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It’s a proven fact, men can’t bear children. Ask anyone.
Therefore, any children born in a country are going to be born to women. And before World War I, British females of child-bearing age were having 3.2 children on average which created a constant, but manageable population growth rate.
This translated into a healthy economy — all those new mouths to feed, clothe, educate and shelter — and such birthrates form the basis of every domestic economy.
In economies with a high national birthrate per fertile woman, a significant domestic economy exists and consequently, sending raw resources or manufactured goods to other countries *isn’t* required to prop up the economy.
When more people are being born than are dying every year, you have the perfect domestic economy — and exports are merely the icing on the cake — and what a ride it is when the domestic economy is growing and exports are growing every year! Woot!
That’s how Britain prospered for centuries, until WWI and WWII changed all that.
Let’s Skip Over the War Part and Get to the Results
Enough has been written and filmed about Britain’s part in WWI and WWII to fill entire libraries (as it should, and to every living and long-dead veteran, thank you again for our freedom!) but for our discussion today, let’s look at how two world wars changed the demographic picture of Britain.
Women entered the formal workforce and began to earn money.
This was done because the men were away fighting a war and the country was in a desperate labour shortage. Anyone who could turn a shovel, milk a cow, assemble a rifle, or ‘man’ a telephone exchange, was put to work immediately. Some workers were barely in their teens and had plenty of responsibility on their shoulders. The British people of the last century were truly an adaptable and amazing people who rose to every challenge and succeeded. Often at great personal cost.
With most of the men away, women worked up to 16-hour shifts on farms or in factories, and still cared for their household and any children that had been born prior to the war, and Britain’s birthrate fell precipitously. In fact, the birthrate per fertile woman fell below replacement levels and the population of the country as a whole, began to fall.
No country can sustain such a falling birthrate, however due to the extremely high wartime demand for weapons and other war matériel the economy continued to function. Not as well as prior to the war mind you, but it still functioned — and apart from borrowing money on the international markets to fund the war machine — Britain’s economy remained sound. The last payment on Britain’s WWI and WWII $120 billion war debt was recently repaid in 2006.
Economic Recovery and Birthrate in the Postwar Era
The result of all this war was that there was a postwar baby boom and Britain’s economy once again began to thrive.
Two profound things changed the British economy forever in the postwar era: 1) British women were likely to put off having children and continue working, and 2) in 1961 birth control pills became available to married women and were later made available to single women.
As a result, the birthrate per fertile woman in Britain again plummeted (replacement levels in Western countries is at 2.2 babies per fertile woman) and employers were eager to employ women who were happy to work for less than half of what men earned. In some cases, women were paid only 40% of what their male counterparts earned and no one thought anything about the discrepancy — not even the women.
Women’s participation in the workforce increased, and beginning in the 1970’s the rates of pay for women began to rise and even fewer babies were born to British women who were too busy earning income to want children.
Consequently, the government was informed by industry-centric economists to open the floodgates to foreign workers (starting in 1999) to meet the demand for labour in the country (which is a different way of saying, ‘bring in the kind of workers who will work for what we used to pay the women’ e.g. 40% of the wage rate for male workers) and British profits will rise again. Indeed they did, but unemployment among British citizens rose and downward pressure on wages began to be a measurable factor.
Company profits rose, British GDP rose, productivity fell but later recovered as the foreign workers became more proficient at their jobs and had a better understanding of the English language, and domestic demand for goods and services (which every economy is built on) skyrocketed.
All of it is an astonishing success story, Britain with its wartime partners winning two world wars, rebuilding its economy in the postwar era, adding millions of women to the workforce, the introduction of pharmaceutical birth control, near-parity for women’s wages in recent years, high profits for companies and a respectable GDP growth curve.
The downside for some is that it took millions of foreign-born workers migrating to Britain to sustain growth in the UK economy because British-born women would rather work than have babies. (Just like women in other developed countries)
Which brings us to the present moment.
Would UK Women Prefer to Have Babies, or Would They Prefer to Work?
The simple answer is, if they could afford to stay home and have babies, they would. Many studies support this finding although a certain percentage of women would continue to work until their 40’s before having children.
Even in this era of cheap birth control and relatively plentiful work for women, many women would prefer to stay home and raise children. But due to lower wages as a result of massive immigration many families cannot afford to have one wage-earner staying at home to raise children.
And we all know how enormously expensive raising children can be these days.
Are There Any Solutions?
There are always solutions. The question is, are they affordable and acceptable to the majority of citizens?
- Wages rise enough for one wage-earner to support the entire family and have enough money left over to take a nice, 3-week family vacation per year (like it used to be in the ‘old days’) OR,
- British citizens willing to go through the effort and expense of raising children must receive some kind of assistance paid by an incremental increase in the national taxation rate.
Eventually, everyone who pays taxes would be able to recoup the additional portion of the taxes paid when they themselves decide to have children.
Using a Parental Guaranteed Basic Income to Boost the UK-born Birthrate
Let’s say that UK-born ‘Richard’ and ‘Anne’ want to have children. But because of the high costs of food, clothing and shelter in the UK (which you can partially blame on high immigration loads that force-up prices) they decide they must remain working until they can afford to have children. Many Britons are caught in this trap.
Why is it a trap? Because every year they remain working, the cost of everything continues to rise and they’re no further ahead after ten hard years of effort.
Both people working + one recession = no kids. It happens over and over. Working couples barely reach a point where they feel they can afford to start a family, and BOOM! along comes a financial crisis. Bad for the baby-blanket business!
It’s typical for recessions to occur every 15-25 years. So British-born couples like ‘Richard’ and ‘Anne’ may never reach their goal of having children, like millions of other Britons. And if they finally get to the point where they feel they can afford a family — they’re 100 years old like Abraham and Sarah of ancient Mesopotamia.
And everyone wonders why Britain has a 1.89 birth rate per fertile woman, which is far below population replacement levels. As mentioned above, 2.2 births per fertile woman is considered replacement level in developed nations. If you want to grow the population and not just maintain the present number, then the birthrate value must rise above 2.2 births per fertile woman.
The UK has a long way to go to meet replacement levels, let alone begin to increase the population!
If that’s true, why does the UK population continue to increase? One word: Immigration.
Again, the solution if you don’t want ever-increasing immigration to prop-up your population and eventually replace the UK-born people;
- Raise wages dramatically so that one wage-earner can afford to provide for the entire family, OR,
- Families with children receive some kind of payment from the government financed by an incremental tax increase.
For those who don’t like higher taxes, hey, that’s your right. But don’t complain when your children are the last native-born Britons in the country!
Assuming you don’t want to hand Britain over to foreigners (even though some of them are very nice) UK-born women will need to be compensated for leaving their career and raising children.
A monthly payment can make the difference between a falling or rising birthrate.
If ‘Richard’ continues to work and ‘Anne’ receives a Parental Guaranteed Basic Income (PGBI) of £1088 per month, it might be enough for middle class families to get by with only one wage-earner.
In this way the negative birthrate problem in the UK will eventually be righted and massive immigration loads will no longer be required to sustain the UK population / and consequent domestic economy.
More UK-born children = fewer immigrants moving to the UK
Assuming both ‘Richard’ and ‘Anne’ have worked since leaving school and paid their fair share of taxes, when they are ready to start a family they will do so secure in the knowledge they will be able to afford it due to the PGBI system. ‘Richard’ will earn his wages and ‘Anne’ will receive £1088 per month.
At income-tax time, they simply combine their income (let’s assume £80,000/yr for ‘Richard’ and £13,056 for ‘Anne’) and pay the normal amount of tax on their combined income of £93,056.
If they keep their expenses low, that’s enough annual income to raise one child until he/she reaches 18 years of age.
Which is certainly cheaper for the UK than paying double that amount to host one immigrant who will send much of his/her earned money to his home country to help his or her family for as long as he/she remains in the UK.
If we’re paying thousands per month for each immigrant (directly and indirectly) to sustain the UK population, why can’t we pay ‘Anne’ less than half that monthly amount to raise a UK-born child?
Eventually, ‘Richard’ and ‘Anne’s’ child will grow up to become a worker and he or she won’t be sending thousands of pounds sterling off to a foreign country every year (yes, the immigrants work very hard for their money — they can do what they like with it) but the UK-born child will simply spend their earnings in the UK economy, except for his/her vacations outside of the UK.
For as long as ‘Anne’ stays at home raising her children, she can continue to collect the £1088 per month PGBI until she returns to the workforce and begins earning more than that monthly amount, or when her child hits 18 years of age, her PGBI payments will be discontinued.
Obviously, the easiest way to run this programme is via a ‘reverse income tax’ where a person’s income, their partner and their child, all appear on the same income tax form. After filing their combined tax form, couples would be notified of their eligibility for PGBI and monthly payments would begin.
Caveat: As long as ‘Anne’ is receiving any amount of income over £1088 per month, either via unemployment insurance payments, annuity payments, inheritances, lottery winnings, gifts from family members, or from whatever other source, ‘Anne’ will not qualify for the PGBI payment. If she is earning less than £1088 per month (from all sources) the PGBI programme would top-up her personal income to £1088/month.
Although it sounds expensive, it would still be cheaper by half compared to the present method of paying immigrants to keep the UK population at a sustainable level and thereby keeping consumer demand high in the overall economy.
How to Pay for This?
Britons are already paying for it… TWICE OVER!
Each immigrant represents a significant cost to the British taxpayer, (and yes, they do work very hard to earn a living in the UK, no one is denying that) but in addition to using infrastructure and services in the country just like everyone else, there is a cost differential of about £100,000 per immigrant over their lifetime.
The Home Office / Border Force must devote considerable time and effort to immigrants with some costs happening even before the migrant lands in Britain.
Immigrants receive the same benefits as UK citizens such as welfare payments, and cost the government in other ways, including police, court, and incarceration costs, higher than average security and certain administration costs that are unique to immigrants — and they displace UK-born workers as they’re willing to work for lower wages.
In addition, they send billions of pounds sterling home every year. The figure of £20 billion per year is most often used — but it is likely much higher. Forget about official statistics, the UK government (like most governments) only records those foreign remittances that people volunteer (£3.2 billion) to share with the government. Banks and wire transfer services like Western Union know the real deal on foreign remittances.
And that’s costly to the UK economy. Just divide £20 billion by the 8 million foreign-born residents in the country and you’ll see how costly ‘foreign remittances’ are for the United Kingdom.
The final note on foreign remittances is terrifying. Such payments are notoriously difficult to prove, but the standard number of £20 billion/yr is a guesstimate. It’s widely acknowledged that UK foreign remittances may be double that amount, and could in the very worst-case scenario top £56 billion per year. And you don’t want to know the grand total of foreign remittances since 1999. No matter the number, it’s a lot of money leaving the UK that will never, ever, return.
What could those billions have done for the UK economy? We’ll never know.
‘Cutting Our Losses’ Covers Half of the Cost of a Parental GBI, but More Tax?
In addition to lowering immigration to low levels because UK-born women would be having more babies — there would need to be an incremental tax increase.
A Tobin Tax is simply a tax on all financial transactions in the country. It’s called an ‘invisible tax’ because banks and retailers simply add an internal 1% tax to each and every financial transaction and remit the revenue to the government annually.
- Buy or sell some stock, it costs you 1% more than at present.
- Buy a beer, it costs you 1% more than at present.
- Take £100 from the ATM (yes, that’s a financial transaction) and the bank charges you 1% on the total amount.
- Buy some petrol and 1% is automatically added to the cost.
Basically, whatever you purchase is going to cost you 1% more unless it’s something that costs more than £100,000 — because you pay the Tobin Tax only on the first £100,000 on any individual purchase. Which is nice when you’re buying an Airbus A380 or other large purchase.
Yes, nobody likes higher taxes that’s for certain. But there’s no rule that the Tobin Tax must be set as high as 1%. Some Tobin Tax proponents suggest it could be used to fund special projects like a GBI for UK parents only — in which case it could be set at .2% on individual purchases.
It’s your choice.
Does lower immigration, lower foreign remittance levels, more UK-born children to keep the population stable, and more jobs for Britons matter to you? Or does a Parental GBI funded by a .2% Tobin Tax nullify those gains?
Let us know in the comments!
Population & Density Charts for the United Kingdom 1950 – 2020
What’s a UK Prime Minister to do who is away for meetings with EU officials to discuss Brexit terms and to solve practical matters and common problems, when the richly-funded-by-the-EU Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) seeks to undo the democratic will of the British people by claiming that undoing Brexit would bring more wealth to the UK?
It’s not like the OECD utterances on the UK economy have been accurate since Brexit was first discussed in the public arena, and it’s not like the OECD has a legitimate mandate to comment on political developments in any OECD member nation. In fact, it’s expressly forbidden in their charter.
Since Brexit was first suggested, the OECD have been the prophets of doom, telling anyone who would listen that economic Armageddon would occur were the UK to continue pursuing Brexit and yet, almost exactly the opposite has occurred. UK markets are booming, trade is flourishing, countries are lining up to sign free trade agreements with a post-Brexit UK, and Britons are looking forward to taking back control of their country.
Yes, the EU Parliament will miss the (net) £8 billion annual contribution from the UK taxpayer. Britons get that.
But the United Kingdom must do what’s best for its citizens not what’s best for a greedy and overly bureaucratic EU politburo that wants to spend its time passing arcane legislation and finding ways to get evermore money out of Britain (mainly) and other EU member states, to support its extravagant operations.
“Will it be Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon White Gold, Mr. Junckers, or a couple of Heineken?” — You know the answer to that question! 😉
On a related note: UKIP’s Nigel Farage said today on his wildly successful call-in talk show that the EU Parliament wine and spirits budget is in the tens of millions of dollars and that they are thinking of upping their annual alcohol purchase.
For as long as the UK remains a paid-up member of the European Union, it’s fair for the UK and other members of the union to comment on political, economic and social developments happening within the other EU member states.
However, the OECD should refrain from commenting on the politics of any nation.
Don’t forget that as a paid-up member of the EU until Brexit actually occurs, the UK (along with Germany) are paying the lion’s share of the OECD’s £85 million annual budget.
On top of that, the UK has its own (country) account with the OECD which costs the UK £11 million per year. You think the OECD would show the UK a little respect as it’s paying 2X its required dues there.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development needs to realign itself with its original charter to maintain its credibility and thereby maintain its present membership numbers. If the OECD can’t manage to do that, it’s time for the UK to leave the organization.
A sea-change is upon the United Kingdom whether some have come to that full realization or not
The relationship between the UK and the rest of the world is beginning to change as the UK exits the European Union. Not only that, but the relationship between the UK and the other Commonwealth countries is changing. And while all of that is occurring, it is also a time of change in the postwar international order.
These changes are coming and we have no ability to stop them. What we do have though, is the ability to choose whether these changes are ultimately negative or positive for Britain.
The days of ‘Win-Lose’ politics are over
When every second country (seemingly) has WMD weapons, suddenly Win-Lose doesn’t work anymore. Do we really want to solve every issue between nations with nuclear weapons? Because eventually, that’s what it will come to.
It’s great if you ‘Win’. But then you ‘Lose’ because the fallout from large nuclear explosions travel around the Earth a few times per season and nuclear particles continue to exist in the environment for decades (some isotopes linger for 20,000 years) and as everyone needs to breathe the air, eventually you will inhale and, well, (do I really have to tell you this?) your lungs will filter the radioactive isotopes out of the air.
The ‘Winners’ of a WMD conflict will also become ‘Losers’ of that conflict within months. It’s nonsensical to consider nuclear war in the 21st-century.
All of which means, that in the final analysis, international hot points must henceforth be solved by the cool hand of diplomacy.
The days of fighting for Market Share are over
More than any other country, fighting for market share no longer makes economic sense for the UK, because every other country/corporation is likewise fighting for market share.
Larger countries with serious export expertise and fully developed and long-term foreign client relationships have a distinct advantage over a born-again United Kingdom re-entering the exporting world. Fighting for market share against far superior marketing superpowers like Germany and China is like paddling upriver in a hurricane, and good luck with that.
Rather than fighting for Britain’s slice of the pie, the UK should be the one country in the world that works to make the pie bigger for everyone! wherever free markets exist.
In that way, whatever global growth occurs will benefit all exporters equally — including Britain’s born-again export economy, because the UK will have as good a chance as any to capture some of that growing pie — as opposed to fighting companies well entrenched in foreign markets and trying to steal tiny percentages of their total market share. See the difference?
“Don’t fight a battle if you don’t gain anything by winning.” — Erwin Rommel
Rommel was right. And to adapt his truth to Britain’s new place in the world, fighting for market share in countries that are already well-served by European and Chinese exporters will gain British exporters very little and could create trade frictions between Britain and the European Union which is still the UK’s largest trading partner in the 21st-century. We don’t want that.
‘Win-Win and Growing the Market vs. ‘Win-Lose’ and fighting for Market Share
Win-Win political thinking and growing the global market is the best prescription for Britain’s economic future.
Countries with rapidly growing economies like the BRICS countries and many Commonwealth nations are the best places for Britain to concentrate its export efforts. By helping those countries to succeed more than they would have without the UK’s assistance, Britain can grow its export base by selling to people in rapidly growing developing nations enjoying their newfound discretionary income.
It’s all about rising Disposable Income in Developing Nations
The example of India is most poignant, because in that country the average discretionary income of citizens is doubling every five years; All Britain’s leaders must do now, is to work respectfully with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ministers to the end that British exports to India are welcome and that Indian exports to the UK are just as welcome. (It helps if both countries aren’t manufacturing and selling the same items, of course) If India sells toasters in both countries then Britain should sell kettles in both countries, if you take my meaning. The less overlap, the better.
A few years from now, when a larger percentage of India’s 1.5 billion population can afford to buy a new car, perhaps Indian companies will offer tuk-tuks, small cars and farm trucks for sale in India and the UK, while the UK sells family sedans and Landrovers in India and the UK.
Any other method of working to each country’s strengths — without stepping on each other’s toes — would also be profitable for companies of both countries. What matters is that whatever method is chosen works for companies in both countries.
With the right approach to rapidly growing countries and some standardized and respectful trade rules, the UK could help to grow the global pie, dramatically increase its own exports, keep good relations with exporting superpowers in Europe, China, and America, and be seen as a ‘White Knight’ to developing nations by playing a pivotal and ongoing role in helping them to build their economies.
That future is so much better than bickering over fractions of market share with other (and economically superior) exporting nations — the very countries that Britain depends upon in many ways.
Here’s to ‘Win-Win’ paradigms and growing the global economic pie; A plan that will work for the United Kingdom more than almost any other country — while preventing harm to Britain’s present and important trade relationships.