Wednesday, 8 May 2013

More Wealth Inequality in the UK

Following on from my previous post on the subject, I'm adding a further graphic to illustrate the wealth imbalance in the UK (click graphic to enlarge):

The data is drawn from the same source as before. The figures above the percentages represent individual wealth at those points in the spectrum, so readers can gauge their own position (for shadenfreude or covetousness!).

Apart from the occasional half-hearted condemnations of bankers and executive culture, the press in the UK obsesses on welfare claimants and immigrants. The data shows that wealth inequality is the major driver of dysfunction in developed societies:
People in more equal societies live longer, have better mental health and have better chances for a good education regardless of their background. Community life is stronger where the income gap is narrower, children do better at school and they are less likely to become teenage parents. When inequality is reduced people trust each other more, there is less violence and rates of imprisonment are lower.
Rather than restricting welfare for the poorest in society and returning vast sums to the richest, then, we should be voting for politicians who look to redress the imbalance so apparent in the graphic above.

h/t again to Mother Jones for the original article.


  • AllanW says:
    8 May 2013 at 10:50

    Thanks for the linked information, Mark, and for the steer to our Trust. Much appreciated.

    You're right, we can and should be merciless with our elected representatives over their stance on this issue. Ignore the party politics, vote for the person who seeks to redress this balance and against those who have actively worked to heighten inequality.

    But there are many more concrete, everyday actions each of us can take to help as well. They are not futile, they do work and they make a difference.

    Take the time to find out about the inequality performance of the major recipients of your purchasing power. Banks, energy providers, car manufacturers, restaurants, insurance companies, investment funds etc. Then switch your account or spending to one that has a better profile in this regard. There are always alternatives. Hitting them in their most sensitive parts (turnover) will have the most long term effect upon their behaviour.

    Find out about local co-operatives who supply many of the goods and services you currently buy and many you don't. Support them as much as possible.

    Influence the purchasing policies at your work and in the local authority to include absolute criteria on pay ratios; sending your money out of the local and national circulation system by allowing it to be extracted offshore is actively depressing your own economy. Choosing the issue of pay ratios to highlight the companies who are worst at being extractive is a quick and simple test.

    I'm sure you can think of many others but they are all achievable, all work together and all contribute measurably to creating and sustaining viable and thriving businesses that contribute to rather than predate upon our society.

  • Mark Jones says:
    8 May 2013 at 13:04

    All excellent points, Allan.

    It is still early days in this initiative, but I have high hopes that re-iterating what the data says will have an effect on sentiment, which is sill very right wing where I live, sadly, even among those who vote Labour. We need to keep pointing out how unequal society is (because those with the power are very good at misdirection) and we need to show how redistribution is not a spongers' charter, as the press and some politicians like to make out.

    Keep up the good work at the Equality Trust!

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