Monday, 5 August 2019

Misery loves company

Yeah, yeah. It's a PR email about inequality in the United States, but Great Britain is just the same ... hence my title.

What can be done about it? Er ... revolution or nothing, man. So probably nothing then. Nothing will lead to more and more fascism until civilization collapses. Then we'll all be living in caves. I mean, those of us who survive.

Personally, I don't give a toss. I'll be a rock and roll star in the time we have left, and then I will float off to join the Cosmic Power Force.

There is life on other planets. And maybe they've got their shit together. So don't worry so much, dear reader(s).

Anyway, this email ...

The US population is increasingly better off, and increasingly unequal.

Well, some are better off.

Charu Lahiri, Investment Manager at Heartwood Investment Management, the asset management arm of Handelsbanken in the UK.

Yes? And? Uh. Never mind.

According to the emotively-named 'Misery Index', the US is better off today than ever before. Low inflation and low unemployment, the latter backed up by today's relatively steady US jobs report data, are creating an apparently benign environment for the US population.

Hang on a minute! If low unemployment means what it means in the UK, it's not necessarily a good thing. 'What does it mean in the UK, boss?' Oh, hello, Voice. Well, it means people are trapped in zero hours bullshit jobs and can hardly afford to feed themselves. 'Yes. That's where the inequality comes into it.' Yes, I suppose.

However, a glance at the Gini coefficient tells us that while the country may be better off on the whole, US incomes are increasingly unequal.

This is what I'm saying! Sort of.

Inflation and unemployment have fallen, but income inequality is rising. The Misery Index estimates a population's overall quality of life by adding together inflation and unemployment (so a lower reading is better news). The Gini Coefficient gauges income inequality by condensing the whole income distribution of a country into a figure between 0 and 1 (again, a low figure is a happier one). US Misery Index and US Gini Index of Income Inequality (index values).

Right. I'm having to edit this PR email a bit, like I often have to. If you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean? I hope it makes sense, but don't blame me.

A number of factors have led to this turn of events. The first is a relatively organic one - income inequality can naturally rise as a country reaches a certain point in its economic development. The second is a decidedly policy-made matter: the generous quantitative easing enacted by the US Federal Reserve in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis has led to a decade-long bull run in the value of many financial assets, which are primarily held by those already in the upper echelons of the income distribution curve. The third is a comparatively new issue, but one which has echoes of past technological advances: the growing presence of automation across industries is disproportionately harming the least well off.

So the US may be better off overall, but it is seemingly an increasingly unequal place to be. Issues like these, across developed nations, are unlikely to be transitory. We believe that these long-term secular trends - often masked by short-term data points - will be a driving force in political, economic and policymaker agendas into the future.

Yeah, yeah. So, basically, we will get more and more fascism until civilization collapses. I think we understand. Yes? Yes!


Anything else? Music? My music? I've got the title (and concept) for my new song ... Good Times/Bad Times. The lyric will come soon ... / Oh, there are a few songs with that title, but that's okay, man. (Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones? I'm in good company!)

And here's my album - !!!

This World Don't Mean A Thing
Lucky You
Round The Bend
What's This Life We Live?
I Want Everything
Love Me
I'm Right Inside
Good Times/Bad Times

Uh. As I imagine it, like. Maybe a record company will try to interfere, BUT(!) ... if they've got any sense, they'll trust my judgement.

And that's the greatest album ever recorded, kook(s). 'Ha! It hasn't been recorded, Mikey!' Ha! I'm looking into the future, son. 'Oh.' Yeah. Big time!