How does your income compare to everyone else?

Having written about income inequality in the UK earlier in the week, here is an international perspective:, which lets you put your own income into a global perspective. Ready your decimal places and tap away…

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  • This does not take into account the different cost of living in different places. So it will hugely over-estimate the rank order of someone who is has an income of £10k in the UK, relative to someone with the same nominal income in say Mexico, where £10k will go a lot further.

    If you want to know where you fit in in the UK, click here for a decent answer courtesy of the IFS:

  • Tom – you asked the q of whether this was so. I answered it, and explained the implications.

  • Richard Swales 10th Dec '11 - 6:46pm

    Sorry, this “relative poverty” idea is just the mentality of Harry Enfield’s “Loadsamoney” character. Namely, that how much money I have only means something to me in the context of how much other people have. The left of the Lib Dems are just applying Loadsamoney’s idea for people at a different part of the income scale. There’ll always be someone richer (and as teh link shows, far more people poorer globally) than anyone in the UK. The point is to enjoy spending your own money on the things that are important to you, not to keep looking over the fence at what the Joneses are spending their money on.

  • I think Mark’s point in making this post was to point out that there are many people in the world who are much poorer than us. The point may be to redistribute from our general abundance, to their lack, not simply to enjoy spending your own money.

  • Richard Swales 10th Dec '11 - 11:53pm

    There are lots of ways to respond to those kinds of figures. For example to ask how we can help people on low incomes (regardless of the “income scale”), gain the skills that people on higher incomes are successfully marketing.

  • Please please would your contribuutors to this blog read “The Spirit Level” so that the comments couldbe based on evidence rather than opinionon.

  • Richard Swales 11th Dec '11 - 10:22pm

    The first site I found about “The Spirit Level” was complaining that it excluded countries like South Korea and the Czech Republic which don’t fit the desired conclusion. Reading around I have been able to get some idea of the gist of what it is about though

    It seems to be based not on experimentation, only based on statistics, which of course are open to many interpretations – so it is firmly within the realm of opinions. For example some people who are not getting the economic outcomes they want are also not getting the health outcomes they want. You can claim this is due to some kind of psychological voodoo, or you can say that people who have opened books on interview technique, running a business, on learning new skills, have also been more likely to open books on nutrition, health etc.

    Put it another way. 5 years ago I was unemployed, but instead of signing on, I delivered 24000 leaflets myself to get the first customers for the business I still run, employing 10 people after putting in a lot of 12-16 hour days. If I was made to give half of my money to someone who had signed on 5 years ago and was still on the dole now, so we would both have the same (the fairest possible outcome, as we all know that fairness and equality are synonyms), then would the money alone make that person suddenly less prone to obesity, violence and illness, as the authors suggest? And even if so, is a third person (the government) entitled to make me do it?

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