The Spirit Level

A few years ago I remember reading an article which said that the countries with the best overall quality of health were those with the least income gap between the richest and the poorest.

Will Hutton this week writes in The Observer about a new book called The Spirit Level. This has a similar theme, that more unequal societies are more dysfunctional across the board.  Our instinct is to be collaborative, but where there are big income gaps the rich no longer fear the censure of the poor, and the poor no longer feel able to bridge the wealth gap through their own efforts. This results in a ruder and more violent society.

The comments on the web under Will's article do not dispute the statistics, but some comment that statistics cannot show causation. So these things may be true, but does one cause the other, or are they both caused by something else?

It's a good question, but it seems to me obvious that where there are big differences of wealth it indicates that the rich care less about the poor and so the outcomes he cites are likely.

Original article here.

Source: The Week, 21st March 2009.