Opinion – Income inequality: Who exactly are the 1%? | The Economist – Top Blogs Revisited – John Gelmini

English: UK Conservative Party poster from 192...

English: UK Conservative Party poster from 1929 warning of the threat of Ramsay MacDonald’s Labour party proclaims “Socialism Would Mean Inspectors All Round”, and depicts a beleaguered Englishman in his home surrounded by officials prying into his affairs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ll pick up Dr Alf’s thread about the UK Conservative Party another time but would like to expand here on the 1%.

Dr Alf may recall the 2013 BBC survey of income and wealth distribution by the London School of Economics, the University of Manchester, Gfk and Professor Mike Savage, in which the BBC surveyed 161,400 people online, and Gfk interviewed 1026 face to face.

This positioned the UK elite at 6% of the UK population, and with savings of at least £140,000 GBP, an extensive list of social contacts and education at a top university.

The “established middle class”, representing the next 25%, were described as “comfortable”, living in small towns and villages, with a household income of £47,000 GBP and some “highbrow tastes”.

Below them were the “Technical Middle Class“(6%), “New Affluent Workers” (15%), the “Traditional Working Class”(14%), “Emergent Service Workers”(19%) and the “Precariat” a group of people earning less than £8,000 GBP with savings of less than £800 GBP.

The top 1% in as far back as 2005 were on £100,000 GBP and the figure from GE Money for average savings in 1990 was that 80% of people had less than £500 GBP in their bank accounts at any one time.

Today, the top 1% have an earnings figure which is much higher, possibly closer to £200,000 GBP, swollen by hospital consultants, heads of quangos, university chancellors, head teachers, local authority chief executives, BBC senior managers, local authority service director, chief constables, deputy chief constables, fire chiefs, NHS directors and MDs of mid caps.

Above them are the plutocrats and Times 1000 Chief Executives, with this last category now grossing £4.5 million GBP plus a similar amount in bonuses and “other emoluments” taking them to £9 million GBP a year. They represent the top 10% of that 1%, with hedge fund managers and certain city figures in the upper decile of those figures. On average they always get their bonuses, which are based on elastic targets and each year they give themselves 11.5% pay increases, whilst holding their workers down to an average of 2% or even less.

America is even more unequal, as the poorest 50 million people lack a proper safety net, have no medical insurance and have a life expectancy worse than that of an impoverished Greek.

At the top, the plutocrats are building gated communities, paying no taxes on the money they have hidden offshore and have taken out New Zealand citizenship and bought land there, as an insurance policy against insurrection at home.

The present system is more akin to the situation that preceded the fall of ancient Rome, under which that great empire collapsed because the legions could not put down all the tax rebellions by the people and defend the empire at the same time.

With AI and the advance of technology, those in ultimate charge have openly said they envisage 50% of American and global jobs (the Oxford University Survey) will go by 2037.

They have not said how those displaced will live and what jobs, if any will replace them other than bland statements to the effect that something will turn up.

The people who will own all the robots and 3D printers will have the means to produce whatever they want without people and they will control all the space based weaponry and automated military equipment on earth, so the question then is what will they do and what philosophy will motivate them?

Will it be Judeo Christian ethics and help for the dispossessed or will it be something else?

Looking at what is happening in the world, I tend to think the jury is out and that plutocrats and their political place men cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

John Gelmini

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