Chapter

The impact of inequality: empirical evidence

Richard Wilkinson

in Social inequality and public health

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9781847423207
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303398 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847423207.003.0011
The impact of inequality: empirical evidence

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The fourth hypothesised pathway through which social inequality can affect public health is through its connection with the character of society as a whole. The hypothesis, in a nutshell, is that less equal societies are simply less healthy social environments in which to live out one's life. This chapter presents the evidence to support this proposition. It argues that inequality breeds status anxiety, individualism and consumerism, and that these forces threaten not only the individual health of all members of society but also the quality of the collective environment in which individuals must live.

Keywords: status anxiety; individualism; consumerism; social inequality; collective health

Chapter.  4282 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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