A sold out audience of 300 here in Toronto enjoyed a thought-provoking evening as Wilkinson presented his findings that a wide variety of social ills are caused not by absolute income disparities but by relative disparities between the top 20 percent of income earners and the bottom 20 percent. In cases after case (mental health, infant mortality, life expectancy, etc), people in more equal countries do far better than those in unequal countries. Canada is in the middle between Japan/Scandinavian countries (enjoying the most equity) and the US/UK (suffering from the least equity). Alarmingly, we are quickly moving in the wrong direction to solve this problem. Canada’s disappearing middle class, and the policy that enforces that standard, is becoming a huge problem in this country, and it is a direct contributor to inequity in health and income.
We’d like to thank Richard Wilkinson for coming. For more information on The Spirit Level, please visit: http://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/.