New Zealand is different
08/03/2012 § 2 Comments
I started reading The Spirit Level yesterday. It’s gotten some exposure, so you probably already know the central theme: societies that are more equal are better for everyone.
I don’t want to comment on the main ideas until I’ve read more. Something Zizek noted (but I can’t re-find) is relevant, though. Critiquing Rawl’s egalitarian, veil-of-ignorance theory, he asked us to imagine the horror and resentment if our social status were entirely our own fault.
Reading the first few chapters, I was struck by how New Zealand is often at the edge of the data cloud or far from the regression line. Several key slides are available on The Equality Trust website (associated with the book). Here are a couple:
This graph shows levels of trust in a country compared to the level of income inequality. New Zealand is far above the regression line, and has relatively high trust despite greater-than-average inequality.