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Everything posted by the_dork

  1. Bingo, the article has it the wrong way round. All around the world and through history, people live in families, not as self-sufficient individuals. I feel bad for infantilised young people who've been sold a pup by successive governments and media but a return to this norm isn't bad at all. If you're a fish on a hook stop struggling
  2. fallacy of composition is at play on both sides here. Lots of people look at those at the bottom and say 'if you bothered studying, had a better attitude etc, you could be a doctor/engineer/lawyer'. Which is true for the maybe 20% who have the innate ability to progress in these areas. But if everyone did, competition would increase, salaries for these areas would come down and you'd get more people with the 'status anxiety' outlined in the OP as ultimately not everyone can get jobs in the field they want. In some ways we'd be better with a more rigid class system, 10-15% doing academic degrees at good unis, another 10-15% on practical vocational courses, whether at uni or whilst in work, many of the remaining 70% perfectly happy to be a worker ant 9-5 provided they have security and reasonable living standard But now we have X Factor society, where everyone can make it. And if you don't it's either due to your own defects or 'society' rather than being an inevitable part of any system. On a personal level. only real hope of 'making it' outside high paying finance jobs is going to be catching the new niche. This happened in IT, the lucky few involved at the start could make a premium. Journalism too, get a good job on comment desk of a national paper and you're laughing for life. If I knew what this was I'd obviously have a go myself...
  3. This is an interesting take, apologies for Torygraph link. I don't fully agree but haven't yet read the book. Basically, many immigrants in the US buy into the American Dream more than the natives so more likely to value education, have impulse control etc. So a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy as compared to most of the world, opportunities are very high. It's us natives who tend to compare the good to the perfect, immigrants just try to make the best for themselves without comparing themselves to the existing elites. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/non_fictionreviews/10636739/The-Triple-Package-by-Amy-Chua-and-Jed-Rubenfeld-review.html
  4. Every society has been ruled by some form of elite, we have gotten closer to 'meritocratic' leadership than many (ie. clever folks rather than inherited power or brute force) but seem to be regressing. The problem with 'meritocracy' is that those who are at the top tend to think they deserve it in some sense, rather than previous generations who had a sense of 'noblesse oblige' and realised it was all fairly arbitrary, a kind of 'there but for the grace of God goes I'. Now those at the bottom are viewed as feckless, stupid or lazy, often with some justification. There is a view that the post 45 settlement allowed a degree of meritocracy through grammar schools and the end of old boys networks. Products of this tended to marry each other and move in the same circles so we just ended up with genetic stratification rather than arbitrary classes. Many at the bottom now, would have no chance of being a doctor/lawyer etc even with the best education as their genetic material is pretty weak (particularly as these people tend to have more children and earlier) Labour in particular have managed to incentivise short termism and vulgar culture so a bright kid from a 'lower' family will be little better off as an engineer, mid ranking civil servant etc than a doley. This must have some broader incentive effects. I'm 30 so not looking back to the good old days but when I was a lad, whilst everyone wanted to be a footballer or a pop star, they knew it was unrealistic and would never have said so. Celebrity culture was also totally alien, I saw a recent poll where kids wanted to be 'famous' not even famous for their field, just famous...how depressing
  5. Didn't realise I had a second account... I am not as anti-immigration as you per se, but it has to be balanced and far-sighted. Not pretending that the EU is all one country, that there's no problem with anyone from our former colonies being free to come here or that we 'need' immigration for the 'economy' whatever that means these days. No one has a problem with the masses of French or Germans here, plenty of Brits over there etc, but it's based on national sovereignty rather than abstract rights of individuals who have no desire to integrate or be 'citizens'. I also have a fundamental problem with Islam (and religious politics more widely but the others aren't such an issue over here any more) and the 3 main parties have all soft-pedalled on this as they need the votes. UKIP are at least making noises about this though I appreciate they'll never be able to fully say what they think. I probably count as to the left of LibLabCon on economics (Green minded market economy with progressive land tax-NOT NuLab style social democratic)but right on most other things (education, defence crime, constitutional issues, culture) it's a lonely place out here. UKIP certainly aren't a coherent option for me and I'll probably vote Green (live in safe Labour seat sadly, worst of the bunch) but I welcome their rise as a way of reviving democratic options.
  6. flat below mine, decent standard 2 bed conversion in Walthamstow was bought end of 2012, 275k. Just sold, not sure on price but advertised at 380... not sure if it counts as prime (how the hell could it) but it's one of the most popular places...no sign of crashing
  7. No one seems to have explicitly mentioned the EU which is the cause of all this (80% migrants last time I checked though think it may be a bit lower now?). Having a free market in labour and capital makes you nearly 'one state', the EU is a horrible in between state with nations pooling their sovereignty on these matters but not wider policies even on economic matters like tax and spend. We could have one state with common tax and spend (ie. British taxpayers would fund development and/or welfare payments in Romanian regions not just say, Burnley)) if people wanted this. However, due to different cultures, languages and histories I don't see why people would, even those Romanians who would gain from a narrow economic point of view. Otherwise the only realistic alternative is to go back to much looser co-operation between democratic states who could agree mutual treaties between them, such as on immigration. The EU works well between relatively similar countries on migration (many Brits in Germany, many Germans over here for example) but when you have rich countries using it as a source of cheap labour and poorer countries using it as a way of getting funds and remittances, it's a long term disaster for everyone IMO. And even more tragic is that UKIP are the only party who seem to realise this-on every other policy matter they are basically nuts!
  8. I believe the 'post-war' consensus was probably the high point of the British dream and it will never be back in our globalised world. A dynamic mixed economy, sensible planning system, rigorous meritocratic education, technocratic governance rather than spin, not getting excessively involved in the EU or in trying to be America's extra state. Peaceful decolonisation abroad, which again could have been a win-win but we've thrown it away by prioritising relations with other countries we have no history with. I'm not a leftie Thatcher hater but she really seemed to destroy lots that was good about that system and encourage spivdom, The unions had probably got too powerful but that could have been far better solved than the methods she chose. Labour added spin but essentially more of the same with a bit more tax on banks to fund tax credits and false egalitarianism like 50% university attendance targets. We seem to have a lost a lot of important virtues like impulse control, long term thinking, community mindedness, partially due to consumerism and growing wealth, also mass migration and a sense that the ruling class don't value these so why should we. Maybe I'm in a slight melancholy mood as I'm sifting through CV's today for an assistant (finance admin role pay 22-24k) which would suit an averagely bright hard working school leaver, I am getting qualified lawyers, ex-teachers, phd scientists FFS. It just seems like a lot of wasted potential, the people who should be doing that role end up in Tesco, the people who would've been in Tesco become unemployable and the elite continue to soar away from all of us....
  9. http://www.hse.ru/data/2013/01/28/1304836059/Standing.%20The_Precariat__The_New_Dangerous_Class__-Bloomsbury_USA(2011).pdf Sorry for bumping, I've been away. I read The Precariat by Guy Standing-available as pdf here and it's a really great discussion of some of these issues. Key points are that we have moved towards stigmatising individuals as 'lazy' 'feckless' etc, and though these can be accurate for some individuals we should really be looking at the wider system. He points out that this is the first time in history many have been too educated for their job prospects, a very unusual situation. He is scornful of the New Labour type 'social democratic' governments who've tried to manage globalisation and capitalism without fundamental change and sees the far right as capable of tapping into these people unless more is done to propose alternatives. He advocates a basic income and has a great thorough global analysis rather than Owen Jones type tabloid ranting. I'd really recommend checking it out
  10. after ww2, many Germans didn't want to be German any more but 'European'. What's annoying is that the EU could work if they managed these surpluses properly, just like the USA can. Language barriers and cultural differences mean we'll never be a USE but now we have a terrible halfway house between proper nation states and a proper federation. It would be better if the pro EU people were honest about this rather than Clegg saying the EU would be more or less the same in his debate with Farage so we can have the debate and go back to one system or the other
  11. There's a large chunk of these folks who are going to inherit at some stage though. What's frightening for me is not just the graduates who can't get the interesting relatively well paid jobs, but anyone who is below average intelligence/qualification basically being total dole fodder, no prospects of developing a trade or career within valued businesses. Either a series of zero hours McJobs or a life on the dole, which despite what some tabloids would have you believe, isn't the life of Riley. Where is the rebellion? Where are the alternatives being proposed? Plenty of people came out on London streets to protest the Jews killing those who wanted to kill them but there's no enthusiasm for changing the system that condemns their own lives. Can football, X factor and iphones distract us forever???
  12. part time work would be ok if it wasn't subsidised by others. We have a real mess now, large chunks of people (students, retired, doleys, tax crediters) doing little or no work, lots of people working 35-40 hour weeks who are only marginally better off by doing so, lots doing 50+ hours either in their vocation or because they financially benefit and a small chunk making lots from BTL, inheritances etc. All funded by debt, low cost imports and of course massive tax system Why not share the work, tax and benefits out?
  13. When will people wake up and realise Labour party today has no resemblance to Attlee, Cripps and Bevin! (which I'd definitely have voted for) The 'third way' is one of the most intellectually dishonest and poisonous positions, unfortunately it has spread now to the other parties. the idea we can all have our cake and eat it without consequences, at least proper right and left have coherent ideologies
  14. google the world happiness survey, obviously a pretty subjective measure, and your point in confirmed. Seem to remember some island in the Pacific came out top. Or just compare say America, nation of Prozac and therapists, with some of its much poorer neighbours where they've never heard of these things. My vague take is that rising wealth tends to correlate with more individualism, choice, freedom etc and less identification with religious group, clan, family structure etc. Evolutionarily, the latter are more likely to make us 'happy' even though it's the having better food, clothing and shelter which makes these values possible. Once left behind it's very hard to go back to the more 'natural' habits without sounding like a luddite or hippie. EDIT: Had a browse of the internet dating thread here. This seems the same sort of tendency, are people really happier with the consumer choice applied to this area than being matched up with your status equivalent in the village anyway? Not sure, no easy answers
  15. I think I would too but think how much of this is based on attitudes about the future. Coming out of the war there seemed to be the idea that we could build the 'New Jerusalem' and really get the main institutions working well for everyone. We sort of got that materially but lost the attitude that got us there. Wellbeing is almost unquantifiable IMO, and GDP per capita only really helps on the most basic material levels
  16. Possibly, I got relatively lucky I think as joined a small firm who liked me personality wise and got me trained (ACCA). Never did more than a 9-5 and after 5 years was on 40k with pension, no stress and job security...downside is I'm bored senseless! That ladder just isn't there at the moment, possibly for a long time longer. I see jobs being advertised for graduates that literally pay expenses, you are paying for the pleasure of getting experience. Not in the glamour worlds of fashion, media etc where this makes sense but for boring old accounting! Same thing for surveying, finance, law etc, it's just the Oxbridge elite or highly specialised individuals (eg in IT) now who have a chance of genuine career progression I think
  17. these graduate schemes strike me as much tougher than a few years ago as well, probably due to the excess supply.The idea that you can turn up for a 9-5 in a cosy office and expect to climb the ladder within 5 years seems inaccurate now. I worked briefly for a property management firm who were hiring some graduates from top 10 unis, albeit in softer subjects (history, politics, geography etc), pretty much straight A students who must have been in the top 5% of their cohort by qualification, probably just missed out on the best graduate schemes with the main companies. They were expected to work 10 hour days in horrible open plan office, and regularly gotten rid of on flimsy grounds in first few weeks if they didn't seem mega competitive and driven, horrible dog eat dog competitive atmosphere. Feel bad for these kids, they've been sold a pup, too intelligent and qualified to be happy in a monkey job but only a few get the cushy 'career' jobs
  18. Don't forget how many people have a complete aversion to Tories. Basically anyone who lost out (in the short term at least) from Thatcher, that's maybe 15-20% of the country straight away. Labour managed to buy the votes of not just these but many other moderately well paid public sector workers, those on benefits who had the intelligence to bother voting plusr liberal small business owners who benefited from government contracts, again these are not small sectors of the population. Then for many younger people, Tories still seen as more racist/homophobic/sexist. Average age of Tory member is now 65 I believe, they are just not renewing themselves and still have a major image problem. This may slowly change over time. I hate Labour in their current form but most good things in this country have at least been instigated by them or their associated groups, even if ultimately carried out by others. If I had to bet, based on the above and our electoral system, I'm sure Lab will get more votes than Tories next time who will struggle to have a bigger chance for votes than 2010 and the madness of the Gordon Brown surrounded by his henchmen, the more capable NewLab drones long cast into history.
  19. Some very interesting posts on here. I'm 30 but have read quite a lot about the post war era and onwards. I would say in material terms, things are clearly better but there seems to be an increasing feeling that many institutions to which most people had some vague respect (judiciary, media, politics) etc are no longer run in the interest of the majority of people. Bigger TV's, frappucinos and free streamable music aren't nothing but man doesn't live by bread alone. More and more younger people, from school leavers to PhD holders struggle to find any sort of role in society that they would want (less demand for unskilled labour, more competition for top jobs means many smart cookies frozen out). Immigration is frightening for many and makes people more individualistic. Entertainment also is now so commodified and individualistic, lives spent in front of screens at home or 'chain' pubs watching sport rather than organic communities. Childhood largely crap in this country now due to fear of paedos, electronic entertainment replacing natural play and increasingly individualistic people seem less prepared to tolerate kids in flats, on transport etc. I notice this a lot with a young daughter. The broad trend of human history is clearly upwards but I can't help wondering if we may be in a major trough in this country with little realistic chance of getting out. Can't help but think the Cardiff jihadis, Woolwich killers etc are part of the results of all this, would people have felt so alienated from their own society from the 40s-70s? I struggle to believe it
  20. nice to see some decent data and an effort for more understanding than 'banks aren't lending!!!' but I can't help but think the equations and 82 pages obscure rather than elucidate
  21. getting there slowly...I've not seen the show but will probably check this out. I remember seeing the topic come up a couple of years ago and the ignorance from all sides of the spectrum was something else. The emperor still has no clothes, the boy has pointed it out and now finally people have noticed. Next stage is to do something about it
  22. This is what people were saying when I first started browing here, maybe 2008/2009 or so. Sadly I don't quite see it as a Ponzi ending with a crash, think we are ultimately heading for slow deflation in real terms over a very long period. The crash would have happened by now, only alternative is a major change in tax/policy, not tinkering round with IR's, building rates etc. Agree that renting in general makes more sense depending on your circumstances but I wouldn't bank on the rational outcome most on here are hoping for.
  23. seeing it laid out so simply really hits home. 32% in Haringey FFS, a pretty grotty area of terraces (and fast food and prostitutes) with a couple of nice house enclaves. Just imagine if bread had gone up 32% since last year...
  24. Partially because I have a job that allows me lots of websurfing to get news from all sorts of places, I haven't watched news on TV for years. TV just isn't really the format for anything more than a soundbite and pretty graphics. Charlie Brooker did a good sketch on this though afraid I'm blocked from youtube to link. This report sounds horrific but my own view is that slowly slowly, the tide is turning. Will take a couple of years for arguments about land value tax, basic income to hit 'mainstream media', then a few years more for a decent campaign. Only if our politics is really broke (highly possible) will political class be able to ignore. I doubt many under 40 have the automatic 'house price increases good' attitude.
  25. I'm talking longer term timescales. http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_national_debt_chart.html UK Total Government Debt in the 20th Century The National Debt began the 20th century at about 30 percent of GDP. It jerked above 150 percent in World War I and stayed high. Debt breached 200 percent during World War II. Debt declined to 50 percent of GDP by the 1970s and dipped to 25 percent by 1990. The National Debt began a rapid increase in the aftermath of the worldwide financial crisis of 2008.
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