Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Top 1%

Quite quiet in the Tavern, what with the Winter Olympics and all going on. But here it is sunny and hot all day and much of the nights so we have been counting our blessings and taking the rap.

We are in the 'Lucky Country' as Oz is oft' called (despite it originally being a sarcastic call) and life is pretty good. The Lefties are on the run; the ABC is on the ropes; the Unions are coming under scrutiny at last; an ex-PM is wetting her knickers awaiting a paddy wagon; the carbon tax is no more; and even the hordes of 'boat people' are seeing the lights around the inside of the lifeboat that is towing them back to where they come from.

Meanwile we are still stuck with hypocrits who rally against the 'Top 1%' while ignoring the fact that they themselves ARE they whom they condemn.

You need an annual income of $34,000 a year to be in the richest 1% of the world, according to World Bank economist Branko Milanovic’s 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots.
To be in the top half of the globe you need to earn just $1,225 a year.
For the top 20%, it’s $5,000 per year.
Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year.
To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000.
America’s poorest are some of the world’s richest.

And that's just America. Those people are not even as well off as Australians. By this reckoning even those on the dole in Oz are well within the top 10%.

Er...., No you ain't

And what a lot we Ozzies spend on our athletes; the leisure class that happily plays sport on the taxpayer dollar. We expect them to win 'Gold, Gold, Gold'. Woe betide any coming back with a silver or a bronze. Losers !

Not that we can expect many Gold medals. They quality of our youthful athletes so far has been woeful, although the whoops and the 'yeahs' are in full cry and some of the smiles are nice to look at.

Er.... what's that other coloured stuff inside?

And the medals themselves may not be as golden as one thinks. Most western banks have sold off all their gold 50 times over and China has been importing over 100 tons of the stuff every month for the past several years. It would not be too prudent to x-ray the medals or drill a hole in a few when (if ) any come home. They may well be mainly tungsten with a shiney surface. All that glitters ain't.... you know the rest.

'Allo, 'allo, 'allo. Q'elle avons nous ici? 
‘Fake’ Gold Detected: The Tungsten Gold Bar

March 26, 2012 by prospecting journal   It isn’t everyday that the word tungsten is used synonymously with gold. This week, a 1,000-gram ‘fake’ gold bar was found in the United Kingdom. Upon realizing discrepancies in the weight of the bar of gold, further tests revealed that the bar had been drilled out and filled with tungsten.  
In effect the bar was valued at much lower than what was initially thought, and had the trick gone unnoticed, the counterfeiter would have pocketed a substantial amount of profit. 
Somewhat surprisingly, this isn’t the first time we are learning about gold counterfeiting. In October 2009, bankers in Hong Kong discovered gold bars from the US that were filled with Tungsten, with similar instances also occurring in Ethiopia and South Africa.  
In almost every documented situation Tungsten is commonly chosen as a substitute. It is a material substantially cheaper than gold but shares the exact same density, to the third decimal. This makes it the ideal material for counterfeiting.

President Putin has spend 56 BILLION bucks on the Winter Olympics, and not unexpectedly lined the pockets of quite a few of his now-supporters with gold. Heck, he has to find economies somewhere.

But back to the blessings.

The Motley Fool shows just how well off we are. Well, Americans. The Australians are even better off. We have the Tavern.

Carpe century’: 50 reasons we’re living through the greatest period in world history

Mark J. Perry | February 3, 2014, 9:28 am

Morgan Housel at The Motley Fool lists the 50 reasons we’re living through the greatest period in world history and here are 25 of my favorites: 
1. U.S. life expectancy at birth was 39 years in 1800, 49 years in 1900, 68 years in 1950, and 79 years today. The average newborn today can expect to live an entire generation longer than his great-grandparents could. 
2. In 1949, Popular Mechanics magazine made the bold prediction that someday a computer could weigh less than 1 ton. I wrote this sentence on an iPad that weighs 0.73 pounds. 
3. The average American now retires at age 62. One hundred years ago, the average American died at age 51. Enjoy your golden years — your ancestors didn’t get any of them. 
4. Despite a surge in airline travel, there were half as many fatal plane accidents in 2012 than there were in 1960, according to the Aviation Safety Network. 
5. People worry that the U.S. economy will end up stagnant like Japan’s. Next time you hear that, remember that unemployment in Japan hasn’t been above 5.6% in the past 25 years, its government corruption ranking has consistently improved, incomes per capita adjusted for purchasing power have grown at a decent rate, and life expectancy has risen by nearly five years. I can think of worse scenarios. 
6. Two percent of American homes had electricity in 1900. J.P Morgan (the man) was one of the first to install electricity in his home, and it required a private power plant on his property. Even by 1950, close to 30% of American homes didn’t have electricity. It wasn’t until the 1970s that virtually all homes were powered. Adjusted for wage growth, electricity cost more than 10 times as much in 1900 as it does today, according to professor Julian Simon. 
7. According to the Federal Reserve, the number of lifetime years spent in leisure — retirement plus time off during your working years — rose from 11 years in 1870 to 35 years by 1990. Given the rise in life expectancy, it’s probably close to 40 years today. Which is amazing: The average American spends nearly half his life in leisure. If you had told this to the average American 100 years ago, that person would have considered you wealthy beyond imagination. 
8. Median household income adjusted for inflation was around $25,000 per year during the 1950s. It’s nearly double that amount today. We have false nostalgia about the prosperity of the 1950s because our definition of what counts as “middle class” has been inflated — see the 34% rise in the size of the median American home in just the past 25 years. If you dig into how the average “prosperous” American family lived in the 1950s, I think you’ll find a standard of living we’d call “poverty” today. 
9. According to the Census Bureau, only one in 10 American homes had air conditioning in 1960. That rose to 49% in 1973, and 89% today — the 11% that don’t are mostly in cold climates. Simple improvements like this have changed our lives in immeasurable ways. 
10. Almost no homes had a refrigerator in 1900, according to Frederick Lewis Allan’s The Big Change, let alone a car. Today they sell cars with refrigerators in them. 
11. Adjusted for overall inflation, the cost of an average round-trip airline ticket fell 50% from 1978 to 2011, according to Airlines for America. 
12. According to the Census Bureau, the average new home now has more bathrooms than occupants. 
13. According to the Census Bureau, in 1900 there was one housing unit for every five Americans. Today, there’s one for every three. In 1910 the average home had 1.13 occupants per room. By 1997 it was down to 0.42 occupants per room. 
14. Relative to hourly wages, the cost of an average new car has fallen fourfold since 1915, according to professor Julian Simon. 
15. Google Maps is free. If you think about this for a few moments, it’s really astounding. It’s probably the single most useful piece of software ever invented, and it’s free for anyone to use. 
16. The average American work week has declined from 66 hours in 1850, to 51 hours in 1909, to 34.8 today, according to the Federal Reserve. Enjoy your weekend. 
17. Incomes have grown so much faster than food prices that the average American household now spends less than half as much of its income on food as it did in the 1950s. Relative to wages, the price of food has declined more than 90% since the 19th century, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
18. As of March 2013, there were 8.99 million millionaire households in the U.S., according to the Spectrum Group. Put them together and they would make the largest city in the country, and the 18th largest city in the world, just behind Tokyo. We talk a lot about wealth concentration in the United States, but it’s not just the very top that has done well. 
19. In 1900, 44% of all American jobs were in farming. Today, around 2% are. We’ve become so efficient at the basic need of feeding ourselves that nearly half the population can now work on other stuff. 
20. U.S. oil production in September was the highest it’s been since 1989, and growth shows no sign of slowing. We produced 57% more oil in America in September 2013 than we did in September 2007. The International Energy Agency projects that America will be the world’s largest oil producer as soon as 2015.

21. The average American car got 13 miles per gallon in 1975, and more than 26 miles per gallon in 2013, according to the Energy Protection Agency. This has an effect identical to cutting the cost of gasoline in half. 
22. Annual inflation in the United States hasn’t been above 10% since 1981 and has been below 5% in 77% of years over the past seven decades. When you consider all the hatred directed toward the Federal Reserve, this is astounding. 
23. According to AT&T archives and the Dallas Fed, a three-minute phone call from New York to San Francisco cost $341 in 1915, and $12.66 in 1960, adjusted for inflation. Today, Republic Wireless offers unlimited talk, text, and data for $5 a month. 
24. You need an annual income of $34,000 a year to be in the richest 1% of the world, according to World Bank economist Branko Milanovic’s 2010 book The Haves and the Have-Nots. To be in the top half of the globe you need to earn just $1,225 a year. For the top 20%, it’s $5,000 per year. Enter the top 10% with $12,000 a year. To be included in the top 0.1% requires an annual income of $70,000. America’s poorest are some of the world’s richest. 
25. Only 4% of humans get to live in America. Odds are you’re one of them. We’ve got it made. Be thankful.

Drink up. Count yourselves lucky. And the next time you see a bunch of molly-coddled, long-haired unwashed louts protesting about the Top !%, remind them will you.


  1. I think that we are living in the greatest period of modern history.

    But what is set in motion to follow... I am not sure about that!

  2. A very good point about our relative position vis-a-vis the world. I'd be rated as destitute over here but in Africa might be a king.

  3. The western 'destitute' are very few. But as Cherie alludes, who knows where we will be in 20 years.


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The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..