Friday, February 14, 2014

The different trajectory of the middle class in the UK

The reports on income inequality continue piling up.  In the FT today, there is a great report on the different trajectory of various groups within the middle class.  The article talks about the "über-middle" and the "cling-on".  Banking professionals dominate the first group, which also includes doctors in the NHS.  Their presence within the richest 5% of the country has increased sharply in recent decades.  On the other hand, we have teachers, engineers and... us lecturers who have seen their income levels in real terms stagnate and their presence in the top 5% decreased sharply.

Surprisingly, there are some references again to the level of skills of different groups to justify income trajectories: but is this really credible?  Are university lecturers really less skilled than a generation ago?  Is it enough with supply and demand to explain income changes?

The other question we need to ask is whether there is and there should be some relationship between the social value of a profession and its pay.  I am here thinking less about university lecturers and more about primary and secondary teachers: we all recognize that this is where we have to focus the efforts of society and where we need to attract talent... while simultaneously we pay players in the casino capitalism more than anyone else.  El mundo al revés....

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