The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone
Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Greeks? The answer: inequality.
This groundbreaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show:
- How almost everything - from life expectancy to depression levels, violence to illitera...more
One study concluded that ‘income inequality exerts a comparable effect across all population subgroups’, whether people are classified by education, race or income – so much so that the authors suggested that inequality acted like a pollutant spread throughout society. Chapter 13
’Tis very certain that each man carries in his eye the exact indication of his rank in the immense scale of men, and we are always learning to read it. Emerson (Chapter 3)
for books which come to similar conclusions see b ...more
This refreshingly well-written book, based on scientific research, makes the case for a more equal world to benefit all social strata in our modern, developed democracies. Looking at the social issues that modern societies struggle with, the authors show in comprehensiv ...more
As political polemic of course it has sunk with barely a ripple. The brief controversy showed that the problem with any evidence based approach is that on the whole we prefe ...more
I have now read a detailed blog listing many arguments against this book, and whilst I still think The Spirit Level is a provocative and interesting read, I think it is best read in conjunction with the blog...
(or see my comment, message 25 below, for a short description of the blog).
This book is about statistics, so it is going to be very hard for me to convey the excitement of reading it. It IS exciting though, and figure by fig ...more
Most interesting aspect that sticks in my mind, the concept of status and status-seeking. Beyond a certain point of consumerism, get ...more
a) I'm working on my own book called
BEING NICE IS GOOD : Why It Took Me 450 Closely Reasoned Pages to Say Something Bleeding Obvious - And What You Can Do To Stop Me Doing It Again
b) there will be a whole lot of Sweden in this book, which as you all know will cause a very bad reaction ...more
Secondly, let me state plainly that I firmly believe that increased equality is advantageous to society in many, many ways. I think that an increase ...more
First of all this book is fabulous. If you are a massive factoid type who loves seeing another way to look at adjoining facts this will be pure pleasure for you. (Please excuse the ridiculousness of some of the graphs that have been dumbed down however).
My only one wish for this ...more
How does it hold up after ten years? Well, we've learned what a forest (or garden) of empirical detail sadly often means: data dredging, cherry-picking, p-hacking and so on.
Here's a meta-analysis contradicting the health thesis, from 2004.
Here's the excellent anal ...more
Because "equality" covers it all. Unlike communism, socialism, feminism, civil rights, or human rights, "equality" demands the same result for everyone, while appealing to our modern, individualist obsessions with happiness and egoism. I don't know how many cynics will be converted by this book, but I'm convinced it's our best bet. ...more
Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have put the question of inequality under the spotlight in their fine study, "The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone". The focus of their efforts is on the richer nations, essentially those that are in the OECD. They make a strong case for the correlation between the amount of inequality in a country, and the incidence of a number of social problems ranging from teenage pregnancies and drug use, to life expectancy, dep ...more
1) Improving life in countries where national income per person is greater than $10 - $20K will not come from an increase in income. Which leads to this page 11 excerpt: "We are the first generation to have to find new answers to the question of how we can make further improvements to the real quality of human life. What should we turn to if not economic growth?"
2) The book's answer to its own question ...more
First, the bad. The book is filled with graphs on which one or BOTH axes are labeled low to high, with no numbers. They don't get around to addressing the differences between correlation and causality until two-thirds of the way through the book. They don't include much in the way of policy suggestions or concrete ways to addr ...more
5 stars for the idea, but it’s inevitable that a book like this doesn’t make for the most exciting read and is by its very nature quite repetitive. Lots of graphs (which I appreciated) and a hell of a lot of examples, but each chapter - unsurprisingly - has the same message. This isn’t a criticism per se, just an advisory that this is best read over a longer period, perhaps a chapter at a time.
It’s clear that a hell of a lot of research has gone into this and I just hope it falls ...more
1. The end of an Era
- mainstream politics has moved from considerations of the quality of society
- most citizens are concentrating on improving their own position within society
2. Poverty or Inequality
- ratio between richest 20% and poorest 20% varies from around 4 in Japan and Scandanavia to 7 for the UK and 8 for the US - Canada is almost 6
- health and social problems are closely related to inequality in rich countries
- "where income differences are big ...more
The book doesn’t begin as a total nightmare for those of right-wing persuasion howe ...more
The evidence for their findings are outli ...more
I can't rate th ...more
In „The Spirit Level“, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett discuss the new evidence that strongly points at inequality as determining factor for most of the social and health problems present in contemporary societies.
Before this ...more
The Spirit Level is an engaging and easy to read non-fiction book that explores the correlation between inequality and multiple social ills plaguing today's modern societies. Kate and Richard use simple to read graphs and lead the reader through a variety of potential analysis before explaining why they have interpreted the data their way. They also provide several potential solutions to the in ...more
He is best known for his 2009 book (with Kate Pickett) The Spirit Level, in which ...more