Re: Let us know what you think about Wilkinson's video?

Posted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 4:10 pm, #7
by Jessica
Wow! Try to wrap you mind around this concept, "Why society might be more stable if we had more poverty and less inequality."

This is from a Vox article, Income inequality is changing how we think, live, and die, by By Sean Jun 14, 2018. https://www.vox.com/2018/5/24/17368308/ ... in-america
Researcher Keith Payne has found something surprising: When people flying coach are forced to walk past the pampered first-class flyers in the front of the plane, the likelihood of some sort of air rage incident rises sharply.

In his 2017 book The Broken Ladder, Payne, a social psychologist at the University of North Carolina, argues that humans are hardwired to notice relative differences. When we’re reminded that we’re poorer or less powerful than others, we become less healthy, more angry, and more politically polarized.
What people underappreciate is how having extreme inequality driven by the high end of wealth also causes trouble for society and for people’s well-being. Poverty is a related but separate problem. The presence of extreme inequality destabilizes a society in ways that are hard to understand but absolutely devastating.
The perception of inequality around us has a couple of different effects. One is that it makes the average person feel poorer, [in] comparison to those who have more. And the second is that it raises our expectations. It raises our standards for what we think it is to be normal. Now, that all seems very subjective, but when you perceive yourself as poor compared to other people, that sets off a chain of events that translates into physical outcomes.
The article's author then presented the following question to the social psychologist and here is the exchange below,
Sean Illing

Do you think we would be healthier and happier if we had more poverty and less inequality?
Keith Payne

I think there’s a case to be made that trading off some measures of wealth, like the gross domestic product, would be worth it for the benefits that come with reduced inequality. The problem now isn’t that there’s too much wealth; it’s that nearly all of the increases are going to the wealthiest members of society.
This really drives home the counter-intuitive impact of economic inequality. In other words, individuals may be impoverished but if there is less of an economic inequality gradient, there is the possibility they can be healthier physically, psychologically, and have a more functional society. Perhaps this explains some of the reports I have read where some of the less wealthy countries have a higher ranking on happiness and contentment reports than more wealthy countries.