Well, sorta Polly

There is nothing hypocritical, as the Mail and Sun suggest, about Oxbridge-educated Labour politicians advocating greater equality in a country on a frightening trajectory of social injustice.

The problem is, as Danny Dorling’s latest book makes entirely clear, that this fight for equality is really the 0.9% of the 1% getting mightily pissed off at the 0.1% of the 1%. It’s those Oxbridge educated Labour politicians screaming about how they can only afford a house in Islington these days as Hampstead and Holland Park are being colonised by those grubby bankers, the bastards.

It’s a fight about positional goods among the 1%, nothing else. The intellectuals, the newspaper columnists, the professoriate, finding out that the rules about being upper middle class have changed, nowt else.

At which point the rest of us say bugger it, who the hell cares?

62 thoughts on “Well, sorta Polly”

  1. Polly’s idea of equality is to deny everyone the opportunity rather than spread it further. For Labour’s education policy has nothing at all to do with improving standards in State schools and increasing opportunity for all. Instead it concentrates all its efforts on removing that opportunity from those lucky enough still to have it.

  2. All this inequality stuff is crap I can’t be bothered with.

    So I wake up and JK Rowling or James Dyson or Lewis Hamilton or whoever is even richer than me than they were yesterday. Why should I care? It’s my own position relative to me that is important. If I’m better off this year than last then I’m happy.

    If my neighbour trades up from a Mondeo to a Maserati I’m no poorer unless I let myself think I am.

    As Tim (almost says) this 1% stuff is bollocks anyway. c£165k gets you in the top 1%. What does that person have in common with a billionaire? £150k means you’re in the 99% but what does that person have in common with some resentful idle layabout using the ‘class struggle’ as an excuse to loot a corner shop during a riot?

  3. Ironman

    As far as I can see this is the entire basis of the programme of the labour party in all spheres, backed up by the egrarious whining from the total losers at CIF.

    Do others down, you know it’ll make you feel better.

    An annual replay of Maggie’s last hurrah in parliament (despite that voice I couldn’t stand) always cheers me up. Telling it like it is.

  4. No but it makes me and other people suspicious. While I might be more of a git than my fellow man I generally don’t care that much how others fare on the whole and believe that to be the standard position. Those that do care more so tend to be the anonymous and thankless volunteers rather than politicians, political hacks or columnists. Those people and non-volunteering norms say they do care to posture or to avoid social pariah status because it’s hard to believe the
    When they say that as the evidence shows otherwise.

    Anyway we should all be suspicious of those sustituting themselves in for the poor or whatever. It’s Bolshevism and it’s about power and influence not people themselves making their lives better through enterprise or politics

  5. Yes, as Thornsnobbery’s tweet demonstrated, as soon as the working classes have the effrontery to get richer the Pollys of this world slap them down, hard.

    It’s all about envy, hate and power.

  6. “Oxbridge-educated Labour politicians”: we should distinguish between those of them who got into Oxbridge on merit – e.g. Milibacon, as far as I know – and those who were wangled in by cheating fathers, e.g. Milibanana.

  7. Bloke in Germany in Hong Kong

    Yeah, but I’m not convinced there are enough of the 0.1% buying up London to have turned it into the impossible-for-everybody-else (as opposed to pretty-expensive-as-one-would-expect-of-one-the-top-places-in-the-world-to-live) it has very recently become. Something else is going on.

  8. Says who?

    I am not particularly bothered about inequality per se – at least in a thought experiment in which I get to choose between higher absolute incomes with higher inequality, and static absolute income and lower inequality (what we actually had since 2007) I choose the former.

    But the reason why I care about inequality is that it means, in the real world not thought experiment land, that a minority is capturing the economic gains. The system we have is giving most people a pretty rotten deal, and a few a very good deal. Call this envy if you like, but I call it objecting to an unfair distribution.

    This is the question that matters:

    http://fatasmihov.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/is-0-growth-for-90-successful-economic.html

  9. The system we have has produced the wealthiest, most advanced societies in human history, and an underclass so poor they can apparently stuff their faces into an early grave.

    Other more ‘equitable’ societies have been tried many times and usually end in disaster often with the deaths of millions of their citizens.

  10. “Something else is going on.”

    Indeed, the sort of jobs that enabled one to live at teh top of the pile in London in the 1970s have changed.

    Being a civil servant, head teacher or journalist for a broadsheet used to buy you a decent family house in a nice area of London. That no longer happens. On the other hand plenty of software designers now live in those same houses.

  11. Yes, we must never forget that in the UK today, the truly terrible inequalities in society have condemned all but the very poorest to a lifestyle which a hundred years ago was out of reach to all but the very richest.

    If we don’t keep inventing new ways to measure poverty and misery and find new things to be resentful of, there’s a serious danger that we might realise just how well off we are today.

    And that would never do.

  12. Luis Enrique

    I agree and I think history bears your observation out. Empires have endured civil wars fuelled by too many people being shut out from the gains.

    I would distinguish though between opportunity and outcome. And I will never accept the domain of Polly and her nasty piece friends whose idea of equality is to tear down the summit rather than raise the base.

  13. Luis Enrique: For once I agree. Zero growth for 90% is not good. Which is why we need to be rid of state arse-kissers and the present system of corporate socialism.

  14. I am glad incomes are going up elsewhere than the West as a more anti-statist/socialist development could not be imagined. But incomes are rising very little for the 90% in the West because we are in the clutches of statist and socialist scum. Who then cast the consequences of their own iniquitous actions as “proof” of market “failure”.

  15. What this question boils down to is “How do you take away something from somebody that they see as rightfully theirs?”

    And of course this is absurdly easy, but it’s the consequences that are so appalling.

    We have had many societies where people deprive others of their belongings on a whim, but they tend to be extraordinarlily unpleasant places to live in.

  16. New Labour was the only government in my lifetime to *increase* inequality of wealth by making the rich richer and the poor poorer. The %age of national wealth owned by the bottom 50% declined by two-thirds between Mrs Thatcher’s resignation and Brown’s HMRC ceasing to publish data because it was too embarrassing.
    It is *totally* hypocritical because what they say is the opposite of what they do.
    @ Luis Enrique
    I am totally unworried if someone earns more than I. W/Bankers who get paid millions for gambling with their employers’ money are annoying, but (given that I have enough to get by because I inherited a part of my parents’ intellect and physique) what matters is not so much whether a minority is capturing some of the economic gains but whether the bottom minority is pushed into destitution. Brown decreed that refugees from genocide etc (“asylum seekers”) should be denied the right to work and live on *half* the bottom range of means-tested benefits for unemployed UK citizens. That stinks.

  17. Tim

    is it really true that the only way to improve the distribution of economic spoils within rich countries is to make things worse for those in poor countries? if not, your argument is beside the point.

    Also, if a UK citizen asks “why should I support this capitalism malarky?” the answer “because it helps people in poor countries, even if it’s no longer doing much for you” is an odd one from a kipper

  18. How many liberals dislike the argument that perhaps the rich should hang on a bit while the poor get rich?

  19. So Much for Subtlety

    Luis Enrique – “How many Worstall fans like argument they should suffer real costs to benefit foreigners?”

    I am not even remotely liberal. In any way. But I think it is reasonable for Britain to accept short term pain in order to benefit foreigners. If we allow Chinese imports to destroy the British electronics industry, there is a real cost there for the UK and British workers. But in the long run we are all better off.

  20. @ Luis Enrique
    “How many Worstall fans like argument they should suffer real costs to benefit foreigners?”
    Me, for one. I don’t know how many Tim Worstall fans belong to the CofE but virtually every CofE parish is committed to doing so.
    How many British people donate to charities that help people in poor countries? I don’t know – but the Band Aid single shot to the top of the charts without any support from me (I prefer good music and I use Gift Aid for serious donations).

  21. Bloke in Germany in Hong Kong

    Tim, your graph in your forbes piece proves the Polly effect. It is the middle-class squeeze summed up in one figure. The rich running away from them at the top, the rest catching up from behind. Both effects resulting in said (upper) middle classes being out-competed for the stuff that was once theirs, and deprived of the exclusivity of certain things that their money used to buy.

    It’s entirely reasonable for these guys, and probably most of us commenting here are in that 90th-99th percentile bracket, to ask why their share of the pie has diminished.

  22. “john77
    November 25, 2014 at 11:46 pm
    @ Luis Enrique
    “How many Worstall fans like argument they should suffer real costs to benefit foreigners?”
    Me, for one. I don’t know how many Tim Worstall fans belong to the CofE but virtually every CofE parish is committed to doing so.
    How many British people donate to charities that help people in poor countries? I don’t know – but the Band Aid single shot to the top of the charts without any support from me (I prefer good music and I use Gift Aid for serious donations).”
    I agree 100%.

  23. Re ‘How many Worstall fans’ etc

    Add me to the list (though I’m not a fan, I just enjoy this blog).

    Thing is Luis, unlike your fellow travellers we actually believe what we say we believe. You lot are liars so you expect everyone is. Weird, but not everyone is.

  24. I’m thinking the tendency to lie and self deceive is evenly distributed across the political spectrum

    I am delighted to see so many Worstall fans I favour of redistribution. However i do recall others opposing the idea.

  25. Note Tim is not taking about individual choice but the system working to redistribute income from the masses in UK to foreigners, relative to a counterfactual in which UK masses do better foreigners worse. That is his argument not mine.

  26. Well, no, not quite that’s not my counterfactual.

    My counterfactual would be one in which UK consumers are poorer for not having access to all those lovely goods made by poor foreigners. And I’m not in fact contrasting what has happened with that at all.

    I am in fact contrasting what idiot lefties say has been happening (stagnant UK median wages) with what has actually been happening (soaring poor people wages globally). and the reason I say idiots there is because I’m old enough to recall when absolutely every lefty on the planet was insisting that we rich people have got to give up stuff to make the poor rich. Something that arguably we have done over the past 30 years.

    Yet lefties are still complaining. Exactly what they wanted to happen did. Then they complain. Dunno why but I assume it’s that markets are really really bad even if they’re what make the poor richer.

  27. I am sure you are right that many lefties said the rich countries have to consume less so that the poor countries can consume more. Not me, because I do not subscribe to these daft “they are poor because we are rich” warblings, and I you might be overdoing the “every lefty on the planet” bit – plenty of left wing economists, for example, never believed that stuff. But that’s by the by.

    So, if it was true that what we are seeing today is rich countries consuming less so that the poor countries can consume more, then I’d grant you, these lefties ought to pleased, not complaining.

    But I don’t think I am going to grant you that increased inequality within rich countries is a necessary component of this benign global redistribution. After all, real GDP is still rising in rich countries – we in total are not consuming less so that the poor overseas may consume more. The point is that within rich countries a few are capturing the GDP growth, most are not. It needn’t be that way. Lefties never meant that the “consuming less” should be done by the poorest in rich countries whilst the richest continue to get richer.

    And I don’t see any reason for the political wing that has always been primarily concerned with the welfare of the less well off within their own countries, complaining about that. In fact it is not just lefties that are complaining about that. Economic commentators from all over the political spectrum are saying the current system is not delivering for the majority. Would you like some links to FT and Economist articles? even the WSJ? Did you really mean to suggest above that it is only idiot lefties who are looking at real income trends within the 90% and pointing out it does not look good? I thought you were supposed to respect data?

    I reckon your desire to score points off idiot lefties is making you ignore / deny what’s happened to living standards for most Brits since around 2007 and forget what the point of all this economics lark is supposed to be.

  28. What do you think Adam Smith would have said about the distribution of income in the UK? Here is a clue:

    “But what all the violence of the feudal institutions could never have effected, the silent and insensible operation of foreign commerce and manufactures gradually brought about. These gradually furnished the great proprietors with something for which they could exchange the whole surplus produce of their lands, and which they could consume themselves without sharing it either with tenants or retainers. All for ourselves and nothing for other people, seems, in every age of the world, to have been the vile maxim of the masters of mankind. As soon, therefore, as they could find a method of consuming the whole value of their rents themselves, they had no disposition to share them with any other persons.”

  29. further – if your counterfactual actually is that without this unequal distribution of economic spoils in rich countries, the 90% would be even worse off then you do not need to appeal to helping poor foreigners. Instead you need to concentrate on justifying that claim, which looks daft to me .

    Instead I would say that there are plenty of things one could do about inequality within rich countries that would not harm the engine of international convergence via trade.

  30. Hi Luis

    The problem with the Fatas argument in the US is that it is untrue. The primary reason it is untrue is that GDP is a terrible measure of wealth creation. Our measurement of productivity in services, but especially healthcare, is lousy. We tend to count healthcare based on expenditures, but we know that outcomes have improved. Since healthcare outcomes are not concentrated in the rich, we can sit back and know that capitalism is still delivering for us.

    An easily accessible summary
    http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2002-04-28/health-cares-economic-payoff

    Nordhaus paper
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=302789

    This isnt to say that I dont favour wealth redistribution under certain circumstances. But Piketty is wrong and McCloskey is right.

  31. ken,

    is accounting for improved healthcare outcomes in the US (really, how improved?) really sufficient to mitigate flat or falling wage incomes?

  32. ken those papers are from 2002 before the incomes of the majority / median / 90 per cent whatever started stagnating, and they say nothing about how the gains from medical advances are distributed within the US, one doesn’t have to google very far on the topic of inequality of health outcomes in the US to suggest this ain’t going to refute Fatas and others.

    I really cannot understand what led you to write Fatas is wrong on the basis of this stuff

  33. Luis

    If you believe Nordhaus (and I do), the increase is on the order of 1-2% a year, which is more than enough to mitigate the flat incomes. I also tend to think we underestimate quality improvements (and thus real GDP) in general.

  34. Luis

    The improvement in life expectancy has continued at roughly the same rate as when Nordhaus wrote. (try googling that)

    The fact that healthcare outcomes are unequal doesnt matter as long as everyone sees some improvement. In general this is true.

    http://search.proquest.com/docview/1034609980?accountid=13042

    According to this study, we find that this didnt hold true for white females with less than 12 years of education, but did hold true for all other groups of white females. (Similar results for white males with low educational attainment) There were improvements noted in other ethnicities. Note that the proportion finishing high school (eg with 12 or more years of education) for those aged 25-29 reached 90% in 2013. The proportion that held bachelor’s degrees (those with the highest increase in longevity) hit 34%.

    http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=27

    I wrote that Fatas is wrong because the health stats back my view.

  35. Without studying this to any depth, it strikes me that this glorious process, this redistribution, which we supporters of Tim’s blog are all delighted by, is accelerated by free movement of labour. That of course means open borders, immigration into rich and thriving nations, that sort of thing.

    This is great by me; it is what I understand by ‘liberal’.

  36. Ironman,

    Without wanting to open too many old cans or anything, I am curious about what a number of you guys on here are advocating.

    If a number of you believe in “open” borders, do you mean “completely” open, ie complete freedom of “all” movement?

    And, if so, could anyone – from anywhere in Africa, Asia or the Americas simply turn up at Dover tomorrow?

    Or is it intended to be more restricted or nuanced than that? And apologies if I am missing the point and that just comes across as ignorant at all.

  37. ken,

    OK, but healthcare is only one component of economic output. Perhaps you want to say Fatas is overstating it with “zero” but I reckon your healthcare point falls short of meaning that we can look at data on real household income trends and say actually there’s nothing to complain about because: healthcare.

  38. It is possible to look at this the other way around too.

    US median wages seem pretty flat, quite true. Whether household or individual. US median compensation isn’t flat by any means. Major difference between the two in the US? Health care insurance. Well into the 10-120% of median household income for a family plan these days, paid by employers (mostly).

    I’m deeply unconvinced that compensation has fallen behind productivity growth at all.

  39. Luis

    Your arguments are rather weak. (I cannot believe you tried the “it was an old paper one”). Then you go on to say healthcare is only one component of economic output, the Nordhaus paper makes it clear that if we account for improvements in healthcare outcomes this is roughly equivalent to adding another 1-2% per year per capita to consumption.

    The Fatas argument is wrong – most people in the US have been getting better off, just on the basis of this one factor.

    (One could also argue that quality improvements in other products and services have also been underestimated, but we need not do so to win this argument.)

  40. @ Luis Enrique
    The USA is *not* all rich countries. So to trumpet “The point is that within rich countries a few are capturing the GDP growth, most are not.” is just inaccurate i.e. wrong.
    In almost every rich country median incomes are rising. The following chart http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/sites/soc_glance-2011-en/04/01/g4_ge1-02.html?itemId=/content/chapter/soc_glance-2011-6-en&_csp_=048bf5a4e0cb098ff846908f382f63e1 shows this but also provides a distorted comparison since average household is shrinking (more elderly widows is more significant than the increase in single mothers) so income per household is growing more slowly than income per head and it is misleading to compare growth in NNI or GDP per head with growth in income per household – I suppose it was the only comprehensive data series they had.
    The progression from saying median household income is growing slower than than GDP/head to saying median incomes are growing slower than mean incomes is a non sequitur. To go from there to saying “a few are capturing the GDP growth, most are not.” is flying in the teeth of the evidence.
    It is, at least in theory, to be left without being wrong but if you swallow that sort of nonsense then you don’t have much chance.

  41. The idea that the rest of the world catching up a bit is the cause of the West economic malaise is a crock. Perhaps there maybe a small element of it but the main cause of our problems is that the West is up the arse of political scum. Whose thieving, meddling etc is our problem. Many of the stats being banded about as support or proof of various theories are probably worthless such as US/UK unemployment figures.

  42. Ken

    I brought up the date of paper because I thought if Nordhaus writing on this topic now he may have addressed inequality

    Sorry I’d missed the 1-2% being estimated equivalent growth to total consumption, thought it was just health component.

    I remain unconvinced that household who have seen flat wage income whilst economy grown and rich doing well ought to feel content because healthcare tech has improved. Don’t think this is sufficient to bat away arguments that current system good for few not so good for most, to unacceptable degree.

    John I havnt looked at other countries I am primarily concerned with UK real income. Fatas talking us.

  43. If the economic pie has grown X pct but inequality has increased, then we know the share of the poorer has not kept up with X.

    Tim which bits of that are you denying

    Ken even if things haven’t got so bad that once you account for things not well measured by real wage data, to say true real growth is zero, why isn’t it bad enough that the stuff that is measured by real wage data is flat lining for many? Why is that ok ?

  44. PF

    Completely open borders represent a utopian ideal that don’t feature in the real world, so no sensible conversation goes there. However, I am in favour of immigration, or rather migration, as a concept. It is the market, meaning trade in good and services and free movement of capital and labour that has brought about this golden age for the world (for indeed that is what much of the experiencing, relatively).

    My point is just that here on this post today we are lining up to shoot down Luis by claiming that, yes indeed, we would swap some increase in our own standard of living for our brethren around the world. Luis appears unconvinced to say the least. On the basis of the views on immigration expressed by commentators on this blog, I share his surprise.

    BTW, I think I should apologise – only to you – for “thick”; you’re clearly not. However, if you are going to take sides with Mr Ecks, IanB and SMFS then perhaps you should expect a robust reply.

  45. @ Luis Enrique
    (i) If you’re talking about UK why say “within rich countries”
    (ii) I have pointed out too many times that wealth inequality *only* increased under New Labour
    (iii) UK real income is actually rising again. The *apparent* drop in average earnings is due to more people coming off the JSA and into low-paid jobs. If you multiply average wages this year by the number in work you will find that it is greater than (average wages last year multiplied by the number *then* in work plus JSA last year times the increase in the number in work between last year and this) by more than inflation. To paraphrase this year we have nine oranges and a tangerine and Miliband is saying that we’re worse off because last year we nine oranges and no tangerines.
    (iv) Fatas is talking about the USA not about us
    (v)The OECD says that – despite the shrinking size of UK households – UK median household income has been growing at 2% pa compound since the 1980s so equivalised household income has been growing faster than that. Fatas says 0% for 90% – if that was true for the UK then the median income growth would be 0%.
    Facts trump rhetoric

  46. Oh Lord alrighty yes have been sloppy what country I was talking about, not actually on top of all international data. Yes I think on some measure UK inequality fell recently because top twentieth got hit but below that top layer thr better off pulled ahead rest. Thinks that was ifs data. If I wasn’t using phone would start citng data I am not gong to accept nothing alarming has happened to distribution of economic spoils across rich world recently. Much as you lot might care to look the other way.

  47. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “Completely open borders represent a utopian ideal that don’t feature in the real world, so no sensible conversation goes there. However, I am in favour of immigration, or rather migration, as a concept.”

    Except it is not. There is rarely any such thing as a little bit of immigration, in the same way that it is hard to be a little bit pregnant. After all, there is a powerful lobby for more immigration. When the immigrants get here they become an even more powerful lobby for immigration. Few British people might agree that immigrants should go from 10% to 20%. But the Left plus that 10% might. And then the Left and that 20% might agree it should go higher.

    In effect the government has given in to both lobbies. We have an immigration policy like our abortion policy. In front of the rubes, they pretend that we have an immigration policy, but we don’t. We have open borders.

    It is the market, meaning trade in good and services and free movement of capital and labour that has brought about this golden age for the world (for indeed that is what much of the experiencing, relatively).

    No it isn’t. It is Anglo-American political norms and the subsequent military domination of the world. We had a lot of free trade under, say, the Mongols. Good and services could go where they liked. As did capital and labour. Did not produce a Golden Age.

    This is the problem with immigration. People from failed sh!tholes come to Britain and instead of supporting our successful institutions, they are hell bent on recreating the failed cultural and political norms of their homelands. And so Britain will become a failed sh!thole too. No doubt we will have free trade, but London will become like Karachi when the majority of the population are from Karachi.

    On the basis of the views on immigration expressed by commentators on this blog, I share his surprise.

    Immigration is not the only way to make the Third World richer.

    BTW, I think I should apologise – only to you – for “thick”; you’re clearly not. However, if you are going to take sides with Mr Ecks, IanB and SMFS then perhaps you should expect a robust reply.

    I don’t think I have ever called anyone here “thick”. The only person who routinely gets abused by me is Ritchie and he is a special case. You on the other hand are habitually abusive.

  48. Ironman,

    OK, I understand that. And I don’t disagree re end games, or that the world has benefited from various degrees of globalisation.

    You see, I totally support the ability to control immigration, from the perspective of “my” nation state (tribe etc of which I am a part), and yet like you I am 100% generally in favour of “reasonable” migration. It’s the word reasonable that for me avoids the contradiction. Unreasonable, and for me that doesn’t work?

    The difference is (I think) that I simply prefer UK plc to have more control over UK plc, and to take decisions in its best interest, rather say than have some supra national body take those decisions for us.

    That’s it; even if we ourselves then elect complete cretins and imbeciles – as we usually do 🙂 – who inevitably then make crap decisions. At least they are our cretins (and in theory we can unelect them etc).

    ..

    “BTW, I think I should apologise – only to you – for “thick”; you’re clearly not. However, if you are going to take sides with Mr Ecks, IanB and SMFS then perhaps you should expect a robust reply.”

    Hmmm… OK, I always expect a robust reply..!!

    And this is just a late evening thought on my part…

    Personally, I don’t tend to take sides.

    Hence, isn’t this more about that “destinations” game again (ie, values & objectives)?

    If it’s the same destination, people can have a very heated (and useful) debate about the route.

    If headed for different destinations, then arguing over the route is just pointless…

    But – the same people can be headed to the same place one day, but a completely different place the next day… We are far too complex for it be any different?

    For example: and one of very many – Mr Ecks mentions “Tess”, and I invariably agree! As I mentioned earlier, I’m passionate about Civil liberties, freedom of speech and all that; unlike our very authoritarian young Tess..:)

    And yet, on the other hand (from the other evening), he and I may be in quite different places when it comes to the armed forces or defence?

    And all of which makes this internet polarisation thing quite interesting in one respect at least.

    If there is a shift towards “more friendly” web sites that we are more likely to empathise with; then – even if we have big disagreements – we are often more likely than not to be having discussions over routes rather than destinations?

    And, separately, at the risk of sticking my neck out, there are actually very few daft people posting on here. Lots that we often completely disagree with, but that’s quite different..:)

    I’ll shut up now; I’m waffling and it’s late..!!

  49. @ Luis Enrique
    I would agree that distribution of income and wealth has got worse during the recession – one would expect some of this anyhow simply as a result of marginal workers losing their jobs and income (and it does tend to be the marginal workers) but the greed of some corporate executives has made things worse. The other thing which has made things worse (actually bigger in total impact albeit less shameful than the greed of the handful of executives which has generated shareholder revolts) is the overpayment of public sector workers. Including the employer’s contributions to pension schemes, the public sector employment costs are some 20% higher than the private sector even after making all the adjustments for higher qualifications etc.Since public sector workers are higher paid even before taking account of pensions this does more to depress the share of total income going to lower quintiles than all the FTSE CEOs and CFOs put together.
    What I was taking exception to was the ridiculous claim that in “the rich countries” which pedantically means all rich countries but even if it was only “most rich countries” most people were getting *none* of the benefits of economic growth. A powerful slogan for union leaders who are paid a multiple of my earnings but complete bullshit.

  50. @Luis
    “I’m thinking the tendency to lie and self deceive is evenly distributed across the political spectrum”

    Not really. The thing is, on your side of the thing, the further left you go the more eggs you have to break just to maintain the illusion of progress. Your side, at the extreme, has killed a hundred million people just to maintain its lies.

    On our side, we believe in the essential imperfectability of people and life, and that it’s all about small steps. Hence we don’t need to lie to ourselves or anyone else, and hence no liberal (or even conservative, really) gulags and show trials.

  51. SMFS said

    “We had a lot of free trade under, say, the Mongols. Good and services could go where they liked. As did capital and labour. Did not produce a Golden Age.”

    Yeah, it did.

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