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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > May 2017 > Uneven reports on inequality

Uneven reports on inequality

Jeremy says it is racing away, Theresa says it is falling. They can’t both be right, and in fact they’re both wrong. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have an inequality problem

British inequality is like bad music: It’s all about the 1980s

The gap between the rich and poor hasn’t moved that much in the last 25 years. In the 1980s, however, a chasm opened up— and it’s a chasm that remains. The increase between 1979 and 1990 was around 10 points on the summary “Gini” measure, a huge shifton a scale that goes from 0 (where everyone has exactly the same) to 100 (where one person has everything, and everyone else nothing). Britain’s income gap, which had previously been typical for northern Europe, came to look more like America’s. The 80s gave Britain its real inequality problem—not that it is always rising, but that it is simply too high.

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In Prospect’s May issue: Neal Ascherson, Simon Jenkins, John Curtice and Frances Cairncross examine the growing divide between England and Scotland. Ascherson argues that England has become Scotland’s “neurotic neighbour,” while Jenkins says we should learn from history and prepare for Scotland to leave the Union. Cairncross and Curtice debate whether Scotland could afford to break with England and whether a fresh referendum on independence is actually winnable. Also in this issue: Jason Burke questions whether the world will be a safer place after the downfall of Islamic State, Paul Hilder examines how politics got tangled in the web and Michael White reviews a new book charting the history of the Daily Mail
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