The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

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The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger

Format:  Paperback,

374 pages

Edition: Revised, Update

Publisher: St Martins Pr

Publish Date: Apr 2011

ISBN-13: 9781608193417

ISBN-10: 1608193411

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Book Information

The following content was provided by the publisher.

It is a well-established fact that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. "The Spirit Level," based on thirty years of research, takes this truth a step further. One common factor links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Further, more unequal societies are bad for everyone within them-the rich and middle class as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in "The Spirit Level" exposes stark differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem-poor health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness-is more likely to occur in a less-equal society.

Renowned researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett lay bare the contradictions between material success and social failure in the developed world. But they do not merely tell us what's wrong. They offer a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society.

Specifications

Publisher: St Martins Pr
Publish Date: Apr 2011
ISBN-13: 9781608193417
ISBN-10: 1608193411
Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 374
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 0.8
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 5.5 x 8.25 x 1.0
Walmart No.: 9781608193417

Chapter outline

Foreword
Preface
Acknowledgements
Note on Graphs
Material Success, Social Failure
The end of an era
Poverty or inequality?
How inequality gets under the skin
The Costs of Inequality
Community life and social relations
Mental health and drug use
Physical health and life expectancy
Obesity: wider income gaps, wider waists
Educational performance
Teenage births: recycling deprivation
Violence: gaining respect
Imprisonment and punishment
Social mobility: unequal opportunities
ABetter Society
Dysfunctional societies
Our social inheritance
Equality and sustainability
Building the future
Postscript - Research Meets Politics
The Equality Trust
Appendix
Sources of Data for the Indices of Health and Social Problems
Statistics
References
Index

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2009-12-01)

Popular wisdom would tell us that poverty is the breeding ground for many of society's ills. But British academics Wilkinson (emeritus, Univ. of Nottingham Medical Sch.) and Pickett (senior lecturer, Univ. of York) argue otherwise. They've woven together a great deal of international research to show that inequality, not poverty per se, is what contributes most to social problems. The authors not only compare data from a range of countries but also gather data from all 50 states to verify that relationships that exist on a national level also exist on a more local scale.

The first element examined is trust as a measure of community life and social relations. Once it is established that people in unequal societies don't trust one another, the stage is set to examine a host of other dystopia problems from mental health to teenage births to social mobility.

Verdict: In this fascinating sociological study, the authors do an excellent job of presenting the research, analyzing nuances, and offering policy suggestions for creating more equal and sustainable societies. For all readers, specialized or not, with an interest in understanding the dynamics today between economic and social conditions.

-Carol J. Elsen, Univ. of Wisconsin-Whitewater Lib.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

It is a well-established fact that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem. The Spirit Level, based on thirty years of research, takes this truth a step further. One common factor links the healthiest and happiest societies: the degree of equality among their members. Further, more unequal societies are bad for everyone within them-the rich and middle class as well as the poor.

The remarkable data assembled in The Spirit Level exposes stark differences, not only among the nations of the first world but even within America's fifty states. Almost every modern social problem-poor health, violence, lack of community life, teen pregnancy, mental illness-is more likely to occur in a less-equal society.

Renowned researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett lay bare the contradictions between material success and social failure in the developed world. But they do not merely tell us what's wrong. They offer a way toward a new political outlook, shifting from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more sustainable society.

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