March 2023: Danny Dorling

During 2022 the phrase ‘cost of living crisis’ was used to describe the implications of rising prices, especially in fuel and food. Because the UK has the highest income inequality of any large country in Europe, the effects of the crisis will vary between different families more than in other countries on this continent. But it is almost certain that everyone will be affected in one way or another. For example, the wealthy may see their wealth reduced by inflation. Much more seriously, hunger is very likely to increase among those who are poorest. In more equitable countries in Europe, measures already taken to begin to deal with the crisis may be more effective than those so far being taken in the UK. In this talk the very wide range of inequalities in family incomes will be described, and the evolution of that range over time discussed. A series of social statistics, graphs and charts will be presented that highlight the extent of the crisis. The talk will end with a brief discussion of what the wider implications of this crisis might be on British society. When there was last a similar rapid rises in prices, in the 1970s, the UK was one of the most equitable of European countries by income. What are the implications of a cost-of-living crisis hitting after we have become one of the most unequal countries? And could one of the implications of the crisis be to help begin to reduce income and wealth inequalities in future?

Danny Dorling is a Professor working in the School of Geography and the Environment at the University of Oxford. He works on issues of equality, employment, education, housing, and health. In 2020 with Yale University Press he published “Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration—and Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy, and Our Lives; and in paperback in November 2021, jointly with Annika Koljonen (and Agenda Press) Finntopia: what we can learn from the world’s happiest country. He has been a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society since 1989. Danny is a patron of the road crash charity RoadPeace, and of Heeley City Farm in Sheffield. 

This talk was moved from Dec 2022 due to industrial action.

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