On the Bus: What One City Can Teach Us About School Desegregation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 22/09/2018 - 12:16am in

In 1977—please don’t do the math!—I climbed aboard a school bus headed for a newly integrated school, part of an ambitious and court-ordered school desegregation experiment in Springfield, Illinois. In the latest episode, I explore what did and didn’t happen in Springfield, and why our vision of what’s possible today seems so much smaller than it did four decades ago. Complete transcript available here

And in our special extended play version, available to our Patreon subscribers, we talk about why doing something about segregation will require re-thinking rigid metrics of school quality. To get access to extended episodes, reading lists and more, just click on this little button!

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Book Review: Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship: Deprivation and Affluence in Austerity Britain by Daniel Edmiston

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 17/09/2018 - 8:54pm in

In Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship: Deprivation and Affluence in Austerity Britain, Daniel Edmiston offers insight into how austerity and inequality impact upon citizen identities, showing that low-income individuals are excluded from dominant narratives of citizenship. Heather Mew recommends this structural account for evidencing how austerity in the UK is intensifying the gulf between social and welfare rights available to low- and high-income citizens. 

Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship: Deprivation and Affluence in Austerity Britain. Daniel Edmiston. Policy Press. 2018.

Find this book: amazon-logo

Daniel Edmiston’s Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship provides much-needed insight into how both low- and high-income individuals navigate citizen identities. Edmiston’s research conclusions draw upon interviews conducted with ‘deprived’ and ‘affluent’ participants in Leeds between 2011 and 2015, combined with secondary analysis of British Social Attitudes survey results. He uses this data alongside T.H. Marshall’s definition of citizenship as ‘the right to a modicum of economic welfare and security’ and ‘the right to live the life of a civilised being according to the standards prevailing in society’ (1950: 10-11), to convincingly demonstrate how low-income individuals are excluded from the dominant narrative of citizenship and therefore are less able to exercise their citizen rights. That Edmiston also focuses on the top twenty per cent of earners is welcome, and his book highlights how issues of poverty and inequality cannot be resolved if we continue to ignore who benefits from their existence.

In Chapter Two, Edmiston identifies two types of citizen: the validated active citizen and the residual contingent citizen. Validated active citizens are affluent individuals involved in socially- and economically-valued paid employment, and their citizen identity and sense of belonging are validated by the state. Despite being in the top twenty percent of UK earners, they receive an average cash benefit of £2643 per year from social security benefits. However, Edmiston highlights that, in spite of this, validated active citizens do not view themselves as being in receipt of social security or benefitting from the welfare state. In contrast, residual contingent citizens, who are often unemployed or undertaking unpaid socially reproductive work, are viewed as being dependent on the welfare state, despite seeing their cash benefits fall from 61.2 per cent of their income in 1977 to 51.6 per cent in 2016. Edmiston argues that the dominant political and social paradigm of linking citizenship entitlements to full-time paid employment ‘invalidate[s] a sense of belonging or legitimacy’ (40) for residual contingent citizens. Furthermore, he highlights how the increasing precarity of low-paid work as a result of austerity has made it harder for these individuals to ‘earn’ full citizenship.

Image Credit: Ged Carroll (CC BY 2.0)

The discussion in Chapter Four is particularly interesting, where Edmiston argues that the material position of affluent individuals makes them less aware of the ‘systematic features shaping socioeconomic life’ (69). As a result, he claims that affluent participants displayed a ‘relatively weak sociological imagination’ compared to their poor counterparts; or, rather, they demonstrated an inability to connect personal and individual issues with wider society and structures. This is important because if political solutions to poverty and inequality are largely determined by the rich (reflected in the demographics of MPs and poor voter turnout amongst low-income individuals), then policies will fail to address the structural causes of these issues. Edmiston also suggests that a failure to address inequality is perhaps intentional and ideological as liberal conceptions of citizenship encourage a certain degree of inequality to promote competition and market growth. As a result of these two important factors, I am inclined to agree with his concluding statement that the input of affluent individuals ‘hinders rather than assists effective policy development’ (156) in the area of poverty and inequality.

In Chapter Seven, Edmiston asks how the structures underpinning austerity and inequality can be reformulated in a way that does not favour the worldview of, and actively benefit, the rich. In response to this, he offers a ‘range of measures that could help to increase awareness of structured inequalities and galvanise public commitment to tackling its deleterious causes and effects’ (158). One suggestion is increased non-partisan education about the structural causes of poverty and inequality as key to changing public attitudes, with a focus on the unequal inheritance of wealth and accumulated capital of those at the top. By turning the spotlight on the ‘winners’ of austerity and inequality, Edmiston suggests that it is not the responsibility of low-income people to simply earn more, but rather for wealth to be (re)distributed more equally.

Edmiston also highlights that, despite research suggesting greater support for policies targeting poverty and inequality among low-income individuals, they are less likely to vote in general elections. This biases policy decisions towards the worldview of the rich, with Edmiston arguing that ‘inequality in representation breeds inequality in life chances and outcomes of those already marginalised’ (166). However, I question the impact that simply increasing low-income voter turnout could have on poverty and inequality: if affluent individuals lack the sociological imagination to link poverty to wider structural issues, and a basic salary of £77,000 automatically places all MPs in the top five per cent of UK earners, I am sceptical of their ability to effectively address the systematic causes of poverty and inequality, even if given a more representative mandate.  For me, this problem requires a more radical rethink of the political structures in the UK, and a potential avenue for future research could be an exploration of what a political system designed to work for all citizens would look like.

In the concluding chapter, Edmiston makes a note for academics to ensure that their research reaches those who ‘matter’, including ‘those who are currently marginalised or disengaged from public and political debate’ (178), and highlights the importance of using language which ‘resonates across the polity’ (179).  For me, this is an important point for all academics to consider as I question the usefulness of research if it doesn’t speak to those who are being written about. It is a shame, then, that at times Edmiston’s use of jargonistic language made Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship a difficult read and distracts from important points being made. The frequency with which I had to pause reading to find the definition of a word not only interrupted the flow of the book, but also detracted from what is otherwise a novel and much-needed piece of research.

Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship adds a vital contribution to literature surrounding austerity and inequality in the UK, and Edmiston’s focus on the top twenty per cent of earners effectively makes the point that poverty cannot be solved by focusing on those at the ‘bottom’ alone. His imperative for increased education about the unearned wealth of those at the top, alongside an advocation for redistributive policies in response to poverty and inequality, makes for a politically charged read, and I fail to see how any reader would not feel angry at the idea that ‘social rights are increasingly secured and allocated according to the existing distribution of capital’ (171). Alongside the focus on the affluent, Edmiston also aims to ensure that ‘the voices of citizens previously absent or overlooked are heard and accounted for’ (175) within citizenship discourse, and his liberal use of participant interview quotes certainly meets this aim. I would recommend Welfare, Inequality and Social Citizenship for anyone who is interested in a structural account of how UK austerity is intensifying the differentiated social and welfare rights available to low- and high-income citizens.

Heather Mew is a PhD student in geography and sociology at Newcastle University. She is interested in how concepts of class and place influence resistance to austerity, and in participatory and collaborative methods. Read more by Heather Mew.

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics. 



Will Hutton on Labour’s lost opportunity

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 10/09/2018 - 9:32pm in

At the weekend, I was in the audience for a talk by Will Hutton, formerly of the Guardian and now Principal of Hertford College, Oxford – but, more importantly, for a generation a critical and powerful voice on the centre-left.  The talk was part of the Cardiff Book Festival and was linked to the book Saving Britain, which Hutton has co-written with former Labour Cabinet Minister Andrew Adonis, which considers how Britain must change while remaining within the EU.

Obviously the principal topic was Brexit; Hutton’s arguments would have been familiar to anyone who had read the book.  People had voted for Brexit because they were angry with the failures of the British political and economic model; and they were right to be angry, but the reasons for that anger were nothing to do with the EU, and everything to do with domestic UK politics.  Hutton reminded us of the damning statistics used in the book about life outside the prosperous pockets of metropolitan England; for example how 331 of every thousand people in Blackpool are on antidepressants; how life expectancy in the poorer parts of England was declining for the first time in more than a century.  And these were precisely the areas that had voted for Brexit – which on any credible analysis would make those problems worse, and widen inequality further.

It’s worth pointing out that this was not a dry academic talk;  Will Hutton is clearly angry.  He was passionate and acerbic, saying a couple of times that the only reason why anyone would believe much of the nonsense being spread around by Brexiteer politicians was because they wanted Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.  He ridiculed Theresa May’s view that a referendum on the deal would be a betrayal of democracy – arguing that she knew it was nonsense, and she was desperately trying not to split the Conservative Party.

But the point that I took away from this talk was what Hutton referred to as “the Corbyn problem”.  He argued that the lesson he took from the 2017 General Election was that the ideas that had dominated British political discourse since Margaret Thatcher was in her pomp – the worship of free markets, the denigration of the state – the collection of attitudes often referred to as “neoliberalism” – were no longer election winners.  The IPPR had recently published the findings of its Commission on Economic Justice;   its recommendations for fundamental economic reform based on fairness and justice had been endorsed by, of all newspapers, the Daily Mail.  The intellectual tide was clearly turning.

And Hutton argued that the Corbyn Problem, as he called it, was essentially this: that the debate over Brexit was coinciding with a fundamental intellectual shift, recognising how deeply damaging inequality is and examining seriously ideas about how to deal with the economic and social inequality endemic in Britain.  There was therefore an open door for an imaginative Labour leader to build a new consensus for a modern, fairer, more productive economy and to reverse the little-Englandism of Brexit; and that every Labour leader from Attlee onwards would have had the imagination to grasp it.  But not, in his view, Corbyn; his political background, his support base and his apparent belief that his mission was to build a social movement rather than build consensus for a Government that would effect real, practical change, meant that he was simply the wrong person for the job.  And he called this a tragedy.

I find Hutton’s analysis compelling.  I’ve written in my book about how, deep down, Corbynism is a politics of privileged hobbyism, almost a form of anti-politics.  And it seems to me that history may well judge that at the time when Britain most needs a resurgence of social democratic politics – and has been given a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lead a resurgence of social democratic values – Corbyn is, quite simply, blowing it.

Education’s Role in Earnings, Employment, and Economic Mobility

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 05/09/2018 - 9:00pm in

Rajashri Chakrabarti and Michelle Jiang

LSE_Education’s Role in Earnings, Employment, and Economic Mobility

Amid dialogue about the soaring student loan burden, questions arise about how educational characteristics (school type, selectivity, and major) affect disparities in post-college labor market outcomes. In this post, we specifically explore the impact of such school and major choices on employment, earnings, and upward economic mobility. Insight into determinants of economic disparity is key for understanding long-term consumption and inequality patterns. In addition, this gives us a window into factors that could be used to ameliorate income inequality and promote economic mobility.

We hope to answer the following questions:

  • Do school and major choice significantly affect differences in employment and earnings?
  • Do these differences persist in the long term?
  • Do certain educational background characteristics promote upward economic mobility more than others?

To answer these questions, we use a data set that matches earnings and employment data of college cohorts with corresponding college-cohort characteristics, college characteristics, and enrollment, obtained from the U.S. Department of Education. We analyze labor market outcomes data for fall freshman entry cohorts in the 1997-2007 period. Labor market outcomes include earnings and employment, measured in the medium term (six years after enrollment) and the long term (ten years after enrollment), with earnings conditional on employment. Our selectivity measure comes from Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges (2001), which ranks schools based on their acceptance rates, students’ median entrance exam scores (on the SAT and ACT), the grade point averages for their freshman classes, and the percentage of freshman ranking in the top of their high school graduating classes. For simplicity, we classify four-year colleges in the top three of Barron’s six tiers as “selective” and the rest as “nonselective.”

After controlling for invariant characteristics of counties where the colleges are located, invariant characteristics of cohorts, and time-variant characteristics of cohorts (such as cohort size, racial composition, gender composition, family income, and parental education), we analyze the effect of college choice (two-year versus four-year; public versus private not-for-profit and private for-profit; and selective versus nonselective) and major composition (calculated as the percentage in “Arts” [arts and humanities], “Business,” “STEM” [science, technology, engineering, and math], and “Vocational” fields) on labor market outcomes and economic mobility (defined below).

First, we explore whether college choice and major choice affect medium-term earnings and employment measured six years after enrollment. For four-year colleges, we find that college type and selectivity strikingly matter, as does major (see the chart below). For enrollees who attend selective colleges, we find an earnings premium of 11 percent compared with similar students (along the dimensions defined above) who attend nonselective colleges. By contrast, for-profit college attendance leads to 17 percent lower earnings relative to attendance at private not-for-profit four-year colleges. The right panel in the chart casts light on the returns to various majors relative to Arts and depicts the percentage change in mean earnings of a cohort in a school if the share of a certain major in that cohort goes up by 10 percentage points. The chart shows that STEM majors have the highest earnings premium followed by Business majors. If a school cohort increases its share of STEM majors (relative to Arts majors) by 10 percentage points, there is a 6 percent increase in that cohort’s earnings six years after enrollment. These findings are qualitatively similar for two-year colleges.


While this data is not charted here, we find that the employment effects are relatively modest in comparison to the earnings effects. Selective college enrollment leads to only 1 percent higher employment than nonselective college enrollment, while for-profit enrollees have a 4 percent lower probability of employment relative to their counterparts in private not-for-profit colleges. The employment and earnings results collectively imply a markedly higher job quality for selective college and not-for-profit enrollees.

For long-term earnings measured ten years after enrollment, we find that college-type effects become more pronounced, while major-choice effects remain similar (see the chart below). Attendees of selective colleges find themselves with a 20 percent premium in earnings compared with nonselective college students. For-profit attendees experience 18 percent lower earnings than students enrolled at private not-for-profit colleges. Meanwhile, a 10 percentage point increase in a college cohort’s share of STEM majors (relative to Arts majors) gives a 6 percent boost to its students’ average earnings, while a 10 percentage point increase in a school’s share of Business majors (relative to Arts majors) provides a 3 percent long-term earnings premium. In contrast, employment probabilities remain similar in the long run for these comparison groups. This indicates that the quality of jobs, rather than the probability of employment, is more relevant for the broadening of the earnings distribution across individuals.


Next, we consider economic mobility. Following prior work, we define economic mobility as the phenomenon by which individuals move up or down the income distribution over time. Our chart below presents differences in mean earnings six years after enrollment between students in the top and bottom terciles of family income at the time of enrollment in a four-year institution. We continue to include the various covariates and invariant characteristics in our regression as described above.

The average earnings gap between enrollees in the top and bottom terciles in our sample was $6,348. We find that for-profit college attendance widened income disparities in our data, increasing the earnings gap by $7,428 (+117 percent), compared with private not-for-profit college. In contrast, four-year public college serves as an equalizer by decreasing the earnings gap by $1,584 (-25%) compared with four-year not-for-profit college. In addition, selective college attendance decreases the earnings gap by $2,736 (-43%) relative to nonselective college attendance. A 10 percentage point increase in Business majors and STEM majors relative to Arts majors exacerbates the gap by $1,586 (+25%) and $181 (+3%) , respectively, while a 10 percentage point increase in Vocational majors relative to Arts majors decreases the disparity by $170 (-3%).


In the long run, however, the inequality penalties for for-profit schools decrease in intensity, while the equality premium for public school increases. While patterns for other majors are approximately the same in the medium term as in the long run, a STEM major becomes more of an equalizer.

Earnings and employment outcomes are clearly heterogeneous across college and major choice. We see that these choices matter much more for earnings than employment, which suggests that school and major choice play a large role in job quality. Overall, we find large positive premiums to selective college attendance and choice of a STEM major, and find large penalties for for-profit college attendance. In the long run, premiums and penalties related to college type further accentuate, while premiums to major remain similar to what they are in the medium term. Recent trends in college enrollment, which show marked decrease in for-profit enrollment, imply that overall earnings of college graduates should improve in the medium and long terms due to this factor. In terms of economic mobility, we find that selective colleges are particularly equalizing (conditional on access). Further, we find that attendance at for-profit colleges has led to wider income gaps subsequently, despite catering overwhelmingly to low-income students. These findings have important implications for policy, specifically for “gainful employment” regulations, which stipulate that educational programs must offer worthwhile preparation in a recognized occupation to be eligible for student-assistance funding under the Higher Education Act, and the recent start of a rollback of these provisions. They also highlight the importance of the availability of information about college and major choices since these choices can matter not only for labor market outcomes but also in affecting income inequalities in the medium to long term.


The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.

Rajashri ChakrabartiRajashri Chakrabarti is a senior economist in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

Michelle Jiang
Michelle Jiang is a former senior research analyst in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Research and Statistics Group.

How to cite this blog post:

Rajashri Chakrabarti and Michelle Jiang, “Education’s Role in Earnings, Employment, and Economic Mobility,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York Liberty Street Economics (blog), September 5, 2018,

What the newspapers said about inequality. It's wrong

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 02/09/2018 - 5:27pm in



If you were going to reduce a 150-page Productivity Commission examination of trends in Australian inequality to a few words, it would be nice if they weren’t “ALP inequality claims sunk”, or “Progressive article of faith blown up” or “Labor inequality myths busted by commission”.

The editorial in the Australian Financial Review of August 30 says questions about whether inequality is increasing are “abstract”, taught in universities as “an article of faith”, and a “political truncheon”.

Here I should disclose that I teach courses covering inequality as well as undertaking research on the topic. Also, I was one of the external referees for this week’s Productivity Commission report.

It adds to a growing pile of high quality research on trends in income distribution in Australia, including a recent Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and University of New South Wales study using data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that provides an in-depth analysis of income and wealth inequality in 2015-16 and an analysis of trends since 2000.

Also released at the end of July was the latest HILDA Statistical Report that analyses how things have changed over time for individuals between 2001 and 2016.

The Productivity Commission survey takes the deliberately ambitious approach of assessing a wider range of outcomes than income, including indicators of household consumption and wealth, their components, and changes over time and in response to events such as transitions to work, divorce and retirement.

Much of the reporting seems to have misread the messages the survey and the Chairman’s speech to the National Press Club were trying to emphasise. For example, the editorial in the Financial Review argues the Commission’s report shows “economic growth has made everyone in Australia in every income group better off”.

Well, no, it doesn’t.

The finding that every income group has benefited from income growth should not be interpreted as meaning every person in Australia is better off. The discussion of mobility in the report makes the point that the incomes of households and individuals fall as well as rise.

Put simply, not everyone – in fact very few (about 1%) – stay in exactly the same place. Table 5.1 (page 96) shows more than 40% of the Australian population were in a lower income group in 2016 than they had been in 2001, for reasons ranging from retirement to disability to unemployment to family breakdown.

Single adults on Newstart, although not the same people, have fallen down the income distribution over the past 25 years, from around the bottom 10% to the bottom 5%. As another example, someone who worked on a manufacturing production line until it was closed and then got a job as a sales assistant would be better paid than a sales assistant used to be but most certainly not better paid than they used to be. They would have little reason to believe the Financial Review.

And as the Commission was at pains to point out, the stabilisation and slight decline in overall inequality over the past decade is to a large extent the result of specific government decisions.

One of the most important was the one-off increase in age pensions by the Rudd government in 2009. The 2016 ACOSS report on poverty found the relative poverty rate (before housing costs) for people aged 65 and over fell from around 30% in 2007-08 to 11% in 2013-14, due to the “historic increase” in pension rates.

ABS income surveys show the average incomes of households headed by people aged 65 and over climbed by 16% in real terms between 2007-08 and 2015-16, while for the population as a whole the increase was about 3%. As a result, the average incomes of older households jumped from 69% to 78% of those of households generally.

While economic prosperity was needed to fund that increase, it didn’t automatically fund it. That needed deliberate government intervention.

In his speech releasing the report, Commission chairman Peter Harris specifically noted “growth alone is no guarantee against widening disparity between rich and poor”.

Some forms of poverty for children “have actually risen”.

The slide in inequality resulting from the increase in the age pension is likely to have disguised increases in inequality elsewhere.

According to the Bureau since the global financial crisis the number of workers who are underemployed – working part time and wanting more hours - has climbed from about 680,000 to 1.1 million; from 6.3% to 8.9% of the workforce.

And the ABS finds wage disparities have increased. The ratio of the earnings of a worker at the 90th percentile (earning more than 90% of workers) to the earnings of a worker at the tenth percentile grew from 7.75 times in 2008 to 8.24 times in 2016. This was due to widening wage differentials for both full-time and part-time workers and an increase in the proportion of part-time workers

We often hear about Australia as a “miracle economy” enjoying 27 years of economic growth. In fact, the Commission report (Figure 1.2 page 13) shows real net national disposable income per person – a better measure of individual economic well-being than GDP – actually fell in six out of the last 27 years.

The income survey data show an even more mixed record. The Our World in Data database shows that by 2003 the real income of the median Australian household was only about 5% higher in real terms than in 1989, while the second and third decile households – mainly headed by those on low wages and some on social security – were actually no better-off than in 1989, largely due to the effects of the early 1990s recession.

Virtually all of the increase in real disposable household incomes enjoyed since 1989 (or 1981 for that matter) came in one five-year period, between 2003 and 2008 during the first mining boom.

What is striking about Australia compared to other countries is that since the global financial crisis we have largely maintained the income lift from the boom.

Will we be blessed by another boom to pump up the figures? Or might we be less lucky?

Despite the way it’s been spun, the Commission’s main message is that in the decades ahead we will need both policies that generate economic growth and policies that ensure it’s well spread. One without the other could leave many of us worse off.
Peter Whiteford, Professor, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.The Conversation

Peter Martin is economics correspondent for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald.

He blogs at and tweets at @1petermartin.

Taking Back the Wheel

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 01/09/2018 - 5:03am in

In the future heralded by Silicon Valley, cars will fly and labor will be disposable. But none of this is inevitable. It’s a political choice—that we can still reject.

The Homelessness Problem We Don’t Talk About

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 25/08/2018 - 5:00am in

The punishment for a crime doesn’t necessarily end when the person has been released from prison. Formerly incarcerated people face multiple barriers to securing housing (including public housing) and employment, which can lead to homelessness. And just by virtue of being homeless—by having to sleep on a bench or take shelter under a bridge—these people may then be targeted by the police. Thus starts an unrelenting cycle, through which people are tossed back and forth between jail and the street. A new report by the Prison Policy Initiative (PPI) presents some troubling numbers on this phenomenon. Using a Bureau of Justice Statistics survey, for which the last available year of data comes from 2008, it found that among formerly incarcerated people, the rate of homelessness that year was 10 times that of the general public.

The Gospel of Wealth

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 23/08/2018 - 6:28am in

How did the “moral economy”—a concept that once encompassed a radical critique of capitalism—become the province of billionaires?

Dead End Amerika

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/08/2018 - 3:00am in

PA Farruggio Documentary film maker Marc Levin has a ‘must see ‘ film entitled Class Divide about the gentrification of the West Chelsea area of Manhattan (23rd street around 9th and 10th Avenues). HIs former documentary, Hard Times: Lost on Long Island (2012) followed four individuals who lost their financial sector white collar jobs after the 2008 Wall Street housing bubble burst. Viewing the film was disheartening, as we watch how devastated people who still believed in the false narrative of The American Dream can become. In Class Divide we learn that the western part of Chelsea, NYC is the fastest growing real estate sector in the entire city of New York. What was once mostly a low income working stiff neighborhood now hosts high rises and townhouses that cater to the super rich… not even just the 1%, rather the 1/4 of the 1%! Imagine a townhouse across from a Chelsea public housing project that sells for $ 10 million. For real! The sad irony to all this is that in 1937 director William …

The Enemy Between Us: How Inequality Erodes Our Mental Health

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 22/08/2018 - 2:00am in

When people are asked what matters most for their happiness and wellbeing, they tend to talk about the importance of their relationships with family, friends and colleagues. It is their intimate world, their personal networks that mean the most to them, rather than material goods, income or wealth.  Most people probably don’t think that broader, structural issues to do with politics and the economy have anything to do with their emotional health and wellbeing, but they do. We’ve known for a long time that inequality causes a wide range of health and social problems, including everything from reduced life expectancy and higher infant mortality to poor educational attainment, lower social mobility and increased levels of violence. Differences in these areas between more and less equal societies are large, and everyone is affected by them.