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The Spirit Level Delusion:Fact Checking the left's new theory of evrythngSNOWDON

  • Nov 22, 2012 · 6:30 PM
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"Do Cubans live longer than Americans? Are Scandinavians happier than the British? Do Oscar winners live longer than other actors? Does capitalism cause mental illness? Does inequality lead to murder? Would higher taxes make us slimmer, more trusting and more charitable? The Spirit Level Delusion shines the light of reason on some of the extraordinary claims made in favour of big government in the twenty-first century. Several books (The Spirit Level, Happiness and Affluenza amongst others) have called for a radical shift in power from the individual to the state based on the supposedly devastating effects of wealth, economic growth and inequality. By examining all the available evidence, Christopher Snowdon tests the theory that 'more equal' countries are healthier, happier and more successful. Through a sober assessment of the facts-including some inconvenient truths-The Spirit Level Delusion shows that the theory not only lacks empirical support but also fails the basic test of believability." Amazon

You can read "The Spirit Level" or watch the Big Ideas episode here

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  • RK

    A copy of the book suggestions on the subject of social inequality, from our librarian host at the TPL, and that was handed out at the meeting has been uploaded in the files section.

    November 25, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    I went into the meeting with the possibility of reading Spirit Level and Spirit Level Delusion afterward. After the meeting, my time would be much better spent in writing songs playing my guitar.

    November 23, 2012

  • carmen c.

    interesting exchange of ideas, ones more informed than others and not always in consensus with mine. But that's exactly what confers flavour to these meetings

    November 22, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Statistics and graphs can be bad, good, meaningful or meaningless depending how one interprets them. My foot is on the reality of Canadian soil. So my question is how are we Canada treating Canadians(equality) in term of gender, race, social and judicial services, economic opportunity?

    November 20, 2012

  • Byron P.

    The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is hardly an unbiased organization. They're far left wing.
    Everyone has their biases. The point is to be open to both.

    November 20, 2012

  • carmen c.

    I'd like to turn your attention on this excerpt from a larger article on how Ecuador managed to reduce inequality/poverty and produce palpable growth: the section in discussion details under the title "Human needs over greed"

    http://www.zcommunications.org/rafael-correa-speaks-on-citizens-revolution-by-federico-fuentes

    November 19, 2012

    • Wayne S.

      “For example,” he said, “we used to have an autonomous central bank, which is one of the great traps of neoliberalism, so that whichever government is in power, things carry on as before”. “Thanks to the 2008 Constitution, it is no longer autonomous.”
      No central bank has ever been completely autonomous. That's not its purpose. Strictly speaking, neo-liberals are opposed to a central bank. Redistribution is NOT growth. Plunder, btw, is greed.

      November 20, 2012

  • RK

    On different kinds of inequality.
    From NYT: To Reduce Inequality, Tax Wealth, Not Income

    "The real threat to our long-term prosperity is wealth inequality, so we need a progressive wealth tax."

    http://nyti.ms/SGl1cM

    November 19, 2012

  • RK

    "The distribution of wealth in the US spans at least 10 powers of 10, ranging from people whose net worth is measured in tens of billions of dollars, to those with barely a dollar to their names. This disparity dwarfs even the six powers of 10 in the solar system. As such, the distribution is extremely difficult to depict on a single graph, at least on the standard kinds of plots with linear axes, which is why you never see it displayed on one page."

    "Norton and Ariely found that people on both sides of the political spectrum grossly underestimated the extent of inequality. The typical respondent believed that the top 20 percent owned 59 percent of the nation’s wealth, much less than the 84 percent the top quintile actually owned.. They also thought the two quintiles at the bottom — the poorest 40 percent — owned 10 percent of the nation’s wealth, when the reality was that their two slices totaled 0.3 percent of the American pie, the two nearly invisible slivers in the chart"
    NYT

    October 25, 2012

    • Wayne S.

      Steve, and anyone else interested, please see the message board.

      October 29, 2012

    • Wayne S.

      Look at those 1%, Steve. Still clinging to your thesis, reality be damned. :) http://ca.finance.yah...­

      November 16, 2012

  • Christine N.

    Hi, I am still waiting for my used copy of the Sirit Level Delusion to ome from Chapers, , so I have started reading one of the apparent prescursor books-The Spirit Level-which is chock full of charts about how income inequality is related to all sorts of things from early death to obesity in many countries and in most of the states of the US. Interesting. Looking forward to the contrasting opinon of the next author.

    October 25, 2012

  • Yasmin

    It's available through Amazon. Used books for online orders are available on Chapters and abebooks.com. Too bad that it's not available at the library. No physical copies at Chapters.

    October 9, 2012

  • jane

    Snowdon's book not in library system - help!

    October 9, 2012

    • Christine N.

      Hi Jane, you can get teh book from Chapters Indigo used for $15 plus $6.50 shipping. I just ordered it. if you are coming to the october meeting I can lend you my copy, which I will have read by then.

      October 9, 2012

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