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Friday 14 December 2018

The Causes of Revolution

With a few Brexit gaps in the run up to Christmas, I'd like to look at some of the drivers behind the current hunger for political change and reform. This all started way before the 2008 financial crisis, but it's what has happened since 2008 that has been most telling. The appetite for reform has a number of roots, including but not exclusively
  • Increasing inequality
  • Living standards down
  • People excluded from decision making
  • Decline of working class power
  • Globalism / AI causing disempowerment
  • Cultural loss - damage to cultural identity
A couple of graphs from a recent ONS report -

Take a look at the clusters for the C1,C2,D&E cohorts - APT&C and downwards. You can see a bar at about £30k - £570 a week - and perhaps a little surprisingly, two key cohorts for working-class advancement, skilled trades and factory workers, trapped between the £20k and £30k bands. Neither is the Professional category to which I belong doing so well - in terms of pay at least. Those most at risk of displacement or redundancy by AI are not obvious; robots can carry out knee surgery, but can't cook a curry. Just as many Professional jobs are at risk as factory jobs. 

Now look at what's happened to the Median Wage adjusted for inflation since 2008 - the median wage is just on about £30k / £570 a week in 2018, but worth quite a bit less than the median wage in 2008.

I haven't got the US equivalents, but I suspect they follow the same lines. 

And what have the trillions in QE thrown into the battle since 2008 achieved for the greater part of our people? Nothing. Instead we have seen strong growth in GDP, in asset values, stocks and the most hurtful news to hit the headlines - the wealth of the top 1%. The mass of our people on £570 a week before tax - with tax levels at over 34% of GDP being at their highest in 40 years - simply cannot comprehend the boss of Persimmon 'deserving' a bonus of £75m for the year. It's not even as if he's built that many houses, or even built them to an acceptable standard. 

I really can't blame anyone for feeling angry, frustrated, used or abused. And our political class had better turn their attention to the people who make up the 'median' - and that doesn't mean more vacuous insincere platitudes from the privileged metropolitan elites.


Stephen J said...

Indeed Raedwald, we don't need to be patronised, we reach our level and we can be happy as long as we are allowed to be.

The old left/right adage of the French court is pretty much on the nail.

The left think that something must be done for the poor whilst the right think that nothing can be done for the poor.

In other words, leave us alone and we will make our own way... Whatever the left do, there will always be 10% at the top who are rich (aka "the left"), and there will always be at least 15% at the bottom who are poor. The more you try to help the poor, the poorer the vast majority in the middle become.

This is precisely what your stats demonstrate.

If there is one thing that can be done to improve things, it is to devolve more civic power to smaller constituencies... A good way to do this is with the implementation of citizen driven binding local direct democracy.

.... ah the old ones are the best.

Sackerson said...

There will be economic disparities, I think all agree. But it's the degree of them - see historical Gini Index, second figure here:

My father-in-law, a heating engineer, could support his wife and child and buy a house, on his income. He worked 7 days a week, granted, but he could do it. Social exclusion from property ownership is now a big problem. And the operating definition of "affordable" housing doesn't correct it.

Anonymous said...

Robots can't do knee surgery. Although devices like the Da Vinci are referred to in the media as "robots", they are simply good servo mechanisms. They allow a surgeon to move his hand a centimetre, while the scalpel blade moves a millimetre and is visible on a video screen. It is not a case of a surgeon sitting back and watching while the device gets on with the job, as it is with an assembly robot in a car factory.

Don Cox

Peter MacFarlane said...

I have never been clear as to where the boundary lies between automation and robotics.

And is AI really intelligence, or is just highly developed automation?

I suspect that in fact they are all largely the same thing, but the fancier words - especially AI - are used by arts graduates writing in the Graun, who know nothing about the subject matter but are trying to make a political point.

Anonymous said...

The extremists headbanging bolsheviks, corbynistaz of the left relentlessly bang on about the woes and ills capitalism, no, no, no!

Statism-corporatism, all of the EU its burden of relentless taxation; open borders and mass immigration, multcult diversity quotas, massive corporate yuman resource departments, onerous bureaucracy, its over regulation, the calamity of the regressive green agenda: are the banes of this nation.

Free market Capitalism - we've never had it in Britain and that's the only business which can pull us round but in the way stands the left, the UK establishment, the other cheek of the arse - the tory party and their chiefs in Berlin.

fooked we are being and will continue to be, unless we get OUT and OUT on the 29th March 2019.

Domo said...

The US is booming, in the past decade it's added $4.5tr to GDP, the EU has lost $2tr

It's simply not comparable, there are a few noisey losers in the US, but it's just not comparable

Raedwald said...

Domo - US per capita GDP (inflation adjusted) has risen from $52k in 2008 to £57k now - a rise of 9.6%, less than 1% a year.

On the same basis EU per capita GDP has gone from $35k to $36k - 2.8% over 10 years, about a quarter of US growth

Neither is remarkably high, but the EU is abysmal

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a hard like between automation and robotics, You might say that when a machine repeats a programmed movement (such as positioning parts on a circuit board) exactly hour after hour, that is simply automation. When it uses some kind of sense organ to detect variations in, for instance, the positions of items on a conveyor belt, then the device is a simple robot.

When it goes around on its own, like a self-driving car, it is definitely a robot.

A servo-assisted steering device in a normal car is definitely not a robot, and nor is a Da Vinci machine.

But definitions always have fuzzy edges.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

"Like" should be "line" in the post above.

I think we had free market capitalism in Britain from about 1750 to the late 19C.

The word is used for two different things: investing money in a new business which you grow; and buying, selling and gambling on existing businesses. It is the latter which often causes trouble.

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

RW 'The left think that something must be done for the poor whilst the right think that nothing can be done for the poor.'

I tend to think that the left hates the rich far more than they love the poor.

Regarding capitalism: it rankles when government say they are 'pro business' not pro 'free market'. Being pro business is that the government get to decide which businesses succeed or fail. Free market is when WE get to decide. I wish they could understand the difference.

DiscoveredJoys said...

It's the elephant curve. In general the world's richest rich people have got richer and the world's poorest poor people have got better off - all at the expense of the developed world's lower and middle classes.

The UK's workers (a declining number) and lower middle classes have roughly stood still although they are much better off in creature comforts than similar people in previous generations.

The tricky bit is working out what (if anything) can be done without stirring up unintended consequences.

Sackerson said...

@DiscoveredJoys: quite right, I know some people who have opted to reduce work hours because they can't get far ahead so why sweat to stay where you are?Especially if you can access certain State benefits. It's that interface between the underclass/JAM people and the lower middle class that needs sorting, but how?

jack ketch said...

Free market is when WE get to decide.-Anon

Can one have a really 'Free Market' without International Free Trade (ie no duties or tariffs of any sort on all goods and services that conform to our laws/regulations)? Can one have Free Trade without Freedom Of Movement? The problem with the latter needs no explanation but Free Trade also has a downside...namely the Great British Public tends to decide with their wallets which business survives or not. A truly Free Trade agreement with,oh say, China after Brexit would mean the Chinese would flood the market-especially the 'processed' market with fish of a cost and quality that British fisheries could never match. Are there cod in the South China Sea? If not there would be PDQ. The Antipodeans would love to send us all the beef we could ever eat ...and those nice Argentines too. Do we still make steel in this country? If we do then the works belong to India already I'd assume and it would be much more advantageous for them to make the steel in India and then ship it here.

Every special interest group would be screaming for 'protective measures', not just our Great British parasitic Farmers and Fisherfolk.

Anyone else remember the halcyon days when you couldn't find a British Tomato in the supermarkets because the Dutch ones were cheaper, way fresher and tasted better? Or how aged Cricket 'heros' had to hawk their sorry spreading arses advertising the Great Taste of lamb that didn't come from New Zealand?

Domo said...

Every teacher I know aspires to part time hours
Marginal tax rates being what they are, why work a 5day week for £2000pcm when you can work a 3 day for £1600pcm

Domo said...

"Do we still make steel in this country?"
British steel is doing fine without a bailout, making a product people want at a price they are prepared to pay

Mark The Skint Sailor said...

Radders, it would be interesting to correlate the rise of "green taxes" and the rise in wealth of the one percent. I'm pretty convinced you'll find a link. Despite the 2008 crash, I still think green taxes account for the biggest transfer of wealth from poor to rich in history.

If global warming was such a serious issue those taxes would go straight into projects to mitigate warming and it's effects. Instead they are traded on the stock market as carbon credits, bolstering the wealth of the rich.

That's not taking into account the direct payment to the weal landowners who lease land for wind turbines or solar arrays.

We're being taken for mugs.

As always, follow the money....

jack ketch said...

British steel is doing fine without a bailout, making a product people want at a price they are prepared to pay

You mean Tata Steel with HQ in Mumbai, right? If you haven't noticed by now Accountants rule the Earth. The moment it makes more financial sense for Tata to produce steel in India they will demand incentives/protections from the yUK Gov- what us normal folk would call 'bribes'- and once they've screwed as much as possible out of the taxpayer to safeguard British Jobs of course- then they will drop whatever plants they have here faster than the pound after a PMT May "Guarantee".

Cascadian said...

Mark The skint sailor...follow the crown estate, and camorons father-in-law who have done very well from the green scam.

The transfer is immense.

DeeDee99 said...

Basically, over the last 20 -25 years the globalists have wrecked the life chances of the lower and middle classes, yet we're expected to just suck it up and leave them to continue with their self-enrichment and destruction of our society.

And now the worm has turned in the UK, the USA and many parts of the EU, they are furious - and terrified.

Domo said...

It's always a mistake engaging with ketch, you forget how profoundly ignorant he is

"You mean Tata Steel with HQ in Mumbai, right?"
Tata steel tred to get a bailout in 2016, the EU was well prepared to throw state aid rules to the wind to allow it and the Labour party demanded full nationalisation and ongoing subsidy.

Greybull capital bought it and run it profitably.

jack ketch said...

you forget how profoundly ignorant he is

Indeed I was ignorant that Tata had been bought out by two French men. Your point was? You think they are immune to the pressure of the balance sheet/share holders, in which case you are profoundly, and somewhat charmingly, naive? Those 4k British jobs have a future that is guaranteed right up to the point a better offer comes along-that's think really Greybull will keep people on out of the goodness of their little gallic hearts, if they can make steel elsewhere, better and cheaper?

John Brown said...

By far the most dangerous of your “roots” in the long-term is cultural loss – or the loss of social cohesion.

A contented, functioning and peaceful society can’t survive without it and the globalists push for increasing population and migration will cause increasing instability.

If the globalists plan to import into Europe (UN Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regulation Migration) people from the ME and Africa, the populations of which are much bigger and growing much faster than Europe, is implemented it will mean that Europe will begin to look how these parts of the world look today.

Budgie said...

Jack Ketch said: "Can one have a really 'Free Market' without International Free Trade ...". You mean more bureaucracy and deprivation of liberty along the lines of the EU but international? So that the international corporates can swing it their way along the lines of the EU?

The EU is not a free market. The EU is corporatist. And a copycat "international free trade" regime along the lines of the EU would not be either. The biggest genuine free market that can exist is within national boundaries. One demos, one law, and one culture is essential (but not sufficient) for both political and economic freedom.

That's why the globalists are doing what they do - they want the wealth (for themselves) but not the political and economic freedom for us. Every sneer at the traditional family, at patriotism, at the nation state, at our own culture including its religious base, plays into the hands of the globalists and their stooges. "All peoples have the right to self-determination" - UN 1514 Resolution on de-colonisation is true for Egypt; and it is true for the UK too.

Budgie said...

Oops, I added "The EU is corporatist" without proof reading the sentence which follows it. So the paragraph should start either: "The EU is not a free market. And a copycat "international free trade" regime along the lines of the EU would not be either." Or: "The EU is not a free market. The EU is corporatist. And a copycat "international free trade" regime along the lines of the EU would be the same." Take your pick.

Tony Harrison said...

John Brown at 08.05: the Metro platforms at the Gare du Nord have resembled Beirut for years; and when did you last drive through large stretches of S.London, Wembley, Luton, Leicester, Bradford, Brum...? Stranger in a strange land doesn't begin to describe it.

Sackerson said...

@Tony Harrison: Brum's New Street and integral Grand Central shopping area is quite swish these days.

Domo said...

"Indeed I was ignorant that Tata had been bought out by two French men. Your point was? You think they are immune to the pressure of the balance sheet/share holders, in which case you are profoundly, and somewhat charmingly, naive? Those 4k British jobs have a future that is guaranteed right up to the point a better offer comes along-that's think really Greybull will keep people on out of the goodness of their little gallic hearts, if they can make steel elsewhere, better and cheaper?"

And then, when thoroughly beaten, he just spouts off a whole host of new gibberish.

Tony Harrison said...

@Sackerson: I'm sure it is. Brum also scored, in the 2011 Census, a "White British" population of 53.1% at the last count, down from 65.6% in 2001.

Raedwald said...

So? Only whitey folks can spend their money in a swish shopping mall?

WTF is this irrelevant rubbish?

NO race hate on this blog, folks. Stop trying to wheedle your nonsense into comments. I'm sure there are specialist sites for racists where you can share this tripe with like-minded people.

Tony Harrison said...

RW, is this aimed at me? I do hope not. But if it was, I'm puzzled by your trying to connect the Brum shopping malls thing with race, a non sequitur if ever there was. And in what way might citing reliable statistics from a national census count as "tripe" or "race hate"? I don't hate any race, as such. I'm very much attached to my own, though - and more to the point, profoundly attached to the history and culture of England - something inseparable from the geographically distinct collection of NW European peoples who formed us, just as pre-Pilgrim Fathers America is unavoidably associated with what I will always think of as Red Indians, or Hungary with the Magyars. I dare say Paraguayans and Indonesians are keen to conserve the essential character of their countries: so am I, and a very great many like me. Surely your adopted home of Austria - a country I've visited more than once, and like - has been fairly robust in its attitude to the mass migration from outside Europe which has had such pernicious effects elsewhere in Europe? It all seems straightforward enough. No hate going on around here.

Raedwald said...

Tony - spare me your faux surprise. Your thoughts reveal something quite repugnant to me. Until you correct your loathsome practice of viewing everything in life through racial classification, you are doomed to a lonely, bitter and unrewarding life. Do make an effort, man.