The Guardian's big new series about the iniquities of modern life


The Guardian has just started a big new series exploring how incomes have changed over the past decades, how income distribution has changed. Everything is terrible, of course. and there's going to be weeks of this dreck apparently. To give you a flavour:

The full scale of the financial rout facing millennials is revealed today in exclusive new data that points to a perfect storm of factors besetting an entire generation of young adults around the world.

A combination of debt, joblessness, globalisation, demographics and rising house prices is depressing the incomes and prospects of millions of young people across the developed world, resulting in unprecedented inequality between generations.

A Guardian investigation into the prospects of millennials – those born between 1980 and the mid-90s, and often otherwise known as Generation Y – has found they are increasingly being cut out of the wealth generated in western societies.

Where 30 years ago young adults used to earn more than national averages, now in many countries they have slumped to earning as much as 20 percent below their average compatriot. Pensioners by comparison have seen income soar.

that pensioners have seen incomes rise if because government policy has been to deliberately and specifically try to raise pensioner incomes.

We might not be too hard on The Guardian. They have gone to the right place, the Luxembourg Income Study, to get their data. They're looking at the right concept too: disposable incomes. However, on every other point they're following the precepts of that Daily Mash t-shirt above, being wrong about everything.

Have a look at the more detailed figures here. Run through the age groups and countries. And those young'uns in this country:

Compared to the national average, you are poorer than people of your age in the past.

Terrible, eh?

In real terms, your disposable income is about $5,130 more than in 1979.

Sorry, what? they're saying that a higher real income means you're poorer? Ahhh....they're not talking about poverty at all. They're talking about inequality. And as it works out, most age groups in the UK have had real income rises of $10,000 to $12,000, except for those young'uns bring up the rear with only $5,000. Which, if we're honest about it, wouldn't surprise us all that much given the vast expansion of the student body (from some 10-12% of the age cohort to 50% or so now) over that time period.

But obviously the neoliberal, in hock to plutocratic capitalism, UK will have performed much worse than those much more caring social democracies like Germany or France? Nope: there the young'uns have seen real disposable incomes actually fall (by $600 and $1,200).

That is, by the measures that The Guardian themselves have chosen, that neoliberal, in hock to plutocratic capitalism, UK has done better than the more liberal and more to Guardian economic tastes social democracies of Europe. Let's hear it for neoliberal plutocratic capitalism then.

And in case you think the Daily Mash is too harsh in declaring the paper wrong about everything, all the time, consider this. They can't even manage to manufacture their own propaganda properly.

One final point. UK real disposable incomes have about doubled since 1979. Let's hear it for neoliberal plutocratic capitalism just one more time.