Glaring inequalities

I rarely post any political comment on this blog anymore, but I thought this was appropriate, given all the talk about the forthcoming election. I read an article this week that contained some staggering statistics, which made even an old cynic like me sit up and take note. I have to state from the start that all this information appeared in Radio Times, so presumably they hold copyright on it. If this blog post offends them in any way, I will of course remove it.

The Radio Times is a TV listings magazine. produced by the BBC. It gives information on all the TV and Radio stations available in the UK. It also has some editorial content, and feature articles. One of these was about a programme due to be aired on Channel 4 next week. It will be presented by Richard Bacon. For those of you who do not know this man, he is a former radio presenter who used to work for the BBC. He went to an expensive private school, and lives in a house in North London, valued in the millions of pounds. So, not your everyday agitator, or left-wing journalist then. Obviously, I have not yet watched the TV show, but some of the figures highlighted in the article are well-worth repeating here.

The richest 10% of people in the UK has more than 100 times the wealth of the poorest 10%

The five richest families in the UK are wealthier than the poorest 12.5 million combined.

London has a higher percentage of people with assets of £19 million or more than any other country on Earth. And this excludes the value of their home.

If the minimum wage had kept up with the growth of top salaries here since 1999, it would now be £18.89 an hour, instead of £6.50.

Since the start of the world financial crisis, the richest 10% in the UK have actually grown richer.

There are some other facts in the article that I have omitted, to avoid this post becoming too much of a list. The programme will be shown on Monday 10th November, at 8pm on Channel 4. If any of you are able to watch this, I suggest it may well prove to be an eye-opener.

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10 thoughts on “Glaring inequalities

  1. Pete, the disparity of wealth in the United States is obscene. The trickle down economics theory, which Republicans espouse, sounds good on paper, but is rarely put into practice. The entitlement approach espoused by Democrats merely ensures the perpetuation of impoverishment. The upper class is often a dynasty, the middle class is shrinking, and the percentage of working poor continues to increase.

    Outsourcing and the influx of cheap labor have damaged the economy for all but the big pockets. There is constant talk of seeking training to improve one’s lot in life, but few people have the time to pursue or can afford such training. I don’t have the statistics at hand, but the number of people who have jobs, but who are nonetheless homeless, is staggering. I don’t know if today’s economic reality is an indictment of capitalism or human greed and selfishness, but it severely impacts our society. It is very disheartening that more and more people live in financial despair while a handful of privileged individuals accumulate mountains of money. The latter hoard assets at the expense of the herd.

    One gets the feeling that the wealthy look upon the masses with condescension and scorn, and although philanthropy exists, and a handful of people—mostly entertainers and athletes who have rocketed into the financial stratosphere—do acknowledge their good fortune and feel morally obligated to set up charities or outreach programs, the number of people who actually benefit from their occasional acts of largesse is rather insignificant. If only more of those who dress themselves in gold, and who are content to be heartless and aloof, would follow the example of their humble cousin, the Tin Woodsman, who desires a heart, there might be some hope for the downtrodden.

    But since compassion among the rich seems to be on the decline, and since the government is all talk and no action, it would seem that change has to come from the bottom up. Unfortunately, despite the advent of the Occupy movement that “protests against social and economic inequality,” the future looks ever dim.

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    1. Thoughtful as always David, and undoubtedly correct. The polarization of wealth (I put the Z in…) in most countries is becoming pronounced once again, as it was in the past. Not just in Europe, but in India, Russia, and the Americas too. It’s a sad and worrying time for ‘ordinary’ people.
      Best wishes from Norfolk, Pete.

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  2. This is a great eye-opener prior to the forthcoming election, Pete. And I agree with Sue, it’s seriously depressing reading, especially since the gap will improve, no matter who’s in charge …

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    1. I think that this is becoming the norm everywhere Dina, as the nations all seem to be moving towards the Right, and the politics of self-interest. I foresee a new ‘Dickensian Age’, which would not be unfamiliar to many late Victorians.
      Best wishes as always, Pete. x

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