Posts Tagged ‘inequality’

Something to do, right?

There’s growing evidence that the toll of our stunning inequality is not just economic but also is a melancholy of the soul. The upshot appears to be high rates of violent crime, high narcotics use, high teenage birthrates and even high rates of heart disease.

That’s the argument of an important book by two distinguished British epidemiologists, Richard Wilkinsonand Kate Pickett. They argue that gross inequality tears at the human psyche, creating anxiety, distrust and an array of mental and physical ailments — and they cite mountains of data to support their argument.

“If you fail to avoid high inequality, you will need more prisons and more police,” they assert. “You will have to deal with higher rates of mental illness, drug abuse and every other kind of problem.” They explore these issues in their book, “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger.”

This isn’t really all that shocking of a revelation, more a confirmation in my view.  But check this shit out:

There’s similar evidence from other primates. For example, macaque monkeys are also highly social animals, and scientists put them in cages and taught them how to push a lever so that they could get cocaine. Those at the bottom of the monkey hierarchy took much more cocaine than high-status monkeys.

I think what happened here is that this study was actually a foregone conclusion adopted in order to provide an excuse to give cocaine to macaques.  Why not?  The scientists’ own status within our society has been trampled so thoroughly and unjustly, why not stand around feeding cocaine to a bunch of monkeys all day?  Sounds like more fun than XBox.