How many of us, more than ever before, feel we are struggling? To pay our bills, to live our lives, to get on the property ladder, to find work, to save for our futures? How many of us feel worse off financially than ever before? How many of us are bored shitless or worried to death (possibly both) by the media and political scaremongering about the economy and the economic prospects of our country , be it now or post Brexit or non Brexit?
How many of us just find all that shit so damned divisive and confusing we just want to switch off from it?
Well me too!
I think we (I mean them; the statistic interpreters and economic advisors and corporate fat cats and political leaders) are measuring it all wrong.
I really do
By the way, I probably have absolutely no credibility to say this and I must certainly reiterate that I definitely have no qualifications to do so.
I am simply trying to make sense of what our media and politicians tell us, to try to work out the difference between what we are told and what it really means to each of us individually in our lives.
I’m talking consumption , wealth and (yawn) the economy. I am not going to promise this won’t be boring but I am going to promise that I’m going to try to make it interesting and fun and as straight forward as possible.
What I’m trying to explain is why everything we are told is completely misleading and meaningless to the majority of people. Also that the way we (the country and world) measure wealth, is irrelevant to the benefit of the majority of individuals – ie you and me
I’m going to try to do it without making anyone nod off and without using too many numbers!!!
What is wealth? For a start, it’s not income. It’s not the bouncing plastic fivers and tenners you have pinging out of your pocket to pay for your pints. Economically wealth is stocks (savings/shares/bonds/pensions), income comes from wealth… it filters down!
Economically a country measures its wealth by something they call Gross Domestic Product per capita…. basically this is a measure of CONSUMPTION. It is what we SPEND plus what the government SPENDS plus what we export less what we import divided by the population. The more we SPEND /CONSUME the WEALTHIER we are perceived to be.
so you’ll be reading the economic trauma news this week about the drop in the economy because we spent less this Christmas. Basically, for the average Berni/John, that means we didn’t get fooled into putting ourselves in as much debt, buying as much shite or spending so much on things we didn’t need. What it means to the economy is that the top 1% did worse off… they didn’t get us to buy their shit so their profits were down. Their share values might have fallen.
And therein lies the truth about our economic measures; they are based on the growth (increase in spending of the masses) to increase the wealth (stocks and share, houses owned) of the few
In my book spending less, consuming less, wasting less is not a sign of failure, it’s a sign of better self management and a more balanced approach to living with and on the planet.
In the UK there are nearly 70 million people. In 2017 the UK spent $2.622 trillion (we measure in $ not £ don’t ask me why, ask an economist) , That’s $39,700 per person!!!!!! Think about that! Every man , woman, child spends this on average !!! If it’s not the homeless person, minimum wage person, supported special needs person, me, you, imagine how much the minority must spend compared to us in order for that to be the average! In fact the HMRC states that the average full-time working person in the UK earns £27,200!!! Really?! No wonder the government have suggested that anyone entering the country needs to be on at least £42,000pa to be of value… they have no fucking idea what he average person earns or what they do each day
Economic numbers mean shit in real terms for you and I as individuals
simple (made up) example…..
80 earn £10 per hour that’s a total of £800 per hour
10 earn £20 per hour ” ” ” ” ” ” £200
10 earn £100 per hour ” ” ” ” ” ” £1000
All 100 people together earn a total of £2000 per hour.
If we take an average, like economists and politicians do, that means on average each of the people earn £20 per hour but we know that 80 of our 100 earned half that. The government though will say “woo hoo , aren’t we doing well, average wage is £20per hour”. You are not reflected in this figure if you are in the 80 out of that 100 earning less. If you’re in the 10 of the 100 earning more then lucky old you!
And earnings don’t represent how hard you work , that’s luck of the draw,.. you might work your butt off as a refuse collector or nurse or barmaid, waiter teacher, carer. You might work over 40 hours a week and still take home way less than the average yearly wage. you’re not a scrounger or a waster, you just have one of those jobs that doesn’t command that sort of salary.
Did you know that the top 1% of our near 70 million population (that’s the top 700,000 people) earn nearly £700,000 per year! That’s a 5th of all the income earned in the whole of the UK (source HMRC); and 50% of the population earn 93% of the total income , that leaves 50% of the population with less than 7% of the total income of the whole of the UK.
This is the way its always been. We’ve been doing it for so long we stopped considering whether or not it makes sense or is representative. We measure success based on the performance and benefits to the top few percent of the population. Our country’s success does not represent the position of the majority of its population and whilst we continue to measure it using GDP it never will.
Saying we are on an economic downturn because we spent less and got ourselves in less debt this Christmas is ridiculously misleading.
Most of what we read is misleading to the lives of most of us.
We have to start measuring our success and wealth by how we treat our poorest and most vulnerable. I know it won’t happen, I know that the controlling wealth won’t allow this to happen , they will never share their excesses to benefit the masses. They’ve earned it right? In this social construct that tells us, if you have an academic brain and can be a senior manager, politician, economist you can earn £100- £600 thousand a year but if you have brawn , physical strength, compassion you can carry bricks or be a carer on £11 – 30 thousand a year. Some skills pay substantially better than others . It doesn’t mean they are less or more necessary and worthy than the other, it’s the construct we have created.
Heres another demo of the same thing….
Gross Domestic Product (how the stats are misleading)
1% (1 in 100)Fat Cats earning £700,000
1% sick/ homeless/ homemakers(economic status not my word) earning £0
Average = £350,000
See, I told you statistics can say anything!!!!
Where do you think the phrase “Lies, damned lies and statistics” comes from! (answer: Mark Twain )
Don’t believe what you read. Don’t listen to doom and gloom based of economic downturn statistics. The measures are all wrong. The message to the average person is irrelevant.
We are only as wealthy as the poorest and weakest in our society. Lets start caring a little bit more.