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Sat Dec 14, 2013, 04:03 AM

 

Income inequality is bad (unhealthy) for rich people too

Given that this rise in wealth has been accompanied by an increase in the power of those at the top, is there any hope for achieving a more just society? Bizarrely, the self interest of the upper crust argues in favor of it. Profoundly unequal societies are bad for everyone, including the rich.

First, numerous studies have ascertained that more money does not make people happier beyond a threshold level that is not all that high....But even more important is that high levels of income inequality exert a toll on all, particularly on health. Would you trade a shorter lifespan for a much higher level of wealth? Most people would say no, yet that is precisely the effect that the redesigning of economic arrangements to serve the needs at the very top is producing. Highly unequal societies are unhealthy for their members, even members of the highest strata. Not only do these societies score worse on all sorts of indicators of social well-being, but they exert a toll even on the rich. Not only do the plutocrats have less fun, but a number of studies have found that income inequality lowers the life expectancy even of the rich. As Micheal Prowse explained in the Financial Times:

Those who would deny a link between health and inequality must first grapple with the following paradox. There is a strong relationship between income and health within countries. In any nation you will find that people on high incomes tend to live longer and have fewer chronic illnesses than people on low incomes.

Yet, if you look for differences between countries, the relationship between income and health largely disintegrates. Rich Americans, for instance, are healthier on average than poor Americans, as measured by life expectancy. But, although the US is a much richer country than, say, Greece, Americans on average have a lower life expectancy than Greeks. More income, it seems, gives you a health advantage with respect to your fellow citizens, but not with respect to people living in other countries….

Once a floor standard of living is attained, people tend to be healthier when three conditions hold: they are valued and respected by others; they feel ‘in control’ in their work and home lives; and they enjoy a dense network of social contacts. Economically unequal societies tend to do poorly in all three respects: they tend to be characterised by big status differences, by big differences in people’s sense of control and by low levels of civic participation….

Unequal societies, in other words, will remain unhealthy societies – and also unhappy societies – no matter how wealthy they become. Their advocates – those who see no reason whatever to curb ever-widening income differentials – have a lot of explaining to do...


http://www.salon.com/2011/08/11/income_inequality_3/

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Reply Income inequality is bad (unhealthy) for rich people too (Original post)
El_Johns Dec 2013 OP
Maynar Dec 2013 #1
Faryn Balyncd Dec 2013 #2
indepat Dec 2013 #3

Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Sat Dec 14, 2013, 05:56 AM

1. I doubt this will inspire any of them

to change their ways. But still well taken, and thanks to the OP.

It would be easy to descend to shadenfreude. But, I... must... not... *

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Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Sat Dec 14, 2013, 09:41 PM

2. This is important.








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Response to El_Johns (Original post)

Sat Dec 14, 2013, 11:56 PM

3. Big brother killing us softly with right-wing policies which have exacerbated income inequality

dramatically through Federal policies and laws, such as an absurdly low minimum wage, a regressive system of taxation, very low effective corporate tax rates, near historically low highest marginal rates, and favored income taxation of virtually all types of income that inure mostly to the wealthy, among others.

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