The charts below are from a September 2011 New York Times article, The Limping Middle Class. I moan a lot about shoddy infographics on this blog, but this isn’t one of those – this takes some complicated information and turns it into a story to make a very powerful point.
An informational graphic. See how it’s supposed to work?
I wonder if a similar presentation of UK data would be equally eye-opening?
Look back over the last hundred years and you’ll see the pattern. During periods when the very rich took home a much smaller proportion of total income — as in the Great Prosperity between 1947 and 1977 — the nation as a whole grew faster and median wages surged. We created a virtuous cycle in which an ever growing middle class had the ability to consume more goods and services, which created more and better jobs, thereby stoking demand. The rising tide did in fact lift all boats.
Yesterday’s Occupy Cardiff protest has me thinking about this again. To me, this graphic perfectly illustrates the problem that needs to be fixed. It’s not about getting free everything, or complaining about the rising cost of public transportation, or even really against big companies — and it’s certainly not about the Welsh language — it’s about disparity and greed.
It’s about fairness.
Should the CEO of a big company be paid more than the workers? Probably. Should that CEO be paid many, many, many orders of magnitude more than the workers, plus bonuses, and at the cost of workers who struggle on an average salary?