The lottery of birth
The lottery of birth

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

The lottery of birth

4.2.3 Inequality and the 1%

Described image
Figure 12 A horse drawn carriage passes Occupy London protesters outside St Paul’s Cathedral during the Lord Mayor’s Show on 12 November 2011 in London, England.

Professor Danny Dorling, geographer, a leading academic in the field of inequality in the UK gives a rather grim picture of current state of inequality in Britain in 2014, particularly wage inequality which was the highest in Europe in 2015 (Eurofound, 2015).

Dorling makes some interesting observations about the 1% (his latest book is Inequality and the 1%), about the kinds of occupations of people at this level of earnings and about the urgent need to redress the balance if a society is to thrive.

While inequality across the 99 per cent has reduced since the financial crash of 2008, what he calls the ‘super rich’, the top 1%, have pulled away. He suggests that the super rich 1 per cent have a peculiar perception of what they, and those around them earn and have, and that it is difficult to change people’s minds when perceptions are fixed.

He goes on to suggest that to see where the UK is heading, we should look either to the USA or back to England in the early twentieth century, when levels of inequality were very high.

You can watch an excerpt from a lecture by Danny Dorling in the further reading section.

You will think about the inequalities research by Sen, Piketty and Dorling in the next section.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus