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The Truth About Life – And Poverty – In Britain

As someone who has pottered around several different parts of the world – not just as a tourist, but to live and work – there’s a great deal of truth to this from Quora:

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Bogomil Gospodinov, MSc Artificial Intelligence, University of Edinburgh (2018) I’ve stayed in the UK for 5 years. Before that I lived in Bulgaria all my life i.e. for 18 years. Compared to Bulgaria, life in the UK, as I have experienced it so far, is significantly easier. For one, there is, comparatively, very little bureaucracy to deal with, when it comes to taxes, banking, health care etc. More importantly, though, food and clothing are often cheaper in absolute terms when compared to Bulgaria, even though the minimum wage is about 7 times higher and the GBP/BGN rate is 2.19 as of today. Also, in 5 years, I have never been lied to or mislead by a merchant – it is much easier to make informed consumer choices in the UK, when compared to my home country (and by extension to most of the rest of the world). As a student, I was living on around 55% of the annual minimum wage in Britain for 4 years in total and I can assure you that if you know the basics of how to manage money well, you can live better than most citizens of the world even in those “harsh” circumstances. Furthermore, so many migrants come to the UK and live on the minimum wage, often in better conditions than the locals, and still manage to send tons of money back home (over the last decade Bulgarian migrants have sent back $16 bln to their relatives; this accounts for roughly 2% of GDP per annum). In short, you have to put special effort to be actually poor in this country. [/perfectpullquote]

It’s also true that Britain is markedly less racist than near all other places. Markedly less violent as well. And that poverty thing, for all the whining we get domestically the place is as near to a wealthy paradise as any human civilisation has ever achieved.

Sure, it’s not perfect, but Rule Britannia and all that.

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Just to emphasise about poverty. Being on the dole puts you into the top 50% of global incomes. That’s just the unemployment pay, before any housing benefit or anything else. And yes, obviously, that’s using local prices, we’ve already adjusted for the manner in which things are more expensive in richer countries. And £30,000 a year, a little above median full time wage, puts you in the global 1%. You may or may not believe it but this is about as good as it’s got these past 10,000 years since we invented the whole agriculture thing.

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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
5 years ago

I managed university in the 1980s on £2000 grant and £1000 overdraft each year. What’s £3k in today’s money? I vaguely remember under-25’s dole was about 20 quid a week.

Quentin Vole
Quentin Vole
5 years ago

Based on 1985 RPI is ‘precisely’ 3:1, so £3k becomes £9k etc.

Rhoda Klapp
Rhoda Klapp
5 years ago

60s, London, £357 Would have bought 60 Mars Bars per £ so 21000 bars today, say £10k.

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