‘Is inequality killing us?’

01.23.2013, 5:49 PM

At the Politics of Poverty blog hosted by Oxfam America, Andrew Yarrow writes about a new National Research Council and Institute of Medicine report. An excerpt:

…Yet, neither lack of health insurance nor poverty fully accounts for America’s miserable health ratings. Even well-to-do, white, college-educated Americans with health insurance fare less well than their counterparts in almost every other rich country.

While the report devotes only a paragraph to the role of high economic inequality, other researchers—notably Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better—argue that highly unequal income distribution harms all members of society. They posit that social stress, status anxiety, social competition, and lack of trust born of inequality lead to poorer health…

Moral arguments against excessive inequality have recently been supplemented by macroeconomic evidence that inequality hinders economic growth and contributes to greater economic volatility. Now, we may add that inequality is medically harmful.


3 Responses to “‘Is inequality killing us?’”

  1. SexualMinoritySupporter says:

    To many Americans are over weight. Our food prices at the grocery store are outrageously high, I can see why people eat out so often in the States. The grocery store prices are simply to high, it is many times literally cheaper to eat out cheap than to cook well at home. It didn’t always used to be this way, such high grocery store prices. Competition drives down prices but in many communities large grocery chains have bought out their competition, and once there is no competition they raise prices. Walmart getting into groceries is adding some much needed competition.

    It always used to be that eating out was a luxury, an expense, that as a treat, we did from time to time, home cooked meals saved you money. Now I am thinking the reverse is true.

    This fast food nation has packed us all with more pounds than is healthy for us. In Europe the English look similar to Americans, but move to the Meditereanan in France, Italy and Spain where food is cheaper, much much cheaper, the people are thinner and healthier.

  2. diane m says:

    Perhaps it has to do with the hours we work.

  3. Teresa says:

    Thank you, Elizabeth, for this Post. Both embedded articles are real gems. The first article by Andrew Yarrow should hit many of us between the eyes, simply because most people believe we have the best health care in the world. Best health care doesn’t mean having an MRI available on every corner.

    Here’s a quote that really was an eye-opener for me:

    Yet, neither lack of health insurance nor poverty fully accounts for America’s miserable health ratings. Even well-to-do, white, college-educated Americans with health insurance fare less well than their counterparts in almost every other rich country.

    Wow, so the upper-class gets harmed health-wise from inequality. Now, who woulda thought that.

    So, Diane M, I stand corrected on my statement that ‘studies’ have little value as informational tools. You were right, and I was wrong.

    These studies, embedded in the Post, have disclosed some stunning information. My question still stands, does information from studies provide enough wherewithal to ‘change’ anything? Will those who occupy the upper-class actually work to reduce inequality?