Of the top 25 richest nations on Earth, Japan is the most equal. The top 5% of earners take 4.5 times the income of the lowest earners in Japan; in contract, the top 10% in the UK earn 20 times the income of the poorest 10%. There are more people earning more than £1,000,000 in the Barclays Tower in Canary Wharf than in the whole of Japan.
Japan achieved their equality after the dropping of the atomic bombs during WWII. After the War, the USofA started rebuilding the state, took all of the land, and divided it equally between the Japanese people.
The average life expectancy is 83 years in Japan.
The United Kingdom is more divided by economics than countries like Israel are by ethnic conflict. London is the most expensive city in the world to live in. There are no significant equality changes under political party changes. Apart from in NYC, no other city pays financiers like in London; and the UK pays bankers, proportionally to the Gross National Product, earn far more. On current projections, the UK is set to become the most unequal society in the world.
In the UK, the average clothing item is worn 5 times before being thrown away; it’s worth noting that this is probably highly skewed by the richest in society who can afford to wear something just once. 2% of the GDP is made up of advertising, while 1% of the rest of Europe’s GDP was.
In the 1970’s and 1980’s globalisation led to deindustrialisation of London. The Thames barrage has only made it harder for shipping to reach companies within the city. Along with this loss of industry came vast amounts of unemployment.
Some restaurants now provide beach volleyball, champagne and similar assets, after the renovations for the 2012 Olympics. The rest of this post concerns the past state of affairs before Newham became the site of the 2012 Olympic Park- and why it became that.
The Lower Lea Valley was used for the Olympic water park during the games. The canals had been unused for 30 years, so they were clogged by silt and weeds.
Newham contained 42% of London’s brownfield- previously used- land. Brownfield sites had been vacant for 20 to 30 years. It was unattractive to developers due to:
- Being fragmented into small plots
- Some sites containing pollutants that would need to be cleaned out
- Being criss-crossed with overhead powerlines, sewers, waterways, roads and rail lines.
These factors all lead to the regeneration for the 2012 Olympic park being so expensive to build.
London’s (relatively) affluent standards of living for residents generate 4.4 million tons of household waste annually. London’s waste is collected daily by about 500 collection vehicles, barges, containers and other transporters. It is transported to 18 landfill sites, 2 incinerators, 23 recycling centres, 2 compost centres and 2 energy-from-waste plants. The volume easily exceeds the capacity of London’s landfill sites. 76% of London’s waste is transported out by road, rail or barge. Some sites are 120 km from the capital.
The biggest sites are Calvert in Buckinghamshire, Stewartby in Bedfordshire and Appleford in Oxfordshire. Calvert is a landfill site occupying a disused quarry. Clays are impermeable so toxins here are trapped. The site recieves 2,000 tons of waste a day from London. Methane extracted from the site fuels a small power station which generates energy for 4,000 homes. Solid waste is transported to 9 landfill sites around London.
Pollution can escape from landfill and also landfill contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. It also takes up land in an overcrowded area.
The capital’s waste is expected to increase to 6.5 million tons annually in 2020, largely because of the 800,000 people who are predicted to have arrived after the end of 2005.
One solution would be to extend recycling schemes and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. So far, London’s recycling record is poor, with 5 of the 12 lowest recycling records for the UK being within London. To achieve targets, London has to hextuple its levels of recycling.