Title Spirit Level - "Does equality matter for a happier you and society?"

Presentation by Bill Kerry from The Equality Trust, followed by discussion. Bill (pictured left) is a co-founder of The Equality Trust and works part-time as Supporter & Local Groups Manager. He has written and blogged for various organisations including Oxfam and the pressure group Compass. Prior to the launch of the Trust, Bill worked as a Company Secretary across the private, charitable and social enterprise sectors.


The 2009 book The Spirit Level concluded that the more unequal a society is, the more ill health and social problems it has, and that inequality always has been, and can be, 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.


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. 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.


Given our Think in Kingston theme of happiness, can it also be said that the more unequal a society is the unhappier its people feel or are compared to those societies with high measures of equality?  Join the debate to explore if there is such a correlation and whether addressing inequality can provide the space for greater happiness and wellbeing in society.


Donations on the evening will help to cover the travelling costs of the visiting speaker and the work of both Equality Trust and YMCA LSW (who have kindly let us hire for free their main restaurant area for the event along with free tea and coffee), dividing the money raised equally between the two organisations.


No booking required – just turn up on the night.


Event organised by Richmond & Kingston WDM and YMCA London South West.


Date and Time 27/10/11 from 19:00 to 21:00
Location Surbiton YMCA, 49 Victoria Road
(view map)
Cost Free, but donations welcome

Add this event to a calendar application on your computer