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Does inequality matter?

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Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:01 pm

First topic message reminder :

In May 2011, the High Pay Commission reported that, if current trends continue, by 2030 the highest 0.1% of earners in the UK will see their remuneration rise to 140 times average income. The last time someone in the top tenth of one per cent of the income distribution was deemed to be worth 140 other people was when we had a fully functioning aristocracy and Queen Victoria was on the throne.

In 1998, Peter Mandelson stunned many of us on the left by declaring: "We are intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich". Maybe that didn’t seem to matter so much in the good times; the UK economy grew continuously from 1995 until 2008, the longest period of sustained growth for at least 200 years. Inequality in Britain is the fourth highest in the developed world, after the USA, Portugal and Singapore, but in those good years most people were slightly better off than previously, and public services, which the poor use more than the rich, were receiving vast injections of cash. Under thirteen years of Labour rule (1997-2010), spending on the NHS trebled and spending on education doubled. (Despite all the Tory lies to the contrary, the percentage of our GDP spent on welfare actually fell between 1997 and 2008.) So does it matter if some are much, much better off than most?

Economically, Britain was at its most equal ever in either 1968 or 1976, depending on which figures you use. Inequalities have been rising since Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979. The highest paid 10% received incomes that were eight times higher than the lowest paid 10% in 1985 – by 2008 they were twelve times higher. It is also reported that income inequality has grown faster in the UK than anywhere else. Now, the wealthiest 10% receive 40% of total UK income, while the poorest 10% get 1%. Since 1979, the share of the national income going to wages and salaries has fallen, while the proportion going to profits has risen. If the share had increased at the same rate as national income, incomes in the middle would now be nearly £3,000 higher.

Just before he became Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg lamented that between 1997 and 2007 the wealthiest 20% had seen their post-tax incomes rise so much more than others that they were receiving 7.2 times the incomes of the poorest 20% by the time Tony Blair left office (as opposed to 6.9 times as much when he became Prime Minister). Before he weedled his way into power with Clegg’s help, David Cameron commented on ‘The Spirit Level’, a book by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. He said it showed "that among the richest countries, it's the more unequal ones that do worse according to almost every quality-of-life indicator". That implied that he thinks inequality does matter, but much of what his vicious government has done has only made things more unequal.

The 2011 statistics from the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) suggested that inequalities were increasing substantially again and in a far shorter period of time, not least because incomes at the bottom are now falling in real terms. An IFS report in September 2011 revealed that the least well off 20% of British households will lose 6% of their income per year between 2011 and 2014 due to government cuts. The charity ‘Save The Children’, best known for helping some of the world's poorest families, has now launched an appeal to help UK children. The charity says the UK's poorest children are bearing the brunt of the austerity measures, with some missing out on regular hot meals or new shoes. IFS figures estimate that there are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK and predict a steep rise in the numbers in coming years.

Meanwhile, the 1,000 richest people in Britain saw their average personal wealth rise from £336 million each in 2010 to £369 million by 2011, and then to £414 million by 2012. In 2010/11, the incomes of the chief executives of the largest 100 companies in the UK increased by nearly 50%, while the average pay rise in the private sector was just 2.7%. Because prices increased by 5.2%, most private sector workers actually became poorer and pay freezes meant that many public sector workers did even worse. Author and commentator Owen Jones has written: “The coalition’s mantra that ‘we’re all in this together’ has shifted between the ludicrous and the offensive ever since it came to power: while the average Briton faces the most protracted squeeze in living standards since the 1920s, the Sunday Times Rich List reveals an ever-booming elite.”

The only countries (for which there are comparable statistics) in which the richest 1% ‘earn’ more than in Britain are Argentina, Singapore, South Africa and the USA. In Finland, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and Spain the richest 1% earn only nine times average earnings (or less) – in Switzerland only 7.8 times; in Sweden 6.7 times; and in the Netherlands only 5.4 times the average income. As Professor Danny Dorling says: “The Swiss have bankers, the Swedes industrialists, and the Dutch host multinational companies; they all just don’t tolerate such excess.”

Admittedly it’s in a different economic climate, but Ed Miliband clearly isn’t so “relaxed” as Mandelson was about the filthy rich. In September 2010, in his first major speech as Labour leader, Ed said: "I do believe this country is too unequal and the gap between rich and poor doesn't just harm the poor, it harms us all." Greater inequality does matter. Owen Jones argues that inequality weakens social cohesion and a sense of community, and produces more crime and violence. He quotes the example of the riots of August 2011, pointing out that London is one of the most unequal cities on earth, where the richest 10% receive 273 times more than the poorest 10%.

It’s ironic that greater inequality, which right-wing policies always cause, increases the need for big government, which right-wing politicians so detest. Inequality creates the need for more police, more prisons and more health and social services of every kind. (The USA imprisons people at fourteen times the rate of Japan, the UK some five times.) Most of these services are expensive and only very partially effective.

Most companies produce goods or services for the general public, such as houses, clothes, household goods, foodstuffs and insurance. When wealth is concentrated in the hands of fewer people, demand falls; the rich might buy luxury goods, but not enough of the things that most companies offer. Increasing inequality means that many can no longer afford to consume, or can only do so by getting into too much debt, as in the USA subprime mortgage crisis that sparked off the global crunch. Borrowing works for a while, but not for ever. Where no one can borrow any more money, goods and services cannot be sold, factories and businesses close, jobs are lost, and the world goes into recession.

Professor Dorling sums up: “Pay restraint at the top saves more money than any programme of government cuts to public sector jobs can ever achieve. Pay and benefit increases at the bottom are the most efficient means of increasing consumer demand. It was redistribution of wealth which changed this country from thirties misery to swinging sixties.”

Sources used:-

http://www.newstatesman.com/society/2010/11/inequality-social-health-essay

http://classonline.org.uk/docs/Why_Inequality_Matters.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19478083

http://www.newleftproject.org/index.php/site/article_comments/rack_of_inequality








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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by skwalker1964 on Tue Apr 23, 2013 11:16 pm

I doubt it's that, Rock. For myself, it's just sheer workload at the moment..

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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by ROB on Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:44 am

skwalker1964 wrote:
I doubt it's that, Rock. For myself, it's just sheer workload at the moment.

Steve,

You are a noble exception. In spite of your workload, you’ve taken time to substantively contribute to this thread. If your efforts over there are unappreciated, move on across the water over here, perhaps to… well, my congressional district has some nice homes at affordable prices, and as soon as your accelerated naturalized US citizenship is effective, you could meet the residential requirements for the House of Representatives, run for office, and I could vote for you, volunteer in your campaign, and perhaps persuade enough voters in my district to “Vote For Our British Brother!” to ensure your victory.

But don’t worry; I’m only serious.

PS – You need not relinquish your British citizenship. Some “pretty good” Brits have been dual citizens.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Thu May 30, 2013 10:53 pm

'The Spirit Level' - Two Minute Trailer

'The Spirit Level' tells the story of how the gap between rich and poor has risen to unprecedented levels, under our noses.

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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri May 31, 2013 11:41 am

A Joseph Rowntree report can be found here:
http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/2077.pdf

Researchers working on the first report found that households in already-wealthy areas have tended to become disproportionately wealthier and that many rich people live in areas segregated from the rest of society. At the same time, more households have become poor over the last 15 years, but fewer are very poor.

Allowing more detailed comparisons than previously possible, the report contains comprehensive maps which are based on census and survey data illustrating the changes in poverty and wealth across Britain from 1968 to 2005.

The widening gap between rich and poor has meant that ‘average’ households (neither poor nor wealthy) have been decreasing in number. The report raises questions about what Britain will look like in ten years’ time if trends continue as they have.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by boatlady on Fri May 31, 2013 2:14 pm

Read Dickens - may give a flavour
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:21 am

The UK is much more unequal now than it was in the 1970s, and the gap between rich and poor is deliberately being widened by this sick government that has cut income tax for millionaires, at the very time that half a million people are dependent on food banks. The arrogant, out-of-touch Bullingdon boys have brought in a bedroom tax for people on benefits, but they refuse to bring in a mansion tax for their rich cronies.

In the 1980s, Thatcher’s policies – especially with the shift in emphasis from direct taxation (such as income tax) to indirect taxation (such as VAT) – saw the gap between the richest and poorest 20% widen by 60%. That was the most dramatic widening of income differences on record.

Much has been said, on this thread and elsewhere, about what happened to inequality during the thirteen years of Labour government from 1997 to 2010. An Institute for Fiscal Studies report, entitled ‘Living standards, poverty and inequality in the UK: 2012’ (page 45), says that inequality rose in Blair’s first term (1997-2001), fell in the second term (2001-5) and then rose again at the beginning of the third term.

Almost all of Gordon Brown's budgets did at least something to redistribute from the rich to the poor, but the benefit was offset by the unconstrained rise in top earnings. This IFS report shows that by 2010-11, when policies such as the 50% top rate of income tax from Labour’s last budget were taking effect, the level of inequality had fallen back to what Labour inherited in 1997.

The salient point from all of this is that inequality tends to increase rapidly and deliberately under Tory governments, but it remains largely unchanged as a result of Labour administrations.

http://www.ifs.org.uk/comms/comm124.pdf
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:50 pm

The Rich principally get their income from the Poor. It's really up to Consumers to decline the opportunity to pay inflated prices that provide such tasty shareholder dividends.

Is a mobile telephone "worth" £30 a month? A railway journey £100? Permission to watch satellite TV £720 a year? Watch those prices tumble when people keep their hands in their pockets.
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Second strike begins for OHG workers

Post by James Gibson on Sat Jul 27, 2013 3:41 pm

Cuts of up to £8,000 have been presented to frontline staff at London’s One Housing Group – an organization that provides essential support to vulnerable groups across London and the South East. The cuts come alongside Mick Sweeney, OHG executive, accepting a pay rise of over £30,000. In response, workers have began a second three day strike aiming to put an end to the crippling pay freezes and subsequent salary cuts. On behalf of Unite, around 150 workers have taken the streets in a march against OHG reductions.

Sally Kosky, Unite National Officer wrote:Except for senior management, OHG has made no pay awards for the last four years. Now it has removed the non-consolidated bonus paid to all staff for the past two years. At the same time, OHG continues to expand, its surpluses are increasing and pay at the top continues to climb exponentially. -
This is just one incident among a sea of inequalities currently being endured here in the UK. While the salaries get bigger for corporate seniors, managers and CEOs, wages stagnate and fall for the overwhelming majority of ordinary workers. This dynamic resulting in the widening gap between rich and poor – a gap that has left the standard of living spiraling downwards for millions of ordinary people. In the papers over the last two weeks there has been a trending story of how Britain’s new generation will have lives than their parents; a new precedent for the modern United Kingdom. A recent poll in the Observer found that most Britons believe children will have worse lives than their parents.

From World War 2 up until the 1970s, we’ve taken prosperity and rising living standards for granted. However, the nuclear dream may slowly be fading away. You only have to visit one of our many abandoned ex-mining communities to see the tragic landscape of modern neoliberal Britain. The answer to the hardships of 2013 are being dealt with austerity and further attacks on the living standards of the most vulnerable people in Britain. Strikes and protests, like the one OHG workers are undertaking, are becoming increasingly common as the harsh reality becomes realized by more and more Britons.

This reality has ignited huge struggles within unions and worker movements in a time where the relationship between trade unions and the Labour party is being fundamentally restructured. It would very unwise for the current government to think that their austerity plans will not be met with fierce opposition from both employed workers and the hundreds of thousands who’ve been left unemployed as a result of the global financial meltdown. George Osborne reported yesterday that the economy was on the mend, but cuts and privatization will be continuing long into the future.

---

This article has been cross-posted from the Critical Proletariat. http://www.criticalproletariat.com
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:58 pm

Welcome to Cabinetland: The worsening inequality between Britain's rich and poor is shameful
 
Extracts from an article by Andy McDonald MP:-
 
The claim from the coalition is “There are more people in work than ever before”. This claim is emblematic of the torturing of figures this government has been pulled up on repeatedly by the UK Statistics Authority. There are more people in work than ever before because Britain has more people than ever before. But the number of people unemployed is higher than it was in 2010. The rate, 7.8% nationally, is unchanged since the coalition came to power. Despite herding people onto unpaid workfare schemes and counting that as a job. Despite freezing the minimum wage for young people at a time of high inflation. Despite a million people on zero hours contracts, unsure if they will be granted the right to work today.

Productivity has fallen. The output per hour of private-sector workers fell by almost 4% in the year to October 2012, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. Figures for the economy as a whole were not much better, with a 2.4% decline in productivity over the year. There are more people, working longer, in worse conditions to produce less value. Yet Osborne has the nerve to crow about an ephemeral 0.8% increase in GDP, in what is now the longest depression in British history.

Nothing has changed. For over three years this government has been treading water. It has done so with impunity, because the people it represents are doing fine. Your income is down, but the FTSE is up. The economic divide in Britain, hastened and worsened by the north-south divide, is wider now than any time since the war, and it is getting worse.

 
For the whole article:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2013/08/worsening-inequality-between-britains-rich-and-poor-shameful
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Social mobility and inequality

Post by sickchip on Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:39 am

Interesting article, and comments, on social mobility and inequality here:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/20/social-mobility-is-essential#comment-28106667
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by boatlady on Sun Oct 20, 2013 11:14 am

Thought that was a good article - and the comments, including your own contributions very interesting and thought provoking.
The notion of social mobility involving both upward and downward movement is a particularly interesting one, and seems to me to strengthen the case for radically redistributing the rewards for various types of work, and ensuring a robust safety net for those unable to participate in the work market as paid staff.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:48 pm

As is so often the case, widening inequality is a phenomenon passed to us from the US.  The computer age enables a few people to make a lot of money without calling upon much contribution from the workforce, except as consumers.  That last part is what might suggest a remedy, when Manufacturers notice that a vital component of their market is unable to function.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by sickchip on Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:35 pm

oftenwrong wrote:As is so often the case, widening inequality is a phenomenon passed to us from the US.  The computer age enables a few people to make a lot of money without calling upon much contribution from the workforce, except as consumers.  That last part is what might suggest a remedy, when Manufacturers notice that a vital component of their market is unable to function.

 
I use to employ the Ouroboros as my avatar. I believe it is a useful symbol for the economic model you describe. The neo-liberal head will eventually realise their is nothing left to feed off / consume but itself. The head might then realise, too late, that by its actions it has destroyed itself.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Sat Mar 08, 2014 5:26 pm

While the Tories claim that growth is back, Ed Miliband will seize the Inequality Moment
 
Extracts from an article by Mehdi Hasan:-
 
Polls suggest that the public is fed up with the rise and rise of the super-rich at the expense of everyone else. And according to the High Pay Centre, the chief executives of Britain’s biggest companies earned more in the first three days of the year than the average worker will make over 12 months.

Ed Miliband believes that “tackling inequality is the new centre ground of politics”. His closest adviser, Stewart Wood, said: “Ed’s concern to stop Britain continuing down the path of growing inequality…..will be central to any government that he leads”. To pretend that Labour policies – such as a levy on bankers’ bonuses, a 50p top rate of tax, a mansion tax and a living wage – won’t make a dent in income inequality is disingenuous.

The new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, was elected on a populist pledge to tackle the Big Apple’s “tale of two cities”, while the new darling of the US Democratic Party, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, has called for a minimum wage hike to “stop income inequality in America”. Even the Pope wrote. “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by the happy few.” Then there’s the IMF, which said in February that inequality hinders growth.

Pledging to tackle inequality – within the rubric of “Whose recovery is this?” – helps Labour neutralise the Tory narrative of “Growth is back”. It offers Miliband his own brand of progressive populism to challenge the right-wing, anti-welfare populism of the Conservatives. This is the Inequality Moment.

 
For the whole article:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/while-tories-claim-growth-back-ed-miliband-will-seize-inequality-moment
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat Mar 08, 2014 6:05 pm

The gated community is already a commonplace, and the logical future may well be a Science-fiction writer's imagined wasteland inhabited by marauding plebs, while the Rich lead a completely separate existence in fortified compounds.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by boatlady on Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:27 pm

That's the sort of mental image I live with, it has to be said - but maybe I've just read too much sci fi
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:40 pm

How long will it take for the Plebs to realise that The Rich need the consent of the rabble to maintain their lifestyle?
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:28 pm

Britain's five richest families worth more than poorest 20%
 
Extracts from an article by Larry Elliott:-
 
In a report, ‘A Tale of Two Britains’, Oxfam said the poorest 20% in the UK had wealth totalling £28.1bn – an average of £2,230 each. The latest rich list from Forbes magazine showed that the five top UK entries – the family of the Duke of Westminster, David and Simon Reuben, the Hinduja brothers, the Cadogan family, and Sports Direct retail boss Mike Ashley – between them had property, savings and other assets worth £28.2bn.

Oxfam's director of campaigns and policy, Ben Phillips, said: "Britain is becoming a deeply divided nation, with a wealthy elite who are seeing their incomes spiral up, while millions of families are struggling to make ends meet. It's deeply worrying that these extreme levels of wealth inequality exist in Britain today, where just a handful of people have more money than millions struggling to survive on the breadline."

The UK study follows an Oxfam report earlier this year which found that the wealth of 85 global billionaires is equivalent to that of half the world's population – or 3.5 billion people. The Pope and Barack Obama have made tackling inequality a top priority for 2014, while the International Monetary Fund has warned that the growing divide between the haves and have-nots is leading to slower global growth.

 
For the whole article:-
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/mar/17/oxfam-report-scale-britain-growing-financial-inequality#101
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:57 am

Why Ed Miliband is set to declare war on inequality
 
Extracts from an article by George Eaton:-
 
In the US, where 95% of the rise in national income between 2009 and 2012 was captured by the top 1%, Barack Obama has spoken repeatedly of the need to narrow the gap between rich and poor, and Bill de Blasio won a landslide victory in New York after vowing to address “the crisis of income inequality”. Pope Francis has warned that “inequality is the root of social ills”, and the World Economic Forum and the IMF have identified inequality as one of the greatest threats to future prosperity.

Polls show that 80% of voters believe the government has a duty to reduce inequality, and measures designed to do so attract overwhelming support; if Ed Miliband is a “socialist”, so are most of the public. Miliband will vow to address inequality through a combination of redistribution - the 50p tax rate, a mansion tax, a bank bonus tax, a major crackdown on tax avoidance, repeal of the bedroom tax, a less punitive benefit cap - and predistribution - universal childcare, a mass house building programme, an energy price freeze, higher minimum wage, greater use of the living wage and worker representation on remuneration committees.

Cameron used to acknowledge the gap between the rich and poor and its baleful effects but has since reverted to Thatcherite type, treating the size of the gap as an irrelevance.  The chasm that separates Miliband's stance on inequality from that of Cameron shows why the next election will be defined by the kind of big choices that have for so long been absent from UK politics.

 
For the whole article:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/03/why-ed-miliband-set-declare-war-inequality
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Mon Apr 28, 2014 8:16 pm



https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BmQ9bkCIYAA0-iT.jpg
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by bobby on Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:52 am

Inequality only matters if you are in the lower echelons of society, whereas those with wealth and are playing real Monopoly its just a game, The main difference being, the poorer unless a burglar or suchlike is they don’t normally kill people. On the other hand the wealthy habitually cause the deaths and maiming of the plebs in their quest to further unnecessarily enrich themselves.
When we had a large Manufacturing base we also had many people in work and earning at least a living wage (thanks to the trades unions). Much of those wages went on the very goods they where producing or being produced by other like people. Now that we have had a couple of doses of real Conservatism in Thatcher (spit) Major and now the worst of all the Fascist Herr David Cameron, we have all but lost our Manufacturing base. Why then should the wealthy want a workforce with disposable income who will only spend/ waste/squander said income on foreign goods. The rich are no longer reliant on the poor’s money so don’t see the need for them to have any, whilst this goes on the inequality will continue and rise.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Phil Hornby on Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:58 am

Mrs Hornby has informed me that I see nothing wrong with inequality and should not give it another thought...        scratch
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Thu May 01, 2014 11:02 pm

bobby wrote:-
Inequality only matters if you are in the lower echelons of society
Despite what the Tories are telling us (along with the possibility that crimes aren’t being recorded by some of the police), crime rates tend to be higher in societies which are more unequal, so even the rich are more likely to get robbed.
 
Inequality is bad for the whole country. When wealth is concentrated in the hands of fewer people, demand for goods and services falls. There’s a limit to the number of washing machines and cookers that rich people will want to buy. They might buy luxury goods, but not enough of the things that most companies offer.
 
When the rich get even richer, they save the extra money, frequently in off-shore accounts. When the poor get some money, they spend it. Increasing inequality means that many can no longer afford to consume, so the economy shrinks.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Fri May 02, 2014 12:20 pm

Inequality of assets and/or income has an impact on Housing, as more people become excluded by the high values - inflated by scarcity. Compounding the problem is the obvious fact that wealthy people don't put property on the market very often, because they don't need to.

The construction industry can sometimes even make more money through the inflation of land-bank values than if they were to build actual houses on them.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Shirina on Sat May 03, 2014 5:03 pm

Those that have the power to change things don't give a damn and don't want things to change. In today's capitalism, it's all about having a zero-sum game. And they have achieved exactly that. It's no longer about competition breeding lots of choices while keeping prices low. Nope. Now it's about destroying the competition and gobbling up a huge percentage of the market share so that a company becomes a virtual monopoly, then charging exhorbitant prices and charging massive amounts of fees. In that way, almost ALL of the money received by the working and middle classes ends up right back into the hands of the top 5%.

In today's capitalism, there are no national borders. It isn't about patriotism; it isn't about making their home country strong or paying a good salary so that your nation's people are strong, healthy, educated, and living well.

Hell no. Now, with globalization, corporations no longer have an allegiance to a particular nation - or even an affinity for one. Where a company decides to plop its headquarters has no bearing on national pride or plans for that nation's future. No doubt the location of their corporate offices was determined by quality of infrastructure, corporate tax rate, efficiency of the work force, crime rates, and other such factors. It has nothing to do with love of country or love of the people who live there.

The result of this, of course, is the modern day equivalency of a barbarian horde riding in to your village, raping and pillaging, setting fires and salting the fields before moving on to the next place. America, the richest nation, was the natural first stop of the corporate barbarians, and they have pillaged the middle class to the verge of extinction. This has the result of drastically lowering the tax income of the government, and that, in turn, means less money to fix an aging infrastructure. As the roads, highways, etc. become increasingly unusable, businesses relocate, leaving entire regions in poverty - and so it has gone in the USA since the Reagan administration decided to divest this nation of its manufacturing segment, thinking America could remain economically dominant with a tiny high-tech segment and a huge, massive low-wage service segment. Guess what - it ain't working. But they don't want it to work. It's all about short-term profits for the highest returns. When it all collapses into a dried up husk, it won't matter because the people responsible are already multi-billionaires. They don't have to live in America. Most likely they'll retire to the Bahamas or Tahiti where its sunshine and sandy beaches all the time - instead of decaying towns and rusted factories that were left behind for the rest of us.

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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Sat May 03, 2014 6:08 pm

QUOTE: ".... the people responsible are already multi-billionaires. They don't have to live in America. Most likely they'll retire to the Bahamas or Tahiti where its sunshine and sandy beaches all the time."

Though for as long as there is a Democrat administration, it is likely that the IRS will continue to enforce the law that American citizens must pay tax on their worldwide wealth, wherever it is and wherever they are.

Global corporate US companies use many and varied accounting practices to maintain their profits in low-tax environments overseas, but face huge bills if that money is repatriated to the US. (look at Verizon's recent re-purchase of its own stock which had been held by a British company, Vodafone). The tax bill was eye-watering. Pfizer currently wants to acquire Astra-Zeneca using off-shore dollars, and they're only haggling about the price.

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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Wed May 14, 2014 9:07 pm

The UK has more billionaires per head than any other country – which is bad news
 
From an article by Sophie McBain:-
 
According to the ‘Sunday Times Rich List’, there are 104 billionaires living in Britain. Perhaps they’re are pumping lots of money into the economy - shopping in Harrods, buying up mansions, sending their kids to private schools and occasionally giving donations to arts foundations. Maybe some of that money will ‘trickle down’.

Billionaires love Britain. But here are three big reasons why Britain shouldn’t love billionaires:-

1. It shows we’ve got our tax system all wrong

Two-thirds of our billionaires are foreign-born; for them to have a base in the UK makes a lot of tax sense. We have some great tax lawyers to help them structure their wealth “efficiently”, taking advantage of the capital’s close links with offshore tax havens.

2. Most billionaires are putting money into the UK economy – but it’s going in all the wrong places

Wealthy non-doms are partly to blame for the rocketing prices of central London property. And, once a billionaire buys a Mayfair mansion there’s a strong incentive for him to keep it empty: if he spends too much time here, he loses his non-dom tax status.

Billionaires employ a range of household staff, keep Bond Street boutiques and art galleries afloat and splash their cash in restaurants and clubs. Yet industries that depend on the patronage of the super-rich enjoy a precarious existence; do we really want large chunks of the UK economy so tied to the fortunes of a few hundred individuals?

3. They are exerting far too much influence on British politics

If you give more than £50,000 to the Tories, you can get a dinner with Cameron. Of the 43 big donors who dined with Cameron in the first quarter of 2014, four were listed as billionaires by ‘The Sunday Times’.

 
For the whole article:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/united-kingdom/2014/05/uk-has-more-billionaires-head-any-other-country-which-bad-news
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Tue Jun 10, 2014 4:20 pm

Inequality is the single biggest threat to our economy, our society and to the wellbeing of the British people today
 
From a speech by Sadiq Khan:-
 
"There are four reasons why inequality matters:

Firstly, it causes the cost-of-living crisis which so many people are facing.

Secondly, inequality is bad for economic growth. An IMF report said: 'Countries with high levels of inequality suffer lower growth than nations that distribute incomes more evenly'.

Thirdly, inequality is the most important factor in determining the happiness of society and the cohesiveness of our communities.

Fourthly, a belief in equality and basic moral fairness is a foundation of British society.
"
 
More details here:-
http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/06/sadiq-khans-speech-inequality-full-text
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:43 pm

QUOTE: ".... Fourthly, a belief in equality and basic moral fairness is a foundation of British society."

except in those places where it clearly isn't.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by boatlady on Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:48 pm

But it is something we still, mostly, give lip service to - so maybe an important concept
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:54 pm

Ivan wrote:.... When the rich get even richer, they save the extra money, frequently in off-shore accounts. When the poor get some money, they spend it. Increasing inequality means that many can no longer afford to consume, so the economy shrinks.
 
Exactly.  Many successful British businesses are very heavily dependent upon consumer spending.  Currently, the top four supermarket chains are bleeding heavily from the transfer of consumer loyalty to the cheaper, continental, discounting supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl.  You can bet that Gideon and gang are getting plenty of earache from lobbyists working for Tesco, Sainsbury, Morrisons and Waitrose.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Shirina on Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:31 pm

Sophie McBain as quoted by Ivan wrote:According to the ‘Sunday Times Rich List’, there are 104 billionaires living in Britain. Perhaps they’re are pumping lots of money into the economy - shopping in Harrods, buying up mansions, sending their kids to private schools and occasionally giving donations to arts foundations. Maybe some of that money will ‘trickle down’.

Heh, yeah ... "trickle down." Money doesn't trickle down - it never has. Only the myth of Reaganomics has kept that failed belief alive.

The rich do not shop in the same stores the rest of us do. They don't go to the "county hospital" or to Wal-Mart or the local supermarket. They don't go to the same theaters, sit in the same nosebleed seats at the stadium, and drive Kias and Fords like the rest of us do. The money they spend tends to circulate around in places that the unwashed masses wouldn't dare set foot - mainly because we couldn't afford it. Even the lowliest cashier is cut from a "finer" cloth because the wealthy expect to be treated a certain way - and serving a wealthy clinetele requires a certain breeding and poise that those of us who watch television instead of attending the opera simply wouldn't have. So it's not as if these stores and boutiques are giving jobs to underprivileged inner-city kids or helping a blue collar laborer put food on his family's table. In fact many of these store owners are the spouses of the mega-rich who opened a boutique as some sort of pet project, perhaps hoping to strike it big with a fashion line or new trend in suits. When the cheapest thing in these stores is a $500 silk hanky, people like us don't even window-shop there. The employees, usually sons and daughters of the wealthy being taught how to earn their own money, take their inflated paychecks to Paris for the summer or buy themselves their very own Porsche or Mercedes - they aren't going to show up at a Toyota dealership to help keep a middle class family in business.

Aside from very rare and specific circumstances - having to call a plumber, for instance, or an exterminator - the rich do not supply the working poor and middle class with all that much of an economic boost. It doesn't trickle down. Rather, it circulates between wealthy hands, from one to another. No matter how much money you have, you're only going to buy so much milk, so many toothpicks, so many light bulbs.
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jun 16, 2014 11:48 pm

What would the neighbours say? How inequality means the UK is poorer than we think

"The poorest fifth of UK households are significantly worse off than the poorest fifth in other Western European countries, according to analysis of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) data. The High Pay Centre think-tank examined the ‘OECD Better Life Index’ which estimates the average net disposable household income for the world’s richest economies, as well as the average for the poorest and richest 20% of households in each country.

In the UK, the incomes of the poorest fifth of households have an average income of just $9,530, much lower than the poorest fifth in other North West European countries such as Germany ($13,381), France ($12,653), Denmark ($12, 183) or the Netherlands ($11,274). In fact, the poorest households in the UK are closer to the poorest in former Eastern bloc countries Slovenia and the Czech Republic than to the poor in Western Europe. This is despite the fact that the OECD estimates average incomes in the UK ($25,828) are similar to Denmark ($25,172) and the Netherlands ($25,697). The UK’s average is inflated by the incomes of the top 20% of households  - at around $54,000, the third highest in the EU. In Belgium, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries, the top 20% make between $44,000 and $49,000.
"

Source:-
http://highpaycentre.org/blog/what-would-the-neighbours-say-how-inequality-means-the-uk-is-poorer-than-we?
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:39 pm

Does inequality matter?

Naturally, discussion of this thread has centred around the UK situation, but the Indian sub-continent appears to be re-visiting its past history of Rajahs and Moguls lounging in luxury whilst the population starve.

London estate agents report that Indian investors are currently looking for properties in the £50million bracket.

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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:27 am



https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BtkyGXuIAAAwRFo.jpg
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Jul 31, 2014 11:57 am

Yeah, but what would he know?
 
After all, he appears to be a foreigner- and not even a Tory supporter, in all probability...      Shocked
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:10 pm

The gentleman is a capitalist who is critical of the system and wrote this excellent book:-

http://cuttingedge2.forumotion.co.uk/t757-23-things-they-don-t-tell-you-about-capitalism-by-ha-joon-chang#32719
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Phil Hornby on Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:17 pm

I hope we haven't made irony redundant on here...
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:31 pm

No - and, despite rumours to the contrary, I do have a sense of humour (which I hope is demonstrated by the favourite tweets thread). I was just taking the opportunity to get a plug in for the much-neglected book reviews board!  Smile
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Speaking of book reviews

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Jul 31, 2014 12:33 pm

Phil Hornby wrote:I hope we haven't made irony redundant on here...

"Inequality" is built-in to the Capitalist system which prevails.  It is worsened by every Boardroom dividend increase, every unearned "bonus" for key Management figures, and most directly by tax-cuts for the rich as mentioned above.

The principal cost to many business operations is their wages-bill, so it is a matter for self-congratulation when directors and senior managers find themselves able to either reduce the size of the company's workforce or resist any calls for a wage increase.

The irony is that few companies can operate without staff.

Whilst on the subject of book reviews, here's one that takes the lid off press intrusiveness:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/hack-attack-by-nick-davies-book-review-9639659.html
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Re: Does inequality matter?

Post by Ivan on Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:13 am



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Re: Does inequality matter?

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