Rising inequality in Britain risks putting the country on the same path as the US to become one of the most unequal nations on earth, according to a Nobel-prize winning economist.
Sir Angus Deaton is leading a landmark review of inequality in the UK amid fears that the country is at a tipping point due to a decade of stagnant pay growth for British workers. The Institute for Fiscal Studies thinktank, which is working with Deaton on the study, said the British-born economist would “point to the risk of the UK following the US” which has extreme inequality levels in pay, wealth and health.
Speaking to the Guardian at the launch of the study, he said: “There’s a real question about whether democratic capitalism is working, when it’s only working for part of the population.
“People really feel that not everybody is having a fair crack anymore,” the US-based economist said. “There’s a sense that if you live in one part of Britain away from the capital, lots of bad things are happening, while lots of good things are happening in the capital – and you don’t see why you should be left behind that way.”
The US is ranked on some measures among the most unequal of major nations. Pay for non-college-educated men has not risen for five decades, while mortality for less-educated white men and women in middle age has led to average life expectancy to fall for the past three years, something that has not happened for a century.