Saturday, October 24, 2009

Why a politics of equality may make us all richer

A good argument in these BNP-ridden times; a more than convincing argument as we prepare ourselves for the intellectual miseries and poverties of Tory misrule:
[...] Here, we have clear evidence that a more equal society does leave almost everyone better off. It is not simply the case that in England and Wales economic inequality means bad outcomes are shunted down the social scale; it is also true that inequality means bad outcomes are being distributed across the social scale, making even rich English parents more vulnerable than poor Swedish ones.

And then there's this slightly different approach:
[...] So the politics is considerably harder here: you can’t simply say that inequality means we are all suffering together. Instead, it may mean that the poor are doing so badly that the rich aren’t interested in looking at the wider picture. They are focused on making sure they don’t wind up poor.
The evidence in favour of the wider advantages of equality are not entirely firm.  But there is enough there to keep us going for the moment.  More here from the London Review of Books, via Peter Bower's Twitter feed.

If cohesive communties are our goal, then - in these fragile and potentially troublesome times - perhaps the best way forward might be a policy of self-interested enlightenment. 

What better argument than to convince the voting public that the poorer your poor, the worse-off both your rich and your aspirational rich?  One clear example of when the home economics of cardboard Thatcherism doesn't square up to the challenges and complexities of a three-dimensional world?

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