Inequality infographics – we need your help


10:40 am - November 15th 2011

by Sunny Hundal    


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I’ve written before on the need for info-graphics and bits of information about inequality in the UK that can be easily published and distributed (through social media).

They would also be useful for banners as well as slogans at demonstrations and occupations.

Thanks to some think-tanks (so far the New Economics Foundation, Resolution Foundation and Joseph Rowntree Foundation) – I’ve managed to dig out some interesting stats on inequality.

· Economic inequality in the UK is the highest in recorded history – we went from having inequality levels similar to the Netherlands in 1979 to being one of the most unequal developed countries in the world. Our Gini coefficient (a common measure of inequality) increased from 0.26 to 0.36 over this period. Studies have shown that beyond a Gini coefficient of around 0.3, inequality becomes corrosive for society.

· The top 10 per cent of the population now earn, on average, more than four times that of the bottom 10 per cent, compared to three times in 1979.

· This disparity grows exponentially when you look at the difference between the lowest and highest earners in organisations where Chief Executives earn, on average, 250 times what a cleaner earns.

· Looking at every pound that is created in the British economy, 10p goes to the bottom half of the population, 40p to the top half, 39p to profits and 11p to national insurance and pension contributions.

· Over the past 30 years the top 1 per cent have seen a 50 per cent increase in their share of every pound.

· Wealth disparities are even starker. Fifty per cent of the UK population owns just 1 per cent of the wealth. The richest 10 per cent of the UK has more than 100 times the wealth of the bottom 10 per cent.

· Land concentration is also high in the UK. 40 million acres of countryside is shared by 189,000 families – giving each one of these families an average of more than 200 acres each. Many of these families have had this land in their possession for generations. This concentration of land ownership ensures that wealth is knitted into the fabric of this country.

· The UK has one of the lowest levels of social mobility in the developed world. 50 per cent of relative difference in parental earning is transmitted to their children.

· In the UK only one in ten young people acquiring a degree are from the poorest fifth of households, compared to more than six in ten, from the richest 20 per cent.

· 5.1 per cent of the students at the 200 top academic schools qualify for free school meals, compared with a national average of 13.6 per cent.

· UK spends 16.4 per cent of private resources on education, compared with 1.5 per cent in Norway.

· The most deprived fifth of all neighbourhoods contain half of all social housing.

The above stats are from NEF. I can dig out the sources for each stat.

There are some facts and figures here too.

Can you help by creating info-graphics? There are some great examples here on FB.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


Looking at every pound that is created in the British economy, 10p goes to the bottom half of the population, 40p to the top half, 39p to profits and 11p to national insurance and pension contributions.

What about the 50p that goes to the government?

The UK has one of the lowest levels of social mobility in the developed world. 50 per cent of relative difference in parental earning is transmitted to their children.

This is one of the killer stats. Wasn’t it Richard Wilkinson who said “if you want to live the American dream, move to Denmark”? People like Nick Clegg and Tony Blair have tried to persuade us that its equality of opportunity rather than of outcome that matters, but the fact is that its a false distinction. The two are closely linked.

The Anglo-American model fails even on its own terms.

“Studies have shown that beyond a Gini coefficient of around 0.3, inequality becomes corrosive for society.”

Really?

I know that some have stated this, I’m unconvinced that people have shown this.

“The richest 10 per cent of the UK has more than 100 times the wealth of the bottom 10 per cent.”

Ah, yes, I remember that report. Very shoddy work it was, very shoddy indeed. they measured the wealth distribution before all of the things that we do to correct that distribution: plus played some other funny games.

“Our Gini coefficient (a common measure of inequality) increased from 0.26 to 0.36 over this period.”

That’s the post tax post benefits Gini. Your wealth number is pre tax pre benefits. Slightly naughty to use the different stats at the same time.

“UK spends 16.4 per cent of private resources on education, compared with 1.5 per cent in Norway.”

You’ll need to explain that one too. At the moment it’s just gargle. What are “private resources”? Disposable income? Household income? And why is lower spending on education good?

see link to graph generator here:

http://gregmankiw.blogspot.com/2011/11/british-1-percent.html

(I have not used it myself)

Can anyone give me a good reason why anyone should be allowed to own more than two houses or a set upper limit of land?

I’m not sure it’s helpful to put a threshold on the amount of inequality that becomes ‘corrosive to society’ but it is true to say that all inequality is to some extent corrosive, inasmuch as it destroys the cohesiveness of communities.

Wilkinson & Pickett showed very well in The Spirit Level how inequality is even bad for the rich, in terms of their mental and physical health, their education and numerous other factors. Inequality is also the cancer which prevents markets from ever being free. Competition promotes inequality but inequality destroys fair competition: this is the basic paradox at the heart of capitalism, which can never be fixed.

Maybe it would be possible to tolerate a limited amount of inequality as the price to be paid for freedom from excessive state interference, but it is clear to most people that the vast scale of inequality in our world today is detrimental even to the practice of capitalism.

Ultimately, inequality is not just a matter of wealth and income, but power. This is the heart of the matter, since power corrupts. It is power inequalities and the coercive relationships they induce between people which are the most fundamental and the most corrosive.

These power inequalities are as fundamental to state communism as they are to capitalism, which is perhaps why the two blend seamlessly together in China, for example.

The answer? Not sure. Anarcho-something-or-other? Post-capitalism! Yes.

‘Ultimately, inequality is not just a matter of wealth and income, but power.’

Exactly, this is the very heart of it. The only way that a system that allows inequality can work is with heavy, immovable restrictions on wealth’s access to power.

This is a very stark infographic that I think appeared via Tax Research a few months ago:

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/09/04/opinion/04reich-graphic.html?ref=sunday

@5 – Won’t work, their trust fund / owned company owns the place anyway.

…and when we are told we cannot complain about the millions people get in bonuses, we are told if they don’t do that, they will go elsewhere.

– What those right wingers miss out, is that there are many in the UK who are no saying “-and?”. The UK economy, following readjustment, will be serving the needs of its people better when it is less dependent on the banking sector, but does other stuff too.

It might be worth also working out where these bankers will go to, and how we will be better off when they go.

“In the UK only one in ten young people acquiring a degree are from the poorest fifth of households, compared to more than six in ten, from the richest 20 per cent.”

That would imply the middle three fifths of the country acquire the rest of the degrees, which is less than 3 in 10 – ie at a slightly lower rate than the poorest fifth. Which seems unlikely, to me – perhaps the actual stat is “in the UK only one in ten young people from the poorest fifth of households acquire a degree, compared to more than six in ten, from the richest 20 per cent.”


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/NpN9cnd2

  2. Liberal Conspiracy

    Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/NpN9cnd2

  3. False Economy

    RT @libcon Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/K9KR1DLL

  4. False Economy

    RT @libcon Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/K9KR1DLL

  5. James Ball

    RT @libcon: Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/vYvrwGw9 <- *cough* #interhacktives

  6. Joseph Rowntree Fdn.

    RT @libcon Liberal Conspiracy
    Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/7XbH1jLz
    #ukpoverty

  7. Liza Harding

    RT @libcon Liberal Conspiracy
    Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/7XbH1jLz
    #ukpoverty

  8. milind

    Inequality infographics – we've provided the stats, can you provide the graphics? http://t.co/N3wBi2c3

  9. Sophia

    RT @theneweconomics: Inequality infographics – we've provided the stats, can you provide the graphics? http://t.co/0u6JEycy

  10. Anti-Cuts Alliance

    RT @libcon Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/K9KR1DLL

  11. Bob Reid

    Inequality infographics – we've provided the stats, can you provide the graphics? http://t.co/N3wBi2c3

  12. Fernando Prieto

    Quien hace algo asi para Spain? Inequality infographics – we've provided the stats, can you provide the graphics? http://t.co/1r8SMpE5&quot; :-)

  13. Warren Niblock

    If these stats are true about inequity in the UK then it's pretty vile: http://t.co/yPtOJsOn

  14. Daniel Weichman

    RT @libcon Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/K9KR1DLL

  15. HSFCSociology

    RT @libcon Liberal Conspiracy
    Inequality infographics – we need your help http://t.co/7XbH1jLz
    #ukpoverty

  16. sunny hundal

    Info-graphics on inequality in the UK – we need your help. Here are some stats; can you make any? http://t.co/Cu5RhIbM

  17. Jocelyn Bailey

    Info-graphics on inequality in the UK – we need your help. Here are some stats; can you make any? http://t.co/Cu5RhIbM

  18. Andy Emmerson

    Info-graphics on inequality in the UK – we need your help. Here are some stats; can you make any? http://t.co/Cu5RhIbM

  19. Christine Ottery

    Info-graphics on inequality in the UK – we need your help. Here are some stats; can you make any? http://t.co/Cu5RhIbM

  20. Lorraine Ash

    Info-graphics on inequality in the UK – we need your help. Here are some stats; can you make any? http://t.co/Cu5RhIbM

  21. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    Inequality infographics – we need your help | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/yC7hVK3x via @libcon

  22. Janet Graham

    Info-graphics on inequality in the UK – we need your help. Here are some stats; can you make any? http://t.co/Cu5RhIbM

  23. Amandeep 'Amo' Gill

    @wyatt_design – one for you? RT @sunny_hundal: Infographics needed on inequality in the UK. Here are some stats; http://t.co/Q2l1rXA0

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