Richard Wilkinson on Inequality

Richard WilkinsonHere is a great video about income inequality that you really must watch. I’ll have more to say about it tomorrow and on into the future. This is because I’m getting less and less interested in the news of the day and more and more interested in talking about those few things that really matter to me in terms of politics. I even have a few ideas of how some of these problems can be addressed. Of course, the number one issue that will stop us from solving any problems is if the poorer classes continue to vote so infrequently. But apart from that the most important issue is income inequality.

This video is from a TED Talk, which is interesting because in general, the TED folk don’t like to talk about things that make rich people uncomfortable. This talk is by Richard G Wilkinson. The only thing I have to add to what he has to say is just that you should notice that no matter what he talks about the United States is always the worst. According to conservatives, this is the best country in the world. What they mean is that this is the best country in the world if you are rich. And I don’t doubt that for a minute. But I’m not rich. And if you’re reading this, you’re not rich. So this is not the best country in the world. In the most important ways, this is the worst country of the advanced world. That’s something to think about very carefully, especially if you are a liberal. How did we allow this?

H/T: Kathleen Geier

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

0 thoughts on “Richard Wilkinson on Inequality

  1. How DARE you assume people who read this blog aren’t rich? I’m ROLLING in bling. Cash cash money money, bitch!

    You might check out the book Wilkinson wrote with Kate Pickett, "The Spirit Level." They go into more of this stuff in detail. When I read it, one bit stuck out, and I mentioned it to friends. (Wilkinson touches on it here, but you can tell he’s nervous, and looking at the clock.) Inequality doesn’t just harm the poor. It harms the rich. Rich people in unequal societies are less likely to describe themselves in surveys as "happy" than rich people in better-run countries.

    I didn’t get it. Why wouldn’t it be fun to rule over the plebes? My friends all identified the reason immediately. In vastly unequal societies, you’ve got farther to fall if things go wrong. You could be laid off if the earnings go sour. You could just get sick of your job, or a superior could have it in for you. And your job is all that’s keeping you from disaster. Lose your job in Finland, that bites, but it doesn’t upend your life. Lose your financial services job in America, you are in deep, deep trouble.

    My friends are more compassionate towards rich people than I am. Other rich people, I mean; I’m fucking Thurston Howell the 3rd, and don’t you forget it!

  2. @JMF – Yes, I discussed this later, but forgot to include the video. I disagree with you and your friends about why the rich in unequal economies are less happy. Inequality only gets worse the richer you are. So people who I think of as rich rub elbows with people I think of as unimaginably rich. Mitt Romney, for example, doesn’t even have a billion dollars. But he knows lots of people who [i]do[/i] have billions. As a result, he doesn’t feel rich. In an unequal economy, there are huge numbers of rich people who find themselves wanting compared to the super rich. I’m sure that the 10 richest people in Denmark are roughly as happy as the 10 richest people in the US. It is when you’re talking the 10,000 richest that you see the sadness come in. Can you feel my compassion come out of the screen?!

    I’m with you. I hope the rich all have fatal heart attacks. I would risk my life to save a rat before I would a rich person. But to be fair, I’m very fond of rats.

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