Is there a way out of the social and environmental problems which beset us, a new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone?
Almost every problem – ill-health, lack of community life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness, long working hours, big prison populations – is more likely to occur in a less equal society.
It is common knowledge that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem, but it’s less well known that unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them – the well-off as well as the poor.
The assumption is greater equality helps those at the bottom. However, the truth is that the vast majority of the population is harmed by greater inequality; rates of mental illness are five times higher; people are five times as likely to be clinically obese, and murder rates may be many times higher. The more unequal the society, the more people feel threatened, both rich and poor.
Inequality is bad for everyone, including the richest.