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Blast from the Past

Bill Knox, a one time member of Edinburgh branch of the SPGB,  produces some interesting facts from the 19th and early 20thcentury

The Inequality

In Scotland in 1867 by 10% of the population received over 50% of national income. Those in the top 1% of income earners annually received 200 times more than the bottom 30%. Some of these men were fabulously rich, with industrialists such as ironmaster James Baird leaving an estate worth £1,190,868 on his death in 1876. The uneven distribution of wealth is also shown in the fact that only 12% of Scots had estates worth making a will for in 1881, and that the yearly wage for a well-paid skilled worker, such as a compositor, only amounted to £78 in 1880. The skilled worker would have had to have worked for over 15,000 years before he could have earned what Baird left on his death.
The super-rich were followed by the substantial middle classes whose average annual income was around £145 in 1867. They enjoyed a lifestyle which revolved around wo…