Update on inequality, “The Spirit Level”, and happiness
In 2009, I reviewed the then-new book, The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in the Social Affairs Unit website. I thought the highly-influential and much-quoted work very flawed on just about every level. Until very recently, I hadn’t noticed that intelligent, informed voices had continued to attack the book’s handling of the inquality data. So I thought I’d now provide some sources which may prove useful….
On The Spirit Level:
My initial review of The Spirit Level was quite a good account of the statistical and ideological problems posed by the book, including links to other reviewers who liked or disliked it.
One of the most impressive bits of work cited by Mr Snowdon is a late-2012 extensive blog from Colin Mills, an Oxford University sociologist of mildly egalitarian, left-leaning tendencies, who is concerned with The Spirit Level‘s use of evidence and argument.
On the Happiness debate:
2005: RDN on Start the Week talking about his Rich Is Beautiful: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/starttheweek_20050418.shtml
2006: RDN on Avner Offer’s The Challenge of Affluence: http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blog/archives/000889.php
2007: RDN on the data surrounding inequality and well-being: http://richarddnorth.com/archive/new_stuff/affluenza.htm
2007: RDN on Oliver James’s Affluenza (with some useful links): http://richarddnorth.com/archive/new_stuff/affluenza.htm
2008: RDN on Oliver James’s The Selfish Capitalist: http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blog/archives/001692.php
2008: RDN on Robert Frank’s Richistan: http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blog/archives/001622.php
2010 RDN on Will Hutton’s Them and Us: http://www.socialaffairsunit.org.uk/blog/archives/002033.php
2013: RDN on Ferdinand Mount’s The New Few: http://richarddnorth.com/2013/01/rdn-on-mounts-new-few/