Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hard Times in London

Danny Dorling, a professor of human geography at Sheffield University, and an expert on health and social inequalities has charted the widening gap in social inequality under New Labour . "..It's quite hard to tell the difference between New Labour and Thatcher..." he says . "In countries like Britain, people last lived lives as unequal as today, as measured by wage inequality, in 1854, when Charles Dickens was writing Hard Times," he states.

He identifies five sets of beliefs – elitism, exclusion, prejudice, greed and despair – and have become so entrenched in Britain and some other affluent countries that they uphold an unjust system that perpetuates extreme inequality.He says: "The beliefs are supported by the media where stories often imply that some people are less deserving, where great City businessmen (and a few businesswomen) are lauded as superheroes, and where immigrants looking to work for a crumb of the City's bonuses are seen as scroungers."

Dorling says: "I feel very wimpy saying this, but I'm hardly saying, 'We want a revolution, we want a utopia.' I'm just saying, 'Can we be slightly less stupid, and we'll all be better off for it.'"

Well , SOYMB does say we need a revolution and if it doesn't come about then this class inequality will go on ...and on ...and on .

London is most unequal city in the developed world, with the richest tenth of the population amassing 273 times the wealth owned by the bottom tenth . Dorling says the government's latest figures show that in the capital the top 10% of society had on average a wealth of £933,563 compared to the meagre £3,420 of the poorest 10% – a wealth multiple of 273.This wealth gap has produced an alarming health gap – with the life expectancy at birth of the richest group rising by a year annually, while the poorest are seeing almost no rise at all. In 2008, a female born in London's exclusive Kensington and Chelsea could expect to live until 88 and nine months – a year earlier she would have reached 87.9.

Dorling said: “The wealth gap has created a social divide so big it now resembles an Indian caste system where people in London only mix with those from their own income brackets and have little to do with those outside.”He spoke of a servant culture between poor and rich: “They serve in coffee shops, clean houses, make beds in hotels, care for their children and drive their cars and taxis.” He concluded: “We are getting wealth inequalities in London now that have not been seen since the days of a slave-owning elite.”

Management To-day reported that according to new research by the London School of Economics, Britain’s highest-paid workers accounted for 30% of the UK’s total pay expenditure at the end of 2008 - the City fat cats taking home almost a third of UK's wage bill .

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