January 17, 2011

The orderly management of decline in my youth

As the mid-seventies progressed, this pessimism about the economy spread far beyond the City of London. In 1977, New Society compared the results of two large-scale professional surveys of Britons' financial situations and expectations, one recent and one four years earlier. The magazine found that the percentage of people expecting their standard of living to 'fall sharply' in the next ten years had more than doubled, overtaking the proportion of Britons expecting things to improve or stay the same. It also found that most people's sense of their current 'material position' had dramatically w0orsened. In 1973, 18 per cent of those surveyed had considered their position very strong. In 1977, the figure was 5 per cent. In 1973, only 13 per cent had regarded their position as very weak. In 1977, it was 26 per cent.

These perceptions were broadly accurate.
Andy Beckett, When the Lights Went Out, p176.

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