Really quite stunning

…and the top 20% of the country earn 15 times more than the bottom 20%, before tax and benefits, and about four times after that readjustment.

The complaint being that that’s not enough tax and redistribution.

And ain’t this great?

There were also critics – dismissed by Wilkinson and Pickett as “ideological” – who questioned either the validity of their statistics or the conclusions they drew from them. What struck me, reading the book, was that if the homicide rate was a major sign of inequality then it was noticeable that since 1980, the year that inequality really started to grow in the US after 50 years of flatlining, murders also began to fall. There is now a lower murder rate in America than there was in 1950. What accounted for that apparent anomaly?

“It means there must be other things involved,” says Wilkinson confidently. “But we can say that if those same changes, whatever they are, had happened without the increase in inequality, homicides would have fallen even more.”

That’s religion. We didn’t sacrifice the virgin, the Moon was still disgorged by the Eclipse Dragon, but God decided to do it that way to test your faith.

In any case, he maintains that it’s the general consistency of the data showing the relationship between inequality and mental health, rather than the anomalies, that is most notable.

Snigger. Facts that disprove my theory are just anomalies of no import. That’s not science, is it?

Yet leaving aside whether it’s desirable, there is no such thing as complete equality, and attempts to bring it about have inevitably led to the worst kinds of repression. Still, that’s not an argument for unconstrained inequality. Where, though, to start on narrowing the distance between rich and poor? If they could impose one piece of legislation tomorrow what would it be?

“I would want companies to have to put some of their profits each year into an employee-controlled trust which would then have voting rights on the board,” says Wilkinson.

“I’d go for a Finland-style educational system, completely comprehensive,” says Pickett.

Sigh. Before tax and benefits inequality is higher in Finland than it is in the UK. Comprehensive schooling doesn’t do it therefore.

21 comments on “Really quite stunning

  1. Written by a couple of social epidemiologists …. Wilkinson is emeritus professor of social epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, and Pickett is professor of epidemiology at the University of York.

    Two bullsh!t artists from third rank universities. Well second rank perhaps. I quite like York. Still they cannot deny what makes for equal societies:

    He notes that the Italian anomaly is usually attributed to the close family relationships in Italy. …. “I’m not so sure Putnam’s right about that,” says Pickett. “If you think about Japan – which is perhaps the most homogenous of all those countries we’re looking at – they don’t achieve their equality through taxes and benefits [Japan has a lower income range rather than a higher tax range]. So I don’t think homogeneity is required for equality.”

    Having to work hard to explain away Japan. But he admits the things that make for better societies are close, intact families and ethnic homogeneity. So much so that Japan does not have to tax and spend to achieve it.

    Excellent. So no doubt they will be recommending an end to immigration and making divorce harder?

  2. “I’d go for a Finland-style educational system, completely comprehensive,” says Pickett.

    It is a mark of second rate nature of British academia that these people are poorly informed about things they are supposed to be experts at.

    Finland does not have a completely comprehensive education system. It has a comprehensive system up to the end of Middle School and then it streamed with an academic track and a non-academic track.

  3. If you have the money and the will you can send your kids to an English speaking private school anywhere in the world. There is a lot of choice and indeed a lot of good schools.

  4. Venezuela is one of the more equal societies in Latin America and has a history, culture etc much more equivalent to its neighbours than e.g. US and Japan.
    How is that experiment going?

  5. The younger generation are suffering from stress caused by the burden of contradictory regulations created by SJWs, not from stress caused by increasing inequality.
    Apart from this being blindingly obvious – what causes stress: is it looking at someone and thinking she/he is richer/poorer than I or is it being required to jump through three hoops with your shoelaces tied together? – in this country inequality of wealth has decreased under every government except New Labour

  6. “But we can say that if those same changes, whatever they are, had happened without the increase in inequality, homicides would have fallen even more.”

    “But we can say that if we hadn’t prayed to God, the hurricane would have been even worse”.

  7. ‘Inequality’ is totalist language.

    Individual equality has nothing to do with how much money people have.

    CM scum consider people parts of groups, not individuals. Equality comes from giving up your rights.

  8. Talking of quackademia, Staffordshire University gave Owen Jones an honourary doctorate in 2015, accompanied by three sycophantic press releases. If York is 2nd or 3rd rate SMFS what does that make Staffs?

  9. I wonder what the top 20% of thirty year olds compared to bottom 20% of thirty year olds.

    It simply isn’t reasonable to compare the top, largely older, with bottom, largely younger. I earn now twice what I did when I started working. That’s hardly unusual.

    We should probably strip out those that arrive after school age too, since their inequality is due to causes beyond our control in large part.

    The multipliers would drop tremendously.

  10. “If York is 2nd or 3rd rate SMFS what does that make Staffs?”

    It makes them as big a danger to your mind as the NHS Mid-Staffs Hospital was to your body.

  11. @ Mr Ecks
    +1
    Inequality was greater in Brezhnev’s Russia than in Thatcher’s Britain

  12. “15 times more than the bottom 20%, before tax and benefits, and about four times after that readjustment.”

    Isn’t this saying the government benefits more from high earnings than anyone?

  13. 60-year-olds have had 40 years of earnings, 20-year-olds have none, STOP THIS INEQUALITY NOW!!!!

  14. OT, but he is now taking on John Kay about currencies and Scottish Independence. Thinks Kay is ‘plain wrong’ and that Nicola should remove Kay from her Council of Economic Advisers (and presumably replace him with an Irishman from Ely).

  15. Phil – “If York is 2nd or 3rd rate SMFS what does that make Staffs?”

    Staffs? Never heard of it. If it isn’t a teaching college, is it perhaps a dog training school?

  16. I earn now twice what I did when I started working.

    Before I started being ‘clever’ about things, I was taking home about 20 times, roughly 7 times after inflation, what I earned when I started?

  17. Thomas Sowell did a very basic calculation showing that if everybody earns the same and everybody saves 10% of their income, there’s still massive inequality between young and old for…. really obvious reasons…

    Called maths.

    Basically, the only way to have no inequality is for all to be paid the same and for everybody to be forced to live hand-to-mouth, prohibiting any form of savings whether pecuniary or in natura.

  18. @abacab
    “Basically, the only way to have no inequality is for all to be paid the same and for everybody to be forced to live hand-to-mouth, prohibiting any form of savings whether pecuniary or in natura.”
    For some people that would be worth it.

  19. “social epidemiologists”

    Once again proving prefixing something with social is roughly equivalent to prefixing it with not.

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