The price of inequality

Inequality and the riots
“Basically, antisocial societies cause antisocial behaviour. Greater inequality weakens community life, trust gives way to status competition, family life suffers, children grow up prepared for a dog-eat-dog world, class divisions and prejudices are strengthened and social mobility slows. If consumerism helps bolster the increasingly strained sense of self-worth even of those on above average incomes, how do you deal with the sense of worthlessness that comes with youth unemployment and a job seekers’ allowance of only £56 a week?” – Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett suggest inequality is behind much of last year’s rioting:
See also:
Equality evolves
“Over time, the model shows that while ‘groups never achieve complete equality and their strongest members continued to have fitness advantages. However there is a significant reduction in the number of successful bullying acts. The changes happen relatively fast on the time scale of thousands of generations.’ Gavrilet’s model explains the evolution of egalitarianism, or the egalitarian syndrome, within a measurable span of human history.”
Inequality ills
“The stark social class divide in health is widening as better-off people increasingly shun damaging habits such as smoking and eating badly but poorer people do not, authoritative new research reveals.” – the middle class has listened to advice but for others only one-to-one contact (or reducing inequality) has a chance at changing damaging behaviour

A new capitalism?

The resentment felt by the 80% at the top 20%, is felt by the 19% at the top 1%, and also by the 0.9% at the top 0.1%. This is fractal inequality, where even close to the very top people can feel marginalised and powerless. Discussion from Davos…
“Much of Stiglitz’s book is devoted to demonstrating that excessive inequality amounts to sand in the gears of capitalism, creating volatility, fueling crises, undermining productivity and retarding growth. Just as discrimination results in the failure of a nation to make the best use of all its citizens, inequality, when it leads to inadequate schooling, housing and neighborhood conditions for large numbers of people, acts in a similarly destructive fashion.”
“‘The problem is not the higher rate of taxation, but pre-tax incomes,’ he declares. At the top of society, Mount believes, company executives are receiving excessive pay, especially in the banking sector, and he follows Will Hutton in believing that the highest-paid executive in a particular company should receive no more than 20 times the salary of its lowest-paid employee (which is, after all, only a reversion to the principle laid down by arch-capitalist financier JP Morgan around a century ago).” – inequality makes inroads into Conservatism
“Two-thirds of bosses surveyed by the accounting firm Grant Thornton said that senior executives were paid too much, with the proportion in agreement rising to 77 per cent in Britain. The report follows more evidence that boardroom salaries are spiralling further away from those of ordinary workers.”


Sheffield Equality Group – 7pm-9pm,  Wednesday  5th September
Quaker Meeting House, 10 St James St. S1 2EW 
Chat about the gap between high and low income and planning actions to address it. This month the discussion will focus on the public meeting of the Fairness Commission. The group is an autonomous group affiliated to the national Equality Trust and meets on the first Wednesday of every month. All welcome
Sheffield Fairness Commission Public Meeting – Saturday 8th September, 9.30am – 1.00pm
Town Hall, Sheffield City Centre
Come and give your views on Sheffield Fairness Commission’s emerging ideas about increasing fairness and tackling inequalities in the city. The Commission wants to hear what you think about its ideas – are they the right ones? Are any missing? Come along on the 8th September to discuss the issues, have your say and give us your ideas. Your views and the work of the Commission will help to make Sheffield a fairer place. Refreshments available.
For more information or to book a place please go to:
Sheffield Green Party – Wednesday 12th September
7.30 to 8.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Bramall Lane
Peter Verity from Positive Money speaking at the monthly Sheffield Green Party meeting
See for more details