Stoke Ferry Youth Club Continue reading
It is so worrying to see so many young talented people finding it difficult to get work. Such work as they do get is often poorly paid and sometimes with irregular hours. Their prospects are made worse by the current trend for the professions to require interns/trainees to work unpaid, which excludes all except those with well off parents. It is clear that there is something seriously wrong with the way in which society is functioning. It is crazy when some trader in the City can earn several million in a year when, in truth, the work he does probably does not warrant more than £100,000. If that money were more fairly distributed it could fund many jobs. Unfortunately the combined effect of globalisation and unfettered capitalism is creating an ever widening gap between those that are doing well and the rest, the wealth of the nation is being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer people. This is not unique to the UK but is the same in most western capitalist societies.
The problem was demonstrated to me recently by some data relating to Wal-Mart in the USA. Wal-Mart wages have been cut steadily in recent years and employees have had no option but to accept, although I believe they have been organising protests. One employee claimed that his wages had been cut by 25% in two years and that last year he earned $15000 (£9200), the US government poverty line for a family is $23,550 (£14500).
Last year the company Chief Executive, Mike Duke, was paid $20,700,000 (1380 times the low paid employees wage). Of course he might argue that he has had to cut wages in order to remain competitive, but therein lies the problem, his rival supermarkets will lower their wages to remain competitive and there is the route to a downward spiral. There is no need for this, if a realistic minimum wage was set all the supermarkets would stop competing by lowering wages. They could improve their competitiveness by not paying the executives such ridiculous sums. In the UK taxpayers are subsidising companies that do not pay a living
wage, through tax credits and other benefits, some of that money indirectly goes to paying the CEO. Of course it is more difficult when competing in a global market but, surprisingly, those firms that are competing successfully globally are not the firms paying miserly wages.
Communism was tried and failed and I think we are now seeing the fallacy of the Thatcher ideology which believed that capitalism and deregulated freely competitive markets were the route to prosperity for all. The UK society was probably at its most equal in the post war years of the 50s and 60s. Since then the gap between rich and poor has widened, most rapidly in recent years. If we go on as we are we will get back to the days of the 18th and 19th centuries when a relatively small number of extremely wealthy people owned large estates, were able to build huge houses, fill them with priceless treasures and employ a large number of servants on menial pay, whilst the rest
DRAFT MINUTES OF WEST DEREHAM PARISH COUNCIL MEETING
HELD AT WEST DEREHAM VILLAGE HALL at 7.30 pm
WHAT DOES THE DOCTOR THINK THIS MONTH?
Although this article will not appear until January, I am writing it at the beginning of December as Management and I shall be away on our Ship’s Doctor and Lollipop routine from 9th to 20th December. Life has been hectic as we had to sort out all the Christmas presents and cards by the beginning of December (7 children plus wives and husbands plus 17 grandchildren = 31 presents for starters = a spreadsheet!)