\”Wealth inequality is very much greater than income inequality, and widening,\” Clegg said. \”The bottom third of households hold just 3% of the nation\’s wealth. The top third hold three-quarters of it. This inequality of wealth then cascades down the generations, potentially widening the opportunity gap.\”
The specific piece that isn\’t is this:
The bottom third of households hold just 3% of the nation\’s wealth. The top third hold three-quarters of it.
It\’s a function of how wealth is calculated.
Sure, there\’s wealth inequality, but it isn\’t as stark as these numbers. Because we have something called the welfare state which attempts to balance these inequalities.
For example, private pension savings are counted as wealth. State pensions are not. Houses owned are counted as part of wealth. The right to live for life in subsidised housing is not.
Yes the state pension is indeed wealth, it\’s a right to an income flow. As is council or social housing wealth. That\’s why we subsidise it, so as to provide wealth to those who do not have it.
To ignore this is to commit, as Christie has called it, the Worstall Fallacy.
It\’s just fine to measure the wealth gap, or incomes, or disposable incomes, in fact measure anything you like, raw. It\’s also just fine to measure such things after whatever is done to remediate what is considered to be unacceptable.
But it isn\’t fine to use the raw measures to argue that more remediation must be done. You must measure after the remediation that is already done so that you can decide whether further is needed or desirable.
To use an entirely trivial example to make the point. Old folks feel the cold more than the younger. Die of it more often for example. Might be a good idea to ship a bit of extra money to the old folks each winter to pay for the heating bills that they incur in not dying.
So, do we measure how much should be sent by assuming that none is? Or do we measure future action by acknowledging that we already send £300 to each such oldie? Might be oldie household, dunno.
Quite. Only an idiot would measure how much more we should be sending without referring to how much we already do.
Yet, and it pains me to have to point this out, the wealth gap is approached as an idiot. It is measured without taking account of what is already done to mitigate it, policy is proposed without taking account of policies already in effect.
That is, from Danny Dorling through to Nick Clegg, they\’re idiots, lying or ignorant. Clegg as a politician is almost certainly guilty of a mix of one and three. Dorling\’s certainly not ignorant and it seems a bit much to be accusing a Professor of idiocy.