Thursday, June 17, 2010

Equality is better for everyone

Tapu Misa recently noted: Inequality, as epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue in their 2009 book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, hurts us all. As well as links to higher crime, ill-health, shorter life expectancy and a range of social pathologies, inequality drives a wedge between people, corroding trust and raising levels of anxiety. Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised then that an annual Massey University survey has found we've become more tolerant of income inequality, even as we've become more unequal.

An Amazon reviewer points out: Within the 400+ pages of this book, [Wilkinson and Pickett] emphasize that it is not the poor and the deprived in isolation who suffer from the effects of inequality, but also the bulk of that nation's population. According to their findings. incidences of mental illness, for example, are 500% higher across the whole population spectrum in the most unequal societies than they in the most 'equal' ones. [My italics]

Misa also notes:

In his 2009 book Justice, the Harvard professor of philosophy Michael Sandel writes that while politicians have largely ignored inequality, philosophers have been debating the just distribution of income and wealth since the 1970s.

He argues an important reason to worry about the growing inequality of American life is that "too great a gap between rich and poor undermines the solidarity that democratic citizenship requires".

This blog has recently produced its 700th post. Wow.

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