I am sure I am not alone in feeling a bit over-stuffed post-Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it and ate some delicious food, drank more than I should have, did less exercise than usual and generally over-indulged in every way; but clearly I was a paragon of virtue compared to some! I am sat on a crowded train in a set of six seats – three facing three. I say that I am sat but in truth I am perched; as the only one of the six people below eighteen stone, it is proving a struggle to secure more than one buttock on the edge of the seat.
It is at this point of considerable discomfort and general frustration that I am reminded of a recent article. Research published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour followed the “Pareto principle” under which many distributions obey an 80:20 rule. The 38 year study found that children as young as three could be tested on IQ and self-control and that the results, combined with some other factors, would allow researchers to predict with “considerable accuracy” which would go on to be the greatest burden on the state.
In conclusion, a fifth of the population is responsible for four fifths of crime, two fifths of obesity, three quarters of fatherless families and for claiming two thirds of benefit. It is a truth that needs to be more sympathetically acknowledged than I am currently feeling able that supporting this sector of society early on in life will result in significant savings further down the road. Interestingly the research also found that about one third of those studied did not show up in their records because they make minimal use of hospitals, haven’t been before the criminal court or claimed any benefit or accident compensation. These are labelled as “the tax payers” who make up the support ratio; to this research you could add the season ticket payers who are struggling to squeeze into their seat – I wonder if the slimmer among us could qualify for a discount!
Happy New Year