Common Sense Comes to Town!

Common sense is the most fairly distributed thing in the world, for each one thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have. (Descartes)

More Equal than Others

Posted on | January 26, 2011 | 1 Comment

Social and economic inequity was a hot topic last week not only in publications such as The Economist but also in the Scientific American. While these two institutions do not hesitate to venture out of their area of expertise every once in a while, the impact of their coinciding articles is nevertheless surprising.

The Economist began with this chart noticing a clear link between the « misery index » (which adds up a country’s unemployment and inflation rates) and the overall happiness of the inhabitants in the country. The two variables seem closely related, despite a sometimes uneven distribution of countries in the chart.

The Scientific American then added more weight to the argument in this article which connected economic inequity with crime rates. Following the Tucson, AZ, shooting and the following call to tighten gun controls, the article was able to sum up the lack of correlation between gun ownership and the number of murders. However, it made obvious the close link between the uneven distribution of wealth and the number of murders and frankly asked the question: is socialism the best tool to counter violence?

Economic disparities may even be a cause of the subprime crisis! A University of Chicago professor contends that extending credit to poorer and poorer Americans had been made necessary in order to alleviate social tensions created by the abusive concentration of wealth amongst the richest percentile of the population, a concentration level unseen since… the Great Depression of 1929!

Finally, a last article in The Economist discussed the psychological and physiological impacts of social inequity. We learn that inequity is a factor in the increase of stress hormone levels and consequently plays an important role on our overall wellbeing.

In summary, these arguments remind us that beyond the creation of wealth, its redistribution in a fair manner to the best interest of the population as a whole  yields unsuspected positive results on crime rates, health, and even the financial risks we will be ready to face in the future.


One Response to “More Equal than Others”

  1. Johanne Mongrain
    January 26th, 2011 @ 20:13

    Didn’t we learn anything since Marie-Antoinette uttered her sadly famous “Let them eat cake”?… The Maslow pyramid?… The 1929 crisis?… No, really?…


    Since we’re at quotes, one from Sting:
    « History will teach us nothing »

    And it’s not from lack of lessons to learn, but rather the lack of will to learn…

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