Friday, September 22, 2017

How to make the US more equitable

The United States isn't the most unequal country. (That honor goes to South Africa.) We are #63, bracketed by Russia and Turkmenistan. In comparison, France is #113, Japan is #120, Denmark is #137 and Iceland is #146. While the goal should not be to make everyone have exactly the same amount of money, extreme inequality destabilizes societies. (Remember the French Revolution?) It also contributes to a host of social problems. In the book, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better,

The [author] argues that there are "pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption".[5] It claims that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical healthmental healthdrug abuseeducationimprisonmentobesitysocial mobilitytrust and community life, violenceteenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal countries, whether rich or poor.[1] The book contains graphs that are available online.[6]

There are a number of reasons why our society has gotten more and more unequal. This link will take you to a report that discusses them and then explains what we must do to rewire our economic system for fairness. You can choose the 2-page overview, executive summary or whole report.

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