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#Dispatches on generational wealth gap

by on October 11, 2016

In closing last night’s episode of Channel 4’s Dispatches Fraser Nelson concludes that “tensions between the generations might just boil over”.  Yet what was evident in the documentary was concern expressed by all ages interviewed about issues relating to the wealth divide.  That is the divide between those who have wealth and those who don’t.  While this was couched in both generational and age terms in the programme (check elsewhere on our blog for critique of this conflation, and re conflating generation in the familial vs cohort sense) what was evident to me was that ALL those interviewed (largely living in Bristol it appeared to me) seemed similarly concerned about the housing market and issues of student debt AND the role of government in creating/perpetuating/resolving these.  There are obviously real issues impacting younger people in the UK today, but pitching them against an older age group seems unhelpful to everyone.  It was interesting in that discussing intergenerational households (of personal interest as I live in one) that only the views of the younger member of the family were taken into account.   There seemed to be an unreasonable attempt to ‘blame’ pensioners for pension policy.  That simply doesn’t make sense.

On twitter there seems to be concern with a ‘divide and conquer’ approach to the programme which avoided other aspects of, and reasons for, wealth divisions in this country.  As can be seen in the randomly selected sample below, there was also concern about significant political bias.

So while there were some interesting issues raised, the overall focus on generational tension and conflict seemed unhelpful and uninformative.  Let’s look at the wealth divide itself perhaps next time.

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