Institution in its 2022 "World Inequality Report"[ determined that "53 million Americans between the ages of 18 to 64—accounting for 44% of all workers—qualify as 'low-wage.' Their median hourly wages are $10.22, and median annual earnings are about $18,000." Anthropologist David Harvey reports, "The incredible concentrations of wealth and power that now exist in the upper echelons of capitalism have not been seen since the 1920s. "Indeed," says Piketty, "socioeconomic inequality has increased in all regions of the world since the 1980s."