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Many steps need to be taken to ensure data is reliable and valid when doing an experiment or trying to come to a conclusion. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, authors of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, went to great lengths to make sure their data was accurate when attempting to figure out the relationship between social and health issues of the population in each country they studied. Wilkinson and Pickett used a variety of countries located in different locations throughout the world, with different types of populations and different amounts of wealth as a nation.
They combined health and social problem data for each country. Each problem carried the same weight to determine a more accurate reading. The authors then combined health and social problem data for each state in the US to compare their data with those from the other countries too. Following this, Wilkinson and Pickett took the same data and compared them to average household incomes of each country and state in the US.
Their data shows that health and social issues are more apparent in countries with large income gaps and that countries that have more money and less income inequality have less social and health problems.
In impairing the data from countries to data collected from each state, it ensures that the information collected is accurate. Household income does not seem to have any influence on the social and health issues of a nation or of a state. The circumstances that people live in cause health/ social problems, or their health/social problems cause their unfortunate circumstances.
People in the lower classes of society suffer the most regardless of location.
It is especially bad in areas of severe income inequality, which is where the real problem lies. What matters most is where someone stands economically in relation to their own society. A problem with rich societies is the scale of material differences. When there is one group of people who is extremely wealthy and another who is below the poverty line, it causes more issues than a country that is poor as a whole. Many impoverished Americans have a car, air conditioning, cell phone, cable television, etc.
They notice the living standards around them and have a desire to live up to them. Sometimes, this means that they have to limit their food intake, Just to uphold an image. There is more value in the act of purchasing than of the good itself. Health and social problems have strong class gradients. The scale of material income inequalities is a framework around which cultural and class differences are formed. Social inequality caused by income inequality creates a dynamic of inferior and superior feelings in a society.
Those who cannot afford material extras feel inferior to those who can, further exemplifying a large gap in the classes. The self-esteem of the person who is below the poverty line reflects in their economic standing. In some cases, a poor person has high self-esteem, but for the wrong reasons. They are people involved Witt violence and who are insensitive to the telling to others. Others are in denial about feeling inadequate; therefore try to make up for it with an overcompensation of self-esteem.
They are overly confident causing them to be narcissistic. There is a portion of people who have a reasonable and true amount of self-esteem but one can imagine how difficult this would be to maintain given their social surroundings. Furthermore, income inequality creates distrust in each other and the government by its citizens. People are inclined to associate themselves with others who are close to them in economic and social status. This causes a dislike and distrust for classes rather away from themselves, especially the upper class by the lower class.
Oftentimes this distrust can lead to racism and discrimination due to their association with certain classes. With greater inequality, people are less caring for one another. The lowest class has to struggle to survive while others watch and flourish. The impoverished have to make it on their own, causing them to lose touch with those around them. The status of women in countries with severe inequality is significantly worse than those without. Women often vote and hold political office less; they have fewer umber of college graduates and earn less money in unequal American states.
Internationally, the same results were found. Women have a better chance at social equality in states and countries without severe income inequality levels. Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett took many steps to discover that income inequality is the source of a variety of preventable issues. Territories with large income inequalities have more social and health problems than those that do not. Women are unequal, there is distrust amongst citizens, and people of the lower class feel insecure and inadequate.
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