Recently I read that it would take only two days work by the whole of the present UK work force (2003) to equal the level of GNP (gross national product) for the whole of the year l900. What are we to deduce from this?

In my view, because of mechanisation and modern technology, it is possible for fewer and fewer people to work in paid employment to maintain our existing levels of GNP; whereas in the year 1900, almost all the adult population and a significant number of children, would be obliged to work for their livlihoods. The alternative would be to drop out of society, have capital, turn to crime, rely on friends family or charity, the workhouse or starve; there being neither safety nets nor any form of State distribution of wealth.

Today, distribution of wealth by the State exists in many guises, some overt, some covert and these are spread at all economic levels. Not only is there no full employment, there is no need or even possiblility of having full employment.

The needs of the thrusting, ambitious achievers wanting to build up wealth at all costs has to be squared with the needs of the majority which wants a reasonable living standard without excess exertion or competition and the smaller group of those who will take life easy whatever the circumstances.

Sometimes the consequences of this balancing of needs by governments results in the top strata, using the power and influence they possess, pushing the government to force the middle strata to exert themselves more than they care to for a living standard below their expectations.

When this happens, as seems to be the case at the present time (2003) there follows a period of pressure from the latter to achieve a more favourable balancing of power for themselves. The present UK society is in a position where the balance is under growing strain. The top strata has become unduly unrealistic in the perception of their just rewards and are now seen by the public as grasping and greedy – hence the term ‘fat cats.’ The once satisfactory living standards of the middle group are under threat, and tension is growing for the government to intervene to re-balance the growing dis-equilibrium.

There is one more aspect of the working society that needs to be fitted into the equation – the lower strata of the work force. This is increasingly come to mean, the work that no one wants to do, but has to be done.

Most societies create a strata of cheap labour for this sort of work. At one time slaves were used, or prisioners, or prisioners’ of war; then immigrants or indentured labour, children or women. Nowadays coersion, other than economic pressure, is unacceptable so, as long as there are enough people available with asperations to have more than they have at present and are prepared to work for this, the work gets done But when this source of cheap labour dries up, a new tension is introduced into the equation. The work that no one wants to do but has to be done needs to be paid more attractively. This immediately sets off a chain reaction of differential wage demands up the wages scale.

If the rises of pay, working up from the bottom, goes all the way to the top, it results in there being insuffient in the ‘pot’ to accommodate the demands of the middle and upper stratas. Their formidable powers of lobbying the government are brought to bear and there usually follows a turbulent period of confrontation amongst the three different groups while the re-balancing is carried out by the government in power.

The foregoing can be summarised by the saying that ‘everyone wants to sell their labour dear and buy the labour of others cheap.’ This implies the need for a referee to sort out the conflicting aims but as there are no rules, the only referee at present has to be the government. Hence the quite unnecessary polarisation between left and right, capital and labour, private and public and the waste of time and resources in the unending clash of the lobbying powers of the different groups. Calling for a constitution referendum on a range of pay differentials to exist between a maximum wage and a minimum wage can be one solution.

10 August 2003


Sixteen years on and different thoughts have now caused me to re-visit this BLOB. Let us just suppose that monitoring economic growth was not solely defined by the measurement by GDP (Gross Domestic Product) year on year and that we could devise an alternative monitoring system incorporating health, social and ecological benefits based on a universally agreed measuring calculation.

By including such values into our economic growth calculations we avoid using such ludicrously harmful activities as the sale of drugs, fossil fuels, plastics etc into the GDP equation without compensating or neutralising beneficial health, social or ecological activities.

Once these beneficial aspects have been given a measurable basis then we would be able to separate the positive and negative parts of our economic activities and define these even further by a matter of degrees. This would enable politicians to evaluate the degree of harm or benefit of products or activities and decide the level of tax or subsidy. The other side of this would be to provide a guide to business investors to put their Capital where the best net returns are possible.

Once the sort of thinking that benefit and profit can work hand in hand gained traction then the Capital System would almost be its own policeman in ensuring that the greatest rewards would come from what benefits the customer, the society and the world most by investing in the low tax or subsidised markets that develop in the beneficial sector and avoiding the high tax markets that deal in harmful results.

There would, of course, have to be certain constitutional markers introduced into countries laws underpinned by Global sanctions that prevent cheating politicians from making agreements with Capitalists to subvert the system as exist today. But the results of health, social advantages and access to a greener and cleaner world would be for the many and not, as now, more and more for the few. What shall we call the new system? How about GDW (Gross Domestic Well-being index). let’s go! 2103, here we come.

July 2019