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Danny Dorling


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Danny Dorling is a Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. He went to various schools in Oxford and to University in Newcastle upon Tyne. He has worked in Newcastle, Bristol, Leeds and New Zealand. With a group of colleagues he helped create the website which shows who has most and least in the world.
He has published with others more than 25 books on issues related to social inequalities and several hundred journal papers. Much of this work is available open access (see His work concerns issues of housing, health, employment, education and poverty. His recent books include, three co-authored texts: "Identity in Britain:
A cradle-to-grave atlas", "The Atlas of the Real World: Mapping the way we live" and "Bankrupt Britain: an atlas of social change". Recent sole authored books include, "Injustice: why social inequalities persist” in 2010 and "So you think you know about Britain" and “Fair Play”, both in 2011.
In 2008/9 he was a member of the Academic Reference Group advising Ministers on the Social Mobility White Paper. In 2009 he joined the World Health Organization's Scientific Resource Group on Health Equity Analysis and Research and the advisory group of the Equality Trust. He is a Patron of the charity RoadPeace, an Academician of the Academy of the Learned Societies in the Social Sciences and, in 2008, became Honorary President of the Society of Cartographers.
Before a career in academia Danny was employed as a play-worker in children's play-schemes and in pre-school education where the underlying rationale was that playing is learning for living. He tries not to forget this by playing with data surrounding people’s lives and representing the results in new, novel and stark ways which usually reveal the inequality of the lives we each live.

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Danny Dorling

  1. 1. What’s out of Place in these pictures? Photograph – Phil Fisk, From Dorling, D. (2011) Fair Play, Chapter 12, World’s Apart: How inequality breeds fear and prejudice in Britain, (Bristol: Policy Press) Child Poverty, The National Context Danny Dorling, 23 rd November 2011
  2. 2. The bottom line <ul><li>“ Babies haven’t changed much for millennia. Give or take a few enzymes this perfectly designed little bundle of desires and interests has not needed to evolve. He’ll be fine provided there are some people there to care for him. If not, evolution has taken care of that too. You live in a cruel world and treat him roughly: he will develop into a compulsively self-reliant and ruthless individual with little concern for others. Mean societies produce mean children.” </li></ul><ul><li>Survival or development? the infant policymaker </li></ul><ul><li>Sebastian Kraemer draft contribution to Family and Parenting Institute parent’s week October 2011. </li></ul><ul><li>Dr Sebastian Kraemer, Honorary Consultant Tavistock Clinic, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist Whittington Hospital, London N19 5NF </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Servant keeping and the vicious live near each other
  4. 4. London writing on riots in China <ul><li>“ Western youths do not suffer absolute poverty. Nevertheless, they feel the pangs of relative poverty in a city where some parts, like central London, have become a playground for the super-rich and where they feel excluded from the game of consumerism. The scale of inequality in our society is undoubtedly an underlying factor. But it is tragic that young people seem to believe that the only way to fix this imbalance is to have all the latest electronic gadgets, which they looted from the shops and establishments they destroyed or damaged” </li></ul><ul><li>China Daily Post, reporting on the words Londoner Murad Qureshi, Assembly member, August 2011 </li></ul>
  5. 5. Once we used ‘ Pauper’ and ‘slum’ For people and places
  6. 6. ‘ gangs’ now, not ‘paupers’ <ul><li>“ They [the government] is trying to say gangs …organised the whole riot a week before to loot a Curry's [electrical store]. It's so stupid and ridiculous... It's just rubbish. </li></ul><ul><li>All those involved, they are little kids on bikes. KIDS. Look at who has been charged… they're not gangsters. Youths who have nothing, who have been swept up in trying to fight back against their circumstances and the police ‘cos there's just nowt for them” </li></ul><ul><li>Elijah Kerr was reported by Reuters as being a former London gang member who did not trust the government, police or press, but who nevertheless decided on 15 August to speak out because the claims were simply getting silly. [quite how the northern ‘nowt’ ended up in London is a curiosity]. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Countries now ranked rather than areas labeled ‘slums’
  8. 8. ‘ Breeds’ futility and resentment <ul><li>“… as one youth worker explained to a reporter, “Youths are frustrated, they want all the nice clothes. They ain’t got no money, they don’t have jobs…” Couple this with the growing police harassment, the shutting down of social services, rising rents and gentrification and an ideologically bankrupt – in many cases just plain bankrupt - economic system that rewards only the most avaricious, competitive individualism and nobody should still be surprised that a generation born of futility and resentment, wholly unheard and bereft of any sense of consequence or accountability, has seized upon an opportunity to reclaim some small and fleeting handful of power.” </li></ul>A ‘blogger’ quoting a ‘youth worker’ in Dorling, D. (2011) Riots, Redistribution and Reparation, Poverty, The Journal of the Child Poverty Action Group, 140, 6-10.
  9. 9. League Tables <ul><li>At least on some indices of child poverty the UK doesn’t rank as lowly as Italy, Portugal, the Slovak Republic or Turkey. But it is still around a fifth, now (IFS 2011) rising to a quarter of child in poverty. </li></ul>
  10. 10. And at least children protected until age 18 from immiseration: <ul><li>“ An adult appealing an incapacity benefit decision suggesting s/he is fit for work is entitled to a reduced rate of income support amounting to £52.36 a week. S/he is likely to spend, on average, £10 on gas and £10 on electricity, leaving her/him with £32.36 a week. Water charges are at least £6 a week and many people have to make up a shortfall in rent, uncovered by housing benefit, of at least £5 a week. This leaves £21.36. A basic TV licence is £3.50 a week, which leaves £16.36 - £2.33 a day for everything else, including food and drink, clothes and travel expenses.” </li></ul><ul><li>Gateshead Citizen’s advice bureau figures reproduced in: Dorling, D. (2011) Riots, Redistribution and Reparation, Poverty, The Journal of the Child Poverty Action Group, 140, 6-10. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>The tenets of injustice: </li></ul><ul><li>Elitism is essential – for economic efficiency? </li></ul><ul><li>Exclusion necessary - the poor will always be with us no matter how rich we are. Because we cannot afford to alleviate poverty? </li></ul>How Big A Cut Is This?
  12. 21. Those of the world’s 25 richest large countries which are in Europe + USA
  13. 22. Rich World Inequality League <ul><li>Ratio of the income of the best-off tenth to worse of tenth of households </li></ul><ul><li>17.7 Singapore 15.9 US 15.0 Portugal 13.8 UK </li></ul><ul><li>13.4 Israel 12.5 Australia 12.5 New Zealand 11.6 Italy </li></ul><ul><li>10.3 Spain 10.2 Greece 9.4 Canada 9.4 Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>9.2 Netherlands 9.1 France 9.0 Switzerland 8.2 Belgium </li></ul><ul><li>8.1 Denmark 7.8 S. Korea 7.3 Slovenia 6.9 Austria </li></ul><ul><li>6.9 Germany 6.2 Sweden 6.1 Norway 5.6 Finland </li></ul><ul><li>4.5 Japan </li></ul><ul><li>The 24 richest countries in the world with a population of 1 million+ </li></ul><ul><li>Source, UNDP world development report 2009, not updated since then. </li></ul>
  14. 23. The UK has a more unequal income distribution than Israel, only three countries of the richest 25 do worse. We are returning to 1918 levels of income inequality:
  15. 24. Gridding Londoners Children in families receiving tax credits We see a fractal geography in modern ‘Booth’ maps In areas shaded red more than 84% of children live in families receiving tax credits which are needed to boost their income to a reasonable level: % of Children
  16. 25. In the USA the Washington post calculated how much money could be saved by returning to the income differentials of 1970. Here are the UK figures:
  17. 26. When poverty and income inequality rise we tend to polarise. Voter segregation now risen for the seventh general election in a row. Only 1918 more segregated than 2010. 2010
  18. 27. The tide changed 1968-1974 and may be changing again now: <ul><li>The rise in electoral segregation has coincided in Britain with the increased acceptance of arguments that suggest some people are worth much more than others. Justifying injustice. </li></ul><ul><li>In 2010 the Sunday Times Rich List 1000 were each ‘worth’ £335.5 million (+30%). </li></ul><ul><li>In 2011 the UK billionaire count rose by over 10% …. as did unemployment. </li></ul><ul><li>Next the richest 1000 gained £60bn in 2011 in net extra wealth, £60million each </li></ul>
  19. 28. But how do you know the tide is changing? Do you believe this?: <ul><li>“ Vince Cable: I sympathise with St Paul's protest... so we'll curb bosses' pay </li></ul><ul><li>… The Business Secretary said he shares the anger of the anti-capitalist protesters at St Paul’s cathedral, saying they are right to point out that those who caused the financial crisis have not paid the price while ordinary people suffer. </li></ul><ul><li>… Mr Cable stepped in after it emerged that the average salary for a chief executive of one of Britain’s 100 hundred biggest firms has quadrupled from £1million to £4.2million over the past 12 years – without a corresponding uplift in share prices” </li></ul><ul><li>But would an uplift in share prices have excused those pay rises? </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  20. 29. Problem is sharing not growing <ul><li>In secondary education the 7% ‘best-off’ children receive 25% of all spending </li></ul><ul><li>Housing: Even Esther Rantzen agrees its unfair for overcrowding to be rising * </li></ul><ul><li>Want: dozens of cuts to children’s income. </li></ul><ul><li>Jobs – high wage bill = low employment. </li></ul><ul><li>Illness – we have a lower life expectancy overall from trying to benefit a few greatly. </li></ul><ul><li>* “... 25 million bedrooms are empty in England’s homes – and oldies are to blame” </li></ul>
  21. 30. Income inequality has risen – before & after tax lines below are share of the best-off 1% (‘Injustice’) 2011 2011
  22. 31. A small number believe prejudice is natural, greed is good and despair is inevitable… <ul><li>They have come to believe that most others are naturally, perhaps genetically , inferior to them. And many of this small group believe that their friends’ and their own greed is helping the rest of humanity as much as humanity can be helped; they are convinced that to argue against such a counsel of despair is foolhardy. </li></ul>
  23. 32. Politically it is very hard for the last government to blame this one for rising inequalities. Health Inequalities 1999-2008 (summary): Figure 3. Inequalities in life expectancy between areas in Great Britain 1999–2008 Source: Difference between the best and worst-off districts, 1999–2008 (ONS). But health inequalities may have finally fallen slightly in 2009 between areas. Almost everything that could be done to increase them is occurring now. Especially in housing....
  24. 33. ON Inequalities in health we need to – keep asking why are 16 or 20 countries better off than us? <ul><li>Everyone is worse off because there is less social solidality, more fear: </li></ul><ul><li>The latest UN report lists those European countries currently having a higher life expectancy than the UK as: Iceland (almost 82 years), Switzerland, Italy, France (81 years), Sweden, Spain, Norway, Austria (to almost 80 years), the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, Malta, Cyprus, Finland, Belgium and Luxembourg. People also live for longer than in Britain in Australia, Canada and New Zealand (and especially Japan), but not in the United States (where comparable life expectancy is only 79.1 years) </li></ul><ul><li>People do live slightly shorter lives now in Greece (but not by 2010 EU data), Portugal (more economically unequal than the UK), Denmark (where smoking is still very common) and in Slovenia (78.2 years). All these figures are from Table H of the most recent UNDP human development report (2009) and purport to be for around the year 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>Life expectancy is up in the UK, but increased economic inequality here would be expected to move our rank position below one of these four countries next, to slip from 20 th place to 21 st or 22 nd out of 25. If that happens then there will be falls in life expectancy in some areas. </li></ul><ul><li>… we have just moved below Greece, and the cuts there are far more equitable than here… (salaries cut rather than jobs and mostly benefits going…) </li></ul>Of the richest 25 nations in the world the UK is the 4 th most unequal by income inequality (90:10 ratio UNDP figures).
  25. 34. Rise in anxiety and depression amongst older adolescents in the most unequal affluent countries (source – ‘Injustice’) There was a rapid rise in the number of older school children reporting concerns 2008-2009 before the government cancelled the ‘TellUs’ survey in summer 2010. How anxious would you be now – if you were age 15 today?
  26. 35. Some 90 years ago you could read words like these: <ul><li>“ This neglect of the young makes the financial deficit pale beside the cost the future social deficit. In unemployment, crime, mental health and social breakdown, the damage done will cascade on, down future generations. I doubt many voters know or would approve the price that children are paying as cuts are camouflaged by empty Cameron words of concern. What's needed is a campaign by children's charities to shame the government and to make these facts known. Quiet despair grips those who see it happening, but where is the voice of real outrage?” </li></ul><ul><li>Polly Toynbee, Children face one hammer blow after another, Guardian, 13 September 2011 </li></ul>
  27. 36. When last we were as unequal was about 20 years before this: <ul><li>Photo taken in summer 1938, The two boys in hats died first, one not long after the photo was taken, of Diptheria in India: “Tim died in Trimulgherry on August 26th 1938, aged 16. His father was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore and died in a Korean prison camp on November 22nd 1942, four years after he buried his only child.” one in an aslyumn at age 60. His wife said: “Harrow was quite difficult for Peter,” she said. “I sometimes think he hated it.” For details: </li></ul>