Universal Translator

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Economic Inequality is - Literally - Killing Us

A fascinating article in Time discusses research that shows high degrees of economic inequality in societies leads to greater mortality, less healthy populations, higher rates of addiction, and greater stress levels. This is the case regardless of the overall weath of the country studied, regardless of the fact that the people in lower economic rungs are not actually living in poverty, and regardless of one's access to health care.

And, following up my earlier point about how things in America seem to have taken a turn for the decidedly worse with the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, once again we see:
In the U.S., inequality has been rising since the 1980's. Between WWII and Ronald Reagan's election to the presidency, average income grew by about $19,000. The bottom 90% of the country received 65% of that increase.

Between 1981 and 2008, however, average income grew by about $12,000. About 96% of that went to the top 10% richest people in the country. The ratio of pay between CEOs and average workers also became much more extreme over the same time period: in 1980 it was around 35 to 1. Today it is about 185 to 1.
So not only are the very wealthy keeping all the income gains at the expense of everyone else, they're literally killing everybody else by doing so.

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