We all knew it was happening but even then, looking at the data on how rapidly the Anglo-Saxon countries are becoming unpleasant and unfair societies is discomfiting. As this piece in the FT explains, if you are in the top 3 percentile of British or American earners, you are living the life of the global elite. For everybody else in these countries, life is increasingly difficult (both in absolute terms in terms of what they earn and, more obviously, relative to the super rich):
“Starting at the top of the ladder, Britons enjoy very high living standards by virtually any benchmark. Last year the top-earning 3 per cent of UK households each took home about £84,000 after tax, equivalent to $125,000 after adjusting for price differences between countries. This puts Britain’s highest earners narrowly behind the wealthiest Germans and Norwegians and comfortably among the global elite…
While the top earners rank fifth, the average household ranks 12th and the poorest 5 per cent rank 15th. Far from simply losing touch with their western European peers, last year the lowest-earning bracket of British households had a standard of living that was 20 per cent weaker than their counterparts in Slovenia.” (Underlining is ours)
What about the USA? “Across the Atlantic it’s the same story, only more so. The rich in the US are exceptionally rich — the top 10 per cent have the highest top-decile disposable incomes in the world, 50 per cent above their British counterparts. But the bottom decile struggle by with a standard of living that is worse than the poorest in 14 European countries including Slovenia.”
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