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Although the impact of inequality tends to be most severe lower down the social ladder, outcomes are worse even among the better off, because inequality damages the whole social fabric of a society – increasing social divisions, status insecurity and status competition. Indeed, it is because a large majority of the population – not just the poor – are affected by inequality that the differences in the performance of more and less equal societies are so large.
In addition to its impact on health and social outcomes, greater equality is also linked to economic progress and stability.
Poverty reduction, and hence development, is compromised by income inequality and, of course, consumerism is a major threat to sustainability. The price of inequality: How today’s divided society endangers our future: WW Norton & Company, 2012.35. Falling behind: how rising inequality harms the middle class.
These forms of business institutions also provide a more stable basis for community life and perform well in ethical terms. School bullying, homicide and income inequality: a cross-national pooled time series analysis. Income inequality and homicide rates: Cross-national data and criminalogocal theories.
Given all that we now know about the effects of inequality, it seems clear that we should both monitor inequality and commit to realistic but courageous targets to reduce it. International journal of public health 2013;58(2):237-45.24.
A large and well-established body of evidence shows that very large income differences within countries are damaging. Journal of Money, Credit and Banking 2008;40(5):929-65.39.
Analyses include both cross-sectional research and studies of changes in income distribution over time. Inequality is emerging as a central issue for the post-2015 development agenda and the establishment of the sustainable development goals. Inequalities in income and wealth cause economic instability, a range of health and social problems, and create a roadblock to the adoption of pro-environment strategies and behaviour. Stronger community life in more equal societies also means that people are more willing to act for the common good – they recycle more, spend more on foreign aid, score higher on the Global Peace Index . The Future of Global Poverty in a Multi-Speed World: Mimeo, 2013.33. Inequality and Unsustainable Growth: Two Sides of the Same Coin? Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2007.36. Income differences can be reduced via redistribution through taxes and benefits, or by reducing differences in pre-tax incomes. Social inequality goes hand in hand with social stratification.Social inequality is characterized by the existence of unequal opportunities and rewards for different social positions or statuses within a group or society.Reducing inequality is the most important step these countries can take to increase population well-being. In the developing and emerging economies, both greater equality and improvements in standards of living are needed for populations to flourish. Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity (ASAP) Equality Trust The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. Heterogeneous Tails, and the End of the ‘Inverted‐U’: It’s All About the Share of the Rich.