Monday, 27 January 2014

Closing the gap

A week or so ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe has “just over 7 per cent of the world’s population, produces around 25 per cent of global GDP and has to finance 50 per cent of global social spending”.
The implication was clear – this is a gap which is unaffordable and needs to be closed.  It’s the sort of view which one would expect from a conservative politician – and it has echoes in the messages from the three mainstream conservative parties in the UK.
I seem to remember that the leader of the (nominally communist) People’s Republic of China also said something not dissimilar a few months ago; Western benefits payments are too generous.
With a gap of this nature exists, however, there are always two ways of closing it.  Increasing the welfare bill in the poorest countries has the same effect on that gap as does reducing the bill in the richest.  The fact that only one of those options ever seems to be suggested by our leaders is instructive – it suggests an acceptance that the “norm” should be closer to what happens elsewhere than to what happens here.  But why do we let them get away with that?

1 comment:

G Horton-Jones said...

Can any one out there provide the figures for Wales