Social inequality, the 1%, and why your rent is so high

Professor Danny Dorling, University of Oxford

This talk was given at the networking event on the eve of the conference in the Hadyn Ellis Building at Cardiff University. On this page you can view the abstract, the slides, a video recording of the talk and an archive of the social media discussion.


Often people find it hard to equate the growing income and wealth of the best-off 1% in society with any harm being done to them.  It has become routine to be told that in fact you benefit from the wealth that the best-off 1% miraculously create, the jobs they produce as a result of their wealth creating prowess and the happiness that is sprinkled around and about as a result.  However, when rich nations are compared something odd becomes apparent.  In those countries where the 1% take the most a disproportionately high number of people tend to be imprisoned, much larger numbers struggle on low pay, median pay is lower, housing costs tend to be higher, mental health is – in general – worse and the wealth of much of the population is debt, not wealth.  Levels of debt tend to be highest in affluent countries where the 1% take the most.  And often that debt is taken out to try to secure housing, or just pay other costs when and where rents are so high.  In this talk the largest countries in Europe are compared and the housing situation in the UK discussed.  What kind of a future will you have if you succeed in academia today as compared to how academics fared when Britain was far more economically equitable?  And why – while you’re working towards your goals, is your rent so very high?  And, if you land that plumb academic job, will you ever be able to buy a home?


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