If we are to accept the current economic storyline then Rihanna moving to London makes all of us Britons poorer. She is rich, she has upped the average income of the country – yea, even the median, as she’s an additional person in the country – by some amount. That means that some more of us have moved into that relative poverty which so murders us all in our beds.
Rihanna has staked a place near the top of the UK’s annual music rich list after moving to Britain last year, beating the likes of Mick Jagger, Elton John and Rod Stewart.
The 32-year-old singer, originally from Barbados, qualifies for the list for the first time after her surprise move to London and has an estimated fortune of £468m.
A sensible economics would note that she is now spending her money in London. Or at least some of it, however much is necessary to support the pop star lifestyle. That sensible economics would then conclude that some Britons are richer as a result of being the recipients of that spending and that, in aggregate, Britons are richer.
Fashionable economics on the other hand, as represented by the likes of the Spirit Level, will say that inequality has increased. Also, given that median income has now increased some more people will be below 60% of median household income. This is also, in that fashionable economic jargon, known as poverty having increased.
The Spirit Level, plus those deluded enough to believe it like Polly Toynbee, insists that if poverty increases then more people die. If inequality increases then more people, both rich and poor, die and die younger. The only reason they don’t insist that it’s screaming in agony in the streets is because even they think that would be a bit rich as a claim.
So, Rihanna moving to London kills Britons. If, that is, we’re so silly as to believe fashionable economics.