Tag Archives: the spirit level

Thatcher, Blair and the Road to Serfdom

Among yesterday’s many predictable tributes to Margaret Thatcher on both sides of the house, one from Labour MP Gisela Stuart caught my ear. (Hansard)

Whole generations have forgotten what 1979 was like. I came here from Germany in the 1970s. I know that Margaret Thatcher would not want us not to learn any lessons from the battles that she had fought—some lost, some won, and some which continue. I am thinking in particular of the role of the market. It is interesting that Margaret Thatcher considered that Hayek’s book “The Road to Serfdom” should be compulsory reading. Many Government

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The Challenge of Affluence

Avner Offer’s The Challenge of Affluence starts with certainty and ends with doubt. “Affluence breeds impatience, and impatience undermines well-being”, states Offer at the start of Chapter 1. That theme runs through the book to his conclusion, but the lessons he draws from it are not as simple or confidently stated: “Well-being is more than having more. It is a balance between our own needs, and those of others, on whose goodwill and approbation our own well-being depends … I present these findings in the hope that they will make our choices appear not simpler and easier, but as …

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Opinion: Support the Equality Pledge

For many years the researchers Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have been investigating the relationship between wealth, inequality, and measurements of a good society. The measurements of a good society would be low levels of crime, low levels of teenage pregnancy, good health in terms of long life expectancy, low levels of obesity – and many other measures besides.

During their research they have published books on this, and finally they published the book “The Spirit Level“, which has had the biggest impact of all.

There are many countries that are poor, and clearly they need economic growth in order to …

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Opinion: Poverty, equality and solutions

Politicians talk constantly about “lifting people out of poverty”, mending our “broken society”, giving people “equality of opportunity” and, more rarely “creating a more equal society”.

What none of them seem to be prepared to face is the fact that people are poor principally because they have less money than others; and that when poverty goes along with a feeling that it is not going to be possible, whatever one does, to get out of poverty, it does not matter what “opportunities” are provided – poor people will see through the pretence that the opportunities apply to them …

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Inequality: the enemy between us?

Richard Wilkinson, Emeritus Professor of Social Epidemiology, University of Nottingham and Kate Pickett, Professor of Epidemiology, University of York are co-directors of The Equality Trust and authors of The Spirit Level: why more equal societies almost always do better.

There is a long list of health and social problems which tend to be more common in the most deprived areas of Britain. The further down the social ladder you look, the more common they are. The pattern is the same whether you look at heart disease, homicides, teenage birth rates, mental illness, imprisonment, drug abuse, obesity, poor maths and literacy scores, low levels of child wellbeing, life expectancy or infant mortality.

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 12 Comments
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