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Jul 27

Inequality is on the move

  • The proportion of rich to relatively poor keeps changing as more and more of any nation’s people benefit from the huge productivity gains made since the Agricultural and then Industrial Revolutions which started in the 1700s

  • Clearly, most of the poor in most developed G20 nations are a lot better off than their counterparts in the undeveloped RoW (Rest and World) nations but the same order of changes occurs once those nations start to climb the productivity improvement ladder viz:

    • 1% Rich: 99% Poor – Before 1700, all nations – For some 200,000 years, homo sapiens lived a poor life – a select few leaders (the aristocracy/ landowners) ruled over their follower flocks, the serfs, who mostly toiled in the fields to survive

    • 20% R : 80% P – 1700 on – Agricultural & Industrial Revolutions 1, 2, 3 & 4 – the rise of factory owners, managers and pay levels for some, and thus the creation of the middle classes via:

      • IR1 = Water/ steam power to mechanise production

      • IR2 = Electric power to create mass production

      • IR3 = Electronics/ IT to automate production

      • IR4 = Digital revolution to transform all industries

    • 40% R : 60% P – 1945 on – Service Revolution – the rise of professional classes, discretionary incomes to afford ‘extras’ and welfare states to provide minimum standards of living – initially, the manufacturing sector comprised over 80% of developed economies, now the services sector dominates, also at over 80%

    • 60% R : 40% P – 1990 on – Digital/ Knowledge Revolution – the rise of computers, internet and tertiary education – the replacement of materialism with mentalism and a redefinition of riches/ wealth that society values and admires most

    • 80% R : 20% P – 2030 on – Altruism Revolution? – the rise of leisure as a right and social responsibility made possible and affordable by AI meeting most basic human needs – the replacement of cash because all basic human needs will be met free

    • 99% R: 1% P – 2050 on – ‘Known Unknown’ Revolution? – the rise of ways of living and climbing ladders which are completely different to now – an age of hedonism where pleasure and hobbies dominate all lives?

  • It seems there is an inexorable march ongoing in the rise of the ‘rich’ proportion of all nations, whether developed or not

  • But this should come as no surprise

  • All economies grow by better meeting man’s needs – the result has been that, in developed nations at least, most generations expect a better standard of living than their predecessors

  • Indeed, back in 1943, Abraham Maslow put forward his famous ‘hierarchy of personal needs‘ where, once one level is reached and satisfied, humans seek to climb to the next rung up viz:

    • POSITIVES of living:

      • Rung 5 = Potential = Better than before, fulfilment

      • Rung 4 = Ego = Feel good, status, respect

      • Rung 3 = Social = Belonging, giving, receiving

    • NEGATIVES of living:

      • Rung 2 = Safety = Defence, shelter

      • Rung 1 = Body = Hunger, thirst, sex

  • My guess is that, overall, the UK is somewhere between Rungs 3 & 4 whilst it focuses on closing gaps with its rich fellow G7 competitors

  • Meanwhile, far too many RoW nations remain struggling on Rungs 1 & 2 which has to be to the everlasting shame of the rich G7/ G20 whose foreign aid programmes amount to little more than crumbs from their tables – most of them have ‘enough’ already but ‘enough’ is not enough and most want more – much more – regardless of all others

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