A Poverty of Imagination: Blaming the Poor for Inequality



Inequality in Britain today is now so deep that the top 10 per cent own 100 times more than the bottom 10 per cent, yet there is remarkably little public concern or anger about poverty. Indeed, compassion and concern for the poorest in society has actually declined in recent years due to the continued, and even increased, prevalence of the view that poverty is largely caused by laziness and lack of willpower, or is simply an unavoidable fact of modern life. Either way, many people tacitly accept that ‘the poor will always be with us’. Moreover, much of the British public believes that there are sufficient opportunities to succeed for those who try hard enough, and also that it is the middle class which actually struggles the most, economically or financially. These assumptions are highly conservative in their ideological and political implications because they limit public support for egalitarianism and extensive wealth redistribution from rich to poor.