Quote of the day: London’s super-rich

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Boris Johnson, a cheerleader for the Competitiveness Agenda

And the quote of the day is this one, via The Guardian newspaper and Professor Rowland Atkinson of Sheffield University, author of a two-year study of the super-rich in London.

“You can argue that the rich are a tax on everybody [else] in London”

This points to the Competitiveness Agenda and speaks to the (closely related) Finance Curse analysis.

The Competitiveness Agenda, which is prevalent in Britain and many other countries, holds that it is essential to shower goodies the wealthy and multinational corporations with goodies (such as tax cuts), for fear that they’ll flee elsewhere if not sufficiently pampered. What the proponents of this agenda always like to do is to airbrush out the inconvenient fact that that these policies come with costs: not just the direct costs to the taxpayers of the goodies themselves, but a range of broader associated costs that come with playing the game.

In this case, the ‘tax’ that Atkinson is talking about is the exclusion of poorer people from large parts of London, as policy makers fall over themselves to find ways to make way for super-rich residents. A fuller range of these ‘competitiveness’ costs is outlined here.

The article mentions Boris Johnson, the ebullient Mayor of London. For a related article on Boris, and his deep confusions regarding the concept of national ‘competitiveness’, see here.

But the rest of that Guardian article is well worth reading too.

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