This article addresses only the trivial aspect of wage theft, sad to say.
The primary form of “legalized” wage theft (there’s nothing genuinely legal about it) occurs when wealthy corporations bribe Congress and state legislatures to artificially suppress the minimum wage, and to prevent unions from arising.
In the case of the Walmart fortune, where six members of the Walton family are now worth $170 billion, at least $160 billion of that money is the difference between the wage Congress and state legislatures were bribed to set as the hourly minimum wage, and the amount that would constitute a minimally livable hourly wage for Walmart’s workers. In 2016 over 800,000 of Walmart’s ‘sales associates’ were paid an average of $8.81 an hour–a pittance, and in the wealthiest country the world has ever seen.
Thus one of the world’s largest fortunes was gotten through wage theft over decades, with millions upon millions of working Americans suffering for it.
The Walton family fortune isn’t close to the only fortune so stolen, and we need to be aware that this kind of theft comprises the overwhelming majority of wage theft.