As newsrooms across the land stop what they are doing to read the Green Party’s response to Labour’s non-dom announcement, it is worth picking Natalie Bennett up on this:
“The last four decades have seen wealth accumulate at the top of society while those at the bottom struggle to get by.”
Now hold on just a darn prosperity-spreading cotton-picking second. Over the last four decades the world poverty rate – people living on a dollar a day or less – has plummetted. As this graph from CarpeDiem shows, in 1970 almost 30% of the globe was impoverished. 40 years later that number is as low as 5%:
Rather than more of “those at the bottom struggling to get by” over the last four decades, the world poverty rate has fallen 80%. For all the ideological socialist rhetoric, the cold hard facts show that capitalism has freed hundreds of millions from the clutches of poverty.
Depending on whether you believe the IFS or Ed Balls, the jury is out on Reagan’s question of “are you better off than you were four years ago”. One barometer that cannot be statistically disputed however is the question of whether or not we should, based on economic indicators, be more miserable than we were in 2010. There has been a clear decline in Guido’s Misery Index during this parliament and we should be happier today than we have ever been in the last five years.
Cameron and Osborne inherited an unemployment rate of 7.9% when they took office, a number which rose as high as 8.4% in March 2012 but has now fallen to a low of 5.7%, the lowest since 2008.
Falling inflation should make us happier. Though the Retail Price Index remained around 5% for the first year or so of this government, it then embarked on a steady decline reaching a current low of 1.1% in February.
Today’s very slightly revised GDP figures – up from 0.5% growth in the last quarter of last year to 0.6% – also contribute. While the Public Sector Net Cash Requirement – the individual monthly borrowing requirement – this month stands at zero. When we are borrowing less, we should all be much happier.
On all four measures of the Misery Index, there has been an improvement under this government, albeit small. Guido started our version of the traditional Misery Index – it is actually a variation on the Robert Barro version of the original Misery Index created by economist Arthur Okun – back before the last general election. Adding in the PSNR to the composite to give the deficit reduction objective of the government some weight. Are we happier than we were five years ago? Statistically the numbers say yes…
Last year Ed Balls wrote:
Today the IFS announce:
“Average household incomes have just about regained their pre-recession levels. They are finally rising and probably will be higher in 2015 than they were in 2010, and possibly higher than their 2009 peak.”
Are you better off than you were four years ago? Yes, probably.
The PM has claimed that foreign food from Nando’s is better value than a good old British Harvester. He probably focus grouped his answers, but is he out of touch?
Tech journalists have been lapping up a report by analysis firm KGI Securities that confidently predicts Apple will unveil a Stylus for its iPad in the second quarter of this year. It would be quite a change of philosophy for Apple whose entire empire is now built on screens you jab your finger at, so you would have thought KGI had some pretty explosive evidence upon which to base their prophecy. But no, it turns out Apple has filed some patents for stylus type devices over the last few years.
As every Apple geek knows, the Cupertino giant patents anything remotely related to their products – they even have a patent for sensors that will tell your iPhone when your shoes wear out. It’s become a rule at Apple to be prepared to fight a patent war with anyone after they got stung for $100m by Creative who claimed the first iPod infringing its patents. And Steve Jobs did have quite strong feeling on styluses:
Techno Guido will eat his Nexus if they actually make an iPen…
Edelman has published its annual “trust barometer”, sampling a massive 27,000 people on how they rate politicians, industries and organisations on honesty. The stand out figure is the huge drop in trust for leftist activists disguised as do-gooders: NGOs. In the last year trust in NGOs has plummeted from 67% to 51%, falling below business in the honesty stakes.
Why? The survey found “an excessive focus on money and NGOs losing touch with the UK are the main causes for those losing trust in NGOs”. The report concludes that “the UK is drifting in the ‘trust doldrums’… NGOs are the worst hit”…