The General Election is just 10 months away. But the focus of its debate is a generational challenge to share the benefits of growth, in an environment of ongoing reductions in public spending. The good news is that the current squeeze in living standards is not inevitable and there are choices we make to reach a different outcome.
We are living through a time of endless choice and unlimited convenience. Whether we're deciding on cars, mobile phones, holidays or simply which sandwich to have for lunch, the range of available options can be genuinely overwhelming. Yet with so much effort dedicated to giving us what we want, and enjoying unprecedented levels of income, entertainment, and calories as 21st century Britons, we don't appear any happier for it. In return for having Everything Now, we have to work harder and longer. According to the TUC, UK employees work some of the longest hours in Europe, so it's no surprise that unhappiness at work is often cited as a major cause of this broader discontent.
What's all this bullshit over comedian Jimmy Carr paying 1% tax on his millions by exploiting a perfectly legal tax loophole?
The picture would be quite different if the top 1% were our country's doctors and teachers. A study by the New Economics Foundation has shown that leading city bankers, with incomes of £500,000 or more, destroy £7 of social value for every £1 they earn. By comparison, hospital cleaners generate £10 of social value for every £1 they earn.