Monday, October 31, 2011
Wilkinson on Inequality
Richard Wilkinson gives a nice short talk for TED on his work with Kate Pickett: The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. His thesis is intriguing if not always convincing. He shows a number of strikingly strong correlations between measures of social well-being and inequality, arguing that inequality causes conflict and stress. For a number of his measures, the simple causal story seems pretty uncompelling: there is a chicken & egg problem with any argument that explains high-school dropout rates using income inequality. Nevertheless, I was struck by the number of social phenomenon that seem to be consistently related, even if the causal story is confusing.