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poor in london, 1909 - you never had it so good

Example household budget for parents and 6 children

Man's weekly wage 24 shillings.
He gives the woman of the house 22/6. [22 shillings 6 pence]

rent 8/6d
burial insurance 1s
oil and candles 8d
coal 1/6d
clothing club 6d
soap and soda 5d
blacking and black lead 1 ½d
left over for food 9s 9½d

"Sole old pram for 3s, it was to litle. boart boots for Siddy for 2/11 ½. made a apeny."
[p.70, Round About A Pound A Week by Maud Pember Reeves.]

Note these people were not the really poor, with the man in regular employment and receiving a wage. Such people were carters, horse-keepers, porters, fish-fryers, scene-shifters.

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infantilising the population and replacing the family, while impoverishing them

"A hundred years ago their fathers would have regarded the children as economic assets and the family income would have been produced by every member who was over a very tender age. During the last century the State has prohibited the employment of children under a certain age—an age which as wisdom grows, tends to become higher and higher. By this necessary action the State formally invested itself with the ultimate responsibility for the lives and welfare of its children, and the guardianship thus exercised has continually been enlarged in scope until it has assumed supreme control of the nurture and training of the youth of the nation. A birth now means that a new human being must be fed, clothed, and housed in a manner which the State as guardian considers sufficient, for a period which we now hope to raise to sixteen years. If a man in these days sets his young children to earn money, or if they be not fed, clothed, cared for, and sent regularly to school, he can be put in prison. If the children's mother be a wage earner, she can also be sent to prison if her children are not sufficiently cared for. Even the non-earning mother who has only what her husband chooses to give her can be imprisoned if a magistrate decide that any child-neglect is chargeable to her. It would seem reasonable that when the ultimate responsibility for their welfare is undertaken by a rich and powerful State, children should at least be in receipt of sufficient food, shelter, warmth, and clothing."
Round About A Pound A Week, p.214-5, written between 1910-13.

This report was written by a prominent Fabian, Maud Pember Reeves.

The report reckons that between one-third and one half the UK population were living on below 30 shillings a week (£40-60 in modern terms).

Most of these were living on less. The luckier ones would live on 2d [two old pence] a day for food.

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For those never 'aving 'eard of d and s

1d = 1 penny
12d (pennies) = 1 shilling
20 shillings = £1

(100 new pence = £1)

Round About A Pound A Week
by Maud Pember Reeves (published in 1913)

A short version of this book/report was originally published in 1910 as
Fabian Tract n°162, Family life on a pound a week.

Round About A Pound A Week by Maud Pember Reeves Virago reprint library, pbk, 1979

ISBN-10: 0860680665
ISBN-13: 978-0860680666

end note
"... for a period which we now hope to raise to sixteen years."

These changes were what the Fabians wanted and for which they campaigned.

the web address for the article above is




soddy, a nobel chemist writing on economics in 1926

Frederick Soddy distinguished between real wealth, subject to entropy - the laws of thermodynamics, and money subject to mathematical theory.

"We thus arrive at the conclusion that any sort of perpetual motion is impossible. A continuous stream of fresh energy is necessary for the continuous working of any working system, whether animate or inanimate. Life is cyclic as regards the material substances consumed, and the same materials are used over and over again in metabolism. But as regards energy, it is unidirectional, and no continuous cyclic use of energy is even conceivable. If we have available energy, we may maintain life and produce every material requisite necessary. That is why the flow of energy should be the primary concern of economics. In a world which has adequate supplies of energy, scientific knowledge and inventions for utilising it, and the man-power able and willing to perform the necessary duties and services, poverty and destitution are purely artificial institutions, due to ignorance of the principles of government, actively, if not deliberately, fostered for class end by legal conventions confounding wealth with debt. Under any scientific system of government they would disappear like small-pox and malaria, by means of preventive rather than ameliorative or curative measures."
[Quoted from Wealth, Virtual Wealth and Debt, F. Soddy.]

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“Soddy distilled his eccentric vision into five policy prescriptions, each of which was taken at the time as evidence that his theories were unworkable: The first four were to abandon the gold standard, let international exchange rates float, use federal surpluses and deficits as macroeconomic policy tools that could counter cyclical trends, and establish bureaus of economic statistics (including a consumer price index) in order to facilitate this effort. All of these are now conventional practice. Soddy’s fifth proposal, the only one that remains outside the bounds of conventional wisdom, was to stop banks from creating money (and debt) out of nothing.”
– Eric Zencey, Mr. Soddy’s Ecological Economy, 11 April 2009.
[Quoted from monetaryrealism.com]

This page is infected by the great disease, while true in Soddy's day, the banks can no longer create money outside central bank, that is outside government controls.

Soddy also help inspire H.G. Wells' science-fiction stories. There is further commentary on H.G. Wells' interest in Soddy's work at H.g. Wells the futurist.

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'growth' versus redistribution - the long term and the short term

'Growth' is a misnomer for progress and advancement.

Real growth is the country that concentrates on education or improving infrastructure, such as a sound energy policy.

Socialism always appeals to fools and to academics with no real-world experience, but who look to the hubristic idealistic schemes of a Utopian world. But you cannot live in a house unless you build it.

If you spend your energy looking for drugs and immediate gratification, you do not have the time to build.

While redistribution is deep in the human instincts to share, as Margaret Thatcher put it so accurately, you would not have heard of the good Samaritan if he had no money to assist the fellow fallen among thieves. You cannot have a better society if you do not build it. Ethics depend intimately on wealth.

Unfortunately, Socialists in their foolishness and confusions, steal the seed corn from the farmers and spend it on the poor without any thought for next year's harvest. Thus society gets into ever more trouble. At the same time, some on the right, who think inadequately, tend to get greedy and care not for the starving outside the gates.

You can only build bigger harvests by planting more fields, not by putting ever more people on the dole and paying them to mooch around.

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is ed balls innumerate, or dishonest, or both?

If I borrow £1,000 at 10%, it costs me £100.
If I borrow £2000 at 5%, it costs me £100.

Because Conservatives are trusted, borrowing costs for government are way down.

Meanwhile, much of the UK national debt should also have been transferred to lower interest loans.

This means government may well, by now, be paying less for the increased national debts.
Meanwhile, inflation is steadily eroding the national debt.

With rising GDP, tax returns should also be rising soon.

Oil is falling in price and dole payments for the out of work will be next.

Now we are rid of the bunch of New Labour chancers, the real turn around in the economy is very impressive.

Another 6 months to educate anyone who can count.

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the money 'debate' in parliament   page 2

The first parliamentary debate on money creation in 60 years, or even 170 years so they say.

Mr Michael Meacher:
"In a nutshell, the banks have too much power and they have greatly abused it. First, they have been granted enormous privileges since they can create wealth simply by writing an accounting entry on a register. They decide who uses that wealth and for what purpose and they have used their power of credit creation hugely to favour property and consumption lending over business investment because the returns are higher and more secure."

Being a socialist, Michael Meacher wants still more central government control over the banking system. This looks like the old 'picking winners' nonsense.

Mr Peter Lilley:
"...not just rogue bankers but even the best, the most honourable and the most honest—do things that would land the rest of us in jail. Near my house in France is a large grain silo. After the harvest, farmers deposit grain in it. The silo gives them a certificate for every tonne of grain that they deposit. They can withdraw that amount of grain whenever they want by presenting that certificate. If the silo owner issued more certificates than there was grain kept in his silo, he would go to jail, but that is effectively what bankers do. They keep as reserves only a fraction of the money deposited with them, which is why we call the system the fractional reserve banking system...."

"[Banks] are controlled both by being required to have assets, and ultimately by the measures that Government should take to ensure that they do not expand lending too rapidly."

Of course, Peter Lilley understands the realities far better than Meacher, but wishes to distance politicians from their own responsibilities.

The House seems mostly unaware of Basel and Carney, going on as if the world is static, a great error where economics is concerned.

"There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose." [1919]

Having read most of the 'debate' thus far, it seems that remains the situation.

A difficult problem is to get people to distinguish the differences between politics and economics, as the contributors are continually confusing the two.

Zac Goldsmith appears to be talking more sense:
"When I was much younger, I listened to a discussion, most of which I did not understand, between my father and people who were asking for his advice. He was a man with a pretty good track record on anticipating turbulence in the world economy. He was asked when the next crash would happen, and he said, “The last person you should ask is an economist or a business man. You need to ask a psychiatrist, because so much of it involves confidence.” The point was proven just a few years ago."

And then a speaker comes down to earth:

Catherine McKinnell [Lab.!]
"Commercial banks do not have unlimited ability to create money, and monetary policy, financial stability and regulation all influence the amount of money they can create. In that sense, banks are regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority, part of the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority. Those regulators, some of which are—rightly—independent, are the stewards of “safety and soundness” in financial institutions, especially regarding banks’ money-creating practices."

Then there are some rather mundane, but realistic, comments in winding down the session.

The End!

the web address for the article above is

putin land is a paper tiger

Russia produces about 13% of the world's oil supplies. It has around 5% of world reserves.
That is, Russia is using up reserves quickly.

The Russian economy is highly dependent on oil revenues. Its economy is about the size of the UK economy, but Russia has about twice the people. Therefore, the standard of living is around half that of the UK.

The EUSSR, the USA and Japan economies combined are around 17 times the size of the shorty Putin kleptocracy.
Russia has an aging population, and a low life expectancy. Such is the inheritance of seventy years of socialism.

Any oil embargo would cost Russia far more than the advanced economies of 'the West'. Oil is fungible, that is the source hardly matters.

Oil prices are currently falling. Economic energy efficiencies improve at around 1 to 2% per year. Sane politicians will build nuclear power stations. Several alternatives can also make a contribution. The biggest of those contributors is energy efficiencies.

The UK should be spending about 1 to 2% of GDP on energy infrastruture every year. Most of UK oil prices are taxes.

Shorty Putin is extremely vulnerable to economic sanctions.
Putin is a fool.
Russia's best option is cooperation with the advanced economies.

information sources
bp statistical_review_of_world_energy_2013 [.pdf]
cia world factbook

end note
Goods or a commodity that can be exchanged or replaced, partially or wholly for another good or commodity of a similar kind.

the web address for the article above is

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