inequality

It may be that higher levels of inequality have increased the incidence of poor mental wellbeing in the community. A recent book suggests a causal mechanism from one to the other.

International research shows that there is a socioeconomic status (or class) gradient, in which those with low SES experience higher morbidity from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, rheumatoid disorders, a number of cancers, psychiatric diseases, dementia and so on.

Inequality is not confined to income and wealth; it is in our healthcare and education systems. Is Labour trying to reverse the trend?

Eighty years ago, the First Labour Government imbedded New Zealanders’ aspirations for an egalitarian society in the welfare state it created. Thirty years ago, both the Labour and National Governments began an assault on that egalitarianism and the traditional welfare state.

Extract from submission to a Select Committee of Parliament (Social Services and Community Committee).

The proposed Child Poverty Reduction Bill is potentially world leading. However the mechanisms it proposes for the assessment and monitoring of poverty are primitive. As I said to the select committee, they are more like a penny-farthing than a modern mountain bike.

One per cent of the world's population now control half its wealth. 

The concentration of more and more resources in fewer and fewer hands has actually accelerated since the global financial crisis. This is no accident. It is the outcome of policy decisions made – or avoided – by political leaders either unable to learn the lessons of the crisis or unwilling to act on them.  

Since 2008, “middle-class wealth has grown at a slower pace than wealth at the top end. This has reversed the pre-crisis trend, which saw the share of middle-class wealth remaining fairly stable over time.”

The inequality debate reaches beyond individuals to towns and regions, so what can we do when an entire town is in the doldrums?

One of the main topics on The Nation this past weekend was inequality, with Paula Bennett being the main guest, supplemented by a very interesting interview with Shamubeel Eaqub, NZEIR's principal econ