Our very own film about inequality

The very talented Stella Ramsden has made a film about what My Fair London are campaigning for. The lovely atmospheric music was contributed by Pedro Batalha and Bruno Chiecco.
We are dedicated to informing people about the effect inequality has on our society (it’s a bad effect).
Watch the film so see how striking the Giant is in person (and so far he’s only grinding our bones for bread metaphorically).

The Giant’s first outing

Our Giant had his first outing on a (slightly windy) Saturday in Westminster.Giant Westminster May2013

The Giant represents the average income of a CEO of a FTSE 100 company. Compare the giant to the average working earning just £22,620. The average worker is so tiny we’ve had to draw huge arrows pointing in. Spot the tiny figure in the photo, smaller than your finger.

The Spirit level has shown that this ridiculous degree of inequality, worse than any other (rich) country in Europe, causes most of our social problems. If wealth were shared out more equally, Britain would be a better place for everyone, rich and poor.

Plan B: Ill Manors

I was reminded of this song by Plan B based on the riots (in London in 2011, future internet readers may have more recent ones in mind).

There’s a shout out to Boris too: ’do what Boris does, rob them blind’.

You can also see Plan B (or Ben Drew) giving a TED talk where he talks about how hip-hop spoke to him when he was young and how he tries in turn to speak to kids through his music, getting them to listen by swearing and talking about violence but then expose the grim reality of gun culture: if you get shot 9 times you will die.

A privilege, not a right

I’ve just started reading Punished by Rewards by Alfie Kohn. He shows that performance related pay will actually demotivate people, and whenever the carrots don’t work, rather than questioning the method, they try different carrots, particularly in the US.

He shows that the idea of performance related pay is based on the idea that some things are a privilege, not a right. Which raises the question of: what things are a right? If people think that nothing can be given unless it is ‘earned’ it leads to people thinking that if you give people things as a right, they will sit back and be lazy. i.e. they don’t believe that intrinsic motivation exists. On the other hand this is matched by a belief that if you do keep your head down and work hard you will get your just reward.

This attitude would explain why Americans are so resentful of welfare and feel that if the rich are rich it must be because they deserve to be and likewise for the poor (and reminds me of the way people seemed so disproportionately upset at loosing their jobs as shown by real former employees in Up in the Air, they had worked hard, they deserved to keep their job). This attitude, that nothing can be expected as a right, only hard work can get you stuff (and if there is no work, or it is underpaid, tough), seems to be part of the reason there is so much inequality in the US. If people only work for money then taking money away from the rich to the poor would stop the rich working and just giving it to the poor would not encourage the poor to work as they would get the money anyway (though actually many poor do work very hard, just for low pay).

The basic assumptions here are terribly flawed but it does seem to give an insight to the inequality in the US, it’s not a sort unhappy accident, it has grown up as the natural consequence of the idea that nothing in life is right, only a privilege that can be revoked at any time.

The global rich list

This website, the global rich list, takes your income or wealth and lets you know how you compare to everyone else. However, the website really inverts the question that we usually talk of. Rather than comparing ourselves with the 1% it compares us to the whole world, globally we (in the UK) are all the 1% (or at least the 9%). Though at my fair london we want to reduce income inequality, which causes a lot of social problems, this website does point out that we are also pretty lucky compared to the bottom billion (not that it means we should sit aside and let the 2% get away with having over 50% of global wealth).

Not that coke is worth drinking, but it's a pretty graphic and probably a good idea if you don't have clean drinking water.

Not that  coke is worth drinking, but it’s a pretty graphic and probably a good idea if you don’t have clean drinking water on tap.

Spoiler: By showing us how wealthy we are they hope to encourage donations to charity, like The Life You Can Save, but with prettier graphics.

Do click through and compare yourself. The gap between how rich you actually are, and how not so rich you feel, is down to inequality, when you see someone even richer our immense wealth doesn’t feel like much.



Money: a chart of almost all of it

xkcd did a great chart showing all of the money in the US. It starts with dollars and moves up to 1000s, millions, billions and trillions all quoted in 2011 dollars so you can compare the real cost without inflation.

All of the money

All of the money

You can see that average production worker hourly wage has gone up from 1965 – 2007 from $19.61 to $19.71, while over the same time period a CEOs hourly wage has gone up from $490.31 to $5,419.97. He also covers the varying cost of a golden toilet over the the last 20 years and the cost of a velociraptor (tucked in the millions).

This is well worth a root around, especially if you have a big screen.

Wealth inequality in the World

This video that extends the discussion of wealth inequality from the US to the whole world. The video is from ‘the rules’ explaining why it’s time to change them.

The thing that surprised me most was the comparison of todays’ rich and poor countries over time. 200 years ago, the richer countries were only about 3 times richer than the poorer countries. At the end of colonialism in the 60s that was 35 times richer. Obviously colonialism was bad, now it has ended, we have done lots of aid, now things should be better.

Now rich countries are 80x richer. Inequality has more than doubled over the last 40-50 years This is because even though large sums of aid are paid from rich to poor each year, even more money, vastly more money, flows the other way.