In 2020, for the first time in its history, UNICEF began feeding hungry children in the UK whose capital city boasts more billionaires than any place on earth.
Soaring rents, unfair taxation and a growing gig economy have brought about unprecedented economic shame: Amazon warehouse workers living in tents, nurses turning to foodbanks, London firemen commuting hundreds of miles to work.
Even those higher up the ladder are losing their grip on the life they were promised. Barristers take home less than the minimum wage and doctors are starting out with £100,000 student debts on salaries lower than the national average. We’re all facing a new economic phenomenon – in-work poverty. At the same time a generation of young professionals is coming to terms with never being able to own even the cheapest home in their area.
Why You Won’t Get Rich tells the stories of people at the bottom as well as the top of our economy, revealing how capitalism in its current form is too blunt an instrument to tackle Britain’s epidemic of inequality.
The only way to reverse the damage is if everybody has a financial stake in society.
Today it is much easier to argue that value has become too closely associated with price and profit. So when economists measure the size and growth of a country’s economic output, the final figure is distorted by shareholder self-interest or ‘value’ controlled by private equity and venture capital firms.
It is better to distinguish between value creation and value extraction so that more emphasis is placed on the first. The measure of real value is what an economy creates, not how many individuals or private entities are getting rich on the back of other people’s industry.
Published by Oneworld April 1 2021.
WYWGR on Start the Week:
One of the New Statesman’s essential books for 2021.
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