Friday, August 28, 2009

Who Knew How Much It Hurt??

Amazing new book "The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better" by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett (I read the Brit edition, Allen Lane publishers):

50 years of research has gone into this book. The researchers began simply trying to look at the health of the poor in 20 of the world's richest nations and all 50 states in the US, but when they put all their discoveries against graphs of income equality and inequality, eureka, there it was. The most equal societies had the best health, the least equal societies the worst. And not just among the poor.

In the least equal societies rates of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, obesity, teenage pregnancy, homicide are all higher; literacy, life expectancy, and children's educational performance are all worse ... and this is across all income levels. Levels of the stress hormone cortisol are higher across all levels. (The rich, at very least, are frightened of the poor.) Scandinavia and Japan have the smallest differences between high and low incomes, and the best health. The richest countries with the widest gulf in incomes and the highest rate of social and health problems are Britain, Portugal, and the United States.

There's something to put in the health reform bill!!

This short mention can not do justice to this amazing book, by the way.

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