If Pounds were Pixels is an infographic created by We Communicate’s Duncan Rickelton in January 2012 to illustrate the drastic inequality of wealth in British society. It has been published in the book Unequal Health by Professor Daniel Dorling, the journal Urban Geography as part of Professor Dorling’s paper “Inequality and Justice, some news from Britain” and in the book Understanding Urban Uprisings, Protests and Movements as part of Dr Tom Slater’s paper “The Neoliberal State and the 2011 English Riots: A Class Analysis”.
If Pounds were Pixels was created in response to news that Royal Bank of Scotland boss Stephen Hester had accepted a bonus of £963,000 on top of his annual salary of £1.2 million. Hester’s acceptance of the bonus was highly controversial, RBS being 80% owned by the UK taxpayer after it was bailed out by the government during the 2008 financial crisis — a crisis which many see as being caused by irresponsible banking practices.
If Pounds were Pixels represents Hester’s annual income as 2.2 million pixels, comparing it in the style of Jan Pen’s ‘income parade’ with other taxpayer-employed British workers. It was first published on BoingBoing.net and thereafter spread through the Twittersphere. Subsequent to pressure from the public and the government, Stephen Hester eventually declined his 2011 bonus.
This infographic shows that a simple idea can carry a message a long way.