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Oxfam, you're full of FAIL. Leave economics to sensible bods

Five families own more than 20% of the UK do? Rubbish

Gordo: EPIC FAIL

As I become ever more viciously right wing with age, I become ever more disappointed with Oxfam.

It's not just because I have left behind the views of Genghis and am galloping up close behind Attila. It's rather that the organisation itself has changed from being that well-meaning, thoroughly humanitarian organisation that doled out the food aid into just another lobbying group for the usual leftoid nonsense.

And what worries me perhaps most is that they seem to be remarkably uninformed about the world they wish to change.

The latest example is their shock-horror report about the extent of wealth inequality in the UK. Here's the major point of it:

The scale of Britain's growing inequality is revealed today by a report from a leading charity showing that the country's five richest families now own more wealth than the poorest 20 per cent of the population.

The full "report" (or "press release" as it would be better termed) can, through the miracle of archiving files, be read here. (.doc, not many kb)

I read this and thought, "well, yes, this is obvious and what the hell's it got to do with increasing inequality?" Of course Gerald Grosvenor (aka Duke of Westminster) has more wealth than the bottom 10 per cent of the country put together. It's obvious that the top five families will have more than 20 per cent of all Britons. Do they think we all just got off the turnip truck or something?

They've also managed to entirely screw up the statistic they devised themselves by missing the point that if you've no debts and a £10 note then you've got more wealth than the bottom 10 or 20 per cent of the population has in aggregate. The bottom levels of our society have negative wealth.

Do note that this could be true even if we had perfect income equality, for there's a lifetime cycle to wealth. Take a newly minted graduate carrying £30k odd of student debt. Unless they're from the lucky sperm club they've got negative wealth. Their degree might have cost them that debt, it might well be an asset that will earn them hundreds of thousands over their lifetime, but it's not a saleable financial asset, so it's not wealth.

So, at least under the new dispensation, we would point out that thoroughly well-rewarded professionals, as all of us are, will spend some part of our lives in that bottom 10 or 20 per cent, wealth-wise. That's not all, of course. You can be running along in a well paid job, be renting, carry a bit of credit card debt and have no net wealth. It's an absolute certainty that there are people out there on £60k a year who have negative wealth.

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