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INCOME DISTRIBUTION IN BASEBALL

Income Distribution Inequality of Society Reflected in Professional Baseball

August 24, 2001

One of the best measures of the obscene and ever-growing income distribution inequality in this country is this: in 1980 the typical CEO of a large corporation earned 40 times what a factory worker did.  By 1998, that ratio had ballooned to 419 (yes, four hundred nineteen) times.  (In Great Britain, by contrast, the ratio is still 35 times, and in Japan 20 times).

Interestingly, professional sports -- or at least major and minor league baseball -- have also experienced such a greatly widened income gap.

In this past Sunday's New York Times, an anthropology professor was comparing minor league baseball during his brief career some 30 years ago to now.  One of the differences is that the current average major league baseball salary of $2 million is more than 100 times greater than the 1967 major league average of $19,000.  But most minor league players, after adjustments for inflation, make less than what the professor and his minor league teammates made 30 years ago.

And analogous to the way entry level service industry jobs don't today pay a living wage (as Barbra Ehrenreich has recently documented), in minor league baseball:

Except for the few who receive large signing bonuses, rookies earn so little ($900 per month) that some depend on their parents' credit cards to get by.

So even in this professional sport, it seems, those at the top aggrandize unto themselves such a huge share of the available resources that there's not enough left for a living wage for those at the bottom.

This was a selection from The Daily Diatribe

More on Economic Injustice

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