Where in the developed world do people live the longest? Where do people born at the bottom of the economic ladder have the best shot at climbing up? In which nations do children do best in school? Which countries send the most people to prison; have the teenage pregnancies and suffer the most homicides? The answers matter, and are indicative of a society’s overall health and the quality of life for its citizens. That is the contention of eminent British epidemiologists Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.
The nations that do the best, on yardstick after yardstick, all turn out to share one basic trait: They all have less income and wealth inequality than their peer nations. The United States, the most unequal nation in Wilkinson and Pickett’s book, ranks at or near the bottom of every indicator studied. They applied the same methodology to a study of each of the 50 states in US and again find that social well-being is higher in states with less income and wealth inequality.
The consequences of this work are far-reaching. Can inequality, customarily viewed through the lens of taking away from the haves to give to the have-nots, actually be the problem policymakers address in improving America’s health, social and economic outcomes? Join us the morning after the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, as Wilkinson and Pickett are joined by Barbara Ehrenreich and Harry Holzer to discuss this important new work.
This event is cosponsored by the Economic Policy Institute, the Institute for America’s Future, and the Institute for Policy Studies. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. Coffee and snacks will be provided. RSVP here.