blueprint media

Month: February, 2014

Blame Name

In modern meritocratic societies success still depends on individual effort but social mobility is slow and genetics appear to play a strong role.

A study into the success, over many generations, of those with high-status, or rare, surnames rather than the most common surnames in the population, has led the author to estimate that 50 to 60 percent of variation in an individual’s overall status is determined by his or her lineage.

Researchers who looked at 181 rare surnames held by the wealthiest 15 per cent of English and Welsh people in the mid-19th Century, for example, found that people with these surnames who died between 1999 and 2012 were more than three times as wealthy as the average person.

Blueprint brief – 27th February 2014
Source: Your Ancestors, Your Fate by Gregory Clark, New York Times, 23 February 2014.

Rainy Records

January and February 2014 have been pretty rainy, but are they evidence of climate change?

According to an analysis of the Met Office’s England and Wales rainfall data sets on a website, Not a Lot of People Know That, run by Paul Homewood, there is no upward trend in rainfall.

This January’s downpour was only the sixteenth wettest month since records began in 1766.

And even if this month’s rain adds a further 8in to the December-January figure, the resulting 26in would still be well short of the 32in recorded between November 1929 and January 1930.

Blueprint brief – 19th February 2014
Source: Christopher Booker, Daily Telegraph, 17th February 2014.

Sinks the Fire

The place of the USA in the world may be shifting. “When foreign visitors used to describe the American culture, they generally settled on different versions of one trait: energy. That’s changing.”

In the 1950s, one fifth of Americans moved home in a given year. Now, it’s around 12 per cent.

Half of Americans over 65 believe America stands above all others as the greatest nation on earth but only 27 per cent of Americans aged between 18 to 29 believe that.

In 2010 slightly fewer Americans than Italians, Britons or Germans were likely to say that “the free economy is the best system on which to base the future of the world.”

Blueprint brief – 12th February 2014
Source: The American Precariat, David Brooks, The New York Times, 11 February 2014.

Ups and Downs

We read consistently that inequality in the UK is on the rise, but it would appear the actual situation is more complex.

Consumption inequality is far lower than pre-tax income inequality because the top 40 per cent of earners pay more in than they get out, while the bottom 60 per cent get more out than they pay in.

After tax the richest fifth of the UK population has only four times as much money to play with as the poorest fifth.

Furthermore, 80 per cent of people born into households below the poverty line escape poverty when they reach adulthood.

Blueprint brief – 5th February 2014
Source: Matt Ridley, The Times, 3rd February 2014