The Spirit Level

The Spirit Level is a book about how much better every society is if only every society is more equal.

It depends a great deal on international comparisons of inequity. Comparisons between different countries.

In fact, it depends upon the ratings given here.

Yes, I\’m enough of a nerd to have followed the footnotes.

And what do we find of these numbers about inequity?

Because the underlying household surveys differ in method and in the type of data collected, the distribution data are not strictly comparable across countries.

Yup, the entire book is based upon numbers that are not strictly comparable across countries.

For example, all their US numbers are based upon market incomes…..that is, before whatever is done to alleviate poverty.

All their UK numbers are (and, as I understand it, I\’ll need to do some more digging, the Norwegian) based upon incomes after tax and benefits.

At the minimum they need to go back and recalculate all their nice little graphs. For at this level of statistical information the entire thing is a crock of shit.

You know, the US figures are calculated even before the impact of the friggin\’ income tax system. It\’s bollocks.

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