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From: The Socialist issue 977, 10 January 2018: NHS SOS - march and strike

Search site for keywords: Them & Us - US - Market - Wages - Pay - Poverty - Stock market - Inequality - Army - Banks

Them & Us

Them and us

Them and us   (Click to enlarge)

How many billions of pounds did your asset portfolio appreciate by in the last year? Is it zero?

We knew it. You idiot! Instead of frittering your wages away on beans and rent you should be pumping it into financial speculation.

Here's what you could have won, compared to what you actually did...


You should have bought a bank. The Tories gave 4.4 billion to banks in tax breaks last year, according to Labour analysis. Banktastic!

You now get less chocolate orange for the same price - increasing profits while cutting your chocolate, photo by Evan-Amos (CC)

You now get less chocolate orange for the same price - increasing profits while cutting your chocolate, photo by Evan-Amos (CC)   (Click to enlarge)

Instead you bought a smaller chocolate orange. Last year Terry's shrank 10%, from 175g to 157g - for the same price. It's called 'shrinkflation', but it's more about shrinking your wallet than your waistline.


You should have worked less. The heads of top FTSE 100 firms earn 160 times the average wage of 28,200, according to last year's High Pay Centre analysis of 2016. At that rate you could afford to go home before you get out of bed!

Instead you worked too much. One in ten workers are officially "overemployed," working more hours than they want to, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Overwork is certainly more rife than that shows. Meanwhile a lot of us want more hours - or at least more secure hours.


You should have played the stock market. Last year the world's finance casinos gained $9 trillion in (fictitious) value, according to analysts at MSCI. Spiv-a-licious!

Instead you played the jobs market. On top of endemic overwork and underemployment, both employment and job vacancies have started to fall. Unemployment also fell - because the long-term jobless are giving up looking, as shown in ONS figures for the third quarter of 2017.


You should have been an oligarch. The world's richest 500 billionaires boosted their wealth by $1 trillion last year, according to Thomas Piketty's World Inequality Report. (See also letters, page 12.) Capital!

Instead you were a worker. Britain's 800,000 agency staff - that's four times the size of the army - are underpaid by 400 million a year, says the Resolution Foundation. And 4.6 million people in the UK are in "persistent poverty," according to the latest ONS figures for 2015.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

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Article dated 10 January 2018

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Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo by Dave Murray

Thurrock council workers striking against pay cuts, photo Dave Murray

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