BHA: Holyoake Lecture – Inequality: the enemy between us
Comparing life expectancy, mental health, levels of violence, teenage birth rates, drug abuse, child wellbeing, obesity rates, levels of trust, the educational performance of school children, or the strength of community life among rich countries, it is clear that societies which tend to do well on one of these measures tend to do well on all of them, and the ones which do badly, do badly on all of them. What accounts for the difference?
The key is the amount of inequality in each society. The picture is consistent whether we compare rich countries or the 50 states of the USA. The more unequal a society is, the more ill health and social problems it has.
Inequality has always been regarded as divisive and socially corrosive. The data show that even small differences in the amount of inequality matter. Material inequality serves as a determinant of the scale and importance of social stratification. It increases status insecurity and competition and the prevalence of all the problems associated with relative deprivation. Particularly important are effects mediated by social status, friendship and early childhood experience. However, although the amount of inequality has its greatest effect on rates of problems among the poor, its influence extends to almost all income groups: too much inequality reduces levels of well-being among the vast majority of the population.
Date Tuesday 16 October
Time Doors open 6pm for 6.30pm start – 8:30pm
Venue Friends Meeting House Main Hall
6 Mount Street
Venue capacity Theatre – laid out for 80 people
Speaker(s) Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson
Kate Pickett bio:
Trained in biological anthropology at Cambridge, nutritional sciences at
Cornell and epidemiology at UC-Berkeley, Kate Pickett is Professor of
Epidemiology in the Department of Health Sciences at the University of York.
Kate’s research focuses on the social determinants of health, particularly the
influences of such factors as income inequality, social class, neighborhood
context and ethnic density on such varied outcomes as mortality and
morbidity, teenage birth, violent crime, obesity, social mobility and health-
Kate is the holder of a UK National Institute for Health Research Career
Scientist Award, a Fellow of the RSA and a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public
Health. She is co-author, with Richard Wilkinson, of The Spirit Level, chosen
as one of the Top Ten Books of the Decade by the New Statesman and
winner of the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Book Prize and the 2011 Political
Studies Association Book of the Year. The Spirit Level has sold more than
150,000 copies in English and is available in 23 foreign editions. Kate is also
a founder and non-executive director of The Equality Trust.
Richard Wilkinson bio:
Richard has played a formative role in international research on the social determinants of health and on the societal effects of income inequality. He studied economic history at LSE before training in epidemiology. He is Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School, Honorary Professor at UCL and a Visiting Professor at the University of York. Richard co-wrote The Spirit Level with Kate Pickett which won the 2011 Political Studies Association Publication of the Year Award and the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Prize. Richard is also a co-founder of The Equality Trust.
Chair Guy Otten
Introduction by Andrew Copson (BHA)
Ticket prices £7 general
£5 BHA and GMH members, and students
Partners Greater Manchester Humanists