In the earlier post I talked about dangers of extreme inequality: economic problems, “oligarchization” of the political order, unrest. The Spirit Level by Wilkinson and Pickett argues that high degree of inequality – more so than absolute levels of per-person income – lead to lower societal trust, increased instances of mental illness, higher mortality, obesity, lower educational performance, higher crime and reduced social mobility. They show statistical correlation based on the data from the World Bank, the World Health Organization, the United Nations, etc.
As any controversial topic, their study found detractors as documented in the link provided. Complex subjects always do. As the famous saying goes, “there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Still, in the end the numbers and their conclusions appear to be valid: extreme inequality damages societies. I’ll re-iterate that this is not an argument for imposition of equality but rather a reminder that this pendulum have swung too far the other way. I think that most of us intuitively understand this.