Inequality In Society- The Answer To Society’S Pro

1217 Words5 Pages
Violence, obesity, children’s education, life expectancy, mental illness, teen births, trust- all are major problems for societies across the globe, and according to Wilkinson and Pickett, can be attributed to inequality. In their examination of developed countries, they found that inequality, rather than average income, is a far better indicator of wellbeing. Furthermore, the authors posited that nearly all problems that are more prevalent at the bottom of social hierarchies (many are aforementioned) are more common in unequal societies. They suggest that despite a nation’s apparent affluence, wealthy yet unequal nations are nonetheless “social failures” (18). Wilkinson and Pickett explore two of the most common assumptions about the social gradient that shows people at the bottom of social hierarchies suffer more problems- circumstances and individual tendencies. The authors, in critiquing the material explanation to societal problems, argue that richer nations should do better than poorer ones. This is a flawed argument, as national wealth does not indicate its distribution. A generally wealthy nation may have poorer diets, less educational opportunities, or worse housing in comparison to a less wealthy nation. Wilkinson and Pickett also give reason as to why everyone in a society should be concerned about inequality, not merely those vulnerable to the problems with which it coincides. The authors argue that there has been an irrefutable rise in anxiety in developing nations as a result of increase in the societal evaluative threat. Inequality increases the stakes of this threat, as more value is placed on status markers in such hierarchies of more unequal societies. The rising trend has occurred as a result of community restructuring over time, where sense of identity has shifted from established within a community to lost in a mass of strangers.
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