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November 22, 2005


Mr Eugenides

"he had a licence to spill."

Oh, and you were doing so well!...

Chris Williams

Do try to pay attention - in Leicester yesterday, milk only cost 39p a pint.

But hang on - milk's a pretty special case. Look at the size of the udders on a cow nowadays: yields are up silly amounts owing to a massive improvement in husbandry techniques, and a collapse in transport prices which has affected bulky commodities like milk far more than it has 'average stuff'. If we looked at (say) the price of video recorders in 1990 compared to now, we could get an equally silly multiple in just 15 years. What you need, Chris D, is to compare prices of a 'basket of goods' - Martini, Aston Martins, Walther PPKs, etc.

Devil's Kitchen

As a matter of interest, what was the average rent in 1944?

And ignoring taxes is a little disingenuous, isn't it? What tax would he have paid in comparison to today?

Yes, goods have got cheaper, but that doesn't necessarily mean that people are *actually* better off? Or does it?*


*I'm not necessarily disputing your thesis, I'm just interested to know.

Backword Dave

Er, right. First it was his first job. There was no minimum wage. Sixteen year olds tend to poor workers. You think you're brilliant at that age, and that's part of the problem. No one would have suggested that you could feed a family of four on a starter wage. Or even pay rent. And even if he did pay rent, and not hand over his wages to his mum, living conditions were very different. He'd probably have boarded. Remember the workers in "The Road to Wigan Pier" living four in a room and being fed?

Second, as others have pointed out, factory farming, and, indeed supermarket cartels have brought the price of milk down a lot.

Your basic thesis is, as ever, largely sound.

Backword Dave

Did I say sixteen-year-old? Oh dear. He was born in 1930, http://imdb.com/name/nm0000125/ So he'd have been 13 (assuming he left school in the summer).


According to this, 41% of private houses in 1947 had rents of 10/- a week or less - half Sean Connery's wage.
According to Rightmove, £100 a week - half a full-time minimum wage will, just about, get you a 2-bedroom house in Edinburgh. It seems rents have very roughly risen in line with wages.
I omitted reference to tax because the tax liability varies so much from person to person. A single person earning £200 pays £30 in taxes. So his £170 gets him roughly 7 times as much milk as Mr Connery got.
However, a single parent (1 child) on £200 gets a tax credit of £54. This big report gives full details:
A Walther PPK costs $400-$800 now
I don't know what they cost in 1944. But I guess they got very cheap a year later.

Andrew Duffin

I wonder how much of that 9d a quart went to the farmers.

These days, of your 45p (or 39p), less than 10p goes to the farmer.

Not everyone wages have gone up.


Wot's this, seven comments and no allusion to how well Connery might have performed a particular part of the milkman's customary duties? Dismal Science indeed.

Backword Dave

Jeepers, DM. He was 13 at the time. These days, that's against the law.


This is only a quibble, but it does seem he was poorly paid (or milkmen were poorly paid) then as increasing his wage in line with average earnings would give you £90 a week by 2004. If minimum wage is £200 odd pounds its a lot more.


For comparison "land girls" got 28 shillings a week, which was considered ridiculously low, male agricultural workers 38 shilllings a week, and the average wage was more like 80 shillings a week.

So although economic growth has been responsible for most of the increase, I'd have a thought a shift of resources to milkmen or under 18yr olds has accounted for a doubling.

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