Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Spirit Level - Why Equality is Better for Everyone

Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have provided a really interesting must read book about Unequal societies like New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom and United States.

This book examines issues like Poverty, Life Expectancy, Obesity, Violence, Prisons, Educational Performance, Sustainability and importantly the way the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.    

Interesting are the charts and statistics showing with inequality health and community also breaks down and that the health statistics for the unequal societies are not as good as the more equal societies.   The chapter on Prisons is particularly good.   Sadly the more unequal the more we put people in prisons.   It also shows how prisons don't work in any terms of rehabilitation.

The book asks us to look at priorities.   Community, interactions between people, social capital and taxes.    

I would also like us to look at greed.  Who needs $400 million dollars?  The way an extremely rich New Zealand business man won a court case which basically was because he didn't want to pay $4 million dollars tax is a sad reflection of our system.   He believed that his advisors had restructured his businesses wrongly and that restructuring has cost him more tax.  He won against his accountants and they have to pay him that $4 million.  Come on Capital gains tax.