Injustice: Why social inequality persists


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Book Launch with Danny Dorling, Marxism, Friend’s Meeting House, London, July 5th 2010.

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Injustice: Why social inequality persists

  1. 1. Watch the multimedia version of this presentation including video at MARXISM 2010, London July 5th Injustice: Why social inequality persists The claim: the five social evils identified by Beveridge in 1942 are gradually being eradicated, they are being replaced by five new tenets of injustice - elitism, exclusion, prejudice, greed and despair. [but we should think back, so I have included a few pictures from the past in this talk] Social injustices are now being recreated, renewed and supported by these five new sets of unjust beliefs. We need to again begin to think differently, as some of the ruling class last did in the 1920s and 1930s. This time will be different. Now - far more than battles over resources - it is arguments over ideas which perpetuate inequality, because in rich countries we have enough for all. Danny Dorling University of Sheffield -
  2. 2. Five renewed tenets of Frank Horrabin‘s cartoons (Staff Artist Sheffield Injustice (renewed from the 1920s) Telegraph, 1906, London Newspapers from 1911. The five tenets of injustice are that: Example from the 1920s: elitism is efficient, exclusion is necessary, prejudice is natural, greed is good and despair is inevitable. Because of widespread and growing opposition to the five key unjust beliefs, including the belief that so many should now be ‗losers‘, most of those advocating injustice are careful with their words. But those who believe in these tenets are the majority in Hepple, L. W. (1999). "Socialist Geography in England: J. F. Horrabin power across almost all rich and a Workers' Economic and Political countries. Geography." Antipode 31(1): 80-109.
  3. 3. Renewed Lies of Our World maps of those on the Times (renewed between 1950s-90s) lowest and highest incomes living on under 1$ a day: Although many of those who are powerful may want to make the conditions of life a little less painful for others, they do not believe that there is a cure for modern social ills, or even that a few inequalities …over 200$ a day: can be much alleviated. Rather, they believe that just a few children are sufficiently able to be fully educated and only a few of those are then able to govern; the rest must be led. They believe that the poor will always be with us no source: See Dorling, D. and Pritchard J., 2010, The Geography matter how rich we are… It is their of Poverty, Inequality and Wealth in the UK and abroad: because enough is never enough, ASAP Journal. beliefs that uphold injustice
  4. 4. Emrys Hughes MP (46-66), 1932: Labourservatives? -2010-osborne-key-words# from 2010 and, from 1932:
  5. 5. City of Sheffield – Age 18-21 1. From ignorance… destinations of 15 year olds 2001-2007  In 1942 illiteracy was Orange = mostly full-time work widespread and Pink = new university ( away) numeracy was even Red = pre 1992, ‗old‘ university worse. James Flynn has shown how much we have improved since (see his book ‗What is Intelligence‘, 2007)  However, educational Hallam apartheid in the UK has risen Constituency (Nick Clegg‘s) as the majority of additional A Tale of Two Cities: The Sheffield qualifications in recent Project (University of Sheffield 2009) decades have been awarded to a minority of young adults sheffield/
  6. 6. City of Sheffield – Age 18-21 …to elitism destinations of 15 year olds – Second most likely destination  A seventh of children in 2001-2007 affluent countries are now Pink = new university ( away) routinely described as Red = pre 1992, ‗old‘ university Yellow = apprenticeship ―found limited or simple Green = unemployed at learning‖ by the OECD  Many now again believe that the ‗ability‘ of children is distributed along a bell-curve Hillsborough with little chance for most of Brightside rising much above their set Attercliffe potential Central  This elitism is erroneously Heeley seen as being somehow efficient
  7. 7. elitism is efficient – because some are strong and some are weak? ―…every new school acquiring academy freedoms will be expected to support at least Is this man ―the one faltering or coasting strong‖ or ―the weak‖? Does he school to improve. We are need liberating? liberating the strong to help the weak - a key principle behind the coalition Government‖ (Gove, Hansard 21/6/2010) Is this helpful or patronising? Picture credit: Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, 8 May 2010 by Paul Clarke
  8. 8. Sources include: GDP 1929-2009 9/nov/25/gdp-uk-1948-growth-economy 1955 2009
  9. 9. 2. From want …  In 1942, for the first time in The keys to poverty Maps used to read like this: Britain, many of the poor did not go hungry thanks to rationing  Absolute material deprivation was reduced to the point where obesity became associated with poverty  Social segregation has Source: B. Seebohm Rowntree, 2000 increased as real financial (1901), Poverty: a rewards and benefits to those study of town life, worse off have fallen — just Bristol: The Policy Press as the riches of the wealthy Poverty in York: have grown
  10. 10. … to exclusion Carry on as we are & soon maps might again read like this (Booth’s 1890s map):  a sixth of people in the more unequal rich countries are Yellow: Upper-middle and Upper classes. Wealthy Red: Well-to-do. Middle-class ‗debarred‘: excluded from Pink: Fairly comfortable. Good ordinary earning full membership of society Purple: Mixed. Some comfortable, others poor Pale Blue: Poor – homes of moderate families because of poverty. A much Dark blue: Very poor, casual. Chronic want smaller proportion exclude Black: Lowest class. Vicious, semi-criminal themselves from social norms by dint of their wealth.  Questioning these extremes is far from encouraged  Exclusion has become accepted as a new necessity, both the super-rich and widespread inequality have become acceptable
  11. 11. exclusion is necessary (according to the rich) Who told George its unaffordable? George Osborne‘s Budget Speech, June 2010: ―Sadly, there are further benefits which the country can no longer afford. So we will abolish the poorly- targeted Health in Pregnancy Grant from April 2011.‖ But is that grant unaffordable? In fact the annual cost would be very similar to Barclay‘s ‗President‘ Bob Diamond‘s (disputed) £63 million annual ‗compensation‘. £63m figure from: news/2010/04/04/peter-mandelson-s-anger-at-banker-s- 63m-pay-86908-22161500/ PictureCredit: George speaking in 2009 at Keele University, taken by M. Holland:
  12. 12. Why is £190 not affordable?: cutting benefit - even child benefit from the unborn…. Who can get Health in Pregnancy Grant? [until April 2011] You can get the grant if all of the following apply:  you are 25 weeks pregnant or more  you have been given health advice from a midwife or doctor  you may not get the grant if:  you are subject to immigration control or  you are not present, ordinarily resident or have a right to reside in the UK How much do you get?  The grant will be a one-off payment of £190 for each pregnancy. It will not affect your tax credits or any mniotic_sac.jpg - public domain image other benefits. Everyone will get the The last group of mothers who will be eligible for the grant will same amount – you will not be be those who find out they are pregnant around Christmastime this year. From then on the poor get poorer, including the asked about your income. unborn poor. Child benefit can take three months to arrive.
  13. 13. Policy graphics 1933 and 2010  The Guardian: et-2010-ifs-cuts-data#zoomed-picture  My plan for 2,000,000 workless, by Ernest Bevin, Clarion Press, 1933
  14. 14. 3. From idleness…  In the 1930s millions of people were desperate for a job … any job  That desperation was eradicated by creating new employment and providing better social security  But a wider racism has developed, a new social Darwinism, which sees some people as inherently less deserving and able than those who ‗need‘ great rewards to work in ‗top jobs‘ Frank Horrabin (Socialist Geographer) See slide two above for source.
  15. 15. …to prejudice  a fifth of adults in countries like Britain and the United States are now serial ―debtors‖. Rising inequalities in income and wealth have made it more likely that people get into debt in order to keep up with their peer group and avoid being judged ‗undeserving‘, of living in the wrong place, or of just It is hard to imagine large numbers of wearing the wrong clothes. people. Above are the million people who filled the National Mall at Barack Obama‘s  This prejudice is being inauguration. One million people in the UK painted as natural – as aged 25 and under have no work and no place in college. Image: Darwinian. Barack_Obama_Sworn_In_As_US_President/1372515.html
  16. 16. prejudice is natural – are millions on the dole because others are ‗worth‘ fortunes? ―The Chairman of bailed-out RBS has acknowledged that bankers are overpaid. Sir Philip Hampton said that salary persists to be 'astonishingly high', but claimed that he had no option but to shell out the going rate for best talent.…[top people get] average take-home pay of more than £240,000 this year. … Sir Philip said, ―If we don't pay our top people they leave very quickly. Our top people are very much in demand and we have seen a significant loss Image from Story titled: ―RBS Chief Acknowledges His Staff is Overpaid‖ 5 January 2010: of our top people‖.‖ acknowledges-his-staff-overpaid 5 January 2010, as reported around Image: the world (this from New Zealand). Hampton.jpg
  17. 17. Income Inequality, share 4. From squalor… Held by richest 1%, 1918-2005+  After 1942 unprecedented numbers of households were homeless, the eradication of slums was a priority  Most spending on housing was initially for those who most needed housing Electoral Inequality, Segregation Index  But now a mantra is widely of Tory voters, 1918-2005+ Sources: ‗Injustice‘ Chapter 5 accepted that for those who + New Statesman (2010) have most to spend, their spending is necessary at almost any cost, including growing global inequalities and mounting debt
  18. 18. Inequality, in survival chances …to greed to age 65 in Britain, 1918-2005+ [BMJ]  a quarter of households in Britain are ‗discarded‘ in terms of social inclusion.  Many cannot afford to run a car while others have more cars than they can drive.  Foreign holidays are Income inequality (X axis) verses Health advertised as normal, inequalities (Y axis) in Britain, 1918-2005 whereas increasing numbers 32% 30% of households cannot afford a 28% single annual holiday 26%  Greed is presented as good, 24% 22% welcomed as what now 20% "1931" drives our model of economic 18% growth, not ‗duty‘ but ‗greed‘ 16% 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% 20%
  19. 19. greed is good ―It may not be pretty but, on the whole, greed is good‖ Preston, R. (2008). Who runs Britain? How the super-rich are changing our lives. London, Hodder & Stoughton. (page 336). Picture Credit: Robert Peston, BBC Economics Editor, 20 June 2007, London, taken by Steve Punter,_June_2007.jpg
  20. 20. 5. From disease… The distribution of ―top‖  In 1942 a near bankrupt bankers in country planned the Britain – introduction of efficient drawn by Ben Hennig national health care on an equal  The NHS and reduced social population inequality, resulting in a great map. reduction in suffering and fear of physical disease  But anxiety rose in place of disease, best understood as a symptom of living in times and places when wide inequalities are seen as acceptable
  21. 21. The rate of prescribing anti- …to despair depressants by the NHS in Scotland, 1992-2006 (anti- depressant daily doses per  a third of families in Britain 1000 people aged 15+ now contain someone who (Injustice Chapter 7) suffers depression or chronic anxiety disorder. The result of living in more unequal affluent countries is to harm the mental well-being of people in general and US mortgage debt 1977-now especially adolescents, who now face such uncertain futures  Despair is becoming seen as inevitable, the symptoms % annual change and $billions require mass medication, but what of the causes…?
  22. 22. If you believe the five tenets despair is inevitable - of social injustice then the last tenet is self-fulfilling there is no alternative Despair is inevitable:  Celebrity culture dominates  Winner takes all capitalism  Political parties run by neo- aristocrats and millionaires  Praying for technological fixes to environmental ruin  Universities become private schools with ‗market‘ fees  ―Those in greatest need ultimately bear the burden of paying off the debt‖ Various sources. Ms Diaz is more popular than ‗Dave‘. [Bob Neill, Conservative Local Government Minister, June 2010 Caroline Bonarde‘s image is from ―Shrek the Third‖ blunkett-on-how-the-poor-stand-to-suffer-under-the- premier: condem-coalition-115875-22334187/ ] Diaz_June_07.jpg
  23. 23. But inequality is expensive. In money, learning, respect, labour, housing and lives. Among the world‘s richest 25 countries: There are many alternatives: The most unequal are: By 90: 10 income ratios 1) There are alternatives in our recent past 17.7 Singapore (-) (1918-1968/78 and earlier still). 15.9 US (20) 2) There are alternatives abroad. 15.0 Portugal (-) Inequalities in Social Injustice is lower 13.8 UK (22) almost everywhere else in the OECD 13.4 Israel (-) 3) There are alternatives in our imaginations, where so many have never And the most equal are: been as free to think as they are now – 6.9 Germany (14) especially in the countries which are 6.2 Sweden (8) already much more equal than is the UK 6.1 Norway (8) 5.6 Finland (10) Social Inequality damages our collective 4.5 Japan (-) ability to think clearly – all of us Source: note 37 page 327 of ‘Injustice’ Why social Danny Dorling inequality persists. The Figures given in brackets are UNDP 2009 % aged 16-65 lacking literacy University of Sheffield -
  24. 24. Conclusion To consume less, you need to feel you have more in common with other people. If success is about having a lot of money, success is about consuming more and wasting more. Consumption by everybody is less in countries where everyone is more equal. All affluent countries need to reduce their levels of consumption by reducing social inequalities. Through their dominance of global media and marketing the rest of the world usually looks up towards richer countries. What example are the rich providing?
  25. 25. Watch the multimedia version of this presentation including video at