Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Getting to grips with some thinking about our current problems

I'm reading Chavs: the Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones. I've had it a while but events have pushed it to the top of the pile and I'm glad it has. It's a great read - I'm 90 pages in and learning stuff from virtually every page. So I heartily recommend it if you want an insight into those often blamed for being poor, feckless and responsible for everything that's wrong with our society.

And over in Canada business leaders have suggested that inequality might be a bad thing. “High inequality can diminish economic growth if it means that the country is not fully using the skills and capabilities of all its citizens or if it undermines social cohesion, leading to increased social tensions. Second, high inequality raises a moral question about fairness and social justice,” they say in a report published this week. You can read a full account of it here.

I found it sobering and full of good sense on the day when the unemployment figures rose in the UK and that unemployment in London, focused on some of the poorest boroughs in the city, rose above 400,000 for the first time in 15 years. This is not good for social cohesion. Neither is the fact that there are nearly a million 16-24s out of work, that's 20% of people in that age group.

Along with Lord Harris of Peckham, I think the Government ought to be doing something about this - but maybe we're both missing something.

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