How Inequality Hollows Out the Soul

The New York Times:

One of the well-known costs of inequality is that people withdraw from community life and are less likely to feel that they can trust others. This is partly a reflection of the way status anxiety makes us all more worried about how we are valued by others. Now that we can compare robust data for different countries, we can see not only what we knew intuitively — that inequality is divisive and socially corrosive — but that it also damages the individual psyche.

Our tendency to equate outward wealth with inner worth invokes deep psychological responses, feelings of dominance and subordination, superiority and inferiority. This affects the way we see and treat one another.

A few years ago, we published evidence that showed that in developed countries, major and minor mental illnesses were three times as common in societies where there were bigger income differences between rich and poor. In other words, an American is likely to know three times as many people with depression or anxiety problems as someone in Japan or Germany.

In a study published in 2012, Sheri L. Johnson, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues reviewed a vast body of evidence from biological, behavioral and self-reported accounts, and concluded that a wide range of mental disorders might originate in a “dominance behavioral system.” This part of our evolved psychological makeup, almost universal in mammals, enables us to recognize and respond to social ranking systems based on hierarchy and power. One brain-imaging study discovered that there were particular areas of the brain and neural mechanisms dedicated to processing social rank.

Read the whole story: The New York Times


Inequality Is caused by government not cured by it. The major cause is taxes. Taxes cause a larger burden on the poor than the rich. When you have a larger burden to a poor person they must work longer hours or both partners must work to provide an income that can support a family. If both partners must work the children will not receive the attention and guidance needed and can only be provided by someone that has a vested interest in a child’s proper upbringing. A government has no personal reason to provide a safe and stable environment for a child. Growing up 70 years ago I had the presence of a mother that provided guidance in any number of methods. The fact remains my Father provided for a family of four. We were not living in luxury but even poor people have more now than we had then.
So what is the problem? They are told that they are poor. The reason they are poor is because others are rich. Now when you dont have much money this sounds reasonable.
So where do they hear this Our government. You are told that they should not make as much money. They tell you you should make more money. They dont tell you you have the right to work hard and become successful. I did. I was raised in an 800 sq ft home in Detroit with no central heat.
Our hot water was heated on the stove. We took a bath once a week whether we needed it or not. My dad went first then my Mother and then myself and then my sister. All used the same water. The fact is I decided I was not going to live in Detroit. I am now a master Electrician with my own company. I have a high school education, and started my business with 500 dollars and a second hand truck. Yes I made it and I almost didn’t. Why government regulation and taxes. My home is worth 500 thousand my cars are paid for I put my two girls in private school. Inequality? is a bunch of BS. If I can do it with just a HS education anyone can that applies themselves. Government cant make you equal. We have spent 300 billion on the poor and it is worse than ever. Am I the isolated case? NO this country was built mostly with people like me. We want government to get out of the way not give a handout.

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