I may be stating the obvious here. Just thinking into the forum...
From several quarters, I've seen the observation that the gap between the top earners and regular joes has been widening throughout the late 1900s and early 2000s. This fact has been blamed for populism, at least; and is widely recognized as a problem. I haven't seen a solid, well accepted explanation as to why, although the correlation with the decline of unions is frequently noted. As I understand this article, the authors hypothesize that part of the reason is that labor plays less of a role in producing the stuff that is sold. Also, labor is typically expected to achieve continual productivity gains via measures directly related to output. Management and executives? Not sure what the productivity expectations are there. Perhaps it is the freedom to define your own productivity measure which makes certain people appear more valuable on paper. In addition, compensation with wages is a different animal than compensation with stocks.
The whole notion of trade is to exchange something you have/can do (which someone else needs) for something that someone else has/can do (which you need). If you do that directly, it's bartering. Mostly, the exchange involves a 3rd or 4th party (employers who regularly exchange time-served for money.) Trades for necessities tend to happen when someone else can accomplish the task/produce the thing better than you. For instance, even if I converted my entire yard to a garden, I would in no way be capable of subsistence; hence I buy food. However, back to the time is money equivalency, if I took the time I would have spent growing the food and figured how much I earn in that time; the food I buy has to cost less than that. Hence, I expect producers to be more efficient than I.
But even if they're not more efficient, the price for food still needs to be low enough that my wages can also cover mortgage, utilities, taxes, vehicle maintenance, etc. There are actually two ways to lower a price: increase productivity or value the time of the producers less. That second option means that someone else's time is less valuable than mine. And in the other direction, my time is less valuable than quite a lot of other people's time. Migrant workers and Chinese sweat shops are not collections of employees whose time is highly valued, but they produce such bargains that the poor, underpaid Americans at the bottom of the pile exploit them gleefully. Everyone's looking for someone to oppress via a weaponized bargain. This fact tempers sympathy somewhat.
I do not think this valuation is ever set by "begrudging". Teachers may get shafted because their customers have produced what may fairly be described as a living money pit. Or two. Keeping the kids fed, clothed, and healthy competes with the money available to pay for education. Because teachers are funded with taxes, they benefit from leveraging the funds of those who have not produced any money pits, or their money pits have had money pits of their own (people are compelled to support them while receiving no direct benefit). However, taxes being what they are, the level of support per person still needs to be capped at what the least common denominator can afford. Being funded by the least common denominator, and worse, associated with taxes, is not the way to get rich; even if that amount is levied from the entire populace instead of just your direct customers. :)
Sports stars generate revenue, and receive some fraction of that revenue. People pay exhorbitant sums to watch them. Try selling tickets to a classroom. Or trading cards with teacher's faces on them. Selling advertising in the classroom generates outrage.
The valuation is not done by faceless conglomerates, it's done by spectators, taxpayers, and by an inconveniently costly notion that its not ethical to let corporations inundate captive children with advertising. It will never voluntarily change. Perhaps taxing ticket sales and earmarking those funds for education would be the way to go. Wouldn't help my area much if the taxes were local, but a national solution could make an impact, I suppose.
In a single organization, raising the valuation of people's time needs to be countered by some other factor (fewer people, reducing executive salaries) to prevent raising the price of products. If this happens across the board, it's called inflation and nothing really has changed. It's important to frame this as a "robbing Peter to pay Paul" problem. When the objective is to rebalance wages from unrelated organizations, that gets tricky. Americans vote with their dollars--it's downright un-American to rig an election by redirecting votes.
I'm not sure this went anywhere. Maybe it's best to just avoid posts that start with "I'm just thinking into the forum..."