Tuesday 10 May 2022

... and it isn't just inflation!

This link is to a thread containing some eye-opening charts portraying how the world (UK in particular) is changing under our feet.  Some of the changes being captured have been gaining momentum over many years, and are fairly familiar (see this chart, for example; and the growth in financial inequality).

Others are less so, e.g.

  • % young adults living with their parents  
  • % women aged 30 that are childless
  • out-of-pocket payments for healthcare in the UK - now the same as in the USA!
  • rise in crowdfunding to pay for medical costs

These sorts of socio-economic shifts require a D.Cummings to wrestle with them politico-strategically.  The long term implications will be significant.  Can't see B.Johnson having the slightest interest in that anymore, though.



DJK said...

Boris, as a journalist, is only focused on tomorrow's headlines. But this is true for nearly all other politicians as well. And the same is also true now of much of the civil service. The recent announcement of more nuclear power stations comes to mind. The government seems to feel that announcing they want more nukes is a solution to the energy crisis. Nobody seems concerned about actually how we get from where we are now, to having working power stations.

Hard not to feel gloomy about the future, and the lack of a leader who could actually change things. Maybe the ultimate root cause is the lack of children being born --- in common with most other industrialised societies.

Sackerson said...

Yes, huge problems for young people, with dire effects on demographics.

jim said...

Some talk of building public housing. Sounds very sensible but I worry a bit about the long term demographics - and I guess those who might finance housing might worry. Suppose as us oldies die off and the overall population who can raise the money for a house goes down then we might end up with spare houses. The rental market gets more competitive. An unthinkable thing today but in 30 years time maybe. Remember the late '60s and early '70s - ex rental housing was sold off - landlords getting out.

Seems to me money is moving/has moved East. A person in Africa or India or Vietnam or China is fundamentally worth exactly the same as any English person. Any difference has to do with the surrounding investment in social and business infrastructure - competent government, education, culture, transport etc or related to debilitating belief systems. Our real investment is going down and for the more sensible of them it's going up. Some think re-shoring will rescue us, I suspect hard nosed economics will say no - until we get a lot cheaper. Maybe that is the plan.

As for Cummings - a definite maybe.

E-K said...

Then there is the green policy.

Designed not to go green but to create the biggest class division this country has seen since WW1.

You will either be able to afford to keep warm or have a car or you won't.

That is the Tory green agenda. An emerging Tesla class over even well paid lower middle classes.


From personal experience. There is a lot of childbirth going on but, alas, not among your doctor or chemist classes.

The chavs in our family are banging 'em out apace. Well. They're being paid to do so, of course !

Matt said...

I suspect that graph omits an important detail. In 1970 the average wage would have been a father with a stay at home wife who was mother to some children.

Once more women went into the jobs marketplace, there were two wages that could be used to support the cost of a house.

That marries pretty well with the wages that are 36x greater but house prices are 65x greater. The latter because it's now two wages rather than one.

Likely similar explanations for a lot of the others as well.

Anonymous said...

Building on Matt's comment....

Seems that the creation of assets (such as homes/(productive)businesses) has somewhat lagged behind the generation of cash (and credit) in the economy. With any shortage prices backed by eyewatering debt levels, just soar.

For example, if you want to buy a football team, a sports team or a Warhol you have to be a billionaire to be in the game.

If governments stopped printing money and started restricting debt multiples, we'd see a transformation in business with some of these novelty digital businesses come under serious scrutiny.

andrew said...

Well, we have been out of the EU for 6 years now and so I am sure the graphs are pointing the right way.

Then again maybe not...


Anonymous said...

Some of us noticed this quite a few years ago


"It's true that in a rational economic world, a high-earning working class might be considered a good thing for a nation - and that therefore it's not in our rulers' interest to take us back a hundred years - but that would also have applied for the several hundred years prior to, say, 1860-1960. The post-1945 settlement is not the natural order of things. Before that it was the plebs and the rest - and the will to power, even constrained by Christianity, was strong. Unconstrained, what limits are there?"

My prediction FWIW is that fertiliser/wheat shortages due to Ukraine could trigger another Great Migration a la Syria and Libya - funny how US policy drives Africans into Europe, but Europe still bends over. Boris had better get his Rwandan camps going PDQ.

Anonymous said...

I should have said - some of the childless women will be a consequence of the drive to get all the girls into uni/postgrad then them neither getting Mr Big nor that coveted Senior Deputy Housing Officer post - but house prices will be most of it. I keep advising my daughter's friends, nearly all grads, who aren't doing so well in jobs to head for Workington or similar places where a supervisor at B&M Bargains can actually afford to buy a 3-bed terraced house.


Still there's always this site.


"Welcome to Gateway Women, the global friendship, support and advocacy network for childless women."

dearieme said...

I don't know exactly how the linkage works but I tend to blame the triumph of the Forces of Progress since the sixties.

I think back to the Headmaster who replaced my Head. The new chap wrote to all the local worthies who funded prizes at the school telling them to keep their money because prizes were divisive.

I'm not a particular proponent of school prizes but that action seems plain daft to me. And such arseholes have marched through the institutions so that they control the universities, the media, the NHS, and so on. Since Thatch there hasn't been a worthwhile opponent of them.

When I was an undergraduate my Vice-Chancellor held a Nobel Prize in Physics: contrast him with the intellectual dross universities employ as VCs nowadays such as the appalling Human Rights lawyer at Cambridge. Pah!

Don Cox said...

Workington or Hartlepool.


Nick Drew said...

... or Hull - the Bristol of the East Coast

(Labour, without the ghastly Bristol lefties)

or maybe a bit leafier in Beverley, up the road: 3 bedrooms, £255k, brand new


Anonymous said...

Nick, you're going way up market.


2 bed terrace, admittedly street parking - 73k. 2 years back it would have been 45k.

Cleator Moor is on the Coast to Coast path - a 30 minute walk and you're in the National Park at Ennerdale.

I shouldn't be telling you this.

Anonymous said...

When my climbing-mad son left uni in 2016 with a decent degree he was offered a job in a Keswick climbing shop - minimum wage but cost price on all the gear he might want. I took a look and found an 3-bed ex-council semi here, decent nick, GCH and double glazed, drive to park on - 50k which I could afford.

I almost wish he'd taken the job - instead he went to Scandinavia and is still there.

Anonymous said...

PS - off topic, but the US are flying an RQ-4B Global Hawk spy drone over the Black Sea. Still going round AFAIK, loop after loop. Presumably gathering intel to pass to Ukraine. Flown from Sicily.


Timbo614 said...

In the early 1920s my grandparents bought their property just outside Woking, Surrey for £300.00 it stood in about half an acre. It wasn't much but if it was still standing would be a very des-res today - thatched single story main building with linked kitchen/work spaces, garage/workshop plus other small outbuildings. In their day there was a large lawn, extensive veggie patch, fruit trees and a not insignificant chicken run. So 100 years ago.
In 1973 we bought our first house in Woking for £6000. Mid-terrace 2 bed with a long thin garden, no bathroom, no inside toilet no real kitchen just a "scullery" a classic doer-upper - we spent £2000 modernising it total £8000, 50 years later and 40 times the price. In 2020 modernised similar properties in Woking and surrounds go for 300K & upwards so 50 years later and 40 times the price.

House price inflation in Woking (where I still live) is no worse than in the previous 50 year period!

Just a thought, what would that 2 bed terrace in Cleator Moor have cost in 1920 and 1973?

Nick Drew said...

Anon @ 7:09

Hey, we are an up-market blog. Beverley rocks! (esp now the tannery has closed ... though that is resulting in the water-table rising, ahem)

Nice kitchen there, BTW

Anon @ 7:26

- and the rest!

Anonymous said...

ND - Kayak31 - AIRCRAFT TYPE(A332) Airbus KC2 Voyager (A330-243MRTT), RAF is just doing a few loops over Romania, just in from the Black Sea coast, as I type. From Limassol.

I assume that's also some kind of SIGINT beastie, or is it just showing the flag?

At what point does this get kinetic? I suppose the rules are different for a special military operation (as Iraq was and I suppose Libya and Kosovo too. And Syria).

E-K said...


Nick Drew said...

Get kinetic, anon? I have seen it suggested that despite Putin's huffing & puffing, "Vietnam Rules" still prevail (in reverse)

i.e. anything goes over Ukr airspace, but Putin won't move a muscle over any other sovereign territory, including abstention from interdiction pre-Ukr-border of military supplies coming from the west

that leaves a lot of scope for NATO int flights really quite close to the action (given the range of the surveillance kit)

manned int flights, that is: unmanned is just a matter of what you're willing to have shot down

L fairfax said...

We have had massive population growth in the last 20 years - it is not surprising that houses are becomming more expensive.
I know someone who pays more in real terms (£150pcm more) to rent a room now than I spent on a mortgage on a 3 bed flat in 2001.
It was not quite as nice an area - but certainly not that bad!

Anonymous said...

And already it's started




Elby the Beserk said...

Anonymous said...
"massive population growth in the last 20 years"
Brits should empty their own damn bedpans.

8:51 am
Quite. Had a barney with a local Green District Councillor who told me I had no right to have four children*. I told her she was a self-righteous sanctimonious creep, and asked her who she expected to look after her childless self in her desired childless country.

We haven't spoken since.

*All at some point, and two still, have worked for many years with profoundly disabled children and young adults. I have NO guilt whatsoever about helping to produce four fine human beings. Greens, God help us. And we don't eat them any more either, greens

Anonymous said...

jim - "A person in Africa or India or Vietnam or China is fundamentally worth exactly the same as any English person. Any difference has to do with the surrounding investment in social and business infrastructure - competent government, education, culture, transport etc or related to debilitating belief systems."

Not so unless you are talking human worth - 5 dead Vietnamese is just as much a tragedy as 5 dead English - although "the knee is nearer than the shin" and people will always care more about those close to them.

But the potentials (en masse - there are always individual exceptions) are different. Chinese and Japanese have a much higher average IQ than Europeans who in turn have higher IQ average than Africans.

Now there are group exceptions - the Ibo or Igbo are a famously bright bunch of Africans, as are the Ashanti - and India is an oddity because the caste system for a long time (it's changing now) meant that people didn't marry outside it, so you had one caste - Brahmins, the literate priestly class - providing nearly all of India's great scientists.

At the top of the IQ tree are Ashkenazi Jews, perhaps because for centuries in Europe they were forbidden to own land and so had to become a merchant class. People who couldn't add up didn't have many kids, people who were bright had many. So today for every Bill Gates in the US you have an Elon Musk or a Mark Zuckerberg.

Anonymous said...

Go Elby!

formertory said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
formertory said...

Anon 1022hr: RAF Waddington - delightfully situated few short miles from Formertory Towers - seems to have been quite busy of late. KC2 Voyager is a flight refuelling aircraft. Whether a "something else"(perhaps an RC135 Rivet Joint intelligence gatherer which flies out of Waddington) can pretend to be KC2, I don't know - though the 135 has been reported as doing little jaunts involving figure-of-8 loops over Poland and Romania.

Still missing the Vulcan, though :-))

formertory said...

@ND - Nice graph demonstrating (were it needed) the correlation between low interest rates and house prices.

Just had a bit of a wheeze: if it's OK to levy a windfall tax on oil companies for making "huge profits" by ravaging the hoi-polloi and overcharging (it is alleged), then there must be a case for levying a windfall tax on homeowners who've seen monumental property windfalls without a sniff of a tax in sight (mostly). Bit of a tweak to Schedule A perhaps?

E-K said...

Go Elby !

FOUR kids ????

Can't have been on the meat *without* two veg diet all your life then.

Anonymous said...

Not sure the out of pocket statistic is correct - as its as a proportion of GDP.
When the GDP per capita in the US is much higher than the UK. So even if the actual spend was the same then the UK would still be much lower.

Nick Drew said...

Say that again, Al - ?

I agree we need to interpret that graph rather carefully for reason in your first line. But not sure your last sentence is the correct deduction.

(on second reading, my summary bullet point was too casual, I admit)

Matt said...

@ Timbo614

Isn't your maths off?

House in 1920 was £300. House in 1973 was £6,000 which is (roughly) 50 years later and 20 times the price.

Said 1973 house is now worth £300,000 after 50 years which is 50 times the price (or 40 times if we take the modernised cost of £8,000).

So, 20x over 1920-1973 and then 50x from 1973-now. That seems to broadly match the expansion of house prices in the original post to me.

Timbo614 said...

Yeah I used the modernised £8K to get my 40 times based on the fact it was not liveable in at 6k. But you are right my math is messed up because I initially tried to guess the price of a similar property to the £300 on at 12K then forgot during the second part! LOL who wants to get old!

Anonymous said...

Bank of England been telling the media ‘ no one could have soon this cost of living crisis.’


I read about it on here.
Last year.

Before the war.

They don’t have any commodities tables and shipping costs and wheat price futures charts in the BOE?

Nick Drew said...

Thank you, Anon @ 8:54 !

you did indeed

reminds me of what Roy TubOfLard Hattersley said, in defence of Gordon Brown, at the time of the financial crisis 2008. Speaking in a TV interview he said nobody foresaw it. When the interviewer cited some prominent predictions that had indeed been made, Tub said, yes, but those people are mavericks, their views don't count

(I am *ahem* aware of stopped-clock syndrome: eventually, smartarse, you'll be right, hoho!. Must write a post on Timing Is Everything)

Elby the Beserk said...

andrew said...

Well, we have been out of the EU for 6 years now and so I am sure the graphs are pointing the right way.

Then again maybe not...


2:31 pm

We'll ignore government policy during the Covid times of putting as many small businesses out of business as they could manage. Huge numbers down in the South West - a rural economy had far fewer SMEs of a size large enough to get furlough.

Result, rapid bankruptcy. Indeed, one of the things that has always astonished me about the Tories is that despite the SW being a huge Conservative stronghold, Conservative "policies" have hit the are as hard as Labour always do with the countryside.

I guess they knew we'd vote for them anyway. That may well have changed.

Regardless, it is not just Brexit, but Covid as well. Probably more down here, I'd say, finger in the air job.

Anonymous said...

The trouble with The Economist is it's more The Globalist. Not really trustworthy source any more. Bit like the BBC in fact.

As for voting Tory, my reward has been to see my beloved countryside crammed with new-builds, all with tiny gardens and each with at least two cars.

Four+ decades ago I remember as a student hitching a ride with an elderly guy from Redditch, once a small market town, then already in the 70s an awful New Town.

"At least my wife didn't live to see what they did to it. She'd absolutely hate it"

Often thought of that as I see the country being built over.