An interruption from my series of posts on the deservingness of benefit claimants, to share two charts that caught my eye over the past two weeks (and because of a time shortage this week…), looking at global inequality and unions in Britain.
Firstly, courtesy of Seamus Milne in the Guardian, a look at how trade union membership and income inequality in Britain have changed over the 20th century. I’ve not seen this data presented in this way before, and it’s a strong reminder of the role that unions have played in Britain (even if this kind of plot can’t be taken as evidence of causality etc, it’s thought-provoking).
Secondly, the OECD this week released a report called Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising. I’ll do a longer, more considered post on this soon, particularly on their analysis of welfare trends, but in the meantime my eye was drawn to this post which looks at the difference the tax/benefit system makes - some countries (e.g. France) have high market inequalities that are much-reduced after accounting for tax/benefits, while other countries (e.g. the US) have similar market inequalities but much higher post tax/benefit inequalities (and some countries like Korea simply have relatively low levels of market incomes). But as I said, more on comparative and changing welfare states soon.
(And just to re-state what readers will already now, here is the OECD’s illustration of rising inequality internationally – can never look at this enough times, given how central it is…)