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The Spirit Level Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger



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Bloomsbury Press
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This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within themthe well-offandthe poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problemill health, lack of community life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness, long working hours, big prison populationsis more likely to occur in a less equal society. The book goes to the heart of the apparent contrast between material success and social failure in many modern national societies. The Spirit Leveldoes not simply provide a diagnosis of our ills, but provides invaluable instruction in shifting the balance from self-interested consumerism to a friendlier, more collaborative society. It shows a way out of the social and environmental problems which beset us, and opens up a major new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone.

Author Biography

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 professor of epidemiology at the University of York and a National Institute for Health Research career scientist.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgementsp. xvii
Note on Graphsp. xix
Material Success, Social Failure
The end of an erap. 3
Poverty or inequality?p. 15
How inequality gets under the skinp. 31
The Costs of Inequality
Community life and social relationsp. 49
Mental health and drug usep. 63
Physical health and life expectancyp. 73
Obesity: wider income gaps, wider waistsp. 89
Educational performancep. 103
Teenage births: recycling deprivationp. 119
Violence: gaining respectp. 129
Imprisonment and punishmentp. 145
Social mobility: unequal opportunitiesp. 157
A Better Society
Dysfunctional societiesp. 173
Our social inheritancep. 197
Equality and sustainabilityp. 217
Building the futurep. 235
Postscript - Research Meets Politicsp. 273
The Equality Trustp. 299
Appendixp. 301
Sources of Data for the Indices of Health and Social Problemsp. 306
Statisticsp. 310
Referencesp. 312
Indexp. 343
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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