I’ll start with this great Calvin and Hobbes comic strip:
I recently watched this video on TED by Richard Wilkinson – “How economic inequality harms societies”. Please take a look when you get a moment.
In terms of how much richer the top 20% of a country is compared to the bottom 20% – Japan is the lowest with 3.4 times difference. In the middle is Netherlands and Greece with 5.3 and 6.2 times difference respectively. Second highest difference is the US with 8.5 times difference – we’re topped only by Singapore who has a difference of 9.7 times.
Richard and his colleagues create a graph comparing income inequality with an index that covers health and social problems (life expectancy, child mortality, math & literacy, homicide rates, imprisonment, teenage births, etc) and the US had the worst index by far.
He jokingly states that, “if Americans want to live the American dream, they should move to Denmark.”
Today there’s a lot of strong feelings about the Occupy Wall Street movement. Some are in favor of the movement while critics complain about the lack of focus and decry the assumed laziness of people.
Richard Wilkinson delineates hard data that shows the awful social and health problems that increase significantly in societies with the highest income inequality. This reminds me of the video of Alan Grayson where he blows up PJ O’Rourke and describes the Occupy Wall Street movement: