Anorak News | We Love 1976

We Love 1976

by | 17th, March 2004

‘INFLATION stands at 16.7%; the average weekly wage is just £71.80; and the country has been forced to go cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund after sterling plummets from $2 at the beginning of the year to $1.60 by September.

1976 also scores highly on the BCI (Brown Cardigan Index)

Britain is gripped by drought and many of us have to go to get our water from stand pipes at the end of the road; the Notting Hill carnival ends in a riot; and Viv Richards and the West Indies are demolishing the England cricket team.

Brotherhood of Man’s Save All Your Kisses For Me stands at the top of the charts; the Sex Pistols cause anarchy on ITV’s Today show; and the most publicised art event of the year is the unveiling of Carl Andre’s pile of bricks at the Tate Gallery.

We bounce around on spacehoppers or platform soles, we’re all growing beards and wearing terrible cardigans, we spend our free time watching Noel Edmonds’ The Multicoloured Swap Shop and flying kites.

Yes, we really have never had it as good as we had it in 1976, according at least to a think-tank called the New Economics Foundation.

The NEF prefers not to measure progress in terms of GDP but rather by its own MDP (measure of domestic progress), which subtracts social and environmental costs and resource depletion from GDP.

And, according to these figures, while GDP has soared in the past 30 years, MDP has fallen, fuelled especially by growing social inequalities.

‘As everyone from Mahatma Gandhi to the Black-Eyed Peas has pointed out, more isn’t always better,’ Tim Jackson, professor of sustainable development at Surrey University, tells the Independent.

‘Too much food makes the nation obese, burgeoning traffic leaves the roads congested. More guns make our streets unsafe.’

It is not just obesity, congestion and crime that has risen sharply since 1976, so have income inequality, family break-ups and environmental problems.

‘We’re running faster and faster but we seem to end up in the same place,’ Professor Jackson concludes.

However, says the Indy, not everyone agrees with how the MDP is calculated.

Nicholas Crafts, of the London School of Economics (LSE) said it failed to take account of things like technological advances and rising life expectancy.

But, as the Guardian points out, there was a positive side to 1976 as well.

‘Forget Mr Andre’s bricks and celebrate the opening of the National Theatre in 1976,’ it says.

‘Ignore the Sex Pistols and dwell on Abba’s Dancing Queen and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (Elton John and Kiki Dee). [Surely, the wrong way round – Ed.]

‘Forget the Notting Hill Carnival Riots in favour of the 1976 Race Relations Act.’

And remember also that 1976 was the only previous year in which a Labour prime minister resigned in office…’

Posted: 17th, March 2004 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink