What's the point of living in a very wealthy nation?

Bill Hicks

Banned
Apparently we (The UK) are in the top 6 of the worlds wealthiest nations.
And the US is still No1 followed behind by a new entry, China at No2.
We listen to our governments banging on about making Britain's economy strong after near financial ruin under Labour etc. Didn't we have a strong economy after years of Thatcher, but also had millions of disadvantaged people struggling to find work?
Look at the United States, richest country for most of the 20th century but still with some of the worst poverty seen in the western world.
I wont even start on China!
Look at us. Apparently the 6th richest nation on the Earth but a bunch of miserable, apathetic moaning ninnies who if not having a swipe at the Olympics, then will target the royal engagement. Or failing that will blame their lack of contentment on the foreigners!

Canada. Great place to live and raise a family. Number 11 on the wealth table.
Holland, No 16.

I'd rather live in Australia to be honest and funny enough that's well down the wealth table at No14. :facepalm:

http://www.worldsrichestcountries.com/
 
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Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
The World's Biggest Debtor Nations - SkyscraperCity

Earlier this year (can't find current figures), Britain was #3 in the world for the largest debt as a percentage of GDP. We may be "wealthy" but although we live in the same house we're mortgaged to the hilt and income does not exceed expenditure. A recipe for unhappiness if Mr Micawber is to be believed.

"Wealth" is an illusion.
 

Badger0-0

Member
Didn't we have a strong economy after years of Thatcher

Yes we did, but a fat lot of good it did for many people.

It's why I've come to the conclusion that a good economy is only good for those who are fortunate.

The economy will will be in much better nick in a couple of years, but try telling the 500,000 who will have lost their jobs :(
 

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
A recipe for unhappiness if Mr Micawber is to be believed.

Its a shame they didn't have the Nobel Prize for Economics when Charles Dickens wrote David Copperfield, because after you read the quote:


"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

there is no other economic theory that actually matters one jot.
 

johntheexpat

Distinguished Member
It reminds me of a question I asked a while back on the same subject. The total global level of external debt is well over a hundred trillion dollars. And almost every country in the world (including China at 340 Bn dollars) has external debt.
List of countries by external debt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


So what's to worry about? Because we can't possibly owe that money to the Martians, so how can every country in the world have crippling levels of external debt? Somewhere out there are creditors. Or do we as a planet owe a few rich people over a hundred trillion dollars? In which case, line them up against the wall and cure the debt problem very quickly.
 

Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
I have my own theory about "wealth" and "wealth generation" in that I look at is as the being in the same mould as the 2nd law of thermodynamics:- wealth cannot be created or destroyed it just moves from one state to another.

In a closed system like we have on the planet earth, wealth cannot be created, it can only be redistributed. Wealth only has value if you can convert it to cash; anything else is just "paper" wealth on a balance sheet and P&L account.

If we treated the planet earth as a "business", how would we define profit? Who loses? What are our assets? How do we convert assets into wealth? I'm of the opinion that it's the natural resources of the Earth that we're converting into wealth, and without some way to re-invest in those assets, our world economy is unsustainable:- we can't go on forever converting earth "wealth" through processes into "paper" wealth.
 

dazza74

Novice Member
The economy will will be in much better nick in a couple of years, but try telling the 500,000 who will have lost their jobs :(

500,00 won't lose their jobs imo, certainly not in the public sector. My local council are saving 6 jobs for example by doing away with lease cars for 50 members of staff. I get the impression as long as you bring down the expenditure one way or the other the jobs can stay.
 

dazza74

Novice Member
If we treated the planet earth as a "business", how would we define profit? Who loses? What are our assets? How do we convert assets into wealth? I'm of the opinion that it's the natural resources of the Earth that we're converting into wealth, and without some way to re-invest in those assets, our world economy is unsustainable:- we can't go on forever converting earth "wealth" through processes into "paper" wealth.

Abu Dhabi is quite a good example of converting assets into wealth imo. Pump the oil that you know won't last forever and use the cash from it to build a tourist resort. Sustainable as long as you don't go overboard imo and do a Dubai.

I can't see Planet Earth in any light other than a business personally. The tap in my kitchen's not free :)
 

Mr Incredible

Distinguished Member
Abu Dhabi is quite a good example of converting assets into wealth imo. Pump the oil that you know won't last forever and use the cash from it to build a tourist resort. Sustainable as long as you don't go overboard imo and do a Dubai.

I can't see Planet Earth in any light other than a business personally. The tap in my kitchen's not free :)

Individual economies may be sustainable in the context of living off the wealth generated by other countries. But in terms of a single global economy? It's not sustainable. "Service" industries, and I include banking in that name, are nothing more than wealth movers and converters. None actually generate wealth.

A simple thought:- wherever one may consider wealth in terms of cash in the bank, examine and identify where did that cash came from and how was it created. And follow that back through a wealth (supply) chain to its source and find out where the real wealth generation is.
 

dazza74

Novice Member
A simple thought:- wherever one may consider wealth in terms of cash in the bank, examine and identify where did that cash came from and how was it created. And follow that back through a wealth (supply) chain to its source and find out where the real wealth generation is.

Pretty much everything originates from cheap labour imo, even in this country. To many monopolies not enough co-operatives as well.
 

Pack Dude

Active Member
If your walking down a road in poor country say parts of Kenya and someone runs you over, people will gather round and watch you die. Get ran over in the UK and you should be in the back of an ambulance within 15 minutes, put back together in casualty and sent home. All for free!

You can open your fridge door to get a drink of bottled water or god forbid tap water. In a poor country you might not have any electric never mind a fridge. Most people in the world don't have running water and electric.

Poorer countries tent to be much more corrupt, if your rich enough or hold a position of power you can almost bribe your way out of anything.

Free education, good road and rail infrastructure, human rights, recourse to the law, incredible opportunities and freedom, better housing, much more stable government................... When you think about it there are many good reasons to live in a wealthy country.

We have so much in the UK and take so much for granted that we tent not to notice how much we have and how little many others have.
 

SanPedro

Well-known Member
Individual economies may be sustainable in the context of living off the wealth generated by other countries. But in terms of a single global economy? It's not sustainable. "Service" industries, and I include banking in that name, are nothing more than wealth movers and converters. None actually generate wealth.

A simple thought:- wherever one may consider wealth in terms of cash in the bank, examine and identify where did that cash came from and how was it created. And follow that back through a wealth (supply) chain to its source and find out where the real wealth generation is.

This might help....

Gaian Economics: Where does money come from?

Basically banks and government in the form of loans and bonds
 

dazza74

Novice Member
Get ran over in the UK and you should be in the back of an ambulance within 15 minutes, put back together in casualty and sent home. All for free!

All for free, I'd say even the unemployed pay something towards the NHS through VAT.
 

Badger0-0

Member
500,00 won't lose their jobs imo, certainly not in the public sector. My local council are saving 6 jobs for example by doing away with lease cars for 50 members of staff. I get the impression as long as you bring down the expenditure one way or the other the jobs can stay.

Well, I guess the OBR might have it wrong then :rolleyes:

Danny Alexander reveals 500,000 job cuts in document gaffe - Telegraph

Although, in fairness, I never got to hear what they actually said in the end.

I've heard it from other sources too, I'm sure (OECD?).
 

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