The media is such a valuable tool in a soft war. In the UK there are two dominant narratives constantly being used to justify policies clearly designed to transfer wealth and power (in the form of rights, legal protection and influence over policy) from the majority of not-very-well-off to the extremely wealthy few:

  1. The national debt is caused by out-of-control public spending, therefore the remedy is to cut back on public spending. I’ll come back to this another time. It’s demonstrably untrue and if we had a decent Mainstream Media this would be challenged and debunked in an instant.
  2. We face a crisis of inefficiency and uncompetitiveness, and this is why our economy isn’t growing. The solution is to “make employing people easier” and “remove barriers to business”. This translates into “Remove employment rights to make sacking people easier, and workplaces less safe”, and “Remove the regulation and safeguards that stop business trampling over the rights of consumers and the wider society in the pursuit of profit and power”.

It’s this second point that’s intriguing me. This is less obviously untrue. It’s such a pervasive idea many people accept it. But how many question it? Lets have a look at some of the facts, then think again about this point.

Are we inefficient? Here’s a graph of the changes in “productivity” per head of population between 1993-2011:Image

This shows that against even lauded economies such as Germany, we are becoming more productive faster. Compared to these countries we are actually increasing our productivity fastest. Hmmm. well that doesn’t fit the narrative does it?

Wait – that’s because of the “Euro crisis” etc right? It’s not Eurozone we’re scared of is it? it’s China. Big bad human-rights trampling, currency fixing, single-party communist dictatorship China. They’re the next big superpower. All our manufacturing is going over there isn’t it? Well let’s look at their efficiency: Here’s a link to a wikipedia page showing various international organisations’ rankings of countries by productivity per head of population. [Click this] Startling eh? UK is around 18th-24th, China somewhere between 80th-90th depending which you use. Well that’s not very efficient is it?

So if it’s not efficiency, or productivity, what is it? It’s all about how much of the profit can be taken by the richest.

Look at this graph, it’s the wages earned as a percentage of GDP in the UK:Image

I got it from this report: [Click here]

Here’s the situation in the US (Its worse): Image (click here for the original blog I took this from).

So who’s getting the benefits of all this increased productivity? Not the workers. It’s those at top. Here’s a table showing the increase in the average FTSE 100 CEO’s pay versus the average pay of workers in his or her company (probably his, sexism is rife in the boardroom): Image

And here’s the High Pay Comission’s visual depiction of the rapid increase in income share being taken by the very richest 0.1% of UK earners:

Click here for the original report “Cheques With Balances”

So when you hear about a new policy to improve “Efficiency” and “Competitiveness”, ask yourself – is this really about improving already very good efficiency, or is this about redistributing my wages to the already very rich?