The Great Stagnation in the UK

by Russ Roberts on October 5, 2011

in Standard of Living

Words should mean something. They often do. But not always. This report out of the UK purports to show stagnating living standards there. But the numbers tell a very different story:

Many people in middle and low income jobs have barely seen any improvement in their incomes over the past 30 years, a report from the TUC says.

FYI: the TUC is the Trades Union Congress. According to their website: “The TUC is the voice of Britain at work. With 58 affiliated unions representing 6.2 million working people from all walks of life, we campaign for a fair deal at work and for social justice at home and abroad.”

Low income workers have seen their pay rise by 27% in real terms over the past 30 years but rises for the top 10% of earners have been four times higher.

Hmm. One percent a year, corrected for inflation isn’t exactly “barely any improvement.” And that may understate the gains if British inflation measures are overstated as they are here in the US.

Its report found a “sharp divide” in earnings growth between professions.

While medical practitioners saw a 153% rise since the late 1970s, bakers’ wages fell by 1%.

Wages grew by over 100% for judges, barristers and solicitors, while they fell by 5% for forklift truck drivers and 3% for packers and bottlers in the same period.

Yes, some occupations are in high demand and some in low demand.

Its report, called “The Livelihood Crisis” by Stewart Lansley, says there has been a steady growth in “bad jobs”, offering poor wages and job security.

It says there are almost twice as many people now earning a third less than the median compared with 1977.

Hmm. That’s a bit confusing and hard to believe. The population is larger. Did Lansley correct for that? I’ll check out the report. Meanwhile, here is some seemingly horrible news:

It added that a significant proportion of workers have received little if any financial benefit from the doubling in size of the British economy in the last 30 years.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “People often cite the recession as the source of this income squeeze but a livelihood crisis has been brewing in Britain for decades.

“The financial crash has exposed decades of limp wage growth offset by soaring household debt.”

Mr Barber says the nation’s entire economy needs to be radically transformed.

“The financial crisis should have led to a fundamental economic rethink but instead our discredited model of market capitalism has somehow emerged unscathed.

“Far from making the changes that we need, the coalition is instead introducing more punitive measures against those on low and middle incomes.

“Unless we radically transform our economy – from recasting the role of the state to prioritising a fairer distribution of new wealth and jobs – we will simply be storing up more problems for the future.”

And the bottom line? It’s in the data at the end of the article. Check it out:

Rise in real earnings % 1978-2008 (male full-time)

BRITAIN’S LIVELIHOOD CRISIS, TUC
Medical practitioners 153
Judges, barristers, solicitors 114
Secondary school teachers 67
Quantity surveyors 65
Accountants 60
Welfare/social workers 60
Median (mid-point of sample) 57
Electrical and electronic engineers 55
Bricklayers 37
Architects; town planners 36
Mechanical engineers 34
Skilled motor mechanics 34
Carpenters and joiners 30
Plasterers 30
Toolmakers/toolfitters 21
Heavy goods vehicle drivers 19
Bus and coach drivers 11
Sheet metal workers 8
Bakers -1
Packers, bottlers, fillers, canners -3
Fork lift truck drivers -5

So the median (worker? occupation?) grew a measly 57 percent in real terms over 30 years. That’s 2% per year. That’s a crisis? That requires radically transforming society? They’re even crazier across the pond than we are here.

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{ 68 comments }

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 1:11 am

Typical leftist crap. They need a crisis for a “radical transformation”. After all, you can’t expect people to sacrifice (endlessly) unless there’s a crisis threatening their very existence. Since nobody feels they earn as much as they could and there are always people who are more successful, it seems easy for these Bolsheviks to harness that discontent.

And if you think you’re a Brit just merely worried, you need only shut off you ipod, mute your 60 inch 3-D TV with the universal remote and plug your ipad to read the news and find you’re in a major crisis.

Mercifully, I think there are still enough people in the UK who remember what it was like in the 70′s. Unless the NHS has killed them off, that is.

Chucklehead October 5, 2011 at 1:46 am

How bourgeois of you. Everyone knows that a benevolent all knowing authority, such as myself can, distribute wealth more efficiently and fairly (at least fair to me and my cronies) than this corrupt free enterprise system, which rewards capitalists at the expense of the workers.
And what is wrong with the NHS? Queuing in the rain with pneumonia builds character and a stiff upper lip. Now back to work for the glory of mother England.

Krishnan October 5, 2011 at 7:14 am

To paraphrase someone from merry old England “First kill the rich people and we will all be rich”

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 7:56 am

For a day.

Chucklehead October 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm

If we rob Gates of all his wealth, everyone gets 20 bucks. What do we do after dinner?

dsylexic October 5, 2011 at 1:11 am

the argument should be,how much better would have been our lives if there were lesser crony capitalism,lesser bankster regulatory capture of central banks and other regulators. would anyone argue that this way of doing business should not be radically altered?
ofcourse the Unions are arguing for quite the opposite,but the fact that there needs to be a far more radical transformation of the tentacles of knowledge-pretenders shouldnt be questioned.

the betterment of humankind is happening in the face of loss of liberties -so let not those in power take credit for the progress get the idea that this is the way forward

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 1:14 am

My FINOP just argued today that we need more regulation because the TBTF’s aren’t made subject to regulations by the regulators.

He’s a really good FINOP, I swear.

jjoxman October 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

I know lots of good finance people who are ass-backwards about regulation. They are bad economists.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 10:52 am

Could not agree more.

In my FINOP’s defense, he’s an incredibly good accountant, not an economist or even a finance guy and he did grasp his faux pas when I pointed it out to him. Not that this realization will change his mind. He’s a statist at heart.

ArrowSmith October 5, 2011 at 2:07 am

Of course the latest lefty meme in the UK is that austerity is the root of all their troubles. If only they continued spending themselves into oblivion, everything would be just fine.

SweetLiberty October 5, 2011 at 9:29 am

But, you’ve got the phrase all wrong – it’s spend themselves into prosperity! See, once you think like that, everything will be just fine.

Frederick Davies October 5, 2011 at 2:10 am

“They’re even crazier across the pond than we are here.”
The TUC crazy? Come on, tell us something we don’t know. And don’t confuse everyone over here with those nutters.

Bastiat Smith October 5, 2011 at 3:39 am

You remind me of a Sly and the Family Stone song:

There is a Bolshevik one who can’t accept
The Statist one for living with
A Socialist one tryin’ to be a Communist one
Different strokes for different folks….

All in good fun motherland!

Tim Worstall October 5, 2011 at 4:46 am

Something that’s worth noting about those UK figures. The 1970s were a time of incomes policies. There were deliberate attempts to limit incomes: and of course, most especially of those who were a) paid by the government and b) were in the “professional” classes.

A deliberate compression of the wage differentials plus, as the government was essentially going bust (we called the IMF in in 1976) an attempt to limit the government payroll by limiting pay rises on those professional classes.

Note that the top three and the sixth occupations there are all (yes, doctors are government employees in the UK) nearly entirely government employees.

What we’re seeing by using 1978 as the starting point is the unravelling of these two policies after Thatcher’s win in 1979. From my own family I know that armed forces pay was severely squeezed in the 70s, then raised (to something like trend) in the first couple of years of Thatcher.

The TUC’s use of 1978 as a starting point is a particularly egregious piece of statistical cherry picking. Using 1981 or 1971 as the starting point would have given an entirely different result.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 4:50 am

Very interesting.

Alex October 5, 2011 at 6:23 am

What is particularly puzzling is that the TUC claims to want a high skill, high-tech economy in the UK. Such an economy favours ‘brain’ jobs over ‘muscle’ jobs. The table above shows the results of an economy that favours ‘brain’ jobs over ‘muscle’ jobs. The TUC should be happy.
And the workers with the most powerful unions, the teachers and social workers, have done pretty well (see table). But they are paid by the government and are more than happy for the lower paid workers to pay higher taxes in order to fund their pay rises.

kyle8 October 5, 2011 at 6:45 am

The craziest thing is that they describe Britain as an example of market capitalism. When in fact it is a high tax socialist welfare state in which there is virtually no occupation in which the government does not have a huge amount of meddling and control.

They are correct that Britain needs a complete restructuring, but not along the socialist lines they have in mind.

Observer October 5, 2011 at 7:48 am

I am amazed at the lengths to which people will go to justify the rich being rich, and getting richer, while the situation as a whole declines. The rich don’t need others to rise to their defense; they have the resources to do such on their own.

In particular, income distribution is not a function of capitalism, it is a function of leverage.

Kyle8 is the only person here smart enough to understand that. The rich use gov’t in every way possible to increase their leverage, but this blog never objects.

It would seem to me that economists, if honest, would spend all their time, energy, and effort focused on how to raise the leverage of the last in a society, not the first. There are many ways to doing such other than “socialism” (and probably none better than a well designed consumption tax that kicks in when wealth and income rise).

The “thought experiment” that people will work less if their taxes increase is not true, as confirmed by 30 years of good psychological study.

dsylexic October 5, 2011 at 8:29 am

nonsense.this blog is against all kinds of welfarism.ESPECIALLY the corporatist type.
a)against bank bailout? check
b)against subsidies to green energy ? check
c)against subsidies to sugar and tire industries? check
d)against the revolving door of SEC and wall st? check

what else should this blog do?insult everyone’s intelligence and claim that steve jobs just got a big boost from obama’s stimulus because he is so well connected?

Fred October 5, 2011 at 8:42 am

No. Steve Jobs owes his fortune to the guy who built his garage, for without the garage he would never have started Apple.
/snark

Observer October 5, 2011 at 10:33 am

No, Steve Jobs did not do in on his own. In fact, Jobs has admitted he was a free loader. He didn’t pay for his education. He just “sat in” or “audited” classes, paid for by others.

This is not a criticism of Jobs. It is a criticism of the silliness of your comment.

What is plain is that Jobs did not do it on his own. How much was Jobs, we will never know. Without him, obviously Apple would not exist. With him, Apple might now exist without a software programmer paid $55,000 for 3 years work, who is now back in India starving.

The point is the we need both, in balance, and it is pretty plain we are now and have for sometime been out of balance, rewarding Jobs to much and others not enough

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 11:07 am

With him, Apple might now exist without a software programmer paid $55,000 for 3 years work, who is now back in India starving.

Dumbest comment of the day.

Congratulations. You have very stiff competition on this blog.

Fred October 5, 2011 at 11:13 am

Dumbest comment of the day.

I am quite confident that IB or the good ducktor can top it.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Fred, I will not be taking the other side of that bet :)

Stone Glasgow October 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm

So much nonsense that this post barely retains any meaning at all. Do you speak English or are you using a translator?

dsylexic October 5, 2011 at 1:32 pm

55000 usd for 3 years? would put him in india’s top 5%.not starving,unless you include having a maid to do the chores and a driver to drive you around as part of starvation wages.

my only point was:not all the wealthy people have to ‘leverage’ their connections with the govt.it does not mean that they are asocial animals

kyle8 October 5, 2011 at 5:54 pm

“WE” Don’t reward Jobs, the market rewards Jobs. The market also rewards the guy who cuts my yard.

But the market does not reward them the same, because it just would not work, it has been tried.

Furthermore it is not MORAL to reward them both the same. Wealthy people, if they have gotten their wealth honestly deserve every penny of it.

And unlike some here, I am not even opposed to the Idea of progressive taxation, but I am against OPPRESSIVE taxation.

You use the word leverage a lot, but I don’t think you use it correctly. The best, no the ONLY way to raise the lot of the poor is to have a growing, vibrant economy with low prices due to free trade. Then the next Steve Jobs might come out from some guy used to cut grass.

Chucklehead October 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm

dsylexic in his haste forgot a few.
e) the fed? check
f) regulations protecting existing business and barriers to entry? check
g) government granted monopoly power? check
h) all rent seeking and pork-barrel? check
i) Bavis-Bacon inflated wages? check

dsylexic October 5, 2011 at 8:31 am

i hate all taxes.consumption taxes included. so when the rich guy who spends on yachts and learjets is now perhaps unwilling to spend on it because of the consumption tax,will you clamour for a bailout or subsidies to the poor workers who make these yachts? the salespeople and their family should suffer because you want them to not serve the rich? why are you so anti worker.

Observer October 5, 2011 at 10:25 am

obviously, you hate civilization.

second, while purchases of yachts and learjets might decline, purchases of food, clothing, basic transportation, education and health care will rise

third, I am pro-worker. For the last 35 years, the leverage of the average worker, and their incomes, have been declining

John Dewey October 5, 2011 at 11:27 am

Observer, what do you mean by “average worker”?

What makes you think that workers’ incomes have been declining since 1976?

Observer October 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

what makes me think that incomes declining—only the facts

here is a good summary:

Stagnating Workers’ Wages
In 1979 the American worker’s average hourly wage was equal to $15.91 (adjusted for inflation in 2001 dollars). By 1989 it had reached only $16.63/hour. That’s a gain of only 7 cents a year for the entire Reagan decade.

But wait. Things get worse! By 1995 it had risen to only $16.71, or virtually no gain whatsoever over the 6 years between 1989 and 1995. During the great ‘boom years’ between 1995 and 2000 it rose briefly to $18.33 per hour. In other words, from 1979 to 2000, even before the most recent Bush recession, after more than two decades the American worker’s average wages increased on average only 11.5 cents per hour per year! With nearly all of that coming in the five so-called ‘boom’ years of 1995-2000, and most of that lost once again in the last three years. And that includes for all workers, even those with college degrees.

The picture is worse for workers who had no college degree. That’s more than 100 million workers, or 72.1% of the workforce. For them there was no ‘boom of 1995-2000′ whatsoever. Their average real hourly wages were less at the end of 2000 than they were in 1979! And since 2000 their wages have continued to slide further.

Fred October 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Does the fact that workers can purchase much more with those dollars now than they could then mean anything to you?

Didn’t think so.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I know, Observer, things are really crappy for the average American. They are plagued by horrendous iphone insecurity and they may be able to afford, like, only two or three computers and only one 60-inch 3-D TV. It’s just criminal to force people to live in such poverty.

Here’s a link to a post by Don Boudreaux that refutes everything you’re whining about (the slideshow is in the link at the top). You’re tethered to your fantasies, so I’m certain the information will go in one eyeball and out the other, but it’s always worth a try.

http://cafehayek.com/2011/07/stagnating-middle-class.html

Stone Glasgow October 5, 2011 at 1:06 pm

The average worker in America is 20 times richer than the average world-citizen. Not only are you mistaken, as Methinks already stated, but even if you were correct, your whining would be fairly laughable if you removed the numbers and complained that it costs you more to get a tank of gas or the high-tech drugs that most of the world cannot afford.

Ranting about the the cost of your organic salad as millions of babies die from curable diseases is shameful.

kyle8 October 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Your “facts”are full of crap and Don has refuted them recently, go back to last month, or perhaps August in the archives and look at what he wrote about man-hours used to purchase common items.

All groups better off now than they were 30 years ago.

John Dewey October 6, 2011 at 9:56 am

Observer,

You presented no data whatsoever which shows that workers’ incomes have been declining since 1976. The data you provided shows that average hourly wages increased (in 2001 dollars) from $15.91 to $18.33. Furthermore, you provided no source for this data, so we do not even know if you just made it up.

Several problems with looking at average hourly wage rates:

1. those rates include nothing about the expansion of benefits which most workers have realized since 1976;

2. average wage rates are not adjusted for demographic changes, such as the increase in women who left unpaid and uncounted jobs (housewives) and enrtered the paid and counted workforce;

3. national average rates in the 21st century include millions of low-skilled immigrant workers who were not present in our economy in 1976;

4. the percentage of retirees working in low-paid “second careers” has grown sharply since 1976.

Sorry, but I find your arguments and data to be unconvincing.

dsylexic October 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm

what? how can unemployed workers who know only to make jets and yachts.suddenly become farmers?.is that what you want? a deskilling of people to satisfy your moronic idea of equality.

you are not pro worker by anymeans.you are pro-certain-jobs-that-appeal-to-your-gut-instincts

Emil October 5, 2011 at 8:36 am

“I am amazed at the lengths to which people will go to justify the rich being rich, and getting richer, while the situation as a whole declines.”

1) The situation does not decline (if you do not cherry-pick your observation window that is)

2) you will find that the main difference in your thinking and my thinking is that I care more about absolute levels and less about relative levels than you do

Stone Glasgow October 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

But the only way to be rich is at someone else’s expense. And even if you believe that crap about “everyone getting richer,” it doesn’t matter because poor people are sad when other people have more shit than they do.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 8:53 am

The rich use gov’t in every way possible to increase their leverage, but this blog never objects.

Is that so? You seem kind of heavy on self-righteous indignation and light on facts.

How do you explain people in the lower three quintiles obtaining 100% leverage to buy a single, completely illiquid asset over the past decade and then using that asset as a piggy bank? In case you don’t understand what that means, taking out home equity loans on inflated equity is leveraging their single, illiquid asset they already can’t afford further.

This isn’t Bangladesh. If you have a good idea you can get access to capital. In other words, you can get leverage even if you’re just a poor schmuck from the hood.

Observer October 5, 2011 at 10:21 am

Methinks1776

wrong use, by you, of the word leverage.

I am using, “leverage” in the sense of ability to capture the value one creates. The best example of leverage is a gov’t issued patent. Without such, the inventor has no “leverage” and recovers no income. Others just copy the invention and pay no royalties.

Contrary to the urban myth underlying this blog, people are not paid what they are worth, they are paid what they can leverage.

A good popular example are professional athletes. Before becoming unionized and vastly increasing their leverage, they were poorly paid.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 11:02 am

Borrowing is leverage.

What people can “leverage” as employees is what they’re worth. If they are worth more than they are currently paid, then their opportunity cost is higher and they leave for greener pastures with other employers. If you try to force employers to pay more than an employee is worth, then the opportunity cost for the employer rises and the employee loses his job. It’s really that simple.

You don’t understand price discovery in a competitive market.

Sam Grove October 5, 2011 at 11:55 am

You don’t understand price discovery in a competitive market.

Too narrow, the writer exhibits poor comprehension of market functioning.

Observer October 5, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Methinks1776

Your are ignorant and a fool

I said nothing about paying more than an employee is worth. So much for your honesty.

Leverage determines whether you are paid what you are worth. Baseball players are not paid what they are because they could move to other jobs, to greener pastures. They are paid what they are because they have the leverage to get more of the TV $$ because they are in a union.

Obviously, you never pay attention to facts.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Observer, I can forgive you on the issue of leverage, but are you seriously too stupid to understand that I’m challenging your drooling assertion that people are “not paid what they are worth”?

Yes, Sam, I think you’re right. It seems you’ve wasted all your patience on Muirdiot all these years and you have none left.

Observer October 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Methinks1776

only someone as dumb, ignorant and illogical as you would not understand that a word can have more than one meaning.

as to how all the sub primes loans were made and sold, fraud, pure and simple. in 1995 the US Sup Ct. green-lighted securities fraud. The rest is history. That the fraud was attempted is not evening interesting. That it was so successful (and so much junk paper sold, especially in Europe) is real story that will never be told–no one can get the details— having to do with agency and tournament theory, far beyond your capacity.

Methinks1776 October 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Yes, you are too stupid! You needn’t prove it at every turn. A simple, “yes” will do.

John October 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Methinks1776

Here is some reading to occupy the rest of your life

http://econintersect.com/wordpress/?p=5676

Abstract

The paper studies how high leverage and crises can arise as a result of changes in the income distribution. Empirically, the periods 1920-1929 and 1983-2007 both exhibited a large increase in the income share of the rich, a large increase in leverage for the remainder, and an eventual financial and real crisis. The paper presents a theoretical model where these features arise endogenously as a result of a shift in bargaining powers over incomes. A financial crisis can reduce leverage if it is very large and not accompanied by a real contraction. But restoration of the lower income group’s bargaining power is more effective.

vikingvista October 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm

“Methinks1776
Your are ignorant and a fool”

Ohhhh cleeearly. LOL! Observer, perhaps it is time to do yourself a favor, and shut up.

g-dub October 5, 2011 at 5:12 pm

John> Here is some reading to occupy the rest of your life

I am very familiar with that sort of paper. The temporal aspects render them useless.

Chucklehead October 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Again the assumption is that the rich are some kind of exclusive club. All of the business owners I know have gone from the top 1% to the bottom 1% several times over the course of there careers. Most businesses have bad years, and their owners put back in their profits from previous years to survive.

veritasrex October 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Observer:
Unionized workers make up such a small portion of the workforce. Are you saying that approx. 90% of workers aren’t paid what they are worth? If I knew I wasn’t being paid what I was worth, what benefit would it be to hire someone (pay dues) to strong-arm my employer into paying me more? It seems more plausible that, given I know that I’m being underpaid, that I should look for another employer who will pay me what I know I’m worth. What if the employer couldn’t meet my demands? Wouldn’t they just let me go? How then would I be better off?

Observer October 5, 2011 at 5:24 pm

veritasrex

my guess would be that 85% of America’s employees are paid less than they are worth—which is to say that their employer could raise pay and benefits and still remain profitable and in business.

Again, I turn to professional athletes. By joining unions and increasing their leverage they have increased incomes 20 to 200 fold, over the last 30 years, yet we have more professional sports teams than ever. Jerry Jones has $1 billion plus riding on the line, but Tony Romo puts the fans in the seats. Without a union, Jones wouldn’t pay Tony 50 cents.

vikingvista October 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

“The rich use gov’t in every way possible to increase their leverage, but this blog never objects.”

Clearly you have NEVER read a goddamn thing on this blog.

Observer October 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm

vikingvista

I have observed this blog for a long time; never has it put forth a serious idea, but just in case I have missed something, why don’t you list the 3 best ideas ever posted here

vikingvista October 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Observer,

I don’t know what your are NOW talking about. But even a partial listing of every time even in the last year that “this blog” objects to how “the rich use gov’t” would consume my entire day and not fit into a comment box. A better question is, do the posters on this blog spend more time objecting to anything else?

Jim October 5, 2011 at 8:26 am

The author considers the British economy ‘capitalist?’

That is the last word to come to mind. It is increasingly not the way I view the Fortune 100, banking and government here in the USA either. Their rules are different than ours.

J Cross October 5, 2011 at 8:55 am

Would be interesting to know what percentage of the TUC’s members come from those categories at the bottom of the “Rise in real earnings” list. If that’s true, then yes, for TUC, UK’s economy does need a transformation if TUC is to continue to exist.

Michael E. Marotta October 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

As Tim Worstall pointed out above, the growth was in sectors of or adjacent to government spending, with social workers lowest above the mid-point. A “quantity surveyor” is a cost account for civil engineering projects. Accountants deal mostly with taxes. Those suffering according to this trade union tally are obsolete or obsolescent occupations. As much as we romanticise traditional crafts, missing from the list are computer programmers, web designers, and a host of medical careers (perhaps subsumed at the very top along with doctors) that did not exist 50 years ago. Moreover, every example is of an employee. They would pay union dues, of course. What is the metric for the self-employed? Finally, none of these statistics, not those or a myriad others like them, tallies the way millions actually subsist: the so-called “black markets” the off-the-books auto repair, home repair, pet groomers, babysitters, etc., etc., who form the invisible substrate holding up much of the rest.

sethstorm October 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm


What is the metric for the self-employed? Finally, none of these statistics, not those or a myriad others like them, tallies the way millions actually subsist: the so-called “black markets” the off-the-books auto repair, home repair, pet groomers, babysitters, etc., etc., who form the invisible substrate holding up much of the rest.

That’s the slavery index.

Will October 5, 2011 at 9:46 am

Money is a word that is used by groups like the one sited that means something, but not what they want it to mean. Money in reality is nothing unless it is measured based on its purchasing power. Even if the bottom 30% percent has scene no increase in actual monetary numbers, I image they can by a lot more with their money than they could 30 years ago. I image most of them live with many more conveniences of life that they could not afford 30 years ago, multiple televisions, computers, cars, etc. This of-course is true even ignoring the obvious fact that a majority of the bottom 30 percent from 30 years ago are not the same bottom today. To many people focus on paper products (and I am talking about dollar bills, pounds, euros, etc) that don’t really mean anything and not enough on real wealth which is measured by goods and services they know have that they could only dream of 30 years ago.

jjoxman October 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

So, welfare/social workers and secondary school teachers both had above-median increases in income. They’re on the government payroll. If the TUC is so concerned, why not reduce income for the welfare/social workers and pass along some extra dough to those whose incomes have decreased? After all, isn’t that what the welfare/social programmes (in the British spelling) are for? Share the wealth, am I wrong?

Floccina October 5, 2011 at 11:08 am

Medical practitioners 153
Judges, barristers, solicitors 114
Secondary school teachers 67
Quantity surveyors 65
Accountants 60
Welfare/social workers

Looks like 4 of the top six are Government workers in the UK. Hmmm.

EG October 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm

“They’re even crazier across the pond than we are here.”

Have you seen Yes, Prime Minister?

sethstorm October 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Given that the UK sold its soul and anything British along with it in the 80′s, the TUC shouldnt be surprised. It doesnt help that they encourage unstable temporary work – instead of directly hired, full time work. UK businesses trot the canard that doing that would give the worker too much leverage – which is also given with temporary work as well.

Chucklehead October 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Lets bring back the good old days of British Leyland, the Morris, the Rover, and Triumphs that wouldn’t run for more than a month, which was about the time between strikes.

sethstorm October 6, 2011 at 2:21 am

Those people at BL and the mines generally knew the value of good work. Now it’s basically a place that isn’t even British, much less its population having the want to do work. Those were the unintended consequences of attacking miners, handing the country to the bankers, and the other party letting people in that wouldn’t assimilate.

Given today’s technology, those kind of cars wouldn’t have those faults. At least with those British cars, you didnt get something that was an outright golfcart – unlike what has been peddled in the East.

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