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Social inequality and public health$
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Salvatore J. Babones

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9781847423207

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847423207.001.0001

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The impact of inequality: empirical evidence

The impact of inequality: empirical evidence

(p.158) (p.159) Eleven The impact of inequality: empirical evidence
Social inequality and public health

Richard Wilkinson

Policy Press

The fourth hypothesised pathway through which social inequality can affect public health is through its connection with the character of society as a whole. The hypothesis, in a nutshell, is that less equal societies are simply less healthy social environments in which to live out one's life. This chapter presents the evidence to support this proposition. It argues that inequality breeds status anxiety, individualism and consumerism, and that these forces threaten not only the individual health of all members of society but also the quality of the collective environment in which individuals must live.

Keywords:   status anxiety, individualism, consumerism, social inequality, collective health

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