Social Ills? Blame Income Inequality

Two English health scholars have written a book called 'The Spirit Level' which locates the cause of social ills in income inequality. The Boston Review unpacks their arguments.

Two English health scholars have written a book called 'The Spirit Level' which locates the cause of social ills in income inequality. The Boston Review unpacks their arguments. "Wilkinson and Pickett, eminent health scholars from the United Kingdom, present considerable evidence correlating unequal incomes in nations or American states with negative outcomes in physical health, mental balance, levels of violence, social integration, teen births, school performance, and just about everything else...But does this psychological explanation really account for the harms of inequality? And just how sure are we that the social ills Wilkinson and Pickett canvass are even caused by inequality?"

Countries with more butter have happier citizens

Butter supply and life satisfaction are linked – but by causation or correlation?

Image: Carey Tilden/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0
Strange Maps
  • Haiti and other countries with low butter supply report low life satisfaction.
  • The reverse is true for countries like Germany, which score high in both categories.
  • As the graph below shows, a curious pattern emerges across the globe. But is it causation or correlation?
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One-third of all slavery is visible from space

Advances in satellite imagery are shining a light.

Boyd et al., 2018
Technology & Innovation
  • Today, there are 40.3 million slaves on the planet, more than the number of people living in Canada.
  • Slavery can be hard to find, but it commonly occurs in several key industries like fishing and mining.
  • Using satellite data, researchers and activists are using crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence to identify sites where slavery is taking place.
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Will Hunt (explorer) – into the Earth: the mysteries and meanings of underground spaces

The catacombs of Paris. Secret graffiti beneath NYC. The hidden cities of Cappadocia. Writer and explorer Will Hunt is your philosophical tour guide to what lies beneath.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "The surface of the earth is where we're rational . . . Part of us dreads the chaos, and part of us is always attracted to it."
  • "There were these things hanging from the ceiling…long strands of bacteria called "snotsicles"… But at our feet was a natural stream that had been running through Brooklyn forever."
  • "It's…about death. Undergoing a death. We're going into the other world and then retreating to the surface… changed in some way."
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