Uncomfortably Off: why the top 10% of earners should care about inequality

Hosted by the Department of Social Policy and the International Inequalities Institute

In-person and online public event (Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building)


Dr Marcos González Hernando

Dr Marcos González Hernando

Dr Gerry Mitchell

Dr Gerry Mitchell

Dr Arun Advani

Dr Arun Advani

Anoosh Chakelian

Anoosh Chakelian


Dr Tania Burchardt

Dr Tania Burchardt

Media attention is often focused on the very richest, the 1%, and their capacity to influence politics and shape society. But they are not the only ones who drive politics, the public conversation and much of the private sector. The focus of this book is on the larger top 10%, the managers and professionals of our media, business, the third sector, political parties and academia and who are just as influential.

However, many would not recognise themselves as high earners at all. In fact, earning around £60,000 a year in Britain places you in the top 10% of income earners. Maybe you’re surprised you fall into this category, or are not as far off as you thought.

Despite this group’s relative advantage and comfort, these high earners don’t feel politically empowered. They worry about their income and are anxious about the future. Most of them are more likely to move down the income ladder than up it.

Drawing attention to this powerful section of society, this book, Uncomfortably Off: Why the Top 10% of Earners Should Care about Inequality, (Policy Press) explains why, even if you are relatively near the top, it is in your interest that inequality is reduced.

Meet our speakers

Marcos González Hernando (@MarcosGHernando) is Honorary Research Fellow at UCL Social Research Institute and affiliated researcher at Universidad Diego Portales and the Centre for the Study of Conflict and Social Cohesion in Chile. His interests include think tanks, intellectual change, attitudes towards inequality, and economic and political elites in both Latin America and Europe. He is also the author of British think tanks after the 2008 global financial crisis (Palgrave, 2019).

Gerry Mitchell (@GerryMitchell2) is a social researcher, campaigner and community activist. With degrees from Cambridge and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), she has recently worked with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Think Tank for Action on Social Change. In 2]019, she stood as the Labour Party’s Parliamentary candidate in Woking. She chairs Surrey-wide Compass and Woking Make Votes Matter local groups and is a co-Director of Canalside Community fridge.

Meet our respondents

Arun Advani (@arunadvaniecon) is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Warwick. He is also a Visiting Senior Fellow at the LSE International Inequalities Institute, as well as being affiliated with the Institute for Fiscal Studies, CAGE Research Centre, CESifo, IZA, and the World Inequality Lab. He studies issues of tax compliance and tax design, with a particular focus on those with high incomes or wealth. He was a Commissioner at the Wealth Tax Commission, and his recent work on capital gains tax and on non-doms has had substantial media and policy impact. 

Anoosh Chakelian (@Anoosh_C) is Britain Editor of the New Statesman, where she covers policy, politics and social affairs across the country, and interviews politicians and other public figures. She hosts the award-winning New Statesman Podcast and co-presents the Westminster Reimagined podcast series with Armando Iannucci. She appears regularly on national media as a commentator on current affairs.

Meet our chair

Tania Burchardt is Associate Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion (CASE), Deputy Director of STICERD, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Policy at the LSE. Tania's research interests lie in theories of justice, including the capability approach, measurement of inequality and applied welfare policy analysis.

More about this event

Copies of the book will be on sale at the event. 

The Department of Social Policy (@LSESocialPolicy) provides top quality international and multidisciplinary research and teaching on social and public policy challenges facing countries across the world. From its foundation in 1912 it has carried out cutting edge research on core social problems and helped to develop policy solutions.

The International Inequalities Institute (@LSEInequalities) brings together experts from many LSE departments and centres to lead critical and cutting edge research to understand why inequalities are escalating in numerous arenas across the world, and to develop critical tools to address these challenges.

Twitter Hashtag for this event: #LSEUncomfortablyOff

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