The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone

Written by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, this book (first published in 2009) highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”.

It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health (our emphasis), drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.

The publishers say:

“Why do we mistrust people more in the UK than in Japan? Why do Americans have higher rates of teenage pregnancy than the French? What makes the Swedish thinner than the Australians? The answer: inequality.

This ground-breaking book, based on years of research, provides hard evidence to show:

  • How almost everything – from life expectancy to mental illness, violence to illiteracy – is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is.
  • That societies with a bigger gap between rich and poor are bad for everyone in them – including the well-off.
  • How we can find positive solutions and move towards a happier, fairer future.

Urgent, provocative and genuinely uplifting, The Spirit Level has been heralded as providing a new way of thinking about ourselves and our communities, and could change the way you see the world …”

Read more here.

A collection of Powerpoint slides regarding The Spirit Level can be downloaded from here.

The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone
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