Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Impact of Inequality

23.06.2005


Increasing social inequality in Britain is at the root of rising levels of anti-social behaviour, teenage pregnancy, violence and obesity, according to a University of Nottingham academic.



More than two decades of widening social and economic differences are leaving their mark on Britain, making it one of the most socially unequal of European countries.

A new book published this week by pioneering social epidemiologist, Professor Richard Wilkinson, examines the impact of this growing gap between rich and poor — and the high price being paid by some of the most disadvantaged members of society.


Professor Wilkinson’s research shows that if Britain changed from being one of the most unequal of European countries to being among the most equal, the result would be radical. Average life expectancy would increase, homicide rates and levels of violence would fall, people would trust each other more, and community life would be revitalised. As such, the benefits of greater equality would be seen across all sectors of society.

His new book, The Impact of Inequality, published by Routledge, addresses people’s experience of class and inequality and the pervasive sense that modern societies, despite material success, are social failures.

Wider income differences lead to bigger social distances and increased discrimination. They lead to slower social mobility and increased residential segregation of rich and poor. People become less involved in community life, suffer more violence, and are much less likely to trust each other.

Professor Wilkinson also looks at why individuals are so sensitive to inequality, and how it gets ’under the skin’ to affect health. The main individual psychosocial risk factors leading to ill health and premature death include low social status, lack of friends, and difficult early life experience. Together these tell us about the stress associated with the quality of the social environment, reflecting how far we feel either appreciated and valued, or suffer anxieties and insecurities about whether others regard us as unattractive, boring, stupid, or socially gauche.

Because of the psychological damage inflicted by being seen as inferior, the scale of inequality is a key determinant of national standards of performance in areas as different as levels of violence, educational performance of school children, health, and the quality of community life.

Professor Wilkinson also looks at what nations, communities and employers can do to create a healthy social environment. He points out that because the data he uses comes primarily from existing market democracies, it shows that even the small differences in inequality between them matter, and that there are numerous practical policies that would improve the quality of life for all of us.

As well as the more conventional methods of redistribution, he suggests extending democracy into economic institutions and workplaces.

Professor Wilkinson said: “While it is clear that inequality is socially corrosive, it is equally clear that policy can dramatically improve the psychosocial welfare of populations.

“How people get on with each other is crucial to the quality of life for all of us. The first step in improving matters is to gain a wider popular understanding both of the way many social problems are rooted in relative deprivation, and of the benefits which greater equality would bring to us all.”

Richard Wilkinson is Professor of Social Epidemiology, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, at The University of Nottingham Medical School. He is also Visiting Professor at the International Centre for Health and Society, Dept of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London.

He has been researching the social determinants of health and health inequalities for over 25 years and is the author of the bestselling Unhealthy Societies: The Afflictions of Inequality (Routledge, 1996).

Prof Richard Wilkinson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Amazingly flexible: Learning to read in your thirties profoundly transforms the brain
26.05.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections

21.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Smart Computers

21.08.2017 | Information Technology

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>