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April 03, 2018



This is all very fair.

Here's the problem. If an aggregate and overall measure of income inequality doesn't show the problem, maybe the problem is not income inequality.

If what happens to the incomes of the upper 80% doesn't matter as much as what happens to the incomes of the lower 20%, and I agree with that, then that sounds very much as if the problem here is not inequality, but poverty.


How much of this phenomenon is due to a combination of job polarisation (so stagnant at best incomes among the already bottom 20% of the income range) plus hugely escalating housing costs? That's a genuine question as I'm not sure how these figures work. (I notice that the figures are all for income after housing costs are taken into account). Rises in the cost of other demand-inelastic essentials such as energy and food won't help either. The point is that quite apart from inequality, we can do something about things like housing costs.


«We should ask: what sort of economy and society we want?»

This is the question that made me start researching Marxism in the first place. Even though I don't believe that every single progressive/leftist policy prescription is flawless and remarkable, I also don't understand people who are fighting *so hard* to avoid economic justice & maintain the status quo. What kind of world do you want to live in? One whose governments are dedicated to preserving the ill-gotten gains of the wealthy, or one in which the goal is the elimination of poverty? This doesn't seem like a very difficult choice.


Does the data include non-UK people occasionally resident in the UK.I am thinking of very high net worth individuals from places like the Middle East, Russia and China. I see them as having had a marked impact on life in London by driving up property prices. But do the data even acknowledge their existence?


Thankyou for your considered thoughts. In answer to your question I personally do not want to live in a world where a small group of people enjoy excessive power and incomes at the expense of the majority.

In my view the economic system has been hijacked by a lucky few and the JAM's have no way out.


Handy Mike

"We should ask: what sort of economy and society we want?"

The area of overlapping consensus on answers to that is unlikely to support any kind of socialism.

So, looks like it's going to have to be a lot of coercion again.


"If what happens to the incomes of the upper 80% doesn't matter as much as what happens to the incomes of the lower 20%"

Except, of course, the additional money going into the pockets of the upper 80% comes from somewhere. i.e. the pockets of the lower 20%.

We certainly need to reduce poverty but the only way that is going to happen is if the mega- and super-rich take a smaller share of the available income so there is something there to redistribute to those in poverty.


A short note on global inequality which has a similar story. Neo-liberals and neo-classical economists argue that globalisation is reducing inequality. That is true in the sense that a huge growing middle class in China especially has reduced the gap. But in the other parts of the world - the bottom end - Africa and the Middle East- the situation has gone from bad to worse - trapped in an ever more vicious cycle of political instability, insecurity, and poverty.


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