(((Epub))) ↼ The Broken Ladder ↶ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

This is one of the most fascinating books I have read in a long time The author, a psychology prof at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, at a young age began to be interested in the ways in which inequality in a society affects its inhabitants Growing up in rural Kentucky, when he was in fourth grade he became aware that he received free school lunches and hence was poor Until that point, he felt himself to be like his classmates afterwards, he became very self conscious and felt less than This sparked a lifelong quest to understand inequality He clarifies that inequality should not be confused with poverty Because humans are always comparing themselves to those around them, widening inequality wields just as much harm as does poverty He notes that In modern history, income inequality reached its highest point in the late 1920s, immediately before the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed its highest point, that is, until today We have now reached the same level of inequality that existed prior to the Great Depression page 23 He discusses the veil of ignorance study of the 20th century political philosopher, John Rawls The scenario for this study postulates that you have reached an unknown land which may be very equal or highly unequal In which sort of place would you prefer to live Logically, if you don t know where you would fit into this society, you would , of course, prefer it to be egalitarian This study was then expanded by Michael Norton and Dan Ariely by taking it out of the speculative realm, using actual stats Dividing a population into quintiles, from poorest to most wealthy, they asked participants how the divisions lined up in the USA Most people had no idea of the extent of divisions They guessed that the top quintile had 59% of the nation s wealth in reality, it is 84% Then they asked participants what divisions constituted the ideal and would be a place they d like to live The numbers they gave matched up with Sweden, one of the most equal nations In fact, 92% of Americans chose the wealth division of a place like Sweden not knowing which country had these stats rather than that of a country with the stats represented by the USA People of all income levels made this choice Living in an unequal society has all sorts of negative effects, including poor health outcomes The differences even apply to unequal states such as California when the state itself is relatively wealthy In fact, interestingly, the levels of inequality in California match those of much poorer states, such as Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, and West Virginia The author examined how levels of inequality influence political choices He noted that conservatives and liberals differ in two basic ways Conservatives wish to preserve tradition while liberals would like to see change in society page 85 Secondly, conservatives are accepting of inequality because they see it as being a reward for an individual s effort, talent, etc Liberals tend to view inequality as a result of a flawed system rather than only as evidence of individual effort In other words, conservatives focus on the individual liberals focus on the system To take this a step further, people who see the world as threatening and dangerous then prefer the safety of the status quo and are usually conservative People who see the world as safer and as a place to explore tend to be liberal page 95 Another interesting finding is that if you feel yourself to be better off than others in your society whether this is true or just your perception , you are likely to vote Republican If you feel yourself to be poorer than others, you will probably vote Democrat Also, the tendency for the rich to vote Republican is stronger in poorer states page 105 There is another rather unpleasant finding if you see yourself as successful than those around you, you will also see yourself as smarter and will think that those who disagree with you are just morons Not only do places with higher inequality have poorer health outcomes, people in these places have shorter lives The reasons have to do with feelings of continual stress, causing inflammation and chronic disease This is one reason the USA, although a wealthy country, has shorter life expectancies than similar developed nations In fact, life expectancy in the USA is quite a bit shorter than it is in Canada, a much egalitarian country Another discussion I found interesting was about studies which show that unequal countries are religious, regardless of their wealth On a chart shown on page 149, you can see that the USA, while very high in average income, is still also high unusually so in religious belief any belief not any certain religion There is a chapter devoted to the effects of racism on inequality, and one on how egalitarian workplaces differ from those which are very hierarchical In corporate structures which are very hierarchical, people taking direction endure far stress than their managers do Pay inequality is also discussed, with special attention paid to the fact that the gap between what CEOs and rank and file workers make is widening to an alarming degree He gave results from studies that showed that when people feel themselves to be treated unfairly, they often even the score by slacking off or by stealing The ratio of CEO pay to ordinary worker pay is now 350 to 1 As the author says on page 195, The extreme inequality seen today in CEO pay is likely to undermine job satisfaction, team performance, and product quality It may inspire workers to slack off, steal, and sabotage These tendencies have probably been kept in check, so far, by the general lack of awareness of how unequal the pay scales really are In a final chapter, he offers advice on how to handle the sort of unequal society in which we in the USA now live He says, The feelings of insecurity cued by poverty, together with easy us versus them divisions fostered by inequality, provoke us to embrace simplistic beliefs, extreme ideologies, and prejudices that provide easy answers, but do so by sabotaging the healthy functioning of civil society page 199 Further, the poor are driven by a immediate and critical set of incentives Their lives involve daily crises, which they attempt to cope with using the best short term crisis management responses they have available They have long since abandoned conforming to the economist s vision of rational responses to incentives and have replaced them with reactions aimed at keeping heads above water Admonitions to start pulling up bootstraps ring hollow when you live in that world page 200 He continues on page 203 The necessity of seriously confronting inequality and not just material poverty suggests the startling conclusion that we cannot simply grow our way out of our current predicament Just as people often confuse inequality with poverty, they often confuse the goal of reducing inequality with the goal of fostering economic growth But the findings on the critical role played by inequality itself on health, decision making, political and social divisions argue that economic growth is not sufficient Page 206 Reducing inequality, similarly, has the potential to address scores of problems at once But that requires moving away from seeing inequality through a moralizing lens Instead, I believe we have to view inequality as a public health problem Pages 207 8 greater inequality was linked to longer lives when comparing countries, as well as when comparing across the states These statistics suggest that reducing income inequality from the rates of Kentucky or Louisiana to the rates of Iowa or Utah could transform the lives of millions of people Finally, he advises not comparing yourself with your neighbors or with those whom you perceive as better off Rather, think of things that really matter to you and of your blessings Old fashioned advice, after all.I heartily recommend this book It will give you lots to think about and perhaps provide some insights on the world in which we live. (((Epub))) ↴ The Broken Ladder ↡ A Timely Examination By A Leading Scientist Of The Physical, Psychological, And Moral Effects Of Inequality The Levels Of Inequality In The World Today Are On A Scale That Have Not Been Seen In Our Lifetimes, Yet The Disparity Between Rich And Poor Has Ramifications That Extend Far Beyond Mere Financial Means In The Broken Ladder Psychologist Keith Payne Examines How Inequality Divides Us Not Just Economically It Also Has Profound Consequences For How We Think, How We Respond To Stress, How Our Immune Systems Function, And Even How We View Moral Concepts Such As Justice And FairnessResearch In Psychology, Neuroscience, And Behavioral Economics Has Not Only Revealed Important New Insights Into How Inequality Changes People In Predictable Ways But Also Provided A Corrective To The Flawed View Of Poverty As Being The Result Of Individual Character Failings Among Modern Developed Societies, Inequality Is Not Primarily A Matter Of The Actual Amount Of Money People Have It Is, Rather, People S Sense Of Where They Stand In Relation To Others Feeling Poor Matters Not Just Being Poor Regardless Of Their Average Incomes, Countries Or States With Greater Levels Of Income Inequality Have Much Higher Rates Of All The Social Maladies We Associate With Poverty, Including Lower Than Average Life Expectancies, Serious Health Problems, Mental Illness, And Crime The Broken Ladder Explores Such Issues As Why Women In Poor Societies Often Have Children, And Why They Have Them At A Younger Age Why There Is Little Trust Among The Working Class In The Prudence Of Investing For The Future Why People S Perception Of Their Social Status Affects Their Political Beliefs And Leads To Greater Political Divisions How Poverty Raises Stress Levels As Effectively As Actual Physical Threats How Inequality In The Workplace Affects Performance And Why Unequal Societies Tend To Become Religious Understanding How Inequality Shapes Our World Can Help Us Better Understand What Drives Ideological Divides, Why High Inequality Makes The Middle Class Feel Left Behind, And How To Disconnect From The Endless Treadmill Of Social Comparison This book was a quick read It posits that inequality is at the root of many issues present in the societies of those countries that most exhibit it Its basic thesis is compelling the idea is that absolute wealth is not the key indicator Rather, it is how people feel relative to one another that fosters feelings of inequality and unhealthy social comparisons.It begins by demonstrating how people are naturally prone to compare themselves to one another Through reporting on a variety of scientific experiments, it tries to drive home the point that feelings of relative poverty encourage us to think from a short term perspective, make riskier choices, and generally sacrifice longer term well being This presents a mix of pretty interesting experiments, and others that I felt were a little too far afield e.g., studies on mice to really warrant inclusion in the book.I found the thesis convincing, and I was probably most engaged with the chapter concerning how this behavior plays out in the business world This section discusses how inequality in the workplace relates closely to perceived fairness, and when people feel unfairly treated, they tend to become less productive and in some cases work against the company It suggested keeping hierarchies flatter and curtailing the now enormous gap between employee and executive pay.It concludes with good suggestions about how to cope with inequality in everyday life, such as remembering your good fortune relative to others, and focusing on your core values that likely have little to do with status Overall I d recommend it. The Broken Ladder has convinced me that inequality is the most serious threat to civil society Author Keith Payne describes the incredible scope of the issue, from feelings of injustice, self destructive decision making, rising polarization, and inflations of status, with engaging prose, relevant psychology studies, and interesting personal stories The book is compact, informative, and easily accessible The tensions that exist between the haves and have nots in society have driven conflicts for centuries As we enter into an era of nearly unfathomable income inequality CEO salaries are 350 times larger than the average worker s , understanding how this gap affects individuals, teams, communities, and nations is essential I believe that The Broken Ladder should be required reading for all policy makers, leaders, and those working in both the public and private sector So, basically everyone. This is a very interesting book It tackles the effect of inequality and tries to explain how it affects people behavior It is really well written and as subject, brings very interesting reflections that kinds of affect how we reason about several aspects of life such as public policies, moral justification of inequality i.e that person is poor, because he is lazy and social mobility.The main take aways are Our behavior is not affected by how wealth poor we are, but by how wealth poor we are related to others We unconsciously compare ourselves to others When we notice this inequality and we are in the low end of the spectrum, we feel that we are in an uncontrolled and uncertainty environment, which makes we act focus on short term rewards instead of long term interest which is supported by experiments and explained by evolution Racism has an effect similar to inequality, that is, the existence of racism is a factor that makes people feel the unequal, even when in material terms, they might be equal The relation of wealth and happiness saturates after a value 70k for USA , which means that gaining wealth after this point, does not improve happiness on average Inequality correlates better with crime rate, low mobility, school dropout than poverty Thinking about purpose and personal values may have a blocking effect of inequality People naturally have a sense of fairness and may avoid higher reward situations when they feel they are treated in an unfair way.In resume, the book presents a very interesting scientific exploration of the inequality topic that makes me reflect about the way we confront society problems. This book discusses inequality and the effects that it has on individuals and society as a whole.Some of the facts were thought provoking such as lack of opportunity leading to risky behaviour , but the personal opinions could have been left out and some of the graphics were almost illegible.Overall rating 3.5 This book was engaging and accessible, though it addresses subjects that can often be dense or dull Speaking as someone with ADHD, this made it a lot easier to read and digest, as did the personal anecdotes, graphs and images that aided in the reader s understanding of the subject I would definitely recommend this book I can t think of a relevant book Everyone should read this Interesting take on inequality and the challenges it brings to human society It s not about how much you have but how it compares to other people around you, relative comparison is everything I do agree with the statement that equal societies are free from many issues that foster in high inequality but on the other end I would point out as a disadvantage that there is less drive for progress created from within Multiple cognitive fallacies are explained when talking about inequality The book was relatively short but I actually felt that some parts were repetitive and it could have been even shorter You need money to make money Because wealth can be invested and therefore multiplied, money creates a natural cycle in which the rich get richer, stretching out the tail Those who have nothing to invest simply can t participate in that cycle and remain clumped at the bottom In every country tested, respondents dramatically underestimated the degree of actual pay inequity In the United States, for example, people estimated that CEOs earned about 30 times the average worker In reality, the researchers point out, the average CEO earned 12.3 million in 2012 That is about 350 times the average worker s income of 35,000 high inequality is associated with higher rates of crime, greater risk of stress related illness, and greater political polarization These problems degrade the quality of life for everyone, including the affluent This may be why people are happier in equal places even after adjusting for their individual incomes. One of my best reads in 2018 It is fascinating to see how our view on status as absolute or relative can impact our psychology in different ways When we think of the divide in our society, we tend to focus on absolute terms such as rich poor But it is actually the degree of inequality between the groups that affects the way we think, live and die Being interested in the topics of socioeconomics and psychology, this was a great read for me It is one of those books that can change the way you understand the society.