Has Expansion of the Welfare State Hindered Social Mobility in London?

Joel Kotkin examines the causes of growing disaffection among Britain's youth and the associated class conflicts that were highlighted by the recent general election.

Kotkin explains that the expansion of the welfare state "may have done more for high-skilled professionals, who ended up nearly twice as likely to benefit from public employment than the average worker." The article links increased immigration and unemployment benefits to economic stagnation as a warning for American cities pulling themselves out of a recession.

Full Story: The Future Of America's Working Class



Slanted perspective

To read Joel Kotkin, you would not know that crime has fallen significantly in London in recent years, that the unemployment rate in London has converged with the UK average after years of being far higher, and that Inner London has seen the highest growth in incomes of any part of the country. And far from being 'destitute' in London, the Labour party did unexpectedly well in the recent elections in the capital, taking back control of a majority of London councils, including several in outer London. Kotkin is right to highlight the problem of affordable housing, but that is of course a by-product of success in the form of higher incomes and the greater desirability of London as a place to live.

At the national level, unemployment has obviously increased significantly in the last couple of years (as it has in most developed countries), but it is still below the levels seen in the early 1980s, under a Thatcher government hardly known for an over-generous welfare state. In contrast, the more redistributive policies of the Labour government were accompanied by the positive trends noted above, in contrast to Kotkin's more apocalyptic interpretation.

In short, he seems to be cherry-picking facts and anecdotes to suit a pre-conceived narrative.

Kotlin and cherries.

In short, he seems to be cherry-picking facts and anecdotes to suit a pre-conceived narrative.

IOW: business as usual.



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