terça-feira, 21 de abril de 2009

Sobre Desigualdades Sociais

Sugestão de Leitura 5*:

The Spirit Level
by Richard Wilkinson and Kate PickettAllen Lane
£20, pp416

Large inequalities of income in a society have often been regarded as divisive and corrosive, and it is common knowledge that in rich societies the poor have shorter lives and suffer more from almost every social problem.
This groundbreaking book, based on thirty years' research, demonstrates that more unequal societies are bad for almost everyone within them - the well-off as well as the poor. The remarkable data the book lays out and the measures it uses are like a spirit level which we can hold up to compare the conditions of different societies. The differences revealed, even between rich market democracies, are striking. Almost every modern social and environmental problem - ill-health, lack of community life, violence, drugs, obesity, mental illness, long working hours, big prison populations - is more likely to occur in a less equal society. The book goes to the heart of the apparent contrast between the material success and social failings of many modern societies.
The Spirit Level does not simply provide a key to diagnosing our ills. It tells us how to shift the balance from self-interested 'consumerism' to a friendlier and more collaborative society. It shows a way out of the social and environmental problems which beset us and opens up a major new approach to improving the real quality of life, not just for the poor but for everyone. It is, in its conclusion, an optimistic book, which should revitalise politics and provide a new way of thinking about how we organise human communities.
Philip Birch, Assistant Editor, on The Spirit Level:
'This is one of the most interesting and important books I have ever read. It is driven by a simple idea: that inequality is the root cause of all societies’ ills. It doesn’t matter if the average level of income is very low or very high, it is the gap between rich and poor that is important. It is why, when polled, more Indonesians, Vietnamese, Finnish and Japanese will claim to be more happy than Brits and Americans. And it isn’t just the poorest in the most unequal societies that suffer but the richest too. In London on the one hand we hear regularly about teenagers from poorer communities stabbing each other, but on the other more and more apparently successful, university educated, richer young people suffer from anxiety, depression and are open to casual drug use than ever before. Violence, crime, low educational achievement, poor health; and status anxiety and the misery of having too much money and too much choice go hand in hand, because of inequality. This is not necessarily a new idea but it is proved here for the first time. The graphs are quite remarkable.'

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