The richest 10 per cent of the UK population increased their share of the nation's marketable wealth (excluding housing) from 57 per cent in 1976 to 71 per cent in 2003.
Over the same period, the speculative capital that could be deployed or invested by the bottom 50 per cent of the British population fell from 12 per cent to just 1 per cent.
The wealthiest 1 per cent of the population, on current government figures, now control more than a third of all the marketable wealth – and this ignores the vast sums held in offshore tax havens.
The New Economics Foundation has shown that global growth has not aided the poor. In the 1980s, for every $100 of world growth, the poorest 20 per cent received $2.20; by 2001, they received only 60 cents. Clearly , growth disproportionately benefits the rich and further impoverishes the poor.
Real wage increases in the top 13 countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development have been below the rate of inflation since about 1970 – a situation compounded in Britain as the measure of inflation massively underestimates the real cost of living.
Thus wage earners – rather than asset owners – have faced a 35-year downward pressure on their standard of living. Indeed, the golden age for the salaried worker, as a share of GDP, was between 1945 and 1973 – and not this vaunted age of liberalisation.
From The Independent