Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Wilkinson and Pickett- The Spirit Level

For thousands of years we equalled progress with increasing material living standards (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.5). Yet in the developed countries we reached levels where increased income and wealth do not lead to increased happiness or even life expectancy (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.6).

“that among them (developed countries) can be almost twice as rich as otherswithout any benefit to lifeexpectancy. Yet within any of them death rates are closely and systematically related to income” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.12).

The conclusion can only be, that it is not average income that determines happiness, but income differences and how you compare with other people (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.12).

“Growth is a substitute for equalit of income. So long as there is growth there is hope, and that makes large income differentials tolerable. But this relation holds both ways round.” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.226).

Almost ll problems we associate with poverty are more common in unequal societies: level of trust, mental illness, mortality, obesity, children’s educational performance, homicides, social mobility (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.19). And the best solution to tackle these problems is decreasing societies income differences (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.37).

The data also show that “living in a more equal place benefited everybody, not just the poor” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.84).

Causing all these problems, saving money on the welfare state not only safes money but causes very high costs to deal with these problems (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.246).

One great source of inequality are companies, where democracy doesn’t hold but hierarchy reigns (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.253). One solution is democratic employee ownership (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.254). “The truth is that modern inequality exists because democracy is excluded from the economic sphere.” (Wilkinson and Pickett, 2010, p.264).

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