Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Coming Here Soon

"Theirs was the generational dream: do well in school, get a degree, get a good job, buy a home, do better than their parents. But, now, for the first time in the history of our State, the Government has ensured they will have a lower standard of living than their parents."

Enda Kenny, Fine Gael (i.e. opposition) leader in Ireland, on the Government budget - a government which includes the Green Party - which will among other things introduce means-tested healthcare for the over-70s.

I'd say it's already the case in the UK that the dream is gone. House prices on their own would have seen to that, even without deindustrialisation and the education disaster.


John B said...

House prices are +/- irrelevant: given levels of social mobility, the people who inherit nice houses will be the same ones who'd otherwise be able to afford to buy them.

(I'm personally shafted, as I earn quite a lot but am never going to inherit anything, but I'm aware this isn't typical - most above-average earners have parents who own above-average houses).

John B said...

(clarification: social mobility levels are low, because downward social mobility has never existed, and we're not going through the structural change from an unskilled-blue-collar economy to a somewhat-skilled-white-collar economy that massively grew the middle class from WWII through to the 1980s)

Martin said...

John - You write that downward social mobility has never exited.

The Lancastrians used to have an expression 'Clogs to clogs in three generations'.

Laban said...

"the people who inherit nice houses will be the same ones who'd otherwise be able to afford to buy them"

Really, John ? A family, formed in the 70s, with two kids and a three bedroom semi - average wage earner.

Thirty years on, those two kids are on average wage. Can either of them afford a three bedroom semi ?

The parents won't die for another 25+ years - at which point each child MIGHT inherit half the value of a three bedroom semi.

a) That's a little late if you want to start a family

b) parents may decide to remortgage and spend the cash on themselves

c) care home fees may destroy the inheritance

You seem to be obsessed with "nice" and "above-average" houses. I'm talking about Dave Smith from Romford. Listened to too many discussions at work, I reckon.

I'm researching the family tree at the moment. I can assure you downward social mobility does exist - otherwise my family might still own several hundred acres in a rather beautiful part of Britain.

Where do you get that idea from ?

Anonymous said...

There are plenty of examples of Victorian entrepreneurs who built up a company, passed it to a son who consolidated, passed it to his son who squandered the wealth. If you want a more recent example take the Who Do You Think You Are episode devoted to Sue Johnson

Anonymous said...

" ... the people who inherit nice houses will be the same ones who'd otherwise be able to afford to buy them ..."

I'm pretty much with Laban on this one. In my experience it's those who inherit a big pile of money from their grandparents -- not their parents -- who are able to buy decent-sized houses at a time of life when they actually need the space.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of us well-paid, well-educated lower-middle-class oiks, living in overpriced shoeboxes, who have to console ourselves with the thought that our dear old parents' houses may one day be sold to pay off our children's student loans. Still, I suppose that's better than nothing.

Laban said...

My grandparents rented all their lives, so alas no inheritance.

Anonymous said...

Look on the bright side john b. House prices are set to fall 30% next year. That should get you on the 'housing ladder'.