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The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

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The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger Cover

ISBN13: 9781608190362
ISBN10: 1608190366
Condition: Student Owned
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The eye-opening and headline-generating UK bestseller that shows how one single factor--the gap between its richest and poorest members--can determine the health and well-being of a society.

This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking...In half a page The Spirit Level] tells you more about the pain of inequality than any play or novel could.--Sunday Times (UK )

It is well established that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them--the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem--ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness--is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in today's world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top. Richard Wilkinson has played a formative role in international research on inequality, and his work has been published in ten languages. He is professor emeritus at the University of Nottingham Medical School. Kate Pickett is a senior lecturer at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist. They live in North Yorkshire, England.

It has been established that in rich societies, the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them--the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem--ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness--is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in today's world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top. This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking . . . It] charts the level of health and social problems--as many as they could find reliable figures for--against the level of income inequality in 20 of the world's richest nations, and in each of the 50 United States. They allocate a brief chapter to each problem, supplying graphs that display the evidence starkly and unarguably. What they find is that, in states and countries where there is a big gap between the incomes of rich and poor, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity and teenage pregnancy are more common, the homicide rate is higher, life expectancy is shorter, and children's educational performance and literacy scores are worse . . . Wilkinson and Pickett] emphasise that it is not only the poor who suffer from the effects of inequality, but the majority of the population. For example, rates of mental illness are five times higher across the whole population in the most unequal than in the least unequal societies in their survey. One explanation, they suggest, is that inequality increases stress right across society, not just among the least advantaged. Much research has been done on the stress hormone cortisol, which can be measured in saliva or blood, and it emerges that chronic stress affects the neural system and in turn the immune system. When stressed, we are more prone to depression and anxiety, and more likely to develop a host of bodily ills including heart disease, obesity, drug addiction, liability to infection and rapid ageing . . . The different social problems that stem from income inequality often, Wilkinson and Pickett show, form circuits or spirals. Babies born to teenage mothers are at greater risk, as they grow up, of educational failure, juvenile crime, and becoming teenage parents themselves. In societies with greater income inequality, more people are sent to prison, and less is spent on education and welfare . . . The authors' method is objective and scientific, so that the human distress behind their statistics mostly remains hidden. But when they quote from interviews conducted by social researchers, passion and resentment flood into their book . . . The Spirit Level turns personal intuitions into publicly demonstrable facts.--The Sunday Times (UK )

An intellectual flagship of post-crisis compassion, this reader-friendly fusion of number-crunching and moral uplift has helped steer a debate about the route to a kinder, fairer nation. To the authors, 'more equal societies almost always do better' for all. Flatter incomes, stronger communities and a more level playing-field of life-chances help every citizen, rich and poor alike, since our species 'enjoys co-operation and trust'. As Wilkinson and Pickett roll out graph after graph to prove that the ultra-competitive Anglo-sphere wallows in misery and crime while Scandinavia and Japan enjoy egalitarian bliss, some sceptics might worry about an overload of tendentious statistics. Purely as an ethical manifesto, the book hits far harder. Yet in Britain it still seems as hard as ever for politicians to stand up to 'the tiny minority of the rich'.--Boyd Tonkin, The Independent (UK)

The evidence, here painstakingly marshaled, is hard to dispute.--The Economist (UK)

The argument is a powerful counter to any simple equation of social progress and the advance of GDP.--Financial Times (UK)

Compelling and shocking. All free marketeers should be made to memorise it from cover to cover . . . Wilkinson and Pickett], both medical epidemiologists--have published strong evidence to prove that in unequal societies everyone suffers--even those who think they have it made for generations to come. They looked at 20 of the richest nations and compared various social and health problems, measuring those against an index of equality. The US, Portugal (feudal in the near past) and the UK are the most unequal nations, with the top 20 per cent earning nine times more than the bottom 20 per cent. Japan, Finland, Norway and Sweden are where the money gap is smallest. Teenage pregnancies, mental illness, life expectancy, obesity, illiteracy, homicide, and] crime are all worse in the states of greater inequality and not only for the poorest but for all citizens and residents. Spain is more equal than its neighbour, Portugal and you can see how vastly different are the social ills in the two countries. There is even evidence that in unequal societies, the people have higher levels of stress hormones . . . The US spends more on healthcare than anywhere in the world but a baby in Greece has a higher life expectancy than a baby in the planet's richest nation. The prison population in Britain has doubled since 1990 and quadrupled in the States since the 1970s. Trust and cohesion are abysmally low in these states. The sense of injustice on the one hand and paranoia on the other makes social ease impossible . . . The poor were kept wretched as they were during the Industrial Revolution and the days of Imperial glory. Inequality was a price happily paid for these capitalist adventures and class, like caste, became absolute destiny.--Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, The Independent (UK)

Wilkinson and Pickett make the general point that inequality, which they define as vast differences in income between the rich and the poor within the same society, is the cause of just about every social problem from infant mortality rate to personal happiness. Readers with scant knowledge of issues like stratification, poverty, or health disparities will find the discussions of correlations between such variables as pregnancy to be enlightening . . . Recommended for] general readers, or for graduate student

Review:

"Wilkinson and Pickett make an eloquent case that the income gap between a nation's richest and poorest is the most powerful indicator of a functioning and healthy society. Amid the statistics that support their argument (increasing income disparity sees corresponding spikes in homicide, obesity, drug use, mental illness, anxiety, teenage pregnancies, high school dropouts — even incidents of playground bullying), the authors take an empathetic view of our ability to see beyond self-interest. While there are shades of Darwinism in the human hunt for status, there is evidence that the human brain — with its distinctively large neocortex — evolved the way it has because we were designed to be attentive to, depend on, and be depended on by others. Wilkinson and Pickett do not advocate one way or the other to close the equality gap. Government redistribution of wealth and market forces that create wealth can be equally effective, and the authors provide examples of both. How societies achieve equality, they argue, is less important than achieving it in the first place. Felicitous prose and fascinating findings make this essential reading." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The eye-opening and headline-generating UK bestseller that shows how one single factor--the gap between its richest and poorest members--can determine the health and well-being of a society.

This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking...In half a page The Spirit Level] tells you more about the pain of inequality than any play or novel could.--Sunday Times (UK )

It is well established that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them--the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem--ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness--is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in today's world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top. Richard Wilkinson has played a formative role in international research on inequality, and his work has been published in ten languages. He is professor emeritus at the University of Nottingham Medical School. Kate Pickett is a senior lecturer at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist. They live in North Yorkshire, England.

It has been established that in rich societies, the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them--the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem--ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness--is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in today's world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top. This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking . . . It] charts the level of health and social problems--as many as they could find reliable figures for--against the level of income inequality in 20 of the world's richest nations, and in each of the 50 United States. They allocate a brief chapter to each problem, supplying graphs that display the evidence starkly and unarguably. What they find is that, in states and countries where there is a big gap between the incomes of rich and poor, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity and teenage pregnancy are more common, the homicide rate is higher, life expectancy is shorter, and children's educational performance and literacy scores are worse . . . Wilkinson and Pickett] emphasise that it is not only the poor who suffer from the effects of inequality, but the majority of the population. For example, rates of mental illness are five times higher across the whole population in the most unequal than in the least unequal societies in their survey. One explanation, they suggest, is that inequality increases stress right across society, not just among the least advantaged. Much research has been done on the stress hormone cortisol, which can be measured in saliva or blood, and it emerges that chronic stress affects the neural system and in turn the immune system. When stressed, we are more prone to depression and anxiety, and more likely to develop a host of bodily ills including heart disease, obesity, drug addiction, liability to infection and rapid ageing . . . The different social problems that stem from income inequality often, Wilkinson and Pickett show, form circuits or spirals. Babies born to teenage mothers are at greater risk, as they grow up, o

Synopsis:

The eye-opening and headline-generating UK bestseller that shows how one single factor—the gap between its richest and poorest members—can determine the health and well-being of a society.

“This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking…In half a page [The Spirit Level] tells you more about the pain of inequality than any play or novel could.”

—Sunday Times (UK )

It is well established that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them—the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within Americas fifty states. Almost every modern social problem—ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness—is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in todays world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top.

About the Author

Richard Wilkinson has played a formative role in international research on inequality, and his work has been published in ten languages. He is professor emeritus at the University of Nottingham Medical School.
 
Kate Pickett is a senior lecturer at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist. They live in North Yorkshire, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jim Lutz, January 1, 2011 (view all comments by Jim Lutz)
We all intuitively know a more egalitarian society is better for everyone. This book lays out the hard evidence for that intuition, from a public health perspective.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781608190362
Subtitle:
Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger
Author:
Wilkinson, Richard
Foreword by:
Reich, Robert B.
Foreword:
Reich, Robert B.
Author:
Wilkinson, Richard
Author:
Pickett, Kate
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Press
Subject:
Economics - General
Subject:
General
Subject:
Economic Conditions
Subject:
Social Policy
Subject:
Equality
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
General Social Science
Subject:
Featured Titles-History and Social Science
Subject:
Political Economy
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20091222
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
BandW Illustrations throughout
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.13 in

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » History and Social Science
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Social Classes

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger Used Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781608190362 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Wilkinson and Pickett make an eloquent case that the income gap between a nation's richest and poorest is the most powerful indicator of a functioning and healthy society. Amid the statistics that support their argument (increasing income disparity sees corresponding spikes in homicide, obesity, drug use, mental illness, anxiety, teenage pregnancies, high school dropouts — even incidents of playground bullying), the authors take an empathetic view of our ability to see beyond self-interest. While there are shades of Darwinism in the human hunt for status, there is evidence that the human brain — with its distinctively large neocortex — evolved the way it has because we were designed to be attentive to, depend on, and be depended on by others. Wilkinson and Pickett do not advocate one way or the other to close the equality gap. Government redistribution of wealth and market forces that create wealth can be equally effective, and the authors provide examples of both. How societies achieve equality, they argue, is less important than achieving it in the first place. Felicitous prose and fascinating findings make this essential reading." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The eye-opening and headline-generating UK bestseller that shows how one single factor--the gap between its richest and poorest members--can determine the health and well-being of a society.

This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking...In half a page The Spirit Level] tells you more about the pain of inequality than any play or novel could.--Sunday Times (UK )

It is well established that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them--the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem--ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness--is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in today's world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top. Richard Wilkinson has played a formative role in international research on inequality, and his work has been published in ten languages. He is professor emeritus at the University of Nottingham Medical School. Kate Pickett is a senior lecturer at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research Career Scientist. They live in North Yorkshire, England.

It has been established that in rich societies, the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them--the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem--ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness--is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in today's world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top. This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking . . . It] charts the level of health and social problems--as many as they could find reliable figures for--against the level of income inequality in 20 of the world's richest nations, and in each of the 50 United States. They allocate a brief chapter to each problem, supplying graphs that display the evidence starkly and unarguably. What they find is that, in states and countries where there is a big gap between the incomes of rich and poor, mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity and teenage pregnancy are more common, the homicide rate is higher, life expectancy is shorter, and children's educational performance and literacy scores are worse . . . Wilkinson and Pickett] emphasise that it is not only the poor who suffer from the effects of inequality, but the majority of the population. For example, rates of mental illness are five times higher across the whole population in the most unequal than in the least unequal societies in their survey. One explanation, they suggest, is that inequality increases stress right across society, not just among the least advantaged. Much research has been done on the stress hormone cortisol, which can be measured in saliva or blood, and it emerges that chronic stress affects the neural system and in turn the immune system. When stressed, we are more prone to depression and anxiety, and more likely to develop a host of bodily ills including heart disease, obesity, drug addiction, liability to infection and rapid ageing . . . The different social problems that stem from income inequality often, Wilkinson and Pickett show, form circuits or spirals. Babies born to teenage mothers are at greater risk, as they grow up, o

"Synopsis" by ,
The eye-opening and headline-generating UK bestseller that shows how one single factor—the gap between its richest and poorest members—can determine the health and well-being of a society.

“This is a book with a big idea, big enough to change political thinking…In half a page [The Spirit Level] tells you more about the pain of inequality than any play or novel could.”

—Sunday Times (UK )

It is well established that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. Now a groundbreaking book, based on thirty years research, takes an important step past this idea. The Spirit Level shows that there is one common factor that links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Not wealth; not resources; not culture, climate, diet, or system of government. Furthermore, more-unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them—the well-off as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level reveals striking differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within Americas fifty states. Almost every modern social problem—ill-health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness—is more likely to occur in a less-equal society. This is why America, by most measures the richest country on earth, has per capita shorter average lifespan, more cases of mental illness, more obesity, and more of its citizens in prison than any other developed nation.

Wilkinson and Pickett lay bare the contradiction between material success and social failure in todays world, but they do not simply provide a diagnosis of our woes. They offer readers a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society. The Spirit Level is pioneering in its research, powerful in its revelations, and inspiring in its conclusion: Armed with this new understanding of why communities prosper, we have the tools to revitalize our politics and help all our fellow citizens, from the bottom of the ladder to the top.

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