Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Spirit Level

There is no reachable "good enough" point in the American economy and workplace where we can all cease to push harder and be able to operate at a defined, stable pace. A new book, titled The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, was recently published in the UK. Here is a review of it. Countries with more equality built into their economic systems (such as Japan and Sweden) tend to fare better as a whole: less violence, less mental health problems, and yes, less wealth. And countries with very unequal socioeconomic groups fare poorly as a whole, rich and poor. That means you and me!

This is something we're probably all aware of, but nobody really knows how to remedy it. (Or is it that obvious? The poor just want to be the rich someday, the middle class want to be richer, and the rich want to be even richer.) How does the privileged American take a few steps and back and say no to what seems like more good things (wealth)?

1 comment:

Rachel B said...

This is the ugly side of the individualism coin. There are many great things about individualistic societies, such as the freedom to pursue personal dreams, the freedom of self expression and the freedom of individual thought.

However, when individualism is king, sacrifice is not required or expected, and we're much more prone to self-indulgence. And let's face it, some people (usually those who have more) are more able to pursue their own interests than others.