How inequality harms societies

Yesterday I put up this video about inequality and how contrary to what we hear about those at the top creating all the wealth, it’s actually consumers like you and me that drive economic activity when we spend. Today I came across another video on inequality (h/t Mike Norman Economics) and thought I would share it here.

This vid is of another TED talk this time given by British social researcher Richard Wilkinson in 2011. Wilkinson co-authored a book called The Spirit Level in 2009 on how more equal societies achieve better social outcomes than less equal ones, and this video presents that thesis in 15 minutes.

Wilkinson presents a number of charts showing what the data tells us about inequality. This one struck me as the most clear demonstration of the correlation between inequality and social outcomes. It plots income inequality against an index of indicators of social wellbeing for a number of countries:

Inequality

 

Inequality is a theme I hope to return to soon. It is one of the most important issues facing many Western nations and on a day when George Osborne flew to Zurich to lobby against restricting banker’s bonuses, while at home further questions about the impact of the Government’s bedroom tax on the poorest in our society were raised, it seems reasonable to question our politician’s commitment to taking the issue of inequality seriously.

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