Interesting claim

Put bluntly, if you think that what has happened to the advanced countries’ working classes – how over four decades they have sunk from semi-prosperity into pauperism

Have the working classes sunk into pauperism over those four decades?

Worse off than in 1976?

Not sure that’s a supportable claim really, is it?

Have gone and looked it up. Yes, Mr. Chakrabortty is indeed spouting bollocks again.

27 thoughts on “Interesting claim”

  1. I remember reading the stats a while ago. Someone on benefits in the UK today has more disposable income than a family on median earnings back in the 70s.

  2. “Consider what’s happening right now in the era of austerity. Since David Cameron moved into Downing Street in 2010, the government has scrapped 80,000 civil service jobs.

    Let that number sink in: it amounts to the shutdown of 20 Port Talbot steelworks, and it has gone barely covered.”

    You mean there’s been no discernable impact? Great! Cut, cut, cut some more!

  3. “Let that number sink in: it amounts to the shutdown of 20 Port Talbot steelworks, and it has gone barely covered.”

    Yes, because the same thing happens when the City sheds jobs. The media (that’s you, of course) couldn’t give a shit, because it doesn’t match your filter of what are “real jobs” and what aren’t.

    Only a Guardian journalist could point out how shit he is as a journalist and blame someone else for it

  4. “Mr. Chakrabortty is indeed spouting bollocks again.”

    Neo-antisemitic bollocks, as usual for him. Virulent Nazi propaganda: if you want the people to believe ‘the Jooz’ are stealing their share, the very first step is persuading them that someone is.

  5. This is another of the brilliant contradictions which inhabit the Leftist mind: the working classes are desperate paupers, yet they are also killing the planet with their foreign holidays, they are blobs through overeating and they drink too much. Oh, and their huge flat screen TVs are vulgar.

    Somehow they manage to hold both of these views.

    Ditto immigration and “mass unemployment”, which is my favourite one:

    “The Tories are evil because we have mass unemployment, hundreds of thousands desperate for work!”

    “So why do we need mass immigration if we have mass unemployment?”

    “…We need mass unemployment to do the jobs the locals won’t do!”

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Dave – “Neo-antisemitic bollocks, as usual for him. Virulent Nazi propaganda: if you want the people to believe ‘the Jooz’ are stealing their share, the very first step is persuading them that someone is.”

    F**k off Dave. You can’t be this stupid. You must be trolling.

    Just go away.

  7. Does he mean that more people get benefits than before? (The original meaning of being a pauper) if so he is correct, but it is not everyone and I would advise that he uses modern language in future.

  8. anon – and last I heard more people are in work than ever before.

    Perhaps the problem is the number of people being counted rather than the benefits or work. Perhaps we simply have more people than in the 70s.

  9. I notice comments aren’t allowed on the article.

    In 1980 we had no central heating, I had to trek through the snow to the coal shed to make up the fire. We had no television until 1985. Now I live in a house with central heating that I can afford to leave running all day, have a TV bigger than I ever though would exist (28 inches!!!) and can afford to eat enough to be overweight. All on working an average of three months per year.

  10. The entire ‘neoliberalism is impoverishing the nation’ meme is entirely down to people who work in the media considering that they are underpaid in comparison to people they see around them, and finding that their incomes no longer provide them with the comfortable middle class lives they would have 30 years ago. They have no concept of real poverty, because they never experienced it, either back in the day or now, so they can’t compare what the poor have today with what they had 30-40 years ago. They can only compare how they grew up, and how they can no longer live as their parents did. This is the source of the complaint. It has nothing to do with the poor, and everything to do with people who think they should be able to afford a nice house in London, and send their kids to private schools, and have money left over. They can’t any more so they produce one constant refrain ‘Waaaaahhhhhh! Neoliberalism is destroying lives!’

  11. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Jim, what you said, in spades. I can’t think who, but someone came up with a definition of “the rich” that basically meant someone making 10% more than a couple of MSM journalists.

  12. It’s a relative thing – back in ’76 most everyone was in the same boat (without a pot to piss in). We’ve all done well since those days, however gaps have opened up and some appear to be doing better than you are.

  13. I’m not as well off as my father was. I attribute this to my choice of career, not to the evil forces of neoliberal, fascist, neocon, Thatcherite, globalised, et fucking cetera.

  14. Basically, his argument is what I remember being taught about the folk who destroyed mills back in the dawn of the Industrial revolution. “Can’t have that – throws honest weavers out of business and replaces them wi’ machines”

    Do none of the like of Mr Chakraboorty understand that a more comfortable life necessarily means change?

    It does seem that too much change in the downward direction for too many people (even a small subset of the population) too quickly will cause at least societal unrest due to some acute unhappinesses in those directly affected.

    So rather than blaming the neo-liberals (isn’t it fun watching the progression of nomenclature for the economic bogeyman du jour?) why not sit down and think really hard about mechanisms and behaviours which don’t get in the way of change but buffer folk from the worst side-effects?

    Yeah, I know, it’s the Guardian and and and.

  15. Of course the working class are worse off.

    When I left school a bloke could get a fitter/engineer job in a factory that made stuff out of metal, it was hard dirty work, by todays standards it wasn’t well paid, but it was mans work.

    Now the only options available are a job in an office full of women or staying at home and looking after the kids.

    A lot of blokes would rather chisel coal with their teeth down an unlit pit than do ‘modern’ work with all the politically correct office gossipy backstabbin’ shit that goes with it.

    Is it any wonder that the GDP per head of working population is falling when certain sections of the population have made the working environment such an unpleasant place to be.

  16. Bloke in Costa Rica

    He went off on one of his “everyone who criticises the modern financial system is a crypto-Nazi” rants.

  17. Oh right, but hardly the stuff to warrant a fuck-off-just-fuck-off.

    I took Dave’s point to be that “financial system” and “bankers” is just code for “Jews”. And to be fair he’s got a point. And, well, SMFS does have form here with his helpful observations on the psychology of Jews.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “We know you’re the Thick.Racist.Prick but what exactly did Dave say to get you so worked up?”

    I love you too Flopsy.

    Ironman – “Oh right, but hardly the stuff to warrant a fuck-off-just-fuck-off.”

    This makes me think of Elizabeth Warren. Maybe because someone else was just discussing her in another thread. I used to be happy to support Affirmative Action as distasteful and painful but necessary. However the Left doesn’t care Warren lied. Clearly for them AA is a cynical exercise in rewarding their friends and punishing their enemies. If they cared about helping minorities they would police the boundaries. They would care that the people it was intended to help were being helped – and not some blonde carpetbagger with a dubious academic record.

    In the same way, if we care about racism and antisemitism – and to be honest as it is clearly being exploited just as cynically, as with Trump’s picks, I care less and less – then we have to police the boundaries of that too. Dave has repeatedly called Ritchie, among others, an antisemite because he doesn’t like the banking system. Code words apparently. Now Ritchie is a world class bell end but there is nothing to suggest he even remotely dislikes Jews. It is an abuse of the term. I think it is important to make sure the term is used with some sort of justification. And the problem with Dave is that he does not justify his use, he does not cite anything anyone has said – and he also does not change his behaviour. He is just a troll. So as there is no point discussing it with him, I ask him to go away.

    As you would too. If you were a decent human being. But of course you too are deeply committed to the unjustifiable smearing of people you are unable to argue coherently with, so no doubt my point will go right over your head. Fish do not notice the water. You cannot understand.

  19. It is of course possible to see anti-semitism where it wasn’t intended. Then again, banker is code for Jew and is used that way. And then there are your repeated references to Jews and, well, you are just a Thick.Racist.Prick aren’t you.

  20. So Much For Subtlety

    Ironman – “It is of course possible to see anti-semitism where it wasn’t intended. Then again, banker is code for Jew and is used that way.”

    Has anyone actually seen anyone use “banker” as code for Jews? I mean I am sure it could happen in theory but has it actually ever happened in recent times?

    All this means is that people should be careful. They should make sure what was intended – and be prepared to defend their conclusions. Or they can be bell ends like you and Dave and just spout self-righteous hatred without the slightest justification.

    “And then there are your repeated references to Jews and, well, you are just a Thick.Racist.Prick aren’t you.”

    And then there are. Not once using a code word. Certainly not using the word banker. And not once being wrong or antisemitic. But logic is not your strong suit. Rage is more you thing. You should stick to it.

  21. “In 1980 we had no central heating,”

    We had no central heating when I was a kid. But we did have a house, purchased on the salary of one factory worker and one part-time cleaner. Said house sold for 300,000 pounds a while back, when a typical working-class salary advertised in the town is around 16,000.

    So, I’d agree that the working class are better off in many respects than they were when I was a kid. But in the important ones, like being able to afford a place to live… they’re definitely not. Of my young relatives who live in the town today, one lives in a flat that cost as much as our detached house in Canada, another rents his father’s second house while his father lives elsewhere, and the third lives upstairs in his parents’ house after they converted it into two flats so he could have a place of his own.

    All of them are employed. None of them could afford the house their working-class parents grew up in.

  22. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Can’t think I’ve ever lived in a house without central heating. Not exactly gold-taps-in-the-bathroom stuff. My grandfather was a central heating engineer, in the Thirties.

  23. My great-grandmother’s brother was an electrician, resulting in her house being one of the first to be wired up properly.

  24. @ Edward M. Grant
    When I was young a lot of the working class lived in houses that were unfit for human habitation by modern standards. I was shocked when I learnt that one of biggest council housing estates had no internal bathroom and toilet. And that was whither people were moved *into* from slum clearance. Vast quantities of priovate sector housing for workers had deteriorated into slums because the rents had been frozen by Lloyd George in WWI and never unfrozen so they didn’t cover the cost of maintenance and (unless the landlord was a millionaire philanthropist) maintenance got neglected.

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